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Life on the Deckle Edge

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

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

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

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

 

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

  

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here is a taste of just a few poems.

 

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

 

 

sixtieth summer --

I fold the dryer's heat

into the towel

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

forty-fifth reunion...

seniors

again

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

winter rain

the fine print

smaller each year

 

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

 

 

first frost

today she misplaced

our names

 

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

 

 

years later

my Achilles heel

still just that

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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Poetry Friday - '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 - Lizard Brain

(A not-so-great phone pic of an oh-so-cute teeny baby anole.)

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I have a lifelong habit of talking to animals.  Not just the family dogs, kitties, birds, hamsters, goats and horses we've had over the years, but ANY animals, anywhere.  

 

A few weeks ago, still in the walking boot I've recently shed for a little ankle brace and real shoe, I was hobbling through our open carport when I noticed a female anole on the storage shed door.  She was keenly eyeing me, but also keeping tabs on an insect a few inches beneath her. I noticed that she sported a replacement tail, and somehow I was comforted by the sense of renewal this suggested, being  ankle-deep in the healing process myself.

 

"Ahhh, so you got yourself out of some kind of scrape, I see?" I asked her.  She stared back.  "You can eat your lunch.  I'm not going to hurt you."  I was a respectable few feet away.  

 

She turned her head back to the initial object of her attention, and grabbed her insect.  (Our SC Public Radio Naturalist Rudy Mancke likes to use the term 'recycled' when one critter consumes another, as in, "That insect was recycled into an anole.")

 

Fast forward a few weeks til now, when Jeff and I were planning a fun holiday weekend down to Florida to see my brother Mike and his hubby Scott over on the West Coast, with a swing by Orlando to see my folks on the way back.  With "lizard medicine" dancing around in my psyche, you can imagine my delight when Scott shared that "GeckoFest" - a community art festival with a parade and everything - would be happening on Saturday not far from them, in Gulfport.  I was very psyched for GeckoFest.  

 

But, alas, I guess we'll have to shoot for next year.  With Dorian prowling out in the Atlantic, and no easy way to get back to our coastal Lowcountry address from their Tampa Bay area address if there are actual evacuations or early torrents of rain on Sunday, we are going to stay here at home this weekend with our tiny Chihuhahua, and our tiny anoles. 

 

 

 

anoles 

in brown and green

the story changes...

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black, all rights reserved.  Biscuit Crumbs, 2018 Anthology of the Southeast Region of the Haiku Society of America.

 

 

Keeping a weather eye out here, and sending wishes for safety and calm to Florida family and to our Florida Poetry-Friday-ers, including Michelle, Jan, Stephanie Salkin, and Georgia Heard and Charles Egita down in South Florida. 

 

Speaking of creative, irresistable, resilient creatures, our lovely Kat is rounding up Poetry Friday this week, so a poetic walkabout is in order, don't you think?  

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Poetry Friday - Taking a Spoonful of Inspiration from Margaret...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! Margaret Simon posted early for Poetry Friday this week at Reflections on the Teche, and I was so taken with a line of her original poem (written in response to other creative work), that I grabbed a spoonful of inspiration for my own little post today. 

 

In the middle of Margaret's poem we find these lines:

 

...

Down in the abyss
of the silverware drawer,
a teaspoon speaks
of years of sugar
measured,

...

 

©Margaret Simon

 

 

(I put that last phrase in bold, because it resonated so strongly with me. Say it out loud - g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s lines, rich and slow like sugar.)

 

Margaret explains that the title of her poem comes from fellow creative Denise Gallagher - words she "stole" in the spirit of Austin Kleon (whom I was lucky to meet/hear speak a few moons ago!).  Margaret says this stealthy kind of Kleon-fueled artistic borrowing came from a Facebook group started by our own Laurie Purdie Salas. 

 

It's just a trail of inspiration, Hansel and Gretel-like, left in the creative woods of the world.  I reached down to pick up some grains because, in addition to the lure of the words themselves, Margaret's explanation of going through her parents' house when they moved to a retirement home also spoke to me, having done a bit of that in my in-laws' home earlier this year. 

 

While I usually don't write "desk haiku" - my poems are generally borne by experienced moments - I had to borrow this sugar, as it were.  It got me thinking of all the sweet moments in a life, and the not-so-sweet times folks must go through, and how a bit of work (polish) can restore shine that's been lost. 

 

 

old teaspoon
years of sugar
and tarnish

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black, with a nod to Margaret Simon.  All rights reserved.

 

Thank you for meandering along today!  Be sure to read Margaret's entire poem and check out all the great poetry links over at Reflections on the Teche.  And a shout-out to my hubby, Jeff, on his birthday, and all the sweet moments shared and yet to come. 

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Poetry Friday - Haiku from the Coquina Circle

Top:  Michelle, Robyn, Stephanie and Patricia at the recent HSA Spring Meeting in St. Augustine
Bottom:  Coquina Haiku Circle Broadside with poems by Sandi, Dennis, Antoinette, Michael, and Paula

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Our Haiku Society of America Spring meeting in St. Augustine, hosted by the Southeast region weekend before last, was a wonderful time of poetry, catching up with friends, and making new ones.  Hats off to Regional Coordinator Michael Henry Lee and the local Coquina Haiku Circle for making everyone feel welcome.

 

Highlights for me included hanging out with several dear haiku peeps, as well as some of our own kidlit/Poetry Friday friends, too – Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, Stephanie Salkin, and Patricia Cruzan. It was great meeting HSA President Fay Aoyagi in person, as well as Frogpond editor Michael Ketchek.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning from fellow presenters Tom Painting, Stanford Forrester, and Antionette Libro.  And Michael Henry Lee led us in a T'ai Chi demonstration Sunday morning which brought back memories of the sequence I learned a million years ago!

 

Antoinette (Toni) let me bring my wee beastie, our 3 ½-pound Chihuahua, Rita, to her house for a while after checking out of my inn Sunday morning so I could participate in the group outing to The Alligator Farm, and our closing brunch.  Thanks, Toni!

 

Toni and the other Coquina Haiku Circle members (including Dennis, who was not able to attend the conference) do some amazing things, including producing beautiful broadsides with haiku from each member presented on large sheets (designed by Linda Bigbee).  Circle member Paula Moore edits these.  In our goodie bags was their new edition, along with a small coquina block from St. Augustine.  It is now sharing space with the coquina piece I was given as a gift a couple of years ago, when I was regional coordinator.  What a generous group!

 

The participating poets have given me permission to share a few of their broadside poems here today. I've picked a couple from each.  (I've kept the formatting from the broadside, which you can see in the picture above.)

Enjoy!

 

 

beach walk

my mind blossoms

into hallelujah

 

 

city streets    the urge to follow    a seagull

 

 

Sandi Pray

 

 ----------------------------------

 

 

          early spring…

          a fish scale pattern

          at low tide

 

 

          early spring…

          yesterday a pop

          today a BANG

 

 

          Dennis M. Holmes

 

 

-------------------------------------

 

 

summer mass

a little beach sand stirs

in the holy water

 

 

riding the spray

of the breaking wave

dragonfly

 

 

Antoinette Libro

 

-------------------------------------

 

 

          ghost crabs

          sometime between midnight

          and 3 a.m.

 

 

           nude beach

           working off

           a tan line

 

 

          Michael Henry Lee

 

 -------------------------------------

 

 

high season

hurricane-twisted trees

at rest

 

 

heat wave     the salon paints my toenails    emerald city

 

 

Paula Moore

 

-------------------------------------

 

All poems © their authors.  Many thanks, all, for sharing!!

 

Now, aren't you ready for the beach?  We've got all the kids coming in this weekend, and the beach bags packed. Stay cool, and dive on into more poetic treasures with always-cool Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

 

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Poetry Friday - Family-themed Haiku by Peggy Willis Lyles

 

While preparing my talk for this weekend's Haiku Society of America Spring Conference put on by the Southeast Region, (--who, me? Working on something right up til the last minute?--), I came across a lovely memory from the conference I coordinated two years ago on St. Simon's Island.  We held our meeting at Epworth by the Sea.  As our group walked the grounds on a ginko, we came across a most wonderful surprise - a beautiful large plaque paying tribute to Peggy Willis Lyles (1939-2010) and featuring several of her haiku.  None of our little band knew it was there!  A very special encounter.

 

Just as I was getting serious about haiku myself, our region - and the world - lost one of its brilliant poet-stars to cancer.  And Peggy Willis Lyles was evidently as fine a human being as she was a poet.  (You can read more about her life and work here.)

 

I'm grateful she left so many glorious haiku.  I plan to read a couple of them from this monument in my talk on Saturday, which is called "Reach of a Live Oak - Haiku and our Family Tree."  Click on the image to see larger.  (Below are a couple of the poems which I look forward to sharing on Saturday.)

 

 

lap of waves

my daughter molds a castle 

for her son

 

 

for her mother

bluets

roots and all

 

 

and one of my favorite haiku, ever - one which many people know:

 

I brush

my mother's hair

the sparks

 

 

Take time to seek out more of her work; you'll be richly rewarded.

 

Looking forward to traveling to St. Augustine for the meeting, and catching up with a few favorite poet-friends there, too, including our own Michelle H. Barnes! :0) (Michelle was at our 2017 conference as well - you can read my wrap-up of it, along with more of these haiku from the memorial plaque, here.)

 

Speaking of haiku, for this week's round-up, hop over to Reflections on the Teche, where Margaret shares a fun adventure with her students creating pi-ku.  What's that, you ask?  You'll have to click over to see her clever, outdoors-y assignment!

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Poetry Friday - Haiku Poetry Day, the HSA Spring Meeting, and the Santa Maria

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I love living in a historic town, and this week it's even moreso... a gorgeous replica of the Santa Maria is parked in the neighborhood and open for tours.  (I enjoyed touring a much larger Spanish Galleon in Port Royal a few years ago, too.)

 

If the photo above whets your appetite, you might enjoy this video of the gracious little ship arriving in our bay.  

 

What does any of this have to do with Poetry Month?  Bear with me....  

 

Our little town, Beaufort South Carolina, vies with St. Augustine, Florida (part of my growing-up stomping grounds), as the nation's oldest city.  Well, here's the thing - St. Augustine IS the nation's oldest continually inhabited city, while the Port Royal area of my current fair county was settled first.  Politics, bad manners with the native neighbors, and other factors contributed to its demise, and there was a spell of years before the next settlement got settled.  Of course, all of this jabber refers to European settlement/conquest; there were civilizations here long before "we" arrived, thank you very much. 

 

I've always loved St. Augustine, and I can't wait to make a little trip there next month for the Haiku Society of America's Spring National Meeting, with the theme, "The Eternal Now: Haiku in the Ancient City"!  It's May 17-19.  I'm especially delighted that I'll get to see some Florida poetry friends including our own Michelle Heidenrich Barnes and my pal Stephanie Salkin. (Be sure to check out Michelle's recent post here featuring her honorable mention winning entry in the Triangle/D.C. area Golden Haiku contest; she also shares winning poems by Elizabeth Steinglass and Diane Mayr! CONGRATS all around!) 

 

I am honored that at the St. Augustine meeting, I'll be leading a session.  The historic setting got me thinking about my own history running wild in the woods of Florida, and then about family history, especially with the ancestry research and travel you've all been kind enough to indulge me in this past year or so. I believe haiku can connect us with our own family histories as well as with our corporate human family around the globe.  Both the Florida setting and my Lowcountry SC environs reminded me of this poem I wrote a few years back:

 

 

home again
twists and turns
of the live oak

 

Acorn, Spring 2012

Biscuit Crumbs, HSA SE Anthology, 2018

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

 

That poem came about before I knew we would be moving to the coast of South Carolina; I wrote it on a trip home to see my folks in Orlando.  But I found it applied, somehow,  after we moved here, too - these live oaks make me feel right at home. 

 

ALL this to say, that haiku is where the title of my session comes from:

 

"Reach of a Live Oak - Haiku and Our Family Tree."  I'm enjoying putting my talk/workshop together!

 

The conference will also feature Michael Henry Lee, Southeast Coordinator & Host (& one of my favorite poets!); the Coquina Haiku Circle of St. Augustine, helping to host; HSA President Fay Aoyagi; Stanford M. Forrester (Sekiro); Antoinette Libro; and Tom Painting.  A fun outing or two are in the works as well!  For a detailed schedule, please see the Haiku Society of America and click the link, currently on the front page. 

 

(Amazing to think that the original Santa Maria sailed the seas almost 200 years before haiku existed as we know it today, as its own short form championed by Basho in the 1600s.)

 

If you can't make the meeting, be sure to raise a glass and a pen on Wednesday, April 17, for International Haiku Poetry Day!  Click here for more info from The Haiku Foundation. 

 

And enjoy all the wonderfulness to savor this Poetry Month, including our Kidlit Progressive Poem, which lands here on Monday.  (Click that link to see the schedule at founder Irene's blog. Matt started the whole thing off this year as a found poem, and it's been fun to unfold a new found line each day.)

 

Speaking of Irene, who is Speaking of Art again this year for Poetry Month, she has the Roundup today. Thank you, Irene!!

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POETRY FRIDAY - Rounding Up the Flock HERE Today!

 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

You've come to the right place for the Roundup.  All are welcome - enjoy the posts and please leave your links in the comments.  I'll round them up old school throughout the day on Friday.  (Note - with privacy changes, I no longer have access to the email addresses of commenters, so do be sure to leave your links!)

 

Here's another recently published haiku:

 

 

Scottish rain

tourists storm

the castle

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black

Modern Haiku 50:1, Winter-Spring 2019

 

 

Ahhhh, Scotland... I'm still pining for that amazing place and fondly recalling our family explorations last June. One memory leads to another to another....

 

Like our first full day in Edinburgh, when I'd made arrangments to meet up with my buddy Elizabeth Dulemba and her wonderful husband, Stan. And Elizabeth brought along her buddy, Jane Yolen!  We all had a delightful lunch that spanned hours.

 

Did you know Jane recently surpassed the 365-books mark?  Talk about prolific!  You can read a different Jane Yolen book every day of the year.  Pretty sure she's already got Leap Year covered now, too.  (Learn more about Jane here.)

 

One book which is oh-so-timely right about now was written by Jane with her son, Adam Stemple, and illustrated by Elizabeth. ((Learn more about Elizabeth here.)  In CROW NOT CROW, published by the Cornell Lab Publishing Group last fall, a father introduces his daughter to birding using the "crow, not crow" method for identifying birds.  I know this is Poetry Friday and the text is not actually poetry, but we have many bird lovers among us, and I wanted to make sure you know about this book! 

 

Were you craning your neck this past weekend? Cornell, along with Audubon and Bird Studies Canada, sponsors the Great Backyard Bird Count every President's Day weekend. I participated several years when we lived in Georgia, and need to get back in the swing here in SC!  Amateurs are welcome, and folks submit their tallies from all over the world. In fact, in case you were among those counting but you didn't get all your numbers in, you can submit them until March 1. Learn more here

 

The many birds around here in recent days have all been twitterpated - raise your hand if you know which Disney movie that comes from! ;0)

 

By the way, that adorable bird in the picture?  The one my son-in-law Matt and I were smitten with, cameras in hand? It's a coal-tit - they look very much like our chickadees here in North America.  This one found lodging at a beautiful little stone cottage in Luss, on the banks of Loch Lomond, where a birdhouse was hung with these painted words:  "BED AND BOARD, 5 FLIES P/N (per night)" - and "4 stars" at the top! 

 

Ahhhh, Scotland...

 

Thanks for following this "flight of ideas" - Read on for the Roundup!  [& Catherine Flynn reminds us: "There are just two more weeks until March 8th, International Women's Day. I'll be hosting the Roundup that day and would love it if people help to celebrate the day by sharing poems that honor women. You can read more here". Thanks, Catherine.]

 

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

 

We all mourn the loss of poetry icon Paul B. Janeczko this week.  Almost exactly 10 years ago, I heard him speak at a conference in Georgia, where he said, "Good poetry explodes with possibilities."

 

***(adding this bit in...)

 

In the comments below, Jane Yolen has gifted us with some lovely lines for Paul Janeczko.  I'm sharing them here, too, so all can more easily see:

 

Dark

 

The morning is darker, deeper, a color that tears see.

There is no reason for death except to cleanse life's slate.

We write new wisdoms, forget the old.

Dance when you can, my friends.

Don't always do what you are told.

 

Jane Yolen ©2019 all rights reserved

 

(Thank you for sharing, Jane.)***

 

Our lovely Linda at TeacherDance has a remembrance in Paul Janezcko's honor, and an intriguing follow-up about a 19th-Century poet she discovered, after some digging, by way of an old anthology.  Click over to meet Celia Thaxter.

 

Little Willow checks in from Bildungsroman today with a few lines by Janne Robinson that might burn your tongue.... (Little Willow, I always enjoy your posts though I've never figured out how to comment on them!)    

 

Hungry?  As always, Jama has the perfect special on her poetic menu today.  Saunter over to her Alphabet Soup for  Hannah's Tall Order, an A to Z  Sandwich, by Linda Vander Heyden and Kayla Herren.  Bring your appetite and a sense of adventure!

 

Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link treats us to a lovely review of H IS FOR HAIKU by Sydell Rosenberg, the picture book collection lovingly brought to life by Rosenberg's daughter, Amy Losak.  You'll also get a peek at the Long Island weather (sending sunshine from here, Carol!) and Carol's poetic and artistic interpretations inspired by the book. 

 

Having grown up as "Robyn Hood," I can relate to Alan J Wright's offering at Poetry Pizzazz.  His original "Call the Roll" poem might have you conjuring up your own possibilities for playful classroom rolls, too!  

 

If ever need more color in your world, go see Michelle Kogan.  She is breaking in a brand new iPad this week with sketches and haiku.  (My favorite is "Remember me…")  Enjoy! 

 

At Reading to the Core, Catherine shares "For You" by Karla Kuskin, a perfect poem to honor Paul B. Janeczko.  It's also a perfect choice for those of us who miss special kitties in our lives.

 

At Gathering Books, Fats shares powerful writing by Warsan Shire, an award-winning Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. With jolting and masterful imagery, Shire's work reflects "the harrowing experiences of refugees and immigrants, to tell stories of suffering, displacement, and healing."

 

Linda is waving from a cozy snow day over at A Word Edgewise to share a book all about the most extravagant adventuring – COUTNDOWN – 2979 Days to the Moon by Suzanne Slade.  Our guide explores this scientific book in verse from three perspectives – reader, teacher librarian, and writer.  Enjoy the journey! 

 

Join Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for two original poems as brief but potent explorations of bravery, productivity and peace… you'll have to click over to see for yourself!

 

If you need a bit of good-vibes inspiration this week (who doesn't?!), tune in to The Drift Record, where Julie is sharing a gorgeous poem by A. E. Stallings and an absolutely infectious positive attitude.  Better than vitamins!

 

Left you wanting more, eh?  Here's a link to Books Around the Table, where Julie, no stranger to wide net casting, shares this poem PLUS other links which have been inspiring her lately.  (A must-read for Darwin fans, and for origami lovers.)

 

At There is No Such thing as a Godforsaken Town, Ruth has an inspiring original response poem to a Monet painting, and some thoughts about her oh-so-productive year of meeting her writing goals.  And her usual dose of refreshing frankness! 

 

So many talented teachers in our Poetry Friday crew... Mary Lee is sharing two fantastic student poems today at A Year of Reading. You'll enjoy her thoughts behind writing workshop for her fifth graders, too!

 

The ever-clever Jan at Bookseed Studio has a book giveaway!  It's a great one, too – Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Fred Koehler's newest synergistic collaboration, WHAT IF/THEN WE? Jan is sweetening the pot, too, with a generous addition.  AND, she's got some very fun words found in the wild, inviting you to share your own rare sightings….

 

At Friendly Fairy Tales, the focus today is on… focus! Enjoy Brenda's original poem and photo.  

 

From Nix the Comfort Zone, Molly brings us a beautiful original poem, "Invitation" inspired by other Poetry Friday folks and "word collections." She also has an intriguing haiku that missed a deadline, but doesn't miss the boat… (an obscure reference, kind of; I might be getting a little Poetry-Friday-punch-drunk).

 

Heidi has poured grief into a wonderful book spine poem honoring several of Paul B. Janeczko's most beloved titles over at My Juicy Little Universe.  Thank you, Heidi. 

 

At Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, Matt also shares remembrances of this brilliant lost light, as well as one of his favorite PBJ poems. 

 

Since our Scotland trip was the result of family trees and DNA tests, I particularly love Amy's family history poem today over at The Poem Farm!  And a photo there suggests where said Amy might have gotten some of her sass, as well as good looks. ;0) Amy also has beautiful words to remember and honor Paul Janeczko today. 

 

At Live Your Poem, Irene is also mining family memories and inviting us to do the same in a year-long project inspired by Patty Dann's THE BUTTERFLY HOURS.  Enjoy her sticky sweet poetic remembrance, "A Taste of Summer."  And three cheers for Irene's hand-raise – of COURSE she would know that it's in BAMBI's forest where creatures become twitterpated this time of year… 

 

Christie chimes in with Two Blue Herons (you'll understand when you click over) at Wondering and Wondering.  Polyphonic Renaissance music and haiku, too – double-love! 

 

Carol takes us on a snowy tour at The Apples in My Orchard and offers up a poem celebrating the color White.  Bring your snowshoes! 

 

Ramona at Pleasures from the Page has a beautiful post honoring Paul B. Janeczko, and a generous give-away offer as well. Some of her favorite titles are probably some of yours, too. 

 

Elaine is also celebrating Paul at Wild Rose Reader.  She's chosen to honor him with "Yellow Sonnet" by Paul Zimmer, from Janeczko's book, THE PLACE MY WORDS ARE LOOKING FOR. 

 

Did you see the Super Snow Moon this week?  It was too cloudy in my corner of the Universe.  But Amy at Mrs. Merrill's Book Break, has us covered with a photoraph and her original poem full of heart, "Full Moon Dreaming." 

 

Speaking of snow, at Check it Out, Jone shares student poems and art inspired by our own Laura Purdie Salas's SNOWMAN-COLD=PUDDLE. SO clever these young creators are!

 

Jone also remembers Paul B. Janeczko and some of his many books at Deowriter today – thank you, Jone, for helping us all to say thanks. 

 

AliceNine offers a poignant post about loveliness which can grow out of growing old – good to ponder as we grapple with life and the end of life this week. 

 

At Reflections on the Teche, Margaret brings us the end-of-day golden light with some golden shovel poems. Enjoy!

 

Last but not least, Susan at Soul Blossom Living leaves us smiling with a couple of fun limericks to make you feel cool as a cucumber.

 

Have a great weekend, All!

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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 - 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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