instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Life on the Deckle Edge

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!)

29 Comments
Post a comment

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).

1 Comments
Post a comment

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!

21 Comments
Post a comment

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. 

11 Comments
Post a comment

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)

Be the first to comment

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! 

24 Comments
Post a comment

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

21 Comments
Post a comment

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

18 Comments
Post a comment

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)

9 Comments
Post a comment

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!)

5 Comments
Post a comment