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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Winter Poetry Swap Goodness from Linda Baie!

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Once again, our wonderful Tabatha Yeatts organized a Winter Poem Swap - just the thing to make one slow down for five minutes in the midst of the seasonal chaos and think and breathe and ponder and wonder.  (Oops - am I confessing too much?)  I was delighted to receive a magical box in the mail from Linda Baie, who fills the world with poetry and goodness every season.  It had special fun touches such as a rustic verdigris-y metal bird clip, and cheerful red and white baker's twine. 

 

Real confession:  Linda has NOT received my LATE package in return - yet - because it just got mailed Thursday.  I am lucky she is a woman of patience and understanding.  Saturday's deadline whhooossshed right by me before I looked up to see what day it was.  (I am still quite covered up in Etsy orders, in double digits waiting in the wings.  Thrilled, but I've been burning LOTS of midnight oil!!)

 

I waited for a snatch of time to open Linda's package, so I could savor the surprises.  So much to savor!

 

She sent a lovely note.  

 

She sent a wonderful old book full of The Best Poems of 1930. (!) :0)

 

She sent THE most scrumptiuos toffee, explaining that it is a local favorite, and I find that 100 percent believable. Yum.  And more yum!

 

And, she sent a lively, colorful collage and poem!  A bird with a playful pattern - and a STAR eye :0) - floats and flitters, with real feathers, too.    It is the perfect accompaniment to Linda's poem, which she signed, "For Robyn."

 

 

Best Bird

 

I remember the magic

  when I was a wee bird. 

I tried to be the best bird on the block. 

I flitted and fluttered around the trees,

hoverd and hopped

in and out of bushes

being the bird that I was... not. 

 

Now grown, my secret reveals

I'm still flying in my dreams. 

 

 

©Linda Baie.  All rights reserved. 

 

 

Wonderful, isn't it?  Conjures up all kinds of memories and possibilities.  

 

Do you have a favorite line or phrase?  I'd have to say I just "took off" with that final line! 

 

MANY thanks, Linda, for your talents and your generous heart.  

 

Now, fly yourself right over to Elizabeth Steinglass's blog for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup!  (Thanks, Liz.)

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Poetry Friday - Kris Kringle's Surprise

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I hope your holiday season is filled with sparkle and light, at least here and there and in surprising places. I've been up to my elf-ears in Etsy orders (not complaining!) and so have been running on coffee fumes for the past week or two. I'm still listing items online, and on the home front, today is our First Friday that is also the "Night on the Town" downtown. Shops stay open with grown-up refreshments and such, and there is music, sometimes puppets, and general family holiday merriment on the streets, with the lighting of the Christmas tree and stirring music by US Marine Corps Band members. I have much to do to get my wee little shop ready!

 

Since I'm currently immersed in my favorite things - art supplies and old books - and since I've no free space in the ol' brain for anything too profound or complicated this week, I peeked around for something old and fun to share today.  In one of my volumes of CROWN JEWELS, I found a poem I hadn't stumbled upon before.  I hope it brings a chuckle!

 

It's from CROWN JEWELS or Gems of Literature, Art and Music Being Choice Selections From the Writings and Musical Productions of the Most Celebrated Authors From the Earliest Times (etc. - it actually goes on and on!), compiled by Henry Davenport Northrop, D. D., and published by W. J. Connaton, Kansas City, in 1888.

 

 

Kris Kringle's Surprise

by Henry Davenport

 

With heavy pack upon his back, 

  And smiles upon his face,

  Kris Kringle waded through the snow,

  And went at rapid pace.

His sack that made him sweat and tug

  Was stuffed with pretty toys,

And up and down throughout the town

  He sought the girls and boys.

 

Not long before, within one door,

  One little Johnny Street,

By lucky chance got into pants,

  And grew about two feet.

On Christmas eve he asked for leave

  To hang upon a peg

The woolen stockings he had worn,

  Each with its lengthy leg.

 

The cunning boy, on Christmas joy

  With all his heart was bent,

And for old Kringle's packages

  With all his might he went.

In big surprise Kris Kringle's eyes

  Stuck out and stared around,

For two such stockings as those were

  He ne'er before had found.

 

He thought he'd never get them full,

  They were so strangely deep;

So standing there upon a chair,

  He took a hasty peep:

Young Johnny Street, the little cheat,

  Had watched his lucky chance,

And to the stockings, at the top,

  Had pinned his pair of pants.

 

 

Now, take your mischeivous selves right on over to fiction, instead of lies, where Tanita is rounding us up today.  Thanks, Tanita!

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Poetry Friday - Remembering Dear Ones, with Gratitude...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers, and Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for you.

 

It's been a week of wistful and sweet remembrances, showing up in unexpected moments during the retail hurry and flurry over here.  My mother-in-law died in February, and her birthday was Sunday; a dear family friend died in July, and her birthday was Tuesday.  And I've been thinking of Lee Bennett Hopkins so fondly and often; have you? Three months he's been gone, and I'm reminded of him so often.  

 

I wanted to find a poem in honor of these, and others, who won't be around our Thanksgiving tables this year but whose spirits still guide and warm us, nudge us, make us notice some odd or delightful thing here or there.

 

I turned to my mother-in-law's college copy of THE ARBUTHNOT ANTHOLOGY of Children's Literature from the 1950s.  I've mentioned it before, having borrowed it before, and my sister-in-law kindly saved it for me after Marge's death.  On the inside cover is written in pencil, "Margie Pinson Black" in Marge's hand, and the price - just $7.00. I always remember Marge's saying, "That was my favorite class!"

 

Our friend Cheryl would have enjoyed all the stories and poems as well.  Both of our kids were lucky to have her as their third grade teacher.  Morgan has now taught third grade herself for several years, selected to represent her school in a leadership program this year at the county level, and Seth is off in seminary, blowing the grad school classroom curves as he did in college.  [While Morgan practically learned to read while in diapers, Seth took his time and had to get over some second-grade frustrations; Cheryl worked her magic to help him become a confident student.]

 

Here's a poem by Grace Noll Howell ( 1877-1969) I think they and Lee would like.  I wasn't familiar with the author, but here's an article about her from Baylor University in Texas, and Wikipedia has an entry.  She was a much-loved inspirational and religious writer in the early 1900s, and was Poet Laureate of Texas for three years, beginning in 1936.

 

 

The Day Will Bring Some Lovely Thing

 

Grace Noll Crowell

 

"The day will bring some lovely thing,"

I say it over each new dawn:

"Some gay, adventurous thing to hold

Against my heart when it is gone."

And so I rise and go to meet

The day with wings upon my feet.

 

I come upon it unaware -

Some sudden beauty without name:

A snatch of song - a breath of pine - 

A poem lit with golden flame;

High tangled bird notes - keenly thinned -

Like flying color on the wind.

 

No day has ever failed me quite -

Before the grayest day is done,

I come upon some misty bloom

Or a late line of crimson sun.

Each night I pause - remembering

Some gay, adventurous, lovely thing.

 

 

A couple of pages before that poem were a few lines from a short Langston Hughes poem, "Heaven." Lee loved Langston Hughes so, I'll share the whole poem, which I found after a little searching:

 

 

Heaven

 

Langston Hughes

 

Heaven is
The place where
Happiness is
Everywhere.

 

Animals
And birds sing---
As does
Everything.

 

To each stone,
"How-do-you-do?"
Stone answers back,
"Well! And you?"

 

Here's to lovely things, and adventure, and conversing with stones, and to those we remember with full hearts.

 

For more poetic inspirations today, saunter over to savor the Roundup at Sloth Reads, hosted by the lovely and adventurous Rebecca! 

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Poetry Friday - A Wee Evergreen Found Poem...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Have you been among the 75 percent of the country unpacking coats and scarves and socks this week?  Brrrr!  It's been two layers of sweaters on the Chihuahua for her morning walks the past few days...

 

Perhaps it gets us in the mood for the holiday season, though.  Thursday night our little downtown began an initiative for shops to stay open until 7 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays.  I tossed my beret into the ring and agreed, with just a few exceptions for holidays themselves.  

 

So the elves are busy, busy - though not nearly as far along as I thought they'd be by now!  (Okay, truth be told, the one rather sleep-deprived and overworked elf is still working on getting a bunch of new items listed on Etsy this weekend. Bring on the coffee!  The tea!  The hot chocolate!) ;0)  I'm slowly getting more collage & altered pieces-in-progress finished up, like the one above celebrating the coming holly-laced holidays.

 

 

lovers of
delight turn
to


evergreens,

holly and
mistletoe
with
ivy

 

©Robyn Hood Black, found in "The Garden in December" in a bound compilation of Cassell's Family Magazine, Cassell & Company Limited, London, Paris & Melbourne, 1890.

 

(More coming soon, including ornaments!)

 

In the meantime, I'm hoping to catch up on some Poetry Friday visiting during the quiet stretches in the studio.  One never knows, but there's usually a good bit of quiet in those open hours, since I'm tucked upstairs in a historic building,.  Folks have to 1.) want to come up and 2.) be able to navigage those steep stairs if they do! 

 

This week's Roundup start with a big ol' par-TAY over at Michelle's Today's Little Ditty, with the launch of THE BEST OF TODAY'S LITTLE DITTY 2017-18.  (I'm thrilled to have two poems in another volume in this series!) Poetry always makes a good gift, no?   Enjoy the festivities, and all the great links Michelle is rounding up. Congrats, Michelle, and Cheers to all!

 

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Poetry Friday - New Aging in Haiku Book and Happy Birthday, Bro!

(Hope it's okay that I swiped a couple of Facebook pictures taken by your friends?  ;0) )

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

First today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my amazing older brother, he of the pictures above.  Not to give away his age or anything, but NEXT year one of us will no longer be in our 50s? ;0) 

 

Mike doesn't hear it from me nearly enough, but he's one of my heroes.  As a young boy he had some leg surgery, and our folks were told he might have difficulty walking, might not ever run.  Well, he just tells people the big ol' scars on his lower legs are shark bites as he makes his way from triathalon finish lines to the winners' podiums.  Yep, while he was taking home hardware for First Place in his age group this past August, yours truly was hobbling around with that broken ankle, since my athletic coordination is challenged at the "walking and conversing simultaneously" level. 

  

And while Mike is quite the reader, writer, insights-wrangler, and cultural connoisseur, he also designs computer chips or something that is so far beyond my skill set I don't even quite know how to describe it.  For decades he's worked as an electrical engineer, after heading off to Vandy at age 16 to double major in math and electrical engineering.  

 

He's heard me, perhaps, mention the name "Sheldon" in conversations about him (haven't you, Mike?)... but he's also figured out how to be quite the social butterfly after navigating school years while two years younger than his peers, but way past them in the math & science books....  Of course, Scott helps.  He's the other handsome devil pictured above, and I'm so very thankful to have him as my brother-in-law. 

 

So, you've gathered Mike is a very YOUNG (and fit) 59! Still, I've already gotten a Christmas present for him - a hot-off-the-press copy of Robert Epstein's newest anthology, ALL THE WAY HOME:  AGING IN HAIKU (Middle Island Press). Robert has edited many anthologies and written his own collections.  On this subject of aging, he recently published a book of his own work:  TURNING THE PAGE TO OLD:  HAIKU & SENRYU.

 

I've just started reading my copy of ALL THE WAY HOME, and it's chock-full of tender, profound, heartbreaking and hilarious poems that will have all kinds of readers of a certain age nodding here and there, or thinking of someone they know.  As usual, Robert has provided a thoughtful introduction (after sharing many wonderful quotations on the topic).  In addition to haiku, there are some tanka and haiga as well. 

 

Here is a taste of just a few poems.

 

First, for Mike, looking forward to the next year...

 

 

sixtieth summer --

I fold the dryer's heat

into the towel

 

©Lenard D. Moore, originally published in Modern Haiku, 50.1, 2019.  Posted with permission.

 

 

(I remember being struck by the gorgeousness of that poem the first time I read it in Modern Haiku.)

 

Lenard D. Moore is a rock star in the haiku world, and I was honored to meet him a few years ago at a conference.  He's a past president of the Haiku Society of America, an award-winning writer across many genres, from poetry to criticism, an encourager and nurturer, a college professor, and recipient of the 2014 North Carolina Literature Award.  Seek out his work in the journals and anthologies; you will be rewarded!  Or enjoy some jazzy creative and collaborative presentation, if you ever get the chance.

 

Second, after recently returning from our 35th Furman University reunion (Jeff and I married two weeks after our graduation there in 1984!) , I particularly enjoyed this poem:

 

 

forty-fifth reunion...

seniors

again

 

©Charlotte Degregorio, first published in Haiku & Senryu:  A Simple Guide for All, 2014. Posted with permission.

 

 

And, if you don't know Charlotte Degregorio and her work, you are in for more enjoyment and enlightenment!  She is the author of several books and writes, and teaches writing, across multiple genres.  She has served as an officer in the Haiku Society for America and currently maintains a wonderful blog for writers featuring "Daily Haiku" - just scroll through the many treasures she selects to share if you want to read lots of wonderful haiku from around the world. She has also been recognized by her state, Illinois, with a Commendation from former Governor Bruce Rauner for her achievements in literary arts and education. 

 

Lastly, below are three of the five poems I have in the anthology.  As you can imagine, I'm honored to share pages with poets such as these!  I'm enjoying reading haiku by friends and names I know, as well as new-to-me poets, among the hundreds of poems. 

 

 

winter rain

the fine print

smaller each year

 

©Robyn Hood Black, first published in Chrysanthemum, 11, 2012

 

 

first frost

today she misplaced

our names

 

©Robyn Hood Black, first published in Frogpond, 42:1, 2019

 

 

years later

my Achilles heel

still just that

 

©Robyn Hood Black, first published in bottle rockets, #37, 2017

 

 

Click here to read more about or purchase your own copy of ALL THE WAY HOME on Amazon.  It's nice to have company on the journey.  Warmest thanks to Lenard and Charolotte for allowing me to share these fine sample poems from the book. 

 

And for more company on the Poetry Friday journey, join our ever-young and talented Irene at Live Your Poem for this week's Roundup! 

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Poetry Friday - Welcome, November - and... Influencers!

(Link in process!) 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers -- Happy November!  (I know - I can't believe it either....)

 

While away last week during my annual crazy stretch of author school visits in the Atlanta area, I got to catch up with a dear and wonderful author friend of mine. A couple of years ago, I think it was, she introduced me to the term "influencer" re. social media.  Her very creative daughter, a young mom, was working at home as an Instagram influencer.  (If I understand it right, some folks with an artistic eye and savvy business sense - and with lots of follwers - are compensated by companies for featuring their products in enticing lifestyle shots.)

 

I've heard the phrase quite a lot since that conversation, also because I have a 20-something-year-old daughter myself who follows a couple of these accounts.

 

Influence is a term and idea we could discuss over coffee or tea, and I think we'd have to refill the cups more than once. As we turn the corner toward the end of this year and the beginning of a new one - an election year - I've been pondering getting more involved than I usually do. (At least after the holiday glitter and dust settle. I've now switched gears into 'happily frenzied mode' with my art business for the next several weeks.)  

 

Anyway, I've been given the contact information for a local person helping with the South Carolina campaign effort for a presidential candidate I admire, and I hope to reach out and be a tad useful in the new year.  

 

Election Day for this year is this coming Tuesday, Nov. 5.  Hence, my sharing the little magnet above (the gloss is still drying), made with a commemorative US postage stamp issued in 1968 - "Register & Vote."  I am in love with the typeface on this stamp, and that glorious weathervane eagle.  Probably some glass cab jewelry and bookmarks will happen, too.... ;0)

 

Here's a short poem for pondering, written by 19th-Century theologian and hymn writer Frederick William Faber, found in one of the delightful Victorian books in my studio stash, Golden Thoughts on Mother, Home and Heaven from Poetic and Prose Literature of All Ages and All Lands (Gotta love those Victorian titles!), New York:  E. B. Treat, 1879.

 

 

Power of Influence

 

by F. W. Faber

 

Our many deeds, the thoughts that we have thought, 

They go out from us thronging every hour;

And in them all is folded up a power

That on the earth doth move them to and fro;

And mighty are the marvels they have wrought,

In hearts we know not, and may never know.

 

 

Poetry Friday is ALWAYS a good influence on me!  So is today's host. For the Roundup, move thyself over to The Opposite of Indifference, where the ever-creative and ever-thoughtful Tabatha always inspires. 

 

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Poetry Friday - A Little 'Grave' Poetry...



Greetings, Poetry (& Halloween) Lovers!

 

To celebrate this particular season of the year (my favorite), I thought a little 'grave' poetry was in order.  So here is something by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894):

 

 

Requiem
 
Under the wide and starry sky,
    Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
    And I laid me down with a will.

 

This be the verse you grave for me:
    Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill.

 

 

Lilting and lovely for a weighty subject, isn't it? (Learn more about RLS here.)

 

This poem was penned in 1890, and our dear poet requested it be inscribed on his tombstone.  On December 3, 1894, Stevenson collapsed and died, possibly suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. Born in Edinburgh, he had traveled quite a bit and had moved his family to Samoa four or five years before his death.  He is buried in a tomb at Mt. Vaea, where he had built a beautiful estate, and the poem is indeed inscribed there.  

  

At this online site of the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum there, you can peek into the rooms of the mansion he built (restored after storm damage in the 1990s), enjoy the lush vistas, and see the tomb upon which those lines above are inscribed. 

 

[Photo/studio aside...  Every day or two this month I've been posting "October Offerings" on my artsylettersgifts Instagram, - & would love some more followers!  The bookmark featured with Stevenson's poem above includes a snippet of a Victorian illustration from 1869, when our poet would have been 19 years old. :0)  ]

 

And speaking of beautiful people with South Pacific connections, our one and only Jama is rounding up Poetry Friday this week at Jama's Alphabet Soup!  I'm sure Mr. Cornelius is helping. I recently purchased her Hawai'ian story, THE WOMAN IN THE MOON, simply because I didn't have it, and I love folktales!  Here's a link to Jama's Amazon page in case you need a copy of DUMPLING SOUP or TRUMAN'S ANT FARM.  Jama's writing in any form is timeless!

 

Note: After our 35th Furman reunion this weekend (!)  I'll be frolicking/working hard just north of Atlanta doing author school visits for Cobb EMC/Gas South's Literacy Week. So this post will still be up next Friday.  The host for Poetry Friday NEXT week will be the lovely Karen Edmisten.  I hope to catch up on my own Poetry Friday rounding/reading during downtime in the hotel next week! :0) 

Thanks for coming by. 

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Poetry Friday - 'Coupla Recent HSA Haiku

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

This week I'm in with a couple of recent published haiku, both from the Haiku Society of America, The Members' Anthology for 2019 and the hot-off-the-press Autumn issue of Frogpond.  I thought both covers were particularly striking, so they are pictured above.  Frogpond features cover art by Gretchn Targee, and the Anthology cover features a photo by John L. Matthews.  (I like the Anthology's title this year, too - A Moment's Longing.)

 

Both are full of great poems!  I'm honored as always to have my haiku included. 

 

  

 

sorting darks and lights

my love note

in his pocket

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.  

Haiku Society of America's Membership Anthology, A Moment's Longing, 2019

 

 

 

hatchlings -

beyond orange tape

the sea

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.  

Frogpond, Vol. 42.3, Fall 2019

 

 

 

About those sea turtles, our area had a record number of nests this year - welcome news! Nests appeared early, and a Kemp's ridley sea turtle was spotted early in the season on Hilton Head Island. That species is the most endangered type of sea turtle, according to National Geographic. 

 

Right after we returned from evacuating for Hurricane Dorian last month, I was at Publix and saw a fellow shopper wearing a Hunting Island (State Park) volunteer tee shirt.  I asked her about any damage to the beach.  She had been out there that morning and said a few turtle nests had been lost.  While that is sad news, I'm glad there were so many hatchlings able to make their way before the storm grazed our coast. 

 

Here's a link to some videos of babies hatching on Hunting Island this season.  I'm grateful to all the volunteers who protect those nests! 

 

To swim around in more poetry, point your flippers over toward Reading to the Core, where the wonderful Catherine has our Roundup this week. 

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Poetry Friday - Country Music, with Love to my Dad

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Maybe you caught the just-finished complete series on PBS by Ken Burns, Country Music. (Click here for info.) I'm a huge fan of his work, and this thoughtful chronicle did not disappoint.  Well, I haven't actually finished yet.  I had to hit "pause" after the third episode, as it was making me sad and flooding my psyche. But I've had some days to reflect and move forward, and I'm eager to finish watching.

 

The poignant part came because the words and music and images so reminded me of some of my family members - folks long gone.  My Uncle Jay (my mother's brother) loved kind of the music shared in the first few episodes, particularly gospel music.  Chatting about the series, my mother told me it tugged on her heartstrings, too - even seeing images of houses with newspaper on the walls to keep out the cold took her back to her growing-up years in rural Arkansas.

 

But it's the country in all that which brought memories of my dad.  He loved it and lived it.  The album cover above shows him at age 26 (!) - just between the ages of my kids now.  My wonderful brother Mike had just entered the world, I guess, but I was still in the eye-glimmer stage of pre-existence. 

 

Dad is described in the album copy: 

 

BOB HOOD, staff announcer at WNOX.  His morning record show has number one rating in East Tennessee area.  Is leader of Rhythmaires.  Sings, plays drums, plays fairs, conventions, show dates, country clubs, etc. in East Tennessee as well is in surrounding states.  Has appeared at Ramp Festival, Hill Billy Homecoming at Maryville, Tennessee, Tennessee Valley A. & I. Fair in addition to his regular appearance on the WNOX Barn Dance.  Is six feet tall, weighs 165 pounds.  Has blue eyes, brown hair, is 26 years old.

 

(**update** - Mike found a link to Dad’s single of “It’s Nothing to Me” here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR1GCBOZdtelN4ARlmEGhAEvQUGnfc1Ee-8gMTmmYug-rssAbTec2JdZfy0&feature=youtu.be&v=EP9hqdniRZs —Thanks, Bro!)

 

I remember Dad's working at WHOO, a radio station in Orlando.  Of course, I didn't fully appreciate country music while growing up, really - I was excited when Dad brought "extra" records home from the office that they couldn't use; albums from The Who and The Rolling Stones, for instance, though I wasn't a teenager yet.  (For you younger readers, an album is a circular black vinyl repository of magical sounds and occasional clicks, spinning on a turntable and played by a needle at the end of a long arm...!) ;0)

 

As an adult, I learned to value the raw honesty of country music lyrics, and folded it back into the variety of genres I listen to.  And you gotta admit, it's entertaining. 

 

On the album pictured above, my dad sang a couple of songs, both about a man killing another man over a woman!  Country music isn't shy about such things.  This week I took the record from its cover, took a deep breath, and played a few of the songs on a Crosley turntable we have.  (I had forgotten how satisfying it is to lay the needle down, just-so, in the groove between songs, and watch it catch a stray piece of dust or two as it works.) 

 

For my Poetry Friday offering, here are a few lines from one of those songs Dad sang, written by Harlan Howard:

 

(from) Everglades

...

 

Runnin' like a dog through the Everglades...

 

Where a man can hide and never be found
And have no fear of the bayin' hounds
But he better keep movin' and don't stand still
If the 'skeeters don't get him then the 'gators will

 

...

 

(I enjoyed that, since we grew up in Florida! You can hear The Kingston Trio sing the entire song here.)

 

If classic country music isn't your thing and you don't recognize the song or the songwriter, chances are you've at least heard Harlan Howard's motto/definition of country music: 

 

three chords and the truth 

 

I've heard Ken Burns quote that famous line in interviews about his series. 

 

(Learn more about Harland Howard here.)

 

So, growing up, our folks hosted parties late into the evenings when country stars were in town.  My mother woke me up one night to come out and meet Willie Nelson in the living room.  She recalls his joking with her that "Good Hearted Woman," which he wrote with Waylon Jennings, could have been written for her.  (You know the chorus - "She's a good-hearted woman in love with a good-timin' man....") 

 

Those chords did hold the truth.  There were good times - Dad received the Billboard Magazine Country Music Station Manager of the Year Award in 1971.  It was a big ol' deal, and he received congratulatory messages from stars. (My brother tracked down a mention on page 48 in the Nov. 13, 1971 issue of the magazine here, under "Nashville Scene.") But the good-timin' part took its toll.  Not too long after, my dad left my mother for another woman and his alcoholism intensified as the years rolled on. 

 

My good-hearted mama didn't turn us against him, though - and I have some lovely memories of time spent together and conversations, as I made my way on through to adulthood. He walked me down the aisle.  Years later, his second marriage ended.

 

He got to meet our firstborn, Morgan, and was beyond delighted with her.  He died two months before Seth was born - a heart attack just after turning 60.  It was a shock.  He'd been in a good place, then - but years of Jack Daniels and cigarettes caught up with him. 

 

That mama of mine did re-marry, and in February will celebrate 40 years with a very good-hearted, and very entertaining, man.  (So lift a toast to Nita and Jack around Valentine's Day!)

 

I'm ready to get back to the Ken Burns series - I left it at the year of my birth, 1963.  This week, I was able to truly enjoy listening to those old songs on the WNOX Barn Dance album.  I figured, life is short - that music was designed to be experienced, not just packed away inside a cardboard jacket.  Dad also had a group called the Rythmaires, and they performed several instrumental songs on the album. I  hadn't noticed before that they played a tune called "Harold's Reel" - I figured my primal need for Celtic music came from the Irish and Scottish branches of the  family tree I've discovered in recent years, but perhaps I heard some of this wonderful music when I was a wee thing and it imprinted that way, too!  

 

Art is timeless - words, music, poetry.  Wishing you inspiration and comfort, whatever is your "station" in life at the moment. 

 

The lovely Carol invites us to wander (and she's got some country roads!) over at the Roundup today at Beyond Literacy Link.  Enjoy!

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Poetry Friday - To the Moon, and Friday the 13th!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Back from our "hurrication" and all is well at our humble abode; Beaufort was very fortunate for the most part.  Thanks for the kind wishes last week!

 

If you're still keeping a weather eye out, you might know that this is Friday the 13th - AND, a full moon!  The next time those two tingly occurances will coincide will be August 13, 2049.  (Quick, do the math - how old will you be?!) 

 

This is a Harvest Moon, because it occurs closest to the Autumnal equinox.  It's not feeling much like fall in many places, including here, at the moment.... but I've seen a wee leaf drift here or there. And I got a good look at the almost-full moon as I came out of my studio last night; its face was so very clear!

 

I have a thing for the number 13, having researched it for a former poetry project that may or may not ever come to harvest.  It's a number that's a bit bewitching of course, as is the moon.... All that feminine energy, 13 lunar months in a year, and such.  

 

In Act V of Shakespeare's The Tempest, we read of Caliban: 

 

  His mother was a witch, and one so strong/That could control the moon.

 

For more playful enjoyment of today's "lunacy," here is a poem by Robert Louis Stephenson (1850-1894)...

 

 

The Moon

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

 

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

 

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

 

 

That first line, and several others, make my swooooon!  I'm sure we could come up with a clever "moon/swoon" line.  In fact, just one more line and we'd have a 13-line poem.

 

This time of year in my artsyletters studio, things begin to get a little dark.... I'm beginning to add to my "haunted jewelry" section, and some darkly delicious elements are creeping into other items. For instance, how could I resist the little black cat charm in the bookmark above, in vintage picasso/jet Czech glass?  And how could I resist dangling a vintage pewter articulated fish skeleton beneath it?  

 

Fall brings out the mischief in me. Lots more studio mischief to come. (I have some more black and orange earrings, for instance, made with snips from a magazine cover from the 1860s - when Robert Louis Stephenson was still a teenager!) I'm also still playing with skeleton images under glass cabs, from a French encyclopedia page from the 1920s. I can't help myself. I've got some Nevermore/Raven earrings, too, which I try to keep stocked at the amazing bookstore around the corner from my shop, Nevermore Books. (If you need to indulge your dark-side aesthetic sensibilities to help you embrace the impending season, click over to their home page and enjoy the ambiance.)

 

Here's to the Friday the 13th Full Moon - may you dance, howl, bay, prance, and most of all, compose poetry bathed in its lovely, spooky light! And here's to Laura Purdie Salas, celebrating aNOTHER wonderful new picture book and hosting us all for Poetry Friday at Writing the World for Kids. (She's got a give-away, too!)

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