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Life on the Deckle Edge

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 - 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 - Just an Artsy Wave this Week!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

Somehow with the Fourth and with First Friday downtown to prepare for, I didn't quite get a real post up this week. On the slightest chance you missed my social media slathering of links to my artsyletters Letter for Summer, which has an Independence Day/Americana/history bent, here's the link if you're interested!  

 

Hope you're enjoying the holilday weekend! Savor all the poetry offerings today rounded up by the ever-talented Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect.  

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Poetry Friday - Celebrate Indie Bookstore Day!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day, which you can learn all about here. Now, just reading that sentence, didn't your FAVORITE bookstore (past or present) pop right into your mind?  Where would we be without our beloved indie bookstores?

 

One of my faves here in Beaufort is Nevermore Books, owned by Lorrie and David Anderson.  They started out just off Bay Street in a cozy basement nook of a historic building, shortly after we moved here.  Now they have a bit more elbow room (but still a cool, mysterious vibe) on historic Craven Street.  [I think they moved just to be able to use their tagline, "Look for the Raven on Craven."]  Check out their darkly delightful website here

 

I was hoping to be there in person Saturday but we've had a change of plans for the day.  I've been conjuring up some items to have available there, though, as it's been way too long since I've restocked artsyletters goodies in the shop. My name ended up in the paper for the celebration (Thanks, Lorrie!), so I'll be sure to send along some old and new things, such as the book club gift pack pictured above, fresh out of the creative oven.   

 

Do you have a special bookstore (or five) you'll be dropping in on Saturday? New or used, books are treasures.  I've got a 1997 version (with a 2003 preface) of The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations, edited by Peter Kemp.  In browsing the theme of "Books," I found several quotes reminding me that books haven't always been with us humans, and there could be a time when they are not (but I hope that's not true). 

 

Here's a quote by Martial (A.D. c. 40 - c. 104), apparently written around 84 or 85 A.D., on the codex. The source is Lionel Casson in Libraries in the Ancient World (2001):

 

You want to take my poems wherever you go,

As companions, say, on a trip to some distant land?

Buy this.  It's packed tight into parchment pages, so,

Leave your rolls at home, for this takes just one hand!

 

--Catch a running start on our ancient Roman poet, Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis), at OxfordBibliographies.com .

 

A bit closer to our own time, just a century and a half back, our beloved Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886) penned one of my favorite poems about books, and I'm guessing it's one of yours, too.

 

 

There is no frigate like a book (1263)


There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human soul.

 

*Sigh* and *swoon*.  Here's the poem's page at poets.org

 

For more wonderful poetry today, prancing and otherwise, visit the amazing Carol at Beyond Literacy Link.  And keep checking in on the Progressive Poem - Just a few more days and it will be complete!

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Poetry Friday - Quick John Adams Quote & Poetry Month Links

 

You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.

 

John Adams (1735-1826)

 

Letter to John Quincy Adams, 14 May, 1781.

 

Source:  The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations, edited by Peter Kemp (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997, 2003).

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Happy National Poetry Month. 

 

The quote above makes me think of  Poem in Your Pocket Day!  You still have plenty of time to head over to Pomelo Books, where all kinds of poem cards are available to download, use, and share, along with tons of other wonderful resources.

 

Poem in Your Pocket Day is just one of many celebrations in April,  National Poetry Month.

 

Be sure to visit Jama's Alphabet Soup, where Jama is (again!) kindly rounding up Kidlitosphere links for all the special Poetry Month goodness. (As an example, see what Donna's got going on every day this month at Mainely Write!)

 

The 2019 Kidlit Progressive Poem is in full swing - or, full swim.  Find the links for each day over at Progeressive Poem founder Irene's! (I'll post a line here myself on Tax Day, April 15.)

 

Karen Edmisten has our first Poetry Month Roundup! Thanks, Karen. Enjoy the spring harvest of words! 

(Note - I'll catch up later in the weekend, but Friday evening is our Spring Art Walk in downtown Beaufort, so I've got to get my studio in shape today!)

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Poetry Friday - Poetical Wave and Ars Poetica

Greetings, Poetry Lovers -

 

On the road again ( I know!), but I wanted to chime in with a wish for a HAPPY POETRY MONTH which starts on Monday!

 

I came across some lines from Archibald MacLeish's "Ars Poetica" this week, and thought it would be a great poem to revisit, to whet our Poetry Month appetites.  (Ars Poetica simply means "The Art of Poetry." Horace had the original version back in 19 B.C.)

 

Archibald MacLeish was born in 1892 - the same year that clipped text word "POETICAL" above appeared in a Victorian book!

 

 

Ars Poetica


by Archibald MacLeish (1892 - 1982)

 
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

 

Dumb

As old medallions to the thumb,

 

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

 

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

 

...

 

Click here for the rest of the poem, especially its famous last line.

 

Continue your poetical jump start with the wonderful Carol, who is appreciating daffodils and rounding up for us over at Carol's Corner.  

Have a great weekend! 

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Poetry Friday - Pirate Plots & Mermaid Musings....

Ahoy there, Poetry Lovers!

 

I missed everyone last week.  I'd sailed off to Atlanta for our SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle conference (great to catch up with folks after a little while away!), and when I tried to post a directional sign to Heidi's place, I discovered a website glitch that kept me from posting anything for a few days.  I think they've got it all fixed now.

 

My antique map obsession continues....  I'm keeping a weather eye out, and looks like chilly temps down here are giving way to sunny days, slowly at least.  Time for mermaids and pirates to start jotting down poetry!  Or sketches!  Or "X" marks for treasure! I've been playing in the studio with upcycled journals/sketch books for the those with arabesque-ing swords or finned tails instead of feet.  (You can click on the picture above to see in my Etsy shop; I've taken several of these to the Beaufort Emproium for my wee little table, too. If you want to see more map-craziness, just put the word "map" into my shop's search bar on Etsy - I'll have a bunch more items up by Saturday.)  

 

While I wouldn't care to meet a REAL pirate, thank you very much, I did love Pirates of the Caribbean - the ride at Disney World when I was young, and later, the movies. Old treasure maps have always been on my "favorites" list. And, of course, growing up in Florida, I fancied myself a mermaid on many occasions.

 

Here in the Lowcountry, we did have real pirates back in the day! Click here to read about them - Blackbeard, for one, and women pirates as well as men. 

 

I couldn't find a replica map to purchase that fit the exact years of the waves of piracy (get it? waves?), but I found a wonderful reproduction map of the Southeastern/Carolinas coast from around 1745, and that's what I've been using for these upcycled journals. 

 

Are you a fan of Michael Hague?  One of my favorite of his books is THE BOOK OF PIRATES (HarperCollins, 2001) for its mysterious, spooky, rollicking art.  Inside you'll find classic cut-throat stories from Washington Irving, Robert Louis Stevenson, and many more. 

 

Included is "The Island Come True" from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (1860-1937), with a few ditties dotting the text. 

 

Here's one:

 

"Yo ho, yo, ho, the pirate life,

the flag o' skull and bones, 

A merry hour, a hempen rope,

And hey for Davey Jones."

 

 

And here are a few opening lines from John Masefield (1878-1967):

 

 

A Ballad of John Silver

 

 

We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull,
And we flew the pretty colours of the cross-bones and the skull;
We'd a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore,
And we sailed the Spanish Water in the happy days of yore.

 

We'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It's a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored,
But we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

 

...

 

Click here for the whole poem. 

 

And, from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, which premiered December 31, 1879, a few lines:


 ...

 

(King)

When I sally forth to seek my prey
I help myself in a royal way.
I sink a few more ships, it's true,
Than a well-bred monarch ought to do;
But many a king on a first-class throne,
If he wants to call his crown his own,
Must manage somehow to get through
More dirty work than ever I do,

For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!

For I am a Pirate King!


(Chorus)   

You are!
Hurrah for the Pirate King!

...

 

Click here  for more. 

 

Ever wondered about the difference between a pirate, a privateer, and a buccaneer? The Mariners Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia, has you covered, with these short posts by Brian Whitenton from 2012.  Enjoy Part 1 and Part 2.

 

Now turn that bow toward  Sloth Reads for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup.  (Don't worry; you'll be able to goof off after all your rowing.) ;0)

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Poetry Friday - Irish Leanings & Yeats

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

We're a week into March.  Feeling Irish yet?

 

As I've been reminiscing about our family "ancestral" trip last June and pining for Scotland, I'm fondly remembering our traipsing through Ireland, too!  (We're all ridiculously Irish as well as Scottish, English, Welsh....)We took a day trip from Dublin out to the countryside and Glendalough, covering some of the same ground we did 22 years ago on our first trip to The Emerald Isle, when the kids were wee tykes. In November, I posted a picture of a Fairy Tree from our recent trip, and a Yeats poem, here

 

I've come up with a couple of Irish-themed items in my studio, too, also pictured above.  (Here's the bookmark link and the small journal/sketchbook link.)

 

With St. Patrick's Day inspirations, I steered again toward our good friend William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939) for today's poem. It blends the real and mythical.  Yeats was so intrigued with the faeirie world, and I wouldn't have been surprised to see something fey on those paths through the Irish woods - they just tremble with green, with life, with magic!

 

 

 

The Song of Wandering Aengus


W. B. Yeats


I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

 

 

Here's a link to the poem at the Academy of American Poets. 

 

And here's a link to a teaching guide from The National Endowment for the Humanities. 

 

The introduction reads:

 

William Butler Yeats wrote "The Song of Wandering Aengus" on January 31 sometime in the late 1890s. It was first printed in 1897 under the title "A Mad Song." The current title "The Song of Wandering Aengus" was applied when it was finally published in The Wind Among the Reeds (1899). These early collected poems displayed Yeats's mastery of the lyric form as well as his passion for Celtic mythology and Irish folklore, which were to fuel his poetic genius throughout his career.

 

Wishing you lyrical language and maybe a faerie intervention as we bound toward Spring. 

 

Be sure to visit our wonderful Catherine at Reading to the Core for Today's Roundup.  She's been long-planning a theme around International Women's Day, which I forgot about, again, until just now checking the Roundup schedule.  (This international woman is still looking for traction in this new year. :0! )

Catherine, THANK YOU, and I am cheering on you and others from the lichen-strewn sidelines!

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Poetry Friday - WITH MY HANDS and With My Hands...

Top: Our own Amy's WITH MY HANDS invites kids of all ages to create! Bottom:  My newest obsession is playing with antique map images. 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I've been thinking of our own Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's WITH MY HANDS this week (Clarion Books, 2018).  It's full of poetry to delight and inspire the youngest creatives, celebrating a variety of projects made by hand.  It works on us old(er) creatives, too!  Its own illustrations were made by Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson.

 

Did you know WITH MY HANDS is a 2019 NCTE Notable Poetry Book?  Congratulations, Amy!

 

If you enjoyed my picture of the fun little birdhouse in Scotland that I included in last week's post, you'll enjoy the following poem.  (The birds are still twitterpated around my neighborhood, raising a ruckus for Spring's arrival.)

 

 

Birdhouse

 

 

We hammered out

a little house.

It has a circle door

four sturdy walls

a pointed roof

a simple wooden floor.

 

It's hanging on 

a fence post

and I'm imagining

a bluebird mom

in there

with babies

tucked beneath

her wing.

 

Someday 

I'll see them fly.

Someday

I'll hear them sing.

 

©Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.

 

 

Such a lovely poem!  

 

I've been thinking of Amy's book this week because tonight is our little downtown's FIRST FRIDAY, when businesses and galleries stay open late and welcome folks with wine, gab, and general Southern hospitallity.  I am always scrambling at the last minute getting ready.  This week I'm especially scrambling, because artsyletters is the "Spotlight Business" - meaning, I'll be down at street level with a couple of wonderful City folks at the Clock, sharing some wares and meeting folks, and my wonderful hubby Jeff will be up at my studio literally minding the store.  Kim Poovey has offered to help. Wish us all luck!  (As I type this Thursday night, I confess it's going to be a late night/early morning....)

 

Anyway, I DO love making things by hand - always have, since I landed on the planet. My latest obsession is with antique maps and manuscripts I've been collecting (the aforementioned husband might have thrown out the word, "intervention") - using images from these for cards, bookmarks, journals and such. I'll get these new items listed on Etsy as soon as I can - but not before Friday night! ;0)

 

Other poems in WITH MY HANDS especially call to me in this current endeavor, such as "Painting," "Card," "Collage," "Drawing," and, perhaps most appropriate, "Mess"!

 

See what all our creative poetic souls are up to today at TeacherDance, where our beautiful Linda is rounding up Poetry Friday and welcoming Spring along with the birds. 

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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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