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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Cleaning and Scrubbing Will Wait...

 

 

 

first frost
today she misplaced
our names

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black

 

Frogpond Vol. 42:1 (Winter 2019)

& selected for a forthcoming anthology TBA

 

I wrote this poem after a Thanksgiving visit with my mother-in-law, Marjorie, when she was in the hospital. Her struggles with Parkinson's had been mounting and coming fast after living with the disease for many years. Even in the midst of overwhelming challenges, however, humor can be a balm - and she kept her quick wit. 

 

The wonderful nurse working this past Thanksgiving engaged Marge in conversation.

 

"Who is that?" she asked, pointing to my husband, Jeff, at Marge's bedside. 

 

"That's Tim," Marge said.

 

"No, Mom, that's your favorite son," my husband smiled.  "I'm Jeff."

 

The nurse nodded toward me, sitting in a chair at the foot of the bed.  "And what is her name?" 

 

Marge took a long look at me and then told the nurse, "Oh - she changes hers a lot."

 

I almost fell off of said chair, chuckling at such a clever quip. 

 

Marge did recall our names on some subsequent visits and calls - the mind is a tricky thing. And while we all knew her health was declining, her passing last week still felt like a shock.  She left her husband of 62 years, Reuben, five children, thirteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. 

 

Tim, an Episcopal priest, officiated at her service on Saturday.  All of the music and readings and remembrances were offered by her grandchildren - as she would have wanted it.  Our nephew Will planned the music and played piano, with our son Seth playing guitar and singing along with another cousin, Olivia. Our daughter Morgan read a passage from Job.

 

Marge and Reuben had started "GranCamp" more than 25 years ago, a special, themed week each summer just for cousins (and, much later, their spouses).  Potty training was the only requirement. That rule even got bent when great-grands came along.  The goal was to create strong bonds between all these cousins, and as the oldest, Ben, said from the platform on Saturday, "It worked." (A few years ago, Will directed a Gran Camp video, complete with their original, jaunty GranCamp Song which was sung at Marge's service.)

 

Marge was valedictorian of her high school class and earned an education degree at North Georgia College. She was active in church and community endeavors.  She and Reuben had an open door, always - hosting several international students over the years as well as anybody who ever needed a safe harbor with a warm bed, good coffee, and no judgment. Oh, and ice cream any time of day or night. 

 

Her generosity and her quirks were celebrated with much joy on Saturday. It was a remembrance with as much laughter as tears.  She loved to read, and she could remember many lines of favorite poems.  The ones that just about every family member could quote - from her sharing them so often - reflected her philosphy about the preciousness of children.  She frequently shared these excerpted lines by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton (1921-2018):

 

 

From "Song for a Fifth Child (Babies Don't Keep)"

 

...
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

...

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby. Babies don't keep.

 

Click here for the entire poem, and a lovely bit of biography about the poet. 

 

Here is a link to Marge's obituary, largely written by Will.  Marge's other daughter-in-law, Patricia, and I tussled a bit with last minute edits.  But that was okay - we just wanted the words to be right, words that can only capture glimpses of a bright life. 

 

I found the obituary for Ruth Hulburt Hamilton here, which also includes a copy of her famous poem. 

 

Thanks for the kind words and thoughts this past week, and thanks to our oh-so-talented Jone, who has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Check it Out - Enjoy. (& I'll see you HERE for the Roundup next week!)

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Poetry Friday - Valentine-ing....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

How did it get to be February so fast?!

 

Tonight for Beaufort's "First Friday" celebration, with shops and galleries and such open late and offering wine and goodies, the theme is "Luv-in Downtown."  So, I have Valentines on my mind!

 

Most of you know I'm hopelessly addicted to antique maps, manuscripts, and ephemera.  I've enjoyed conjuring up some cards for the occasion incorporating collaged images I've reproduced from paper treasures I've collected. The bottom card features a lacy background image from a Victorian card, topped with a specially cropped image of our Lowcountry portion of a South Carolina map from a 1909 atlas. The top card features re-combined elements from some Victorian Valentines, with the warm notion,

 

May true

friends be

around you

 

- not really a poem, but a lovely sentiment.  

 

Speaking of sentiment... Oh, those Victorians.  The poem inside one of the aforementioned cards went like this:

 

From me

   to you,

      in greeting

Affectionate

       and true;

 

To say one heart

    is beating

That still

  remembers you.

 

(Gotta love 'em.)  

 

I do get all warm and fuzzy thinking about Poetry Friday friends, must admit - and I loved the poetry postcards which brought January greetings, and some other correspondence with dear PF friends. 

 

And... I confess I love VICTORIA on Masterpiece.  Took me a few episodes to get hooked when it first started, but now I'm hopelessy trapped in front of the TV on Sunday nights at 9 p.m., lamenting that the seasons aren't long enough.

 

Speaking of Valentines, if 'watercolorful' is more your speed, our own Michelle Kogan chimed in last week with a link to some she's made in her Etsy shop, too! 

 

Be sure to visit all the poetry links rounded up for us this week by the marvelous Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference. And, especially you all in the Midwest and Northeast, please stay cozy and safe!

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Poetry Friday - New Year Poem Postcard

Greertings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

Last weekend I was on the road, and more of the same this weekend, truth be told.  

 

But I wanted to pop in with a wave and a THANK YOU to you dear and talented poets who have brightened my January with poem postcards.  (& BIG hugs to Jone Rush MacCulloch, who conjured up the exchange.) The examples above are brimming with New Year natural imagery, and pigs (it's the Year of the Pig), and - some touches of pink! (The flip side of Irene's card sports a pink flamingo, in homage to my home state of Florida.) If I misplaced a card in my haste to snap a photograph, my apologies. [And I owe a couple of folks responses to other wonderful surprises via the mail... I plan to catch up next week!  Thank you.]

 

The postcard I sent out, above, echoed a similar theme to the ones I was lucky enough to receive. Sea fog sometimes shrouds our usually bright little town with mystery and wonder.  And if the sun comes out, well - Nature takes her course. I'm hoping some of the fog I feel over our country right now might lift in favor of light and warmth this year, too.

 

 

new year
sea fog surrenders
to sun

 

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

 

 

Photo credit goes to my hubby, Jeff, who kindly and speedily rolled down the passenger window as I was driving us to church recently, crossing over the bridge.  "You have a new phone with a good camera - Quick!  I need a picture of fog over the marsh!"

 

Then I played with the image a little, "floating" a picture of a compass from a 1700s replica map I  have, featuring the Southeastern coast. To this I dabbed a sparkle or two of metallic gold paint, then "antiqued" the edges with brown ink. 

 

Making several, in case I messed up, I decided to list a few in my Etsy shop, too. :0) Thanks for the inspiration, Jone, and all the other participants.  

 

Here's hoping the sunny days outnumber the others in your year ahead.... 

 

In fact, at Going to Walden, Tara is offering a Linda Pastan poem pondering the goings-on of the world, and rounding up lots of enlightening poetry links! Enjoy. 

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Poetry Friday - Wrap Your Arms (& Arms & Arms & Arms) Around Poetic Postcards with Irene Latham

--Interior detail from Love, Agnes by Irene Latham, illustrated by Thea Baker (Millbrook Press/Lerner, 2018).

 

 

Greetings and HAPPY NEW YEAR, Poetry Lovers!

 

I hope your 2019 is beginning with poetic inspirations.  

 

I had hoped to start off the year with a sparkly clean house, office, studio... but actually, I resonated more with David G. Lanoue's DAILY ISSA for Thursday:

 

     basking
     in the New Year's sun...
     my trashy hut

 

     year unknown

 

translation by David G. Lanoue.  Learn how to up for your own DAILY ISSA in your inbox here.

 

So organizing is going a little slowly, but at least I'm finally able to catch up on a wee bit of book-loving after the busy holiday/retail holiday season.

 

Here's hoping you've already joined all the fun fanfare for Agnes, the postcard-penning Octopus and star of our own Irene Latham's book, Love, Agnes- Postcards from an Octopus, illustrated by Thea Baker (Millbrook Press/Lerner). Evidently octupuses were a literary trend this fall, which Irene shares in her September blog post here; and be sure to swim around all the October posts celebrating Octopus Month and featuring wonderful poetry and art by fellow Poetry-Friday-ers and others!

 

Love, Agnes is not a poetry collection but is a wittily entertaining fantastical narrative, with lots of facts blended in and strong emotions deftly portrayed.  (So you see, it's much like poetry.) Characters include a young boy who writes about family frustrations; Agnes, an aged Octopus who is not afraid to speak her mind and who nurtures her zillions of babies; and a few more creatures, crabby and otherwise,  hanging out in the underwater neighborhood. Much of the story unfolds through postcards written by these salty personalities.  (It's worth a visual trip through the book just to see the postage stamps & cancellations created by Thea Baker!)

 

While it's not technically poetry, you'll find tasty rhymes and other poetic devices hiding in the pint-sized epistles as well as the regular text. 

 

Like this:

 

     Dear Crab,

 

     Okay, I'll leave you and

     your friends alone.  IF you'll

     promise me this:  BE QUIET.

     No skittering or scuttling

     near my nest. My babies need

     their rest.

 

     Thanks in advance,

 

     Exhausted Agnes

 

Each character has such a fun voice, and the voice of the whole book is definitely Irene's.  No wonder it has raked in rave reviews like coquina shells at the seashore.

 

One reason I was keen to share this book this week is that I've signed up to participate in Jone MacCulloch's Poem Postcard swap for January!  November and December were too much of a whoosh for me to get myself signed up for Tabatha's wonderful winter poem swap. But this I aim to do.  

 

As it happens, I've already received two WONDERFUL postcard poems in the mail on Thursday.  (Looking forward to sharing later.)  These poets are obviuosly way more together than I (you know who you are).  We are actually still doing family travel for Christmas, with my side of the family having celebrated just before and through the holiday, and my hubby's side meeting up this first weekend in January.  I haven't quite got both feet in the New Year yet!  

 

Be sure to take your poetic tentacles over to POETRY FOR CHILDREN with our amazing Syliva, and grab lots of great poetry to get your year off on the right foot (and arm, and arm, and arm, and - well - you get the idea.)  You can learn more about Irene and her lovely, lively work here

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Poetry Friday - Charmed Dialogue; Bookmarks as Found Poem....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I hope your holiday season is going well.  When one has been working a few too many hours, one might get a little bit punch-drink - without any eggnog handy, even.  

 

Recently a couple of favorite Etsy haunts added fun, laser-engraved message-type steel tags to their offerings, and I couldn't help myself and ordered a bunch.  Somehow in my studio the new bookmarks I've been making arranged themselves into a sort of found poem.  In two voices.  (Told you I'd been burning a little too much midnight oil...) 

 

Enjoy a wee moment of silliness!

 

 

                       Charmed Dialogue

 

  sun

 

  A walk on

  the beach is

  good for the soul

 

                                               SEA

 

                                                Seashells

                                                are 

                                                love letters

                                                in the sand

 

  you hold the

  pen to write your 

  own story

 

                                                 I'm really

                                                 a mermaid 

 

  My birthstone

  is a 

  Coffee Bean

 

                                                  tea

                                                  addict

 

  Book

  Lover

 

 

                                                  I read 

                                                  past my

                                                  bedtime

 

 

 

How about you?

 

Sand or sea?

 

Coffee or tea?

 

We all agree on books, and reading past our bedtime, I'm sure....

 

(A couple of these bookmarks are listed in my Etsy shop; I 'll get the others listed Friday morning [oops - scratch that - evening!!], in case you want to see close up!) :0)

 

For wonderful poetry any time of day, pay a visit to our dear Laura Shovan, who is kindly rounding us up this week - even those of us who got up to poetic mischeif when no one was watching. And HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all - I know some of you have just celebrated Hanukkah, and we have Christmas on the horizon.  We'll be in and out, so I'll close with with flurries of goodwill and wishes for the next couple of weeks! XO

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Poetry Friday: Charles Dickens - The Ivy Green and Inspiring Mice...

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I've been burning the midnight oil, what with December upon us.  TODAY - or, tonight, rather - is "Night on the Town" - probably the biggest street party of the year in Beaufort.  My studio will be open, of course, with a very special guest signing books - my dear friend and partner in Victorian mischief Kim Poovey.  

 

Why will Kim grace my shop with her presence in one of her signature HANDMADE and authentic Victorian gowns?  Earlier this year she gave me no choice but to illustrate the cover of her wonderful new book project, DICKENS' MICE.  (I had a blast and burned the midnight oil then, too.)  One of these days I'll scare up a proper post on my art blog about it! 

 

You can learn more about the oh-so-clever story here.  I'll give you a hint:  our good friend Mr. Dickens was in need of some inspiration on a certain Christmas Eve, and it came in the form of some wee little personages with twitchy noses and jaunty tails. (I'll be buying some copies to give as gifts, myself - it's an enchanting tale!  Something between a short story and a novella.  And there are some other tasty story bits in the volume, too!) Discover more about Kim's literary and historical adventures at her website

 

In honor of our festive Friday evening, here is a poem by said Mr. Dickens.

 

 

The Ivy Green


By Charles Dickens


Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy green,
That creepeth o'er ruins old!
Of right choice food are his meals, I ween,
In his cell so lone and cold.
The wall must be crumbled, the stone decayed,
To pleasure his dainty whim:
And the mouldering dust that years have made
Is a merry meal for him.
Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.

 

Fast he stealeth on, though he wears no wings,
And a staunch old heart has he.
How closely he twineth, how tight he clings,
To his friend the huge Oak Tree!
And slily he traileth along the ground,
And his leaves he gently waves,
As he joyously hugs and crawleth round
The rich mould of dead men's graves.
Creeping where grim death has been,
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.

 

Whole ages have fled and their works decayed,
And nations have scattered been;
But the stout old Ivy shall never fade,
From its hale and hearty green.
The brave old plant, in its lonely days,
Shall fatten upon the past:
For the stateliest building man can raise,
Is the Ivy's food at last.
Creeping on, where time has been,
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.

 

I found the poem here at The Poetry Foundation, and the biographical entry on Charles Dickens is here

 

Did you know Charles Dickens wrote some poetry?

 

Confession:  I did not.  But I was delighted to discover this gem, and somehow it suits the historical meanderings that Kim and I can find ourselves in.  

 

Must go - I've not yet finished the jewelry I promised Kim for the evening!  (The artsyletters elves are still quite busy, and they promise a "new bookmarks bonanza" all next week!)

 

Enjoy all the great poetry Liz Steinglass is rounding up for us this week - and the Facebook elves recently revealed a publication date for her upcoming poetry book for young readers from Wordsong!  (I've been waiting for this one - even though I don't know much about soccer.  But I know Liz and her stellar writing.) :0)

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Poetry Friday - A Wee Wave to Elves and Fairies...

This is a Fairy Tree we drove past in the Wicklow Mountains area of Ireland this summer.  On a day trip to the countryside, our tour guide, whose family was Irish born and bred forever, told us about them.  Farmers and ranchers are careful to protect them, and even modern road projects have been diverted to avoid cutting one down!  They're portals to the faery realm, don't ye know, and I'll not be arguin' wi' that....!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I missed you last week, as I was on the road home from a Thanksgiving trip to be back for "Small Business Saturday."  (It went very well, thank you!) 

 

And this week - well, happily, the Etsy Elves are keeping me hopping.  I'm hoping they'll sprinkle some glittery good luck around as I wrap, package, and mail out orders, which I'm very grateful to be doing.

 

In that vein, here are a few magical lines from "The Fairies" by William Allingham.  I'm sharing the first stanza, which is also the last.

 

  

from THE FAIRIES

 

Up in the airy mountain,

  Down the rushy glen, 

We daren't go a-hunting

  For fear of little men;

Wee folk, good folk,

  Trooping all together; 

Green jacket, red cap,

  And white owl's feather!

 

 

I found the poem in FAIRY AND FOLK TALES OF IRELAND edited by W. B. Yeats.  You can read the rest here.  (I might have to find the Michael Hague illustrated book that came out several years ago....)

 

Can you tell I'm missing Scotland and Ireland? Celtic Christmas music is going strong on Pandora in my studio, so that helps!

 

For more magical, mischievous, or merry poetry, transport yourself over to Carol's Corner for this week's Roundup.  (Thanks, Carol!)

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Poetry Friday - Family Ties & Armistice Day Centennial

 

The intriguing discussion on public radio's On Point on Thursday reminded me that Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, when World War I officially ended.

 

Meghna Chakrabarti hosted Lora Vogt and Jack Beatty in an exploration of history and World War I, in which Vogt said "20th-Century technology pushed up against 19th-Century ideology."  Seven countries entered the war when it began in 1914; at its end in 1918, 30-plus countries were involved on every inhabited continent.

 

My mother's father, John Hollingsworth Conditt, was a small and evidently feisty Arkansas teenager when war broke out.  He lied about his age to join the Army.  In fact, somehow I've inherited the very shirt he wore when he signed up – with some blood stains on it from a blow he took to the nose during some kind of a fight that day….

 

Regular readers over here know I'm a little obsessed with family history and Ancestry.com.  Recalling the photo of my grandfather above, I visited my online tree to see if any military "hints" popped up for my grandfather. I found an application for a military headstone.  Over the initial writing, a red pencil added details… a change in rank from private to corporal, and, under the "Medals" section, "Purple Heart" and "Silver Star"!  My eyes filled with tears.  (I should add that a few hours of online sleuthing have yet to substantiate the red-pencilled additions on that 1959 form, but I'm still on the hunt. I was able to find military transport records back and forth across the seas. )

 

A call to my mother (Hi, Mom!) revealed that she didn't really know about medals, except for a vague memory of a ribbon and metal medal with a clasp in a hinged tin box on the shelves in their kitchen, when she was very little. Hmmmm….  She knew her father had been shot in the hip in France. (Which would explain the Purple Heart, though I haven't found records yet. There's not a comprehensive list, evidently – maybe the same for the Silver Star?)  I did find that he came back on a ship from France in 1919, but then evidently headed out again.... Mom recalled that he was part of the lingering forces on the China Expedition, which occurred around the turn of the century when he was born, but US troops were still coming and going into the early 1920s.)

 

My mother also recalled how, after her dad returned home from the Army in 1922 and was walking through his little town with a buddy, he saw my grandmother in a field and declared, "I'm going to marry her."  He didn't know who she was. They wed the next year.  Outside in the middle of the road, mind you – her father had some objection (perhaps her age of 18? We're not sure…) and wouldn't let them get married in the house.  My grandmother said it was very cold outside! 

 

In my studio among my many old books I found THE VITAL ISSUES OF THE WAR (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1918), a collection of sermons by Richard Wilson Boynton, a Unitarian Minister and professor.  I have not read it all, only skimmed some of it.  But I sympathize with the struggle between a longing for pacifism and the gritty reality that evil cannot be permitted to destroy innocent lives unchecked.

 

From Sermon III, THE GOSPEL OF PACIFISM, a few excerpted lines:

 

"But until August, 1914, I supposed myself to be a fairly consistent peace advocate.  Up to that fateful summer most Americans, one fancies, had a more or less fervent hope for the near advent of the new internationalism, the gradual reduction of armaments on land and sea, the progress of the principle of arbitration in disputes between nations – in short, the whole group of world-ideals represented by the two Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907."

 

And, "It is well to practice kindness to animals, but that does not mean stopping to reason with a mad dog when he is attacking your child."

 

Boynton ended Sermon V, THE INFLUENCE OF SEA POWER IN THE WAR, with this poem below by Alfred Noyes. (I can't find an easy link so will include the whole poem.)

 

 

   The Searchlights

 

Shadow by shadow, stripped for fight,

          The lean black cruisers search the sea.

Night-long their level shafts of light

          Revolve, and find no enemy.

Only they know each leaping wave

May hide the lightning, and their grave.

 

And in the land they guard so well

          Is there no silent watch to keep?

An age is dying and the bell

          Rings midnight on a vaster deep.

But over all its waves, once more

The searchlights move, from shore to shore.

 

And captains that we thought were dead,

          And dreamers that we thought were dumb,

And voices that we thought were fled,

          Arise, and call us, and we come;

And "Search in thine own soul," they cry;

"For there, too, lurks thine enemy."

 

Search for the foe in thine own soul,

          The sloth, the intellectual pride;

The trivial jest that veils the goal

          For which our father lived and died;

The lawless dreams, the cynic Art,

That rend thy nobler self apart.

 

Not far, not far into the night,

          These level swords of light can pierce;

Yet for her faith does England fight,

          Her faith in this our universe,

Believing Truth and Justice draw

From founts of everlasting law;

 

The law that rules the stars, our stay,

          Our compass through the world's wide sea,

The one sure light, the one sure way,

          The one firm base of Liberty;

The one firm road that men have trod

Through Chaos to the throne of God.

 

Therefore a Power above the State,

          The unconquerable Power, returns,

The fire, the fire that made her great

          Once more upon her altar burns,

Once more, redeemed and healed and whole,

She moves to the Eternal Goal.

 

(Learn more about Alfred Noyes, of "The Highwayman" fame, here.) 

 

Finally, - and thanks for bearing with a long post - today (Poetry Friday) is the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht ("The Night of Broken Glass," termed by the Nazis). On this horrific night, anti-Semitic sentiment and laws erupted into actual violence and brutality, and the Holocaust followed.  [On Thursday, Joshua Johnson on public radio's 1A hosted an important  show about preserving Holocaust survivor stories.]

 

We cannot forget.  It's barely fathomable that the lives of those beautiful souls at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh were taken not even two weeks ago. Only 20 years from Armistice Day to Kristallnacht. And 80 years from then to now.  History is important.  

 

Please visit the ever-thoughtful Michelle at Today's Little Ditty for this week's Roundup. 

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Poetry Friday: A few timely lines by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

 

 

Our amazing Jama has a thoughtful, pull-no-punches Poetry Friday Roundup post on the eve of the midterm elections. This week, I'm taking a cue from the host post and sharing a few compatible verses! 

 

Here are the last few stanzas of a poem called "We as Women" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935).

 

From: SUFFRAGE SONGS and VERSES

by CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN
THE CHARLTON COMPANY, 1911

 

...

 

We, that were born of one mother,
And reared in the self-same place,
In the school and the church together,
We of one blood, one race!

 

Now then, all forward together!
But remember, every one,
That 'tis not by feminine innocence
The work of the world is done.

 

The world needs strength and courage,
And wisdom to help and feed–
When, "We, as women" bring these to man,
We shall lift the world indeed.

 

 

(You can read the whole poem here.)

 

I also found a great quote of hers appropriate for All Saints Day, Dia de los Muertos, etc.:

 

"Death? Why this fuss about death? Use your imagination, try to visualize a world without death! Death is the essential condition of life, not an evil."

 

And another which might tie all of this together:

 

"Eternity is not something that begins after you're dead. It is going on all the time. We are in it now."

 

Learn more about the author here.

 

Thanks to Jama for hosting, and for inspiring me to look to the past for some present-moment inspiration!

 

(PS - Several really devastating environmental reports have come out this week, about how fast species are vanishing and about the impacts of climate change.  If you've had it with humans - understandable - go cast a vote for the planet!)

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Poetry Friday - Longfellow's Maiden and Weathercock

Wood engraving by Boyd Hanna in The Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Heritage Press, 1943.
 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I know hearts are heavy this week for those affected by another brutal hurricane.  I found it a little crazy that with family members and like-family friends from Central Florida up through Charlotte, we were all experiencing some effects of this storm within hours of each other.  Beaufort was once again very fortunate.  We did hunker down for a tornado warning near midnight on Wednesday night, and our power went out for a few hours not long thereafter, but other than lots of wind, my corner of town at least was all right. (Schools and government offices were closed Thursday.)

 

I stood in front of the television in disbelief Thursday morning when The Weather Channel showed the first drone images of Mexico Beach, a place my folks have enjoyed visiting in the past.  A few battered structures remained, but mostly - empty slabs where countless houses and businesses used to be.  Nothing.  Left. Prayers and more prayers for all who are dealing with so many kinds of losses.

 

(Some PF regulars might know that our own Jan Godown Annino is from Tallahassee; I hope she won't mind my sharing that I reached her by text Thursday morning, and they are okay.)

 

I wish I had the right words for comfort today, but instead, the diversion of a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, which was published in 1880 in "Youth's Companion."  The view over the sea is a much more pleasant one in this ballad-like poem.  

 

 

MAIDEN AND WEATHERCOCK

 

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

               MAIDEN

 

O Weathercock on the village spire,

With your golden feathers all on fire,

Tell me, what can you see from your perch

Above there over the tower of the church?

 

 

             WEATHERCOCK

 

I can see the roofs and the streets below,

And the people moving to and fro,

And beyond, without either roof or street,

The great salt sea, and the fisherman's fleet.

 

I can see a ship come sailing in 

Beyond the headlands and harbor of Lynn,

And a young man standing on the deck

With a silken kerchief round his neck.

 

Now he is pressing it to his lips,

And now he is kissing his finger-tips,

And now he is lifting and waving his hand,

And blowing the kissses toward the land.

 

 

               MAIDEN

 

Ah, that is the ship from over the sea,

That is bringing my lover back to me,

Bringing my lover so fond and true,

Who does not change with the wind like you.

 

 

              WEATHERCOCK

 

If I change with all the winds that blow,

It is only because they made me so,

And people would think it wondrous strange,

If I, a Weathercock, should not change.

 

O pretty Maiden, so fine and fair,

With your dreamy eyes and your golden hair,

When you and your lover meet to-day,

You will thank me for looking some other way.

 

 

I found this poem in The Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, part of THE AMERICAN POETS series edited by Louis Untermeyer for The Heritage Press (1943). I'm smitten with the wood engraving illustrations throughout, by 20th Century artist and illustrator Boyd Hanna. 

 

For so many in our country (including Puerto Rico) and around the world reeling from recent natural disasters, prayers for healing and for the eventual changes of direction that time brings.

 

Our gracious host for the Roundup this week is the ever-amazing Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids.  Enjoy all the offerings!

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