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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Charmed Dialogue; Bookmarks as Found Poem....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I hope your holiday season is going well.  When one has been working a few too many hours, one might get a little bit punch-drink - without any eggnog handy, even.  

 

Recently a couple of favorite Etsy haunts added fun, laser-engraved message-type steel tags to their offerings, and I couldn't help myself and ordered a bunch.  Somehow in my studio the new bookmarks I've been making arranged themselves into a sort of found poem.  In two voices.  (Told you I'd been burning a little too much midnight oil...) 

 

Enjoy a wee moment of silliness!

 

 

                       Charmed Dialogue

 

  sun

 

  A walk on

  the beach is

  good for the soul

 

                                               SEA

 

                                                Seashells

                                                are 

                                                love letters

                                                in the sand

 

  you hold the

  pen to write your 

  own story

 

                                                 I'm really

                                                 a mermaid 

 

  My birthstone

  is a 

  Coffee Bean

 

                                                  tea

                                                  addict

 

  Book

  Lover

 

 

                                                  I read 

                                                  past my

                                                  bedtime

 

 

 

How about you?

 

Sand or sea?

 

Coffee or tea?

 

We all agree on books, and reading past our bedtime, I'm sure....

 

(A couple of these bookmarks are listed in my Etsy shop; I 'll get the others listed Friday morning [oops - scratch that - evening!!], in case you want to see close up!) :0)

 

For wonderful poetry any time of day, pay a visit to our dear Laura Shovan, who is kindly rounding us up this week - even those of us who got up to poetic mischeif when no one was watching. And HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all - I know some of you have just celebrated Hanukkah, and we have Christmas on the horizon.  We'll be in and out, so I'll close with with flurries of goodwill and wishes for the next couple of weeks! XO

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Poetry Friday: Charles Dickens - The Ivy Green and Inspiring Mice...

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I've been burning the midnight oil, what with December upon us.  TODAY - or, tonight, rather - is "Night on the Town" - probably the biggest street party of the year in Beaufort.  My studio will be open, of course, with a very special guest signing books - my dear friend and partner in Victorian mischief Kim Poovey.  

 

Why will Kim grace my shop with her presence in one of her signature HANDMADE and authentic Victorian gowns?  Earlier this year she gave me no choice but to illustrate the cover of her wonderful new book project, DICKENS' MICE.  (I had a blast and burned the midnight oil then, too.)  One of these days I'll scare up a proper post on my art blog about it! 

 

You can learn more about the oh-so-clever story here.  I'll give you a hint:  our good friend Mr. Dickens was in need of some inspiration on a certain Christmas Eve, and it came in the form of some wee little personages with twitchy noses and jaunty tails. (I'll be buying some copies to give as gifts, myself - it's an enchanting tale!  Something between a short story and a novella.  And there are some other tasty story bits in the volume, too!) Discover more about Kim's literary and historical adventures at her website

 

In honor of our festive Friday evening, here is a poem by said Mr. Dickens.

 

 

The Ivy Green


By Charles Dickens


Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy green,
That creepeth o'er ruins old!
Of right choice food are his meals, I ween,
In his cell so lone and cold.
The wall must be crumbled, the stone decayed,
To pleasure his dainty whim:
And the mouldering dust that years have made
Is a merry meal for him.
Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.

 

Fast he stealeth on, though he wears no wings,
And a staunch old heart has he.
How closely he twineth, how tight he clings,
To his friend the huge Oak Tree!
And slily he traileth along the ground,
And his leaves he gently waves,
As he joyously hugs and crawleth round
The rich mould of dead men's graves.
Creeping where grim death has been,
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.

 

Whole ages have fled and their works decayed,
And nations have scattered been;
But the stout old Ivy shall never fade,
From its hale and hearty green.
The brave old plant, in its lonely days,
Shall fatten upon the past:
For the stateliest building man can raise,
Is the Ivy's food at last.
Creeping on, where time has been,
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.

 

I found the poem here at The Poetry Foundation, and the biographical entry on Charles Dickens is here

 

Did you know Charles Dickens wrote some poetry?

 

Confession:  I did not.  But I was delighted to discover this gem, and somehow it suits the historical meanderings that Kim and I can find ourselves in.  

 

Must go - I've not yet finished the jewelry I promised Kim for the evening!  (The artsyletters elves are still quite busy, and they promise a "new bookmarks bonanza" all next week!)

 

Enjoy all the great poetry Liz Steinglass is rounding up for us this week - and the Facebook elves recently revealed a publication date for her upcoming poetry book for young readers from Wordsong!  (I've been waiting for this one - even though I don't know much about soccer.  But I know Liz and her stellar writing.) :0)

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Poetry Friday - A Wee Wave to Elves and Fairies...

This is a Fairy Tree we drove past in the Wicklow Mountains area of Ireland this summer.  On a day trip to the countryside, our tour guide, whose family was Irish born and bred forever, told us about them.  Farmers and ranchers are careful to protect them, and even modern road projects have been diverted to avoid cutting one down!  They're portals to the faery realm, don't ye know, and I'll not be arguin' wi' that....!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I missed you last week, as I was on the road home from a Thanksgiving trip to be back for "Small Business Saturday."  (It went very well, thank you!) 

 

And this week - well, happily, the Etsy Elves are keeping me hopping.  I'm hoping they'll sprinkle some glittery good luck around as I wrap, package, and mail out orders, which I'm very grateful to be doing.

 

In that vein, here are a few magical lines from "The Fairies" by William Allingham.  I'm sharing the first stanza, which is also the last.

 

  

from THE FAIRIES

 

Up in the airy mountain,

  Down the rushy glen, 

We daren't go a-hunting

  For fear of little men;

Wee folk, good folk,

  Trooping all together; 

Green jacket, red cap,

  And white owl's feather!

 

 

I found the poem in FAIRY AND FOLK TALES OF IRELAND edited by W. B. Yeats.  You can read the rest here.  (I might have to find the Michael Hague illustrated book that came out several years ago....)

 

Can you tell I'm missing Scotland and Ireland? Celtic Christmas music is going strong on Pandora in my studio, so that helps!

 

For more magical, mischievous, or merry poetry, transport yourself over to Carol's Corner for this week's Roundup.  (Thanks, Carol!)

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Poetry Friday - A Wandering Haiku

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Just a wee haiku over here today.  This one appears in the current Frogpond,  Vol. 41:3 (Fall 2018), though somehow my name was left out of the index this time.  But the poem's in!

 

 

open gate

the way

my mind wanders

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

 

I remember when I was in my first job after graduating college and getting married.  I was an editorial assistant/publications secretary at the seminary where my husband was getting his first grad degree.  I wasn't the greatest secretary, that is FOR sure!  But I did love to write.  Sometime before I left to try newspaper writing (where I found out I was terrible at the news part, but good at features....) my boss said, "You're a bit of a dreamer, aren't you?" 

 

Well - yeah.  I'm more pragmatic at this stage of life, but still a bit of a dreamer!

 

Here's to dreams, and also to the belly-real comforts we all wish each other at Thanksgiving.  And wishes for healing for those in the midst of trauma right now, in California and anywhere.

 

On a ligher note, if you'll be doing any Cyber-shopping over the Thanksgiving holidays, Etsy is cooking up a sale for Cyber Week November 20-26.  I'll be offering 10 percent off shop-wide at artsyletters on Etsy, with reduced or free domestic shipping (depending on order amount). While you're on Etsy, check out the lovely offerings over at fellow Poetry Friday-er Michelle Kogan's shop, too!

 

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.  I'm so very thankful for our Poetry Friday community, newcomers and old friends alike. 

 

I'm especially thankful for our amazingly generous and talented Linda, who is hosting the Roundup today at TeacherDance.  She's even got a special giveaway today - told you she was generous! 

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Poetry Friday - Family Ties & Armistice Day Centennial

 

The intriguing discussion on public radio's On Point on Thursday reminded me that Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, when World War I officially ended.

 

Meghna Chakrabarti hosted Lora Vogt and Jack Beatty in an exploration of history and World War I, in which Vogt said "20th-Century technology pushed up against 19th-Century ideology."  Seven countries entered the war when it began in 1914; at its end in 1918, 30-plus countries were involved on every inhabited continent.

 

My mother's father, John Hollingsworth Conditt, was a small and evidently feisty Arkansas teenager when war broke out.  He lied about his age to join the Army.  In fact, somehow I've inherited the very shirt he wore when he signed up – with some blood stains on it from a blow he took to the nose during some kind of a fight that day….

 

Regular readers over here know I'm a little obsessed with family history and Ancestry.com.  Recalling the photo of my grandfather above, I visited my online tree to see if any military "hints" popped up for my grandfather. I found an application for a military headstone.  Over the initial writing, a red pencil added details… a change in rank from private to corporal, and, under the "Medals" section, "Purple Heart" and "Silver Star"!  My eyes filled with tears.  (I should add that a few hours of online sleuthing have yet to substantiate the red-pencilled additions on that 1959 form, but I'm still on the hunt. I was able to find military transport records back and forth across the seas. )

 

A call to my mother (Hi, Mom!) revealed that she didn't really know about medals, except for a vague memory of a ribbon and metal medal with a clasp in a hinged tin box on the shelves in their kitchen, when she was very little. Hmmmm….  She knew her father had been shot in the hip in France. (Which would explain the Purple Heart, though I haven't found records yet. There's not a comprehensive list, evidently – maybe the same for the Silver Star?)  I did find that he came back on a ship from France in 1919, but then evidently headed out again.... Mom recalled that he was part of the lingering forces on the China Expedition, which occurred around the turn of the century when he was born, but US troops were still coming and going into the early 1920s.)

 

My mother also recalled how, after her dad returned home from the Army in 1922 and was walking through his little town with a buddy, he saw my grandmother in a field and declared, "I'm going to marry her."  He didn't know who she was. They wed the next year.  Outside in the middle of the road, mind you – her father had some objection (perhaps her age of 18? We're not sure…) and wouldn't let them get married in the house.  My grandmother said it was very cold outside! 

 

In my studio among my many old books I found THE VITAL ISSUES OF THE WAR (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1918), a collection of sermons by Richard Wilson Boynton, a Unitarian Minister and professor.  I have not read it all, only skimmed some of it.  But I sympathize with the struggle between a longing for pacifism and the gritty reality that evil cannot be permitted to destroy innocent lives unchecked.

 

From Sermon III, THE GOSPEL OF PACIFISM, a few excerpted lines:

 

"But until August, 1914, I supposed myself to be a fairly consistent peace advocate.  Up to that fateful summer most Americans, one fancies, had a more or less fervent hope for the near advent of the new internationalism, the gradual reduction of armaments on land and sea, the progress of the principle of arbitration in disputes between nations – in short, the whole group of world-ideals represented by the two Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907."

 

And, "It is well to practice kindness to animals, but that does not mean stopping to reason with a mad dog when he is attacking your child."

 

Boynton ended Sermon V, THE INFLUENCE OF SEA POWER IN THE WAR, with this poem below by Alfred Noyes. (I can't find an easy link so will include the whole poem.)

 

 

   The Searchlights

 

Shadow by shadow, stripped for fight,

          The lean black cruisers search the sea.

Night-long their level shafts of light

          Revolve, and find no enemy.

Only they know each leaping wave

May hide the lightning, and their grave.

 

And in the land they guard so well

          Is there no silent watch to keep?

An age is dying and the bell

          Rings midnight on a vaster deep.

But over all its waves, once more

The searchlights move, from shore to shore.

 

And captains that we thought were dead,

          And dreamers that we thought were dumb,

And voices that we thought were fled,

          Arise, and call us, and we come;

And "Search in thine own soul," they cry;

"For there, too, lurks thine enemy."

 

Search for the foe in thine own soul,

          The sloth, the intellectual pride;

The trivial jest that veils the goal

          For which our father lived and died;

The lawless dreams, the cynic Art,

That rend thy nobler self apart.

 

Not far, not far into the night,

          These level swords of light can pierce;

Yet for her faith does England fight,

          Her faith in this our universe,

Believing Truth and Justice draw

From founts of everlasting law;

 

The law that rules the stars, our stay,

          Our compass through the world's wide sea,

The one sure light, the one sure way,

          The one firm base of Liberty;

The one firm road that men have trod

Through Chaos to the throne of God.

 

Therefore a Power above the State,

          The unconquerable Power, returns,

The fire, the fire that made her great

          Once more upon her altar burns,

Once more, redeemed and healed and whole,

She moves to the Eternal Goal.

 

(Learn more about Alfred Noyes, of "The Highwayman" fame, here.) 

 

Finally, - and thanks for bearing with a long post - today (Poetry Friday) is the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht ("The Night of Broken Glass," termed by the Nazis). On this horrific night, anti-Semitic sentiment and laws erupted into actual violence and brutality, and the Holocaust followed.  [On Thursday, Joshua Johnson on public radio's 1A hosted an important  show about preserving Holocaust survivor stories.]

 

We cannot forget.  It's barely fathomable that the lives of those beautiful souls at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh were taken not even two weeks ago. Only 20 years from Armistice Day to Kristallnacht. And 80 years from then to now.  History is important.  

 

Please visit the ever-thoughtful Michelle at Today's Little Ditty for this week's Roundup. 

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Poetry Friday: A few timely lines by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

 

 

Our amazing Jama has a thoughtful, pull-no-punches Poetry Friday Roundup post on the eve of the midterm elections. This week, I'm taking a cue from the host post and sharing a few compatible verses! 

 

Here are the last few stanzas of a poem called "We as Women" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935).

 

From: SUFFRAGE SONGS and VERSES

by CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN
THE CHARLTON COMPANY, 1911

 

...

 

We, that were born of one mother,
And reared in the self-same place,
In the school and the church together,
We of one blood, one race!

 

Now then, all forward together!
But remember, every one,
That 'tis not by feminine innocence
The work of the world is done.

 

The world needs strength and courage,
And wisdom to help and feed–
When, "We, as women" bring these to man,
We shall lift the world indeed.

 

 

(You can read the whole poem here.)

 

I also found a great quote of hers appropriate for All Saints Day, Dia de los Muertos, etc.:

 

"Death? Why this fuss about death? Use your imagination, try to visualize a world without death! Death is the essential condition of life, not an evil."

 

And another which might tie all of this together:

 

"Eternity is not something that begins after you're dead. It is going on all the time. We are in it now."

 

Learn more about the author here.

 

Thanks to Jama for hosting, and for inspiring me to look to the past for some present-moment inspiration!

 

(PS - Several really devastating environmental reports have come out this week, about how fast species are vanishing and about the impacts of climate change.  If you've had it with humans - understandable - go cast a vote for the planet!)

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Poetry Friday - See What's Buzzing at Brenda's!

Howdy, All - Some weeks I can walk and chew gum at the same time; other weeks, there's just too much sticky gum... ;0) I'm busy packing up to head out of town for my annual week of school visits near Atlanta as part of the Cobb EMC & Gas South's  Literacy Week. Go enjoy all the offerings with Beautiful Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales, and I'll see you back here next time!

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Poetry Friday - Longfellow's Maiden and Weathercock

Wood engraving by Boyd Hanna in The Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Heritage Press, 1943.
 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I know hearts are heavy this week for those affected by another brutal hurricane.  I found it a little crazy that with family members and like-family friends from Central Florida up through Charlotte, we were all experiencing some effects of this storm within hours of each other.  Beaufort was once again very fortunate.  We did hunker down for a tornado warning near midnight on Wednesday night, and our power went out for a few hours not long thereafter, but other than lots of wind, my corner of town at least was all right. (Schools and government offices were closed Thursday.)

 

I stood in front of the television in disbelief Thursday morning when The Weather Channel showed the first drone images of Mexico Beach, a place my folks have enjoyed visiting in the past.  A few battered structures remained, but mostly - empty slabs where countless houses and businesses used to be.  Nothing.  Left. Prayers and more prayers for all who are dealing with so many kinds of losses.

 

(Some PF regulars might know that our own Jan Godown Annino is from Tallahassee; I hope she won't mind my sharing that I reached her by text Thursday morning, and they are okay.)

 

I wish I had the right words for comfort today, but instead, the diversion of a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, which was published in 1880 in "Youth's Companion."  The view over the sea is a much more pleasant one in this ballad-like poem.  

 

 

MAIDEN AND WEATHERCOCK

 

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

               MAIDEN

 

O Weathercock on the village spire,

With your golden feathers all on fire,

Tell me, what can you see from your perch

Above there over the tower of the church?

 

 

             WEATHERCOCK

 

I can see the roofs and the streets below,

And the people moving to and fro,

And beyond, without either roof or street,

The great salt sea, and the fisherman's fleet.

 

I can see a ship come sailing in 

Beyond the headlands and harbor of Lynn,

And a young man standing on the deck

With a silken kerchief round his neck.

 

Now he is pressing it to his lips,

And now he is kissing his finger-tips,

And now he is lifting and waving his hand,

And blowing the kissses toward the land.

 

 

               MAIDEN

 

Ah, that is the ship from over the sea,

That is bringing my lover back to me,

Bringing my lover so fond and true,

Who does not change with the wind like you.

 

 

              WEATHERCOCK

 

If I change with all the winds that blow,

It is only because they made me so,

And people would think it wondrous strange,

If I, a Weathercock, should not change.

 

O pretty Maiden, so fine and fair,

With your dreamy eyes and your golden hair,

When you and your lover meet to-day,

You will thank me for looking some other way.

 

 

I found this poem in The Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, part of THE AMERICAN POETS series edited by Louis Untermeyer for The Heritage Press (1943). I'm smitten with the wood engraving illustrations throughout, by 20th Century artist and illustrator Boyd Hanna. 

 

For so many in our country (including Puerto Rico) and around the world reeling from recent natural disasters, prayers for healing and for the eventual changes of direction that time brings.

 

Our gracious host for the Roundup this week is the ever-amazing Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids.  Enjoy all the offerings!

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Poetry Friday... Go See Tabatha!

Greetings from beneath piles of jewelry findings and spooky decorations... I'm getting ny studio ready for tonight's First Friday downtown and didn't quite conjure up a post.  See you next week! :0)  

 

Enjoy all the poetic offereings rounded up by Tabatha this week at The Opposite of Indifference - She's got Goethe and Gingkos, and lots of wonderful links. 

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Poetry Friday - The Poetry of US

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Are your bags packed?

 

This week the third National Geographic volume of poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis launched into the world, THE POETRY OF US.  (Earlier collections are THE BOOK OF ANIMAL POETRY and THE BOOK OF NATURE POETRY - both full of natural wonders and animal magnetism!)

 

THE POETRY OF US invites readers to journey from one end of the country to the other to savor the culture, history, and quirks of the many varied places we call home. It is divided into eight sections:  New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Great Plains, Rocky Mountains West, Pacific Coast (including Hawaii and Alaska), and Territories. You'll find thoughtful poems, cheerful poems, challenging poems, heartbreaking poems... I've only just begun to delve in.  

 

I'm beyond thrilled to have a poem included, along with many other Poetry Friday folks.  (I hope there are lots of sneak peeks celebrated in posts!)  My Philadelphia-themed poem shares a page with a powerful one by Charles Waters called "City of Brotherly Love."  And just a couple pages back are a couple of 'our' Lauras on the same page - "Beach Day" by Laura Shovan and "Water, Water Everywhere:  A Delaware Chant" by Laura Purdie Salas.  It's an honor share book space with so many poetry friends and their fine poems in each geographical section.  

 

There are traditional poems such as the Navajo "Twelfth Song of Thunder" and several poems with translations, as well as timeless poems by national literary lights including Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Robert Frost, among others.  More than 200 poems in all!

 

A Frost quote leads us in, in fact: 

 

"All poetry begins with Geography."

 

Our editor extradordinaire offers an enchanting introduction and a final note with poetic invitation. I look forward to sharing this volume and all its breadth and depth with my third-grade-teacher daughter, Morgan, and with family and friends, as well as with young readers and writers in schools. 

 

Here's my contribution, celebrating the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, the nation's largest public art project.  (If you're in that vicinity, it happens to be Mural Arts Month with events from Sept. 28 through November 3!  Click here for more info.)

 

 

Mural Compass

 

Tall figures rise from city ground.

They speak to me without a sound

from vibrant faces, facing sun -

these paintings are for everyone.

 

Chartreuse and purple pop the street,

kaleidoscoping at my feet.

Graffiti marks are now long gone.

These paintings are for everyone.

 

On buildings bare and bridges wide

where history and hope collide

shine songs of freedom, fame, and fun-

These paintings are for everyone.

 

©Robyn Hood Black

 

 

This poem is a kyrielle - a centuries-old French form with eight syllables per line and a repeating end line in couplets or quatrains, with a minimum of three stanzas.  (Its origins are liturgical; the name comes from Old French kyriele, literally, kyrie eleison, from Late Latin, according to Miriam Webster.)

 

Deepest thanks to J. Patrick Lewis for this national treasure of a collection.  Lewis has penned more than 110 poetry and picture books for young readers and in 2011 he received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. He served as US Children's Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013.  He continues to travel across the country inspiring students and grown-ups.

 

Now point your compass over to Deowriter, where the oh-so-talented Jone is hosting the Roundup from her lovely writer blog, and making it a GREAT MORNING all day long.  Thanks, Jone!

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