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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Poem Postcard Swap!

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Can you believe we're sliding into the last week of January?  I can't.  But I sure have enjoyed ushering in 2020 with poetic, artistic surprises in the mailbox.  The postcard poem swap, coordinated by the amazing Jone MacCulloch, is a fun way to celebrate a new decade's beginnings.

 

Jone tossed out a possible prompt/inspiration in the form of the Chinese New Year, and this year the animal star of the zodiac is... the Rat!  The Lunar New Year officially begins this Saturday, the 25th, and celebrations will continue through Feb. 8th or 11th or so.  (Unfortunately, the virus outbreak is curtailing much of the customary travel and plans in China... a logistically awful time for such a crisis.)

 

Here are the wonderful poem postcards which have scurried inside my door - some with whiskers and tails, others not, several in haiku, others not. Enjoy! (All poems are copyrighted by their authors.)

 

 

Linda Mitchell's colorful card features a fetching text-bodied, line drawn literary rat with a bit of fabled history (about the Jade Emporer and the animals seeking to be his guards.)  Boxed in are these lovely words:

 


Some days we dash
to win the race.

 

Others, friends carry us
over dangerous rivers.

 

Each a heavenly gift.

Happy New Year, 2020.

 

 

********************************

 

 

Irene Latham brings on some perfect January imagery:

 

 

Blades slice

easy 8s

across ice pond

 

You breathe

teeter 

weave

 

arms tight

flung w i d e

tight again

 

Just you

with your tingly

truths

 

your deliberate

unmittened

heart

 

and a whirl

of white

waiting

 


********************************

 

 

A Happy New Year 2020 Fireworks card from Kimberly M. Hutmacher offers these sparkling words:

 

Crackle, fizz, flash, bang!

Bold dreams bursting from the sky.

New hope springing forth!

 


********************************

 

 

Rebecca Herzog is up to a little mischief:

 

little snow angel

with snowballs in mittened hands

devious device

 

 


********************************

 

 

Margaret Simon takes on a triolet (I love triolets!)

 

 

In New Year's arms, we find a space

open for our thoughts to inspire,

dreams seeded in winter with grace.

In New Year's arms, we find a space

to refresh a lost sense of place,

and find hope for what we aspire.

In New Year's arms, we find this space

open for our thoughts to inspire.

(Margaret's words have been inspiring to me as I've been trying to wrangle order out of chaos in my studio, and also in my wee home office, where my computer is.  Thanks for the timely encouragement, Margaret!)

 


********************************

 

 

More literary collage fun from Kay McGriff!  Her card features the image of a stack of books, against a backdrop of text from a Harry Potter volume....

 

stacks of books, rivers

of words beckon adventure

through the new year

 

(A little book spine poetry sandwiched in there, too?) :0)

 


********************************

 

Jone MacCulloch shares her gorgeous photography along with this comforting poem:

 

incoming tide brings

words on waves

throughout the decade

 

 


********************************

 

And Robert Ertman has a little fun in the natural world:

 

winterberry--

among fifty shades of brown

 

 


********************************

 

I'm grateful to begin a new year - and new decade - with these fabulous people and lively poems!  (A couple of folks on my "list" aren't represented; here's hoping nothing has gotten lost in the mail.  We've had a few delivery mishaps this month....)

 

Our wonderful Kat Apel is hosting Poetry Friday this week; continued prayers and light to Autstralia and all her inhabitants, including Kat, and Sally, who hosted earlier this month. 

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Happy Janiveer.... with Birds

 

Greetings and Happy Janiveer, Poetry Lovers!

 

After a few weeks of being slammed with Etsy orders before the holidays (thanks to anyone who contributed to those late nights! :0) ), and then the better part of two weeks road-tripping to visit family hither and yon, I'm still "starting" my New Year.  I SHOULD have spent every free hour this week restoring order in my studio (not to mention house/home office).  Somehow, I also took little detours into a local thrift shop or two to see what new (old) things might call my name.

 

I found a hardcover edition of a book I love, THE COUNTRY DIARY OF AN EDWARDIAN LADY by Edith Holden.  I've professed my affections for this tome before, as Jeff gave me a cherished paperback copy early in our marriage.  But for a buck going to a good cause, I succombed to bringing home this larger version, too.  

 

Our Dear Edith opens her January pages with  notes on Janus, and Epiphany (Jan. 6), and an excerpt from Spenser's Faerie Queen, and mottoes such as:  "If the grass do grow in Janiveer/It grows the worse for it all the year."  Her illustrations of Blue Tits, a Cole (Coal) Tit and Great Tit are delightful. 

 

What exactly are these birds, you ask?  Well, good thing that my Christmas gift from my son, Seth, was a copy of Collins Bird Guide - the Most complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. (Here's a British link to that bird family in case you were not similarly gifted.  It describes these charming feathered friends as "small birds with plain or colourful plumages, stout legs and strong feet and short, triangular bills," noting that some have crests, and all are frequent visitors to bird feeders.)  Last February I included a photo of one from our 2018 trip to Scotland in my Poetry Friday Roundup post here.

 

Edith Holden includes one more spread of January musings - two poetic selections and an illustration of dead leaves - before her daily entries for the month.

 

Here is her excerpt from "Frost at Midnight" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), the last stanza:

 

 

  Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the night-thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

 

 

(You can read the whole poem here.)

 

(I'm quietly swooning at the quiet last line.)

 

The always-shining Sally Murphy hosts our Roundup this week; so glad to "see" her as I know we are all worried about our Australian friends.  (Continued prayers for everyone through those fires, Sally and Kat.)  Click over to see what she's been up to, and to enjoy all the poetry links!  

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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 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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Poetry Friday - Inspired by Lee Bennett Hopkins

--with Lee at the Flordia Arts Hall of Fame induction, 2017.

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

It's a special Poetry Friday, as Amy over at the wonderful Poem Farm is offering a lovely way to honor Lee Bennett Hopkins, who died two weeks ago and whose loss is deeply felt by countless friends and fans across the globe. (Thanks to Jone MacCulloch for the idea of this theme today.)  Amy not only celebrates her own grateful connection to Lee, but she has gathered links to sites and obituaries.  Words can't completely capture such a life, but as Lee loved words so, they can shine and glow and sparkle in tribute. 

 

I hope you'll forgive my slight departure from the suggestion of coming up with an original poem using a line from one of Lee's poems  Instead, I'd like to share a poem I wrote the first time I met Lee, when he led a Poetry Master Class at the big SCBWI LA conference 12 years ago. Participants each wrote a poem that weekend, and he read one during his keynote address on the last day of the conference.

 

I'm sharing mine because Lee emailed me after the conference to tell me that he liked my poem.  I was thrilled beyond belief!  (More to the story, but I'll spare the spindly details.) I had written a sonnet, inspired by his many books, and fueled by the tables of colorful titles for sale that stretched for miles at the conference. 

 

(Can I just get it out of the way that I think I'm a somewhat stronger poet now, thanks to a decade of haiku and of course to influences from Lee, and from Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and other amazing poetic mentors?  Okay - thanks.)

 

So here is the poem, flaws and all, and sweet to me because Lee took the time to share some kind words about it in correspondence, and even made an editorial suggestion here or there, reflected in a couple of lines.  And, because, I miss him very much.  Sending continued love to Lee's cherished husband Charles (whom I also first got to meet at the LA Conference), and to our community of fans and poets who have lost such a "Dear One."

 

 

How to Buy a Book of Poetry



I prowl around displays of stacked-up books,
a quiet hunger gnawing deep inside.
Some volumes catch my silent, stealthy looks,
while slowly stalking now, I must decide.
A vibrant cover takes my breath away -
I linger, stop, then claim it with my hand
to seize the book, a panther with her prey -
surveying what she knows to be her land.
While poems leap from pages crisp and new,
lines capture my attention as I read
their sparkling thoughts, at once unreal yet true -
mystical, magic words my deepest need.
A hunter with her prey? I'm not so free.
This poetry I bought - it now owns me.

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

 

 

I know we'll all enjoy roaming from post to post celebrating Lee today over at Amy's, and picking up other poetic delights along the way.

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