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Life on the Deckle Edge

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 - 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 - Visit Laura for the Roundup!

Dear Poetry Folks, 

 

We are with family after the passing of my lovely mother-in-law this week, following her long battle with Parkinson's disease. She was one to quote poetry now and then herself.  To fill you own poetic cup, go visit Laura at Writing the World for Kids, where you'll find this week's Roundup. 

 

See you next Friday (& thanks for the kind emails and wishes on Facebook).

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Poetry Friday - Valentine-ing....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

How did it get to be February so fast?!

 

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

 

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

 

May true

friends be

around you

 

- not really a poem, but a lovely sentiment.  

 

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

 

From me

   to you,

      in greeting

Affectionate

       and true;

 

To say one heart

    is beating

That still

  remembers you.

 

(Gotta love 'em.)  

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Poetry Friday - New Year Poem Postcard

Greertings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

new year
sea fog surrenders
to sun

 

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Poetry Friday - Just a Wee Wave on toward Tricia's...

Greetings, All - On my way to a dear friend's this weekend, so skipping a Poetry Friday post.  But be sure to call on our oh-so-clever Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect for this week's Roundup! See you soon. :0)

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Poetry Friday - Resolutions?

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I hope your New Year is off to a positive start. 

 

Maybe a good time to share a one-line haiku of mine from Frogpond last spring: 

 

 

 

drips of melting ice my resolutions

  


Frogpond, Vol. 41:2, Spring 2018

poem ©Robyn Hood Black

 

 

How about you - are you a New Year's Resolution-Maker? 

 

I wouldn't automatically say "yes" for myself, BUT... the reality is:

 

1.) I've just added a new nutrition book & cookbook to our crowded kitchen (mainly because I wanted to make the veggie soup similar to what my stepdad, "Poppy," keeps in their Florida fridge to have every day) and stuffed our own fridge with not only the soup, but half of the entire produce section....

 

2.) I might have ordered a stationary bike from Amazon this week, to go in the spot where the Christmas tree was....

 

3.) I might also have gone to Staples to get notebooks and dividers to actually corral the eight-plus years of material I've written as part of the CORE ESSENTIALS character ed. program, so I can be better organized for writing the new assignments about this time every year. 

 

So, maybe I am a resolution-maker, even if I don't want to claim it?  I'm fortunate that my hubby is a student and practitioner of Ayurveda, and he is always trying out new recipes for healthful food.  [I'd rather eat yummy food but do most of my creating at my studio or a writing desk, except for that soup!]  We've been vegetarians for 31 years now (!), and he's been a vegan for the last several of those. 

 

I already have to do wee bits of yoga, too, because of a couple prior injuries - a good motivator to stretch. But  the cardio is a bit wanting, when the pace of regular walking must allow for the pace of a 3 1/2-pound Chihuahua. ;0)  And because I know I'm a wimp about getting out in winter weather - even if it IS Southern-Coastal-Mild winter weather -, I ordered the indoor bike.

 

Whatever goals or practices you're embracing this year, I wish you success and ease as well as dashes of humor when things don't always go as planned.  

 

Our wonderful Kat is welcoming everyone to the Poetry Friday Roundup with a hearty "G'Day" - enjoy all the offerings, and I DO resolve to make it around to more posts this year than in recent months! 

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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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