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Life on the Deckle Edge

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 - Poem by Stephanie Salkin and Poetry by the Sea Shout-Out!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

The photo and poem above are by my good buddy and partner-in-poetic-crime across multiple venues and states, Stephanie Salkin. The image of yours truly at the breaking waves came from the Poetry by the Sea retreat led by Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich in Jupiter, Florida, nearly four years ago.  What a treasure of a time!

 

Stef is very active in her arts community in north Florida. (And the whole state, too; she along with Jude Mandell led the campaign to get Lee Bennett Hopkins inducted into the Florida Arts Hall of Fame two years ago!) A photographer as well as writer, her work is often seen in shows there. 

 

That's how the above combination of image and words came to be.  Having attended our recent Haiku Society of America Spring National Meeting in St. Augustine, Stef wanted to incorporate haiku into her photography for a show, and - Voilà!  She used a picture she took which included me immersed in my own poetry writing down in Jupiter.  (I've shared it with permission.)

 

The poem reads:

 

 

waves break on shore

    making tidal music

          who writes the lyrics?

 

 

Many thanks to Stephanie for sharing! She also shared a link about how a day at the beach boosts health and creativity: https://1md.org/article/beach-day-brain-benefits

 

If all of this whets your appetite for poetic inspiration at the beach, you're in luck! Georgia and Rebecca are offering the Third "Poetry by the Sea" next month! (I'd go every time if the piggy bank and calendar were willing....) Find details here at Georgia's website

 

And find this week's Poetry Friday Roundup with the always-inspiring Buffy at her spankin' newly redesigned website.

 

Happy Fourth next week! 

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Poetry Friday - A Couple of Browning Lines & 35th Anniversary

 

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be

 

Pretty sure my husband wooed me with that Browning couplet a time or two back in the day.  On Saturday, we celebrate our 35th anniversary! (We were babes of 21 when we got married.  My mother made my dress from scratch, with 2,000 seed pearls and no time to spare.  Seriously, a half hour before the ceremony, I was wearing a tee shirt and gym shorts. I come by my life-on-the-edge habits honestly.)

 

These are the opening lines to a long poem titled "Rabbi Ben Ezra."  Here's the first stanza:

 

 

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!''

 

 

You can read the whole poem here

 

It's not a romantic poem, actually, but a poem told in the voice of a 12th century rabbi and scholar, about being molded throughout life by the hand of the divine Potter.  And it's a good read if you have a few decades under the soles of your shoes!

 

It was published in Browning's Dramatis Personae in 1864.  My old Norton Anthology of English Literature from college notes, "The speaker, Abraham Ibn Ezra (ca. 1092-1167), was an eminent Biblical scholar of Spain, but Browining makes little attempt to present him as a distinct individual or to relate him to the age in which he lived. Unlike the more characteristic monologues, Rabbi Ben Ezra is not dramatic but declamatory."

 

A little heady, no?  For a more breezy poetic welcome to summer, visit our wonderful Linda at A Word Edgewise for this week's Roundup!  Clunkers welcome... you'll see.  ;0)  (I'm a little late to the party this Friday; our internet was down all Thursday night. I will be away from the computer most of the weekend but look forward to catching up in snatches.)

 

HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE!

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Poetry Friday - Highlights Hello Poem & More!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Missed you last Friday.  We were winding up a week at the beach with our kids (& I was running around getting my shop ready for First Friday after 5 downtown.)

 

I had a lovely surprise in our mailbox when we got back - two contributor copies of HIGHLIGHTS HELLO with another of my poems inside!  Perfectly themed for our personal life, too - the new issue is "A Wavy Hello" with all kinds of fun words and pictures about the ocean, for the very youngest little readers and listeners. Here's my contribution:

 

 

Seaside

 

Wave after wave

Splashes to shore.

After each wave,

There's always one more. 

 

©2019 Highlights for Children.  All rights reserved. 

 

 

If you know or have a little one, a subscription to HIGHLIGHTS HELLO will surely become a highlight for him or her!

 

Speaking of this little gem of a magazine, one poet frequently featured in its pages is Heidi Bee Roemer. If you know Heidi, you know she's busy as a bee.... She and Poetry Friday Regular Kimberly Nuthatcher have just launched S.T.E.A.M. Powered Poetry with Free Videos for K-8.  I've already told Morgan (poetry-friendly Third-Grade-Teacher-Daughter) about this new resource.  Check out the Facebook Page (& if the photo in the top left corner looks familiar, it's one of my vintage text poetry-themed necklaces from artsyletters! It was a recent birthday gift to Heidi from another poetry friend, Linda Dryfhout, and their critique group.  Thanks for the picture-love, ladies!) 

 

Here's to waves of poetry for all ages, and wishes for sunshine in your corner.  And speaking of third graders, enjoy some wonderful student poetry over at Laura Shovan's place, where she is kindly rounding us up this week.

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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 - Go visit Dani for the Roundup!

Greetings, All - The Haiku Society of America Spring Meeting in  St. Augustine last weekend was a blast, as always.  Great connecting with friends I don't see often enough, and great meeting new ones.  I was honored to be a presenter and enjoyed the whole weekend.  (Week back has been crazy, with some family travel tacked on at the end and more I'm packing for now, and a day spent getting a new windshield courtesy of some big trucks, stray rocks, and I-95, among other little challenges!)

 

Wishing you a meaningful & safe Memorial Day weekend.  Thanks to Dani at Doing the Work That Matters for hosting the Roundup - get thee hence to enjoy some fine company and fine poetry!

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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 - Narrow Fellows in the Grass...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

[First, about last Poetry Friday weekend:  apologies if you attempted to visit or leave word at my blog and were stymied.  There was some technical issue, and I couldn't even get to it myself! By Monday the Authors Guild techno-gurus had set all to rights again.]

 

Last week, I and many other PF bloggers seemed smitten with May flowers.  Well, with all this warmth and growth and flora comes the fauna, too - perhaps you have also had the expected encounters with snakes and bugs and salamanders and such?  They've all been active around here!

 

The first snake-y encounter this year was when I lifted the lid of our large recycle container outside, and - plop! - a medium-sized garter snake dropped from just inside the lid to the ground.  I wouldn't want to give away any family secrets, but I was glad that happened to me, and not to my  hubby....

 

I've seen another snake or two while out and about, in the grass or slithering off into a weedy thicket during early evening walks. 

 

A few weeks ago, I had just returned from a road trip and noticed a package on the front steps of the house. At the top of the steps, I picked up the package and turned around, and that's when I noticed Mr.  (Mrs.?) Good-sized Garter Snake, stretched out on the ground the entire length of the steps (four to five feet?) and watching me intently.  I must have stepped right over him/her. 

 

Well, Hello there, I said. I was in a wee predicament.  We keep the front screen doors locked because they don't close securely otherwise, and we have a teeny doggie who loves her daily porch time. So I was at the top of the steps holding my box, with my new friend taking up all room from one end to the other at the bottom step.  Now, as you can tell from the photo, we need to paint the steps, and make some needed outside repairs in general.  I was pondering whether to bail and scale the rail (didja like that?) and leap over the side, wondering if all the wood was good!  Pondering time abruptly halted when said snake slid its head over the bottom step in a rather pointed motion my direction - eyes on me still and tongue flickering in and out - coming up to get better acquainted.  I bailed! All was well. 

 

And time for that wonderful poem by our dear Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), don't you think?

 

 

A narrow Fellow in the Grass (1096)



A narrow Fellow in the Grass
Occasionally rides -
You may have met him? Did you not
His notice instant is -

 

The Grass divides as with a Comb,
A spotted Shaft is seen,
And then it closes at your Feet
And opens further on -

 

He likes a Boggy Acre -
A Floor too cool for Corn -
But when a Boy and Barefoot
I more than once at Noon

 

Have passed I thought a Whip Lash
Unbraiding in the Sun
When stooping to secure it
It wrinkled And was gone -

 

Several of Nature's People
I know, and they know me
I feel for them a transport
Of Cordiality

 

But never met this Fellow
Attended or alone
Without a tighter Breathing
And Zero at the Bone.

 

 

And continuing the theme, here's a little poem I wrote eight or nine years ago, which made an appearance on Tricia's Miss Rumphius Effect site for a challenge back then:

 

 

S

Serpentine S
goes this way and that
Trail in the sand
Tail of a cat

Slithering S
goes that way and this
Starts every snake
Ends every hiss

©Robyn Hood Black
All rights reserved.

 

Watch your step as you make your way over to Elizabeth Steinglass's place, and be sure to give her lots of high fives celebrating her new book, Soccerverse!  (To this day, I can't see a salamander without thinking of the hikes Liz and I took during a Highlights Founders poetry workshop years ago, and all the little red salamanders we saw!)

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Poetry Friday - May Flowers with Louisa May Alcott

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

April showers bring.... :0)

 

     To me the meanest flower that blows can give 

     Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

 

     Wordsworth (1770–1850), Intimations Ode. 

 

[By the way, in case you weren't a nerdy English major like yours truly, "meanest" here means most plain/humble, and "blows" means bloom.]

 

The daisies my hubby planted are bright-faced and happy this week!  I've always loved daisies, probably because my mother does, and I carried them in my wedding.  They're not too fancy, but they hold their own.

 

Did you know Louisa May Alcott's first published book was not about the women in her family, but about flowers and fairies?

 

Flower Fables was published in 1855, a collection written for Ellen Emerson (daughter of Ralph Waldo). These are little morality tales with fancy and poetry mixed in.  Here's a link to the whole work on Project Gutenburg. And here are the opening lines from "Clover-Blossom," which is a few hundred miles long but which might bring to mind The Good Samaritan, The Ugly Duckling, and other cultural/literary references which we can still use healthy doses of!

 

 

Clover-Blossom

 

IN a quiet, pleasant meadow,
Beneath a summer sky,
Where green old trees their branches waved,
And winds went singing by;
Where a little brook went rippling
So musically low,
And passing clouds cast shadows
On the waving grass below;
Where low, sweet notes of brooding birds
Stole out on the fragrant air,
And golden sunlight shone undimmed
On all most fresh and fair;—
There bloomed a lovely sisterhood
Of happy little flowers,
Together in this pleasant home,
Through quiet summer hours.
No rude hand came to gather them,
No chilling winds to blight;
Warm sunbeams smiled on them by day,
And soft dews fell at night.
So here, along the brook-side,
Beneath the green old trees,
The flowers dwelt among their friends,
The sunbeams and the breeze.

 

 ....

 

Yes, the bucolic tranquility gives way to conflict, as you'll see if you click here for the whole poem.  You will likely guess the ending, but you might enjoy anyway!

 

For all kinds of poetry flowery and otherwise, flit on over to our lovely Jama's Alphabet Soup, where Jama and Company have loads of flowers for May Day along with the Roundup!

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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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