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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Of Squirrels and Skies

 

Greetings, Poetry lovers! A different kind of post this week...

 

Maybe my father-in-law, who passed away a year ago July and whose birthday is today (Sept. 10), was playing a little joke.  How else do I explain the baby squirrel that fell right into my path on my gravel driveway Wednesday afternoon? Poor thing clumsily ran a few feet and collapsed beside a big potted rosemary bush. 

 

Twenty years ago, on Reuben's birthday and the day before 9-11, I was picking up then-six-year-old Seth from their house late in the day, and grandfather and grandson greeted me with a surprise – an injured baby squirrel.  Somehow I managed to keep the little guy alive overnight (its eyes weren't even open yet). When horror upon horror struck the next day, I became determined that while the world might be falling apart, I was not going to let that helpless creature die.  (That squirrel's story had a happy ending; After keeping him through the winter, we released him the next spring.)

 

So on Wednesday this week, I was immediately transported back to that haze of days.  This time, the squirrel was a little older (about six weeks old), but I feared, worse off. It wasn't moving, and I could see blood on its nose and mouth. Its eyes barely opened and closed.  It was on soft grass, so I let it be.  Mama Squirrel didn't come. Checking on it again, I noticed some large ants in bothering range.  Then some drops of rain.  Though I still thought the creature might quietly exit the world, I couldn't just leave it there to suffer with harassment and rain.

 

I wrapped it in a blanket and put it in a tub in a box under the carport.  I tried giving a bit of Pedialyte in a dropper, but it wouldn't swallow. Soon enough, storm system Mindy's outer bands lashed our area for two straight hours, with near-constant lightning, sideways wind, and unreal amounts of rain.  When it was finally safe enough to venture out, I was afraid to look in the tub.

 

The wee thing was curled under blankets in the corner – a bit cold I'm sure, but not too worse for wear. I transferred it to a small crate and put it on the screened front porch (and tried a little liquid again). It still had a bloody nose, but I was beginning to wonder if that was actually from hitting its face when it fell rather than some massive internal injuries.

 

I headed out to PetSmart and Walmart for puppy formula and a tiny pet nursing bottle, and a cheap warm blanket to cut up for more layers.

 

Trying to remember what had worked two decades ago, I mixed both substances (later reading that you are actually supposed to use only the rehydrater first). I was equipped with syringes and the little bottle. After some persistence on my part, I was amazed when the little animal took the bottle, grasping it with front paws. 

 

I also heated a sock full of raw rice in the microwave, put it into another sock, and placed it in the crate. This helped keep the baby warm from time to time.  Mostly, it just wanted to sleep.  Which I didn't do much of that night.

 

Rising long before sunrise, I checked on my snoozing charge.  It didn't rouse much to drink, so I tried again later.  Mindy, in the meantime, sent more rain, flooding a few streets and our entire back yard. Couldn't blame the little fella (finally ascertained that) for wanting to burrow and hide, but with some coaxing I was able to get him to drink a bit more.

 

This season-of-life time around, I realized a busy little city neighborhood was not the best place to hand-raise a squirrel.  All those years ago, we had 12 acres and two sets of extra little hands to help. So from our vet's office, I got the name of a wildlife rehabilitator in our area.  (Technically, there are laws here against keeping squirrels without a permit anyway.  But getting them to a rehabilitator is okay.)  The kind voice on the other end of the phone and I met up at a shopping center, and she graciously took on another misplaced baby. She already had others she was rearing, and had received a copule of new calls after the storms. 

 

It was hard letting him go, but a family farm on two acres with a competent caretaker was definitely the best thing for my furry September surprise.  I so appreciate folks who volunteer to care for needy animals.

 

Thanks for reading this epistle;  I'll keep the poems short. 

 

The first is a haiku I wrote on the 10th anniversary of 9-11, back in 2011:

 

 

same blue

as ten years ago

empty sky

 

Notes from the Gean, Dec. 2011

 

 

And, here, an excerpt for September 10 by Percy Bysshe Shelley in THE ILLUMINATED BOOK OF DAYS, edited by Kay & Marshall Lee (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1979):

 

 

      There is harmony

In Autumn, and a luster in its sky,

Which thro' the Summer is not heard or seen.

 

 

As we all pause to remember this weekend, my hope and prayer is for harmony and lustre in the days ahead.

 

Thanks to the ever-talented Tricia for hosting the Roundup this week at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

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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 - A Couple of Haiku and some Purring


Greetings, Poetry Lovers - I've missed you!

The last couple-few weeks were a whirlwind of getting our recent college grad Seth home, re-tooled, and back out the door to a neighboring state for a year's internship with a lively broad-based urban ministry program. There's nothing quite like leaving your (grown-up) baby in the tough inner city. Folks there are amazing, and prayers for all of them and the folks they serve would be welcome.

This week I'll just share a couple of recently published haiku, and next week - Woo-hooo! - I'll offer a peek inside David G. Lanoue's hot-off-the-press newest book, Write Like Issa - A Haiku How-to. My contributor's copy just arrived in my mailbox and I can't wait to fully dive in.

For today, though here two other and unrelated poems - the first might remind us that as we approach the summer solstice, the wheel will turn toward fall again before we know it.


shorter days
the orb weaver gone
from her web



Modern Haiku, 48.1, Winter-Spring 2017


And the second features our above-pictured XL-sized kitty, sometimes slightly demon-possessed, 13 and still full of himself. "Lance" does love to join anyone doing yoga or meditation, though, so he has a sensitive side....


morning meditation
the cat in my lap
purrs in, purrs out



The Heron's Nest, Volume XIX, Number 2: June 2017

Poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Hope you are enjoying these long days if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, shorter ones if on the other side of the world.

Thanks to our wonderful Mary Lee for hosting the Roundup this week at A Year of Reading! Poetry in, poetry out... Read More 
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Poetry Friday - Robert Epstein Discusses Animal Rights Haiku


Greetings, Poetry Month Celebrants!

I’m happy to share space here today with Robert Epstein, a California haiku poet and anthologist who is also a licensed psychotherapist. I mentioned his new anthology, Every Chicken, Cow, Fish and Frog (Middle Island Press), compiled with clinical psychologist and animal rights activist Miriam Wald, Ph.D., back in December, when I shared the poems of mine that appear in it. I promised more with Robert soon, and here we are!

Before the anthology, Robert also released a personal collection from Middle Island Press, Turkey Heaven: Animal Rights Haiku. I was delighted about the appearance of both of these books, as I’ve been an “ethical vegetarian” for nearly 30 years.

Next weekend is "HONORING THE EARTH" - the Earth Day weekend Haiku Society of America meeting and conference I’m coordinating in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Though Robert can’t join us in person for that, I look forward to introducing these two books to our attendees. And I’m happy to share a Q&A with Robert here today.  Read More 
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Poetry Friday - New Animal Rights Haiku Anthology


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

If you’re an animal lover too, this post is for you.

Hot off the Middle Island Press press is an anthology of animal rights haiku called Every Chicken, Cow, Fish and Frog: Animal Rights Haiku by Robert Epstein (author and editor) and Miriam Wald (editor). The book features poems from contributors across the globe.

Actually, the volume is so new I don’t even have my own copy yet! I’ve just ordered one.

Here are the poems of mine that were accepted for the book:


Thanksgiving
plenty of room
for dessert



cruelty free
eye shadow weightless
on each lid



closet floor
the balance of
man-made materials



following me
eyes of the ones
I didn’t stop for



spring dusk each crooning frog sentient



Poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


I’m honored to have this work included. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 29 years now, and have tried in that time, sometimes imperfectly, to make cruelty-free choices as much as possible. I’m happy there are far more options in the marketplace these days for makeup, toiletries and household products that don’t test on animals than there were back in the day when I lived near Raleigh, NC, and first became aware of all these issues (even hearing animal rights author and pioneer Tom Regan speak at some meetings).

My “advice” to folks interested in a more humane approach to life continues to be: start where you are. If you are conflicted about gray areas (vaccinating children or obtaining medical care that is somehow tied to animal testing), well, most people are. But there are many daily choices which should be black and white.

Our own children received recommended vaccines growing up. But if my choice for laundry detergent is between a brand from a company which essentially forces bleach into the eyes of rabbits and causes suffering and senseless animal deaths, or a product from a company which makes safe, effective, and far more humane and eco-friendly options, I’m happy to pay a wee bit extra for the latter. (I always read labels!)

In the new year, I’ll be welcoming Robert Epstein to the blog to discuss this anthology as well as a recently-published collection of his own poems on this theme, Turkey Heaven. Robert is a San Francisco Bay Area licensed psychotherapist in addition to being a haiku poet and anthologist. He’s been a vegan since 1975.

Our upcoming interview will do double-duty, as I plan to share these two new books with attendees at our upcoming Haiku Society of America-Southeast Region meeting and workshop Earth Day weekend on the Georgia coast. (That informational post is two weeks back; for some reason it's not linking correctly.)

For more great poetry this week, strut, plod, swim, or hop over to The Opposite of Indifference where the amazing Tabatha has our Roundup, probably being supervised by her pets.
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Poetry Friday: Daily Issa and Creatures Great and Small

I don’t know about you, but to counteract the weight of the daily news, I could use a daily dose of Issa!
[Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) is regarded as one of the primary masters of haiku. He endured much hardship and loss, and his heartfelt poetry is known for its sensitivity to all living things.]

Wait -- Now I have a daily dose of Issa!

For years, Issa scholar and past-president of the Haiku Society of America David G. Lanoue has offered a random Issa poem delivered to your inbox or your Twitter account (or both!) . [Here’s a post about Dr. Lanoue (David) from my blog a couple-few years ago. A professor at Xavier University, he has translated upwards of 10,000 of Issa’s poems.]

His Issa website was launched in 2000. Click here to get to know Issa and sign up for daily poems. After my own unsuccessful attempt a while back to receive this daily treasure (operator error, I’m certain – it’s really quite easy), I finally got myself subscribed and love reading an Issa poem each day.

Thursday’s made me smile:


at an honest man's gate
honeybees
make their home


1824, translated by David G. Lanoue.


It reminded me of our summer guest I blogged about before – the golden silk orb weaver who took up just outside the back door and is still with us. She’s apparently going to go for a third brood?

Issa wrote about spiders, too. And lots of animals. Lanoue’s book, Issa and the Meaning of Animals – A Buddhist Poet’s Perspective (2014), offers accessible insights about this special poet and many of his haiku – a must if you are an Issa fan, a double-must if you are an animal-loving Issa fan.

Here’s one I love:


corner spider
rest easy, my soot-broom
is idle


Translated by David G. Lanoue.


And one more – this goes out to my newlywed teacher-daughter Morgan. They have seen deer a few times in their in-town neighborhood in Georgia this week; a buck, twice!


the young buck’s
antlers tilting…
“cuckoo!”


Translated by David G. Lanoue.


The book provides background and unlocks potential meanings for the poems, which give us beautiful imagery with or without explication. Hope you enjoyed this taste!

Are you a teacher? Click here and here for David’s website pages designed just for you. You can “test” your haiku/Issa knowledge with the first link, and find out about how to share Issa’s life and poetry with kids at the second.

Also, if picture poetry books call your name, you might enjoy sharing Matthew Gollub’s Cool Melons – Turn to Frogs! – The Life and Poems of Issa, illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone (Lee & Low, 1998, 2004). This colorful paperback combines some biography and sample poems to offer glimpses into Issa’s life and writing.

That's what’s going on in my universe this week. For the Poetry Friday Roundup and lots more poetic goodness, please visit poet and teacher extraordinaire Heidi over at My Juicy Little Universe.  Read More 

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Poetry Friday - BUGSCUFFLE! - Please Play Along...


Greetings, Poetry Friends!

If school bells are ringing in your neck of the woods, hope all is starting smoothly.

A couple of times on Facebook recently, I've posted pix of our resident Golden Orb Weaver this summer. (It's a habit - I did the same thing a couple of years ago, too.) She started out in the carport, a Baby Daddy came and went, and then she disappeared for a couple of days - I'm guessing to lay her egg sacs?

Lo and behold she returned and strung up a web adjacent to the first one, but this one RIGHT next to the kitchen door. (So close that I put a sticky note warning on the inside.)

Anyway, I think it's the same spider - I consulted my Go-To naturalists/children's authors - our own Buffy Silverman and my SCBWI Southern Breeze long-time-buddy Heather L. Montgomery. They said it was plausible, so we're sticking with it.

Interesting behavior note: When my hubby enters and exits the house, this goddess-size spider scurries up her web to the tippy top. When I go in and out, she stays put in the middle. It doesn't seem to matter if we are holding our wee Chihuaha, Rita - I thought maybe that was the trigger - but she's fine if I've got the dog. Jeff is about five inches taller than I am; maybe that's it? Or maybe he just gives off stronger vibes?!

You'll see the latest photo I shared above. I was mighty impressed that our outdoor house guest caught a big ol' cicada for a meal. (And if you think that's creepy, at least I spared you the visual of her actually dining on her supersized lunch...) Yesterday she enjoyed what appeared to be an ill-fated Junebug.

This week, in addition to spider-watching, I also took our youngest back to college for his senior year, sniff-sniff, up in the North Georgia mountains. You come across some pretty fun names of roads up there.... I actually turned around and pulled off the road to snap the picture of that sign. [Some of you would have done the same thing, I know!]

I absolutely love that word, "Bugscuffle"! And I thought, I wonder what kind of inspiration some of you might find in it? (Google tells me it's the name of a town in Texas, but otherwise I don't know much about it.)

So here's a Poetry Friday pick-me-up just for fun. If you are so led, please leave a short (up to six lines) poem with the title "Bugscuffle" in a comment below, and I'll post your literary works of art in this main post throughout the day. (Legal housekeeping: By posting your amazing words, you are agreeing that they are yours and that I can share them here with a copyright notice with your name.) Thanks!

What Say You?

*****

Well, look who's swinging in Spiderman-style Thursday evening to start us off with a delicious, raucus rumble! (Thanks, Matt.) :0)


"Bugscuffle"

A bug stole a chocolate truffle,
which started a crazy kerfuffle.
The beetles and ants fought with fists, jeers, and chants -
It was quite a colossal bug scuffle.

- ©2016 Matt Forrest Esenwine



And a wonderful, early and inspired poetic gift from Down Under - Thanks, Sally!


At the Web-Club

Bugscuffle
Bugshuffle
Bug wiggle
Bug jiggle
Bug prance
Bug dance!

- ©2016 Sally Murphy


[And here we go Friday morning. This Come-As-You-Are Bugscuffle Party is even more fun than I was hoping - Thanks to all you crazy-talented, challenge-loving poetry people for jumping in!]


Bugscuffle

In amongst
the corner dust
one bug scuffles,
another is trussed.

- ©2016 Diane Mayr



Bugscuffle

Right on Hardscrabble and left at Flack-Fluffle.
Go round the gob-smacked moose
(his lady played fast and loose).
Just stay to the right, then left at Bugscuffle,
We'll be waiting with a cup of juice.

- ©2016 Brenda at friendlyfairytales



Bugscuffle

One bug wander
Two bug tango
Three bug bustle
Four bug scuffle

- ©2016 Julieanne




Bugscuffle Banquet

Courting a glance,
arthropods prance;
defensive stance …
slowly advance …


Bugs bustle,
           toes tussle,
feet shuffle,
           bugscuffle,
victor guttles …
           No rebuttals.

-©2016 Kat Apel



BUGSCUFFLE

You sneezed, Gesundheit!
my retort, as Ms. Spider
untangled eight legs.

-©2016 Linda Mitchell



Bugscuffle

What’s a bugscuffle?
Wondered Miss Tuffle,
Who scampered in ruffle
Unpacking her duffle.

Not knowing how to scuffle,
She scampered & shuffled,
With her flowing ruffle
Proudly swaying her bustle.

~©2016 Carol Varsalona



Bugscuffle

A good bug scuffle
May ruffle some feathers
No matter whether
You choose to kick
Off your shoes
And get into it
Or sit this one out.

-©2016 Linda Christoff



BUGSCUFFLE:
Unarmed and be-
Guiled by
Solicitous
Correspondence,
Ulysses Butterfly
Fell
For
Lady
Earwig

--©2016 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes



Bugscuffle

Spider spun a sticky line.
Cicada crashed into it.
Spider thought that she would dine--
but cicada frazzled through it.

--©2016 Buffy Silverman



They can't can-can

A line of millipedes readied to Rockette,
to do high kicks and bum wags in high spirits,
but the dancers were reduced to a pile of rubble
when their legs tangled in a buggyscuffluffle.

- ©2016 Tabatha Yeatts


[Happy Saturday. By the way, there's a Baby Daddy on the scene again in the big ol' web....]

Alice chimed in that she did a "bugscuffle" Google search and might have to write a post about it, beginning this way:

Bugscuffle?
Bugtussle?
The Bugs don't seem to care
'Cause they've . . .




And from Heidi:


Bugscuffle Road

It's a dead end down at Bugscuffle Road
where the skeeters rumble horseflies late at night.
The "best" insects live up on Dragonfly Bluff,
big rolling fields under wide blue sky.
Just below that is Honeybee Hill,
where hardworking folks take their rest.
I make my home here on Ladybug Lane
in a snug spotted cottage. It's the best.

-©2016 Heidi Mordhorst


(Ha! Love those buggy social classes!)


and from Catherine:

Bugscuffle

The air was so humid and hot,
the cockroach simply forgot
to scurry away
at the start of the day,
not bugscuffle at dawn down Broadway!

- ©2016 Catherine Flynn



*****

--And after you've said what you have to say, please go visit To Read To Write To Be for this week's Roundup!  Read More 
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Poetry Friday - All-American Dogs




Happy Independence Day weekend!

I'm freshly returned from our daughter's lovely and very fun wedding in Greenville, SC, followed by a week of dog- & house-sitting at Morgan & Matt's new home in Georgia while the happy couple was honeymooning.

[If you like wedding pictures, photographer Sabrina Fields featured "ours" on her blog a few days ago - family pictures will be ready soon! I just put up a post about the handmade elements over at my art blog.]

The new Mr. and Mrs. Whyte are pup parents to two-year-old Cooper, who is happy now I'm sure to have both of them in the same state and the same house. Coop always reminds me of our Shepherd-hound mix, Lucky, who joined our family as a rescued 5-week-old pup in 2000 and died in 2012, with lots of adventures in those dozen years. I might have even called Cooper "Lucky" a time or two last week before I caught myself.

Do you know what the American Kennel Club calls mixed-breed dogs? (I remember being delighted many years ago when discovering this, probably at an agility trial with son Seth and his canine partner, Oliver.) They are... All-American Dogs! Isn't that great?

In fact, now they compete in many AKC events, and this year's AKC National Agility champion was, in fact, a former rescue dog (and a repeat winner!). Here's that story and you can click around more of the AKC site.

Matt and Morgan elected to have DNA testing done to see just what their All-American is made of. I would have bet, especially when he was a puppy, that Black and Tan Coonhound would have been way up there in the results, but he's mostly Boxer, with a heap or two of terrier and hound mixed in.

He's a handsome fella, whatever he is, captured in the gorgeous oil painting above by our friend Ann Goble, who surprised the newlyweds with a gift they'll cherish forever.

Since it's an All-American weekend, I thought I'd share a couple of older dog poems. The first was inspired by our All-American dog, Lucky, and the second... just a little canine fun.


Heel


A hound dog is hard
to train.
Nose on the ground, he sniffs, he pulls -
You strain.
Nose in the air as if you're not there -
You complain:
This dog has got to go!
He looks at you with soulful eyes;
you fall in love
(again).



           ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.



           I Paper-trained my Puppy


           I paper-trained my puppy -
           he reads the New York Times.
           He starts at the beginning:
           the news, the views, the crimes.

           Then he reads the comics,
           while rolling on the floor.
           He moves on to the book reviews,
           the fashion, arts, and more.

           After that he grabs a pen
           and holds it with his muzzle.
           Hewon't get up until he's done
           the daily crossword puzzle.

           I paper-trained my puppy.
           I made one small mistake.
           The puddle in the corner
           is looking like a lake.


           ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Will a canine member of your family be part of your red, white and blue celebration this long weekend? Or perhaps there's a special dog you remember? Purebred or All-American? Please do share in the comments!

And then be sure to enjoy all the great poetry rounded up for us this week by Tabatha, friend of creatures great and small, at The Opposite of Indifference
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Poetry Friday - Driftwood Dolphin


It's ALMOST Spring.

Our youngest, Seth, spent the first part of his college spring break this week hiking in the mountains with his Appalachian Trail class. Then he came to the coast for some fun in the sun. [Finally - a spring break for him here that's warm, sunny, and dry! ] Not a bad way to spend a week.

Thursday he drove out to Hunting Island, the lovely natural state park where we go to the beach, less than 20 miles from our driveway. We'll probably all head out there Friday afternoon.

A couple of weeks ago, I went there by myself for a long walk and an inspiration break. There was only a handful of other folks around, plus a couple of horses. Couldn't resist snapping the picture above, and wondering about a poem to accompany it.



Driftwood Dolphin


A driftwood dolphin
slices sand,
in search of driftwood fish.

What kind of dolphin
swims on land?
The kind in my driftwood wish.



©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Thanks for stopping by! Even if you don’t have a spring break per se, here’s hoping you’ll take some time out to relax with poetry! My dear friend and Poetess Extraordinaire Irene has the Roundup today at Live Your Poem.

Be sure to circle back HERE next week, when I'll host the Roundup!

 Read More 
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Poetry Friday: Running Hot and Cold with Irene Latham…


Happy Valentine’s Day weekend, Poetry Lovers!

Is it warm where you are? Cold? Frigid?

Today I offer up poetic goodies for climates of either extreme, with big heartfuls of thanks to our own Irene Latham, who agreed to stick around for a fun mini Q-and-A after the poetry.

First, let’s enjoy a couple of her poems from books featuring completely different parts of the planet. Both of these animal-friendly collections are from Millbrook Press, with lively paintings by English illustrator Anna Wadham.

From DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST – And Other Poems from the Water Hole:


Dust Bath at Dusk


Trunks become
dust hoses;
beasts strike poses

and preen in silhouette
created by the
hazy screen.

Soon skin
is powdered
in a red-grit shower

that banishes bugs
and becomes next day’s
sunscreen.

one final
wallow,
one last trumpet –

all clean!


©Irene Latham. All rights reserved.


That’s one way to splash around – if you’re an elephant on the blazing African savanna.

If you are way too cool for that, (and you are young and have flippers for wings), maybe this next poem’s for you.

From WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA – And Other Poems about the Frozen Continent:



Gentoo Penguin Jumps In


After cozy days
in the nest,

after meals delivered
by my parents,

after guarded naps
and hunting lessons,

after shedding fluff
and sprouting new feathers,

after long, sunny days
spent with others my age –

suddenly
      the sea

doesn’t seem
            too vast for me.

Splash!


©Irene Latham. All rights reserved.

Are you curious about which environment our oh-so-talented poetess might prefer? Let's ask her.

--Hot or Cold - Are you more of a warm-weather warrior or a cold-weather conqueror?

I am very much a fair-weather kind of gal... love spring and fall and don't tolerate so well the extremes! I enjoy the view of the beach far more than the heat-sticky-sunburn, and the best thing about winter are other people's pictures of snow -- and my cozy boots & scarves.

--What's your favorite hot drink? What's your favorite cold drink?

Hot chocolate! I visited Frankfort, KY a few years back and was introduced to Bourbon Ball Hot Chocolate...it's a bourbon truffle dropped into steaming hot chocolate, and it is divine! And for cold, there's Zaxby's Birthday Cake shake... sinful, and I love it. On a daily basis, I love hot tea (Harney & Son's "Paris" tea, anyone?) and iced tea (these days I take it unsweetened).

--Favorite summer activity? Favorite winter pastime?

Summer: Camp Buttercup (for Brave, Creative Girls) with my wee nieces & very young sister! I am the mom to 3 sons, so a few years ago I created an annual just-girls camp at my house. Highlights include poetry, outdoor adventures (horseback riding, tubing,...), movies, live theater, local attractions, art, food... each year it has a different flavor, and it is always an exhilarating, exhausting week.
Winter: I love to cozy up -- and read. (And quilt and play cello and write poems and make Valentines and work on scrapbooks and blog and make soup and ...)


--Favorite warm color? Favorite cool color?

I love a warm butter yellow and any shade of cool purple. (Which, I recently learned, are the colors representing the women's suffragist movement.)

--And, since you're a quilter, which fabrics: light cottons, soft flannels, or fleece?

Cotton, for sure! Anything soft and light and flow-y.

Many thanks for playing along, Irene! Raising our cups of hot chocolate to you.... (No worries - I won't ask anyone what's inside.)

For some great posts on Irene's ANTARCTICA book, which, incidentally, is HOT off the press, please visit these great features by other Poetry Friday bloggers:

Catherine at Reading to the Core and

Margaret at Reflections on the Teche and

Linda at Write Time. [Note - I couldn't successfully call up this link of Linda's when I posted this; if you have one that works, do tell!]

Be sure to dive in and wallow around at Written Reflections for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup!
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