instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Life on the Deckle Edge

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?  

19 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Inspired by Lee Bennett Hopkins

--with Lee at the Flordia Arts Hall of Fame induction, 2017.

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

It's a special Poetry Friday, as Amy over at the wonderful Poem Farm is offering a lovely way to honor Lee Bennett Hopkins, who died two weeks ago and whose loss is deeply felt by countless friends and fans across the globe. (Thanks to Jone MacCulloch for the idea of this theme today.)  Amy not only celebrates her own grateful connection to Lee, but she has gathered links to sites and obituaries.  Words can't completely capture such a life, but as Lee loved words so, they can shine and glow and sparkle in tribute. 

 

I hope you'll forgive my slight departure from the suggestion of coming up with an original poem using a line from one of Lee's poems  Instead, I'd like to share a poem I wrote the first time I met Lee, when he led a Poetry Master Class at the big SCBWI LA conference 12 years ago. Participants each wrote a poem that weekend, and he read one during his keynote address on the last day of the conference.

 

I'm sharing mine because Lee emailed me after the conference to tell me that he liked my poem.  I was thrilled beyond belief!  (More to the story, but I'll spare the spindly details.) I had written a sonnet, inspired by his many books, and fueled by the tables of colorful titles for sale that stretched for miles at the conference. 

 

(Can I just get it out of the way that I think I'm a somewhat stronger poet now, thanks to a decade of haiku and of course to influences from Lee, and from Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and other amazing poetic mentors?  Okay - thanks.)

 

So here is the poem, flaws and all, and sweet to me because Lee took the time to share some kind words about it in correspondence, and even made an editorial suggestion here or there, reflected in a couple of lines.  And, because, I miss him very much.  Sending continued love to Lee's cherished husband Charles (whom I also first got to meet at the LA Conference), and to our community of fans and poets who have lost such a "Dear One."

 

 

How to Buy a Book of Poetry



I prowl around displays of stacked-up books,
a quiet hunger gnawing deep inside.
Some volumes catch my silent, stealthy looks,
while slowly stalking now, I must decide.
A vibrant cover takes my breath away -
I linger, stop, then claim it with my hand
to seize the book, a panther with her prey -
surveying what she knows to be her land.
While poems leap from pages crisp and new,
lines capture my attention as I read
their sparkling thoughts, at once unreal yet true -
mystical, magic words my deepest need.
A hunter with her prey? I'm not so free.
This poetry I bought - it now owns me.

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

 

 

I know we'll all enjoy roaming from post to post celebrating Lee today over at Amy's, and picking up other poetic delights along the way.

25 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Treefrogs!

 

Oh, with all the rain we've had, it is treefrog season!  Each sojourn out the side porch might bring a wee green surprise tucked in beneath the porch rail or under the light.  We have a small unofficial wetlands on the other side of our back fence, and the serenades are hearty at times.

 

I was delighted to learn that Joyce Sidman (Newbery Honor and Sibert Medal winning author, and everybody's favorite!) will have a treefrog book coming out from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2021.  It's called Dear Treefrog and will be illustrated by Diana Sudyka.  Click here and scroll down for the PW announcement. 

 

Perhaps Joyce would enjoy my haiku in the current issue of bottle rockets:

 

 

between

rounds of rain

rounds of treefrogs

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  bottle rockets, 21.1, #41. All rights reserved. (click here  for more on bottle rockets press, Stanford Forrester, editor.)

 

I also couldn't help myself and bought up some discontinued Vintaj charms, with a 'teensie' frog and reeds, and have just started making some "haiku" earrings with a nod to the most famous haiku poem around, Basho's "old pond...." (Click here for a discussion of that poem on the Aha Poetry site of the late Jane Reichhold.) The text for these earrings is typed on my old dusty, trusty Underwood. (Click here for the listing. I'm making more, some with variations.)

 

Now, if actual TREES are more your thing than treefrogs, or you love everything nature-related, hop on over to Christie's Wondering and Wandering for a tree-themed Poetry Friday!

 

**Special Note:  Next week, our wonderful Amy at The Poem Farm will gather up links to original poem posts honoring Lee Bennett Hopkins.  To participate, click here for the details at the top of Amy's post last week.  You can see my post from last week for a link to last year's surprise online birthday party we hosted for Lee, with links to all kinds of celebratory posts which help us appreciate and remember.**

18 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Lee

This picture was taken  exactly a dozen years ago, at the SCBWI LA Conference, when Lee presented a Poetry Master Class.  My first time meeting him in person (and meeting some of you all, too!).

 

So many of us are at a loss for words today.  I am still trying to let the news sink in, that Lee has left us.  What a life - and what a legacy.  His books will continue to enrich countless souls.  He made them for the children, after all - he always had young readers and writers foremost in his heart.  His keen mind crafted only the best for them.  

 

Read to me, Lee - 

again and again.

 

Click here to revisit the surprise, online 80th birthday party we all threw for Lee last year.  It was my honor to collect the links. I look forward to meandering through them again to remember and celebrate.  We still love you, Lee - we always will. 

 

Special love to Charles in this time of deepest loss. Your life together was luminous. 

 

No better way to honor Lee than to celebrate poetry.  Thanks to Molly for hosting the Roundup today at Nix the Comfort Zone.   [P.S. - Here is a five-minute video interview with Lee from last summer, recorded in his home office, brimming with books and good humor.]

19 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - A Bit of Wit: Sir John Suckling's Campaigne

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

This summer has found me pining a bit for last summer, when we were traipsing around Scotland and Ireland and having a glorious time. Recently I came across a surprisingly fun poem in a nearly 200-year-old book I have, RELIQUES of ANCIENT ENGLISH POETRY: Consisting of  Old Heroic Ballads, Songs, and Other Pieces of our Earlier Poets; Together with Some Few of Later Date  (Sixth Edition, Vol. III, London: Samuel Richards and Co. Grocers' Hall Court, Poultry, 1823.)

 

Before you run off... in this current climate charged with all kinds of political hyperbole and braggadocio, I found some humor in these old words.  It's a tale of a battle between the fancy English and the gritty Scots at the border. Enjoy!  (I'll type in the introduction after the poem, in case you are as nerdy as I am and are interested. ;0) )

 

 

Sir John Suckling's Campaigne

 

 

Sir John he got him an ambling nag,

  To Scotland for to ride-a,

With a hundred horse more, all his own he swore,

  To guard him on every side-a.

 

No Errant-knight ever went to fight

  With halfe so gay a bravada,

Had you seen but his look, you'ld have sworn on a book,

  Hee'ld have conquer'd a whole armada.

 

The ladies ran all to the windows to see

  So gallant and warlike a sight-a,

And as he pass'd by, they said with a sigh,

  Sir John, why will you go fight-a?

 

But he, like a cruel knight, spurred on;

  His heart would not relent-a,

For, till he came there, what had he to fear?

  Or why should he repent-a?

 

The king (God bless him!) had singular hopes

  Of him and all his troop-a,

The borderers they, as they met him on the way,

  For joy did hollow, and whoop-a. 

 

None liked him so well, as his own colonell,

  Who took him for John de Wert-a*;

But when there were shows of gunning and blows,

  My gallant was nothing so pert-a.

 

For when the Scots army came within sight,

  And all prepared to fight-a,

He ran to his tent, they ask'd what he meant,

  He swore he must needs goe sh-t-a.

 

The colonell sent for him back agen,

  To quarter him in the van-a,

But Sir John did swear, he would not come there,

  To be kill'd the very first man-a.

 

To cure his fear, he was sent to the reare, 

  Some ten miles back and more-a;

Where Sir John did play at trip and away,

  And ne'er saw the enemy more-a.

 

*John de Wert was a German general of great reputation, and the terror of the French in the reign of Louis XIII.

 

Here is the introduction:

 

When the Scottish Covenanters rose up in arms, and advanced to the English borders in 1639, many of the courtiers complimented the king by raising forces at their own expense.  Among these none were more distinguished than the gallant Sir John Suckling, who raised a trooop of horse so richly accoutred, that it cost him 12,000l .The like expensive equipment of other parts of the army, made the king remark, that "the Scots would fight stoutly, if it were but for the Englishmen's fine clothes." (Lloyd's Memoirs.)  When they came to action, the rugged Scots proved more than a match for the fine showy English:  many of whom behaved remarkably ill, and among the rest this splendid troop of Sir John Suckling's. 

  This humorous pasquil has been generally supposed to have been written by Sir John as a bantar upon himself.  Some of his contemporaries, however, attributed it to Sir John Mennis, a wit of those times, among whose poems it is printed in a small poetical miscellany, intitled, "Musarum Deliciae: or the Muses' Recreation, containing several pieces of poetique wit," 2d edition.  By Sir J.M. [Sir John Mennis] and Ja. S. [James Smith], London, 1656, 12 mo. (See Wood's Athenae, ii. 397, 418.) In that copy is subjoined an additional stanza, which probably was written by this Sir John Mennis, viz.

 

But now there is peace, he's return'd to increase,

  His money, which lately he spent-a,

But his lost honour must lye still in the dust;

  At Barwick away it went-a.

 

Hope that brought a smile! Here's hoping whatever "campaignes" you have yet this summer will be a success, and best wishes to those (like my Morgan) who are already back at school readying classrooms for a new crop of eager young minds.

 

Sláinte!

 

Speaking of wonderful teachers, mount your trusty steed and charge over to My Juicy Little Universe, where the oh-so-brave and oh-so-smart Heidi has the Roundup this week! 

12 Comments
Post a comment

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. 

25 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Poetic 'Feet' (!)

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Poetic Feet

 

Stitches, breaks, Achilles tear - 

My poor right foot, I've stressed.

 

Once again, it's crutches and boot -

and for-e-ver getting dressed.

 

              ©Robyn Hood Black

 

After I jotted that wee ditty this morning, I discovered my mother had also had a bit of fun on my Facebook post about this current locomotive challenge:

 

 

There is a young lady named Robyn....

who walks with her head a'bobbin'...

The sidewalk was missing a chunk, she went down with a clunk....

and, now, with crutches is hobblin'!!!!!

 

I would not rule out my stepdad's input into this literary creation, so whether credit goes to Nita Morgan, Jack Morgan, or to both - I'm not sure either would claim it! ;0)

 

(BTW -Could definitely be worse!  I fractured the distal fibula at the ankle, but it did not go all the way through.  Bones heal faster than tendons.  Trust me, I know.)

 

Wishing you safe passage over to the Poetry Friday Roundup at Carol's Corner.  Enjoy, and thank you, Carol, for hosting!

15 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Test your Fortunes with Jone...

Greetings, and just another wave from me rather than a fulsome post... I am traveling out of town for a funeral.  Please keep dear Cheryl's family in your prayers, as her battle with cancer ended this week.  Such a treasure of a person - and she made COUNTLESS young readers out of lots and lots of kids, as a very special teacher.  (She taught both of our kids in third grade.) An even more special friend, and she'll be missed oh so very much. 

 

Jone has a wonderful share from the Summer Poem Swap over at Deowriter - Enjoy all the goodness she's rounding up.

Be the first to comment

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.  

6 Comments
Post a comment

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! 

22 Comments
Post a comment