icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Spring!

From Songs for Little People by Helen Stratton, with illustrations by H. Stratton, published by Constable in London, 1896.  Source:  The British Library. 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  The Spring Equinox is almost upon us.  I sense we are all hungry for Spring.  (Of course, in our region of the country, Spring storms are nothing to sneeze at.  My family members spread around a few states were fortunate in the recent line of severe weather that stretched through all of them.) 

 

Now the pollen - that IS something to sneeze at. If the layers of gold covering everything are any indication, Mother Nature is on schedule for all this annual renewal. 

 

I stumbled on the delightful poem and illustration above, while searching for an image to go with the poem below. So today's post nods to Britain's song thrush twice. (A frequent subject in British poetry.  Here's a bit more about this musical birdie at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.) In my own yard, it's the cardinals, Carolina wrens, bluebirds, Carolina chickadees,  some sparrows and warblers, mockingbirds and brown thrashers making a ruckus.  How about yours?

 

Here's a sonnet by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) for today:

 

 

Spring


Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
  When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
  Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
  The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
  The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling. 

 

What is all this juice and all this joy?
  A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
  Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
  Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

 

More about GMH and his poetry here  and here

 

 

Earlier this week, I came across a couple of quotes by Joan Walsh Anglund, and I was wondering how old she was and what she'd been up to.  Her illustrations always brought me joy and comfort growing up, and beyond.  While writing this post (Thursday), I meandered into the news that she passed away today.  (Click here to read her obituary in Publishers Weekly.) Here's to all the Spring she brought into lives all over the world. And here's one of her quotes perfect for the season:

 

A bird does not sing because he has an answer.
He sings because he has a song.

    --Joan Walsh Anglund

 

Wishing you and yours a safe and lovely Spring....

 

*Birthday shout-out to our Spring baby, Seth, who turns 26 next week!* 

 

Our outdoorsy Linda Baie has the Roundup over at Teacher Dance, with thoughts of Spring and a wonderful original poem about TIME.  Thanks, Linda, and enjoy, all!

18 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Some Ancient Irish/Family History...?

Adding these and more items as fast as I can! [Update - had some techno-issues with Etsy for some reason trying to make new listings Friday.  Slowly but surely getting some new things added.]   (Here's a link to CELTIC in my Etsy shop.)

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Happy Almost-St. Patrick's Day! I've fallen prey to Celtic whispers again, and though returning to Ireland and The British Isles is not on the near horizon, I've been adding to my collection of books about Celtic ornament and medieval calligraphy and such, and dipping into bits of lore.  

 

I've been away form Ancestry.com for FAR too long, and hope to jump back in later this Spring.  But in addition to the major English/Welsh/Northwestern Europe lines in my family tree, and the more than a third of me that is Scottish, there is this intriguing branch of the family tree thanks to my mother's grandmother, Sarah O'Neal (born in 1861).  I spent a fair bit of time tracing these O'Neals before our family Scotland/Ireland trip in 2018, and there are definitely some characters in that line of folks.

 

I need to go back and double-check, but after some late-night sleuthings back then, it sure looked my family went right on back to a certain Sir Hugh O'Neall who was born at Shane's Castle in Antrim (Northern Ireland) in 1698 and eventually jumped ship in the Delaware Bay. 

 

My meanders then led me to that line of the family going all the way back to  - hold onto your shamrocks – a certain "Niall of the Nine Hostages" – (Niall Noígíallach), an ancient High King of Tara from 379 to 405 A.D.. Whether he existed in more than legend is not completely known, but some Trinity College genetic researchers determined that his DNA can actually be found in three million or so men alive today around the world. (The common Irish surname "O'Neill" - "Ui Neill" in Gaelic -  means 'descendant son of Niall.')

 

**Holiday Note:  Niall of the Nine Hostages is said to be responsible for the capture and enslavement of a 16-year-old boy from Wales named Succat (along with his sisters). This young man grew up to become Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.**

 

So for Poetry Friday, here's part of a dirge singing this ancient king's praises, translated by Kuno Meyer in

Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry, published by Constable & Company Ltd. in London in 1911:

 

 

A DIRGE FOR KING NIALL OF THE NINE HOSTAGES (+ a.d. 405)

 

 

Tuirn son of Torna

 

When we used to go to the gathering with Echu's [15] son,

Yellow as a bright primrose was the hair upon the head of Cairenn's [16] son.

 

Torna

 

Well hast thou spoken, dear son. A bondmaid should be given thee

For the sake of the hair which thou hast likened to the colour of the crown of the primrose.

 

Eyelashes black, delicate, equal in beauty, and dark eyebrows—

The crown of the woad, a bright hyacinth, that was the colour of his pupils.

 

Tuirn son of Torna

 

The colour of his cheeks at all seasons, even and symmetrical:

The fox-glove, the blood of a calf—a feast without a flaw! the crown of the forest in May.

 

Torna

 

His white teeth, his red lips that never reproved in anger—

His shape like a fiery blaze overtopping the warriors of Erin.

 

Like the moon, like the sun, like a fiery beacon was the splendour of Niall:

Like a dragon-ship from the wave without a flaw was Niall, Echu's son.

 

[15]Niall's father.
[16]Niall's mother.

 

You can find the rest at Gutenberg here.

 

(And did Torna really say that Tuirn should be given a 'bondmaid' because of a clever simile about Niall's hair?! Did I read that right? :0! I do quite like that dragon-ship line, though!) 

 

You can find out much more about King Niall with an online search, such as these thoughts by Claire Santry, sharing her genealogical adventures at her website, Irish Geneology Toolkit.  

 

~In the studio, Celtic adventures continue... I've been going a bit crazy making jewelry and other items with reproductions from gorgeous 19th-Century printed plates/manuscripts that I have, featuring ancient Celtic ornaments and designs. Much more to come!~

 

If St. Paddy's Day has you in a celebratory mood, then you'll enjoy all the birthday doings over at My Juicy Little Universe, where Heidi is kindly hosting this week.  Happy Birthday, Heidi!

14 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Mooove on along to Kat's!

Greetings! Got myself a bit busy this week, but moooove on along to our wonderful Kat Apel's place, where she's gathering the herd for the Poetry Friday Roundup and sharing her new book! 

Be the first to comment

Poetry Friday - The 25th Red Moon Haiku Anthology

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Lots of haiku goings-on this past week, which is great with me.

 

First, on Tuesday and Thursday, I presented an online two-part haiku workshop for the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF - near Athens, Ga.), and I loved meeting the most interesting people who participated!  Our own Carol Varsalona was there, as well as other accomplished, fascinating, curious, and generous individuals.  David Oates, who lives in Athens, made the first workshop - tuck that name into your hat for later as you scroll down.

 

Second, I've been letting a commitment simmer for a while and am now ready to stir it into something.  A long-distance friend and accomplished haiku poet asked me last year if I would write the foreword for a sparkling collection of her work.  It's the first time I've written such!  I hope to do the fine quality of her poetry justice.  Such an honor!  I'll share more when she publishes her book.

 

Third, I'm way beyond thrilled to have a poem in jar of rain,  the brand new Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku (edited by Jim Kacian and the Red Moon Editorial Staff).  It's the 25th volume in this annual series, and a standard for excellence in haiku circles.  

 

From the back cover copy:

 

The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku each year assembles the finest haiku and related forms published around the world into a single book.  This volume, twenty-fifth in the most honored series in the history of English-Language Haiku, comprises 163 poems (haiku and senryu), 20 linked forms (haibun, renku, rengay and sequences), and 6 critical pieces on the reading, writing and study of the genre.

 

Jim Kacian writes in the introduction that it's the "unofficial yearbook" of English-Language Haiku - a great description. 

 

Over the course of 2020, more than 3,000 haiku (and related works) by more than 2,000 authors from around the world were nominated for inclusion. Eleven editors read these.  Then the works were placed anonymously on a roster sent to each judge, and five of ten had to vote to include each piece.  (The editor-in-chief sat out this last part.)

 

About five years ago I had a poem included in the RMA by default, because it won honorable mention in a Haiku Society of America contest.  But this is the first time a poem of mine got plucked right out of the haiku universe, so to speak. 

 

The reason I told you to tuck David's name under your hat is that he has a poem in this volume as well, as do some other poets whose work has graced the pages of this blog over time.  David granted me permission to share his poem, so here are both of ours:

 

 

 

 

family Bible

two dates by every name

but one

 

 

©David Oates. 

Originally appeared in Kokako #32 (New Zealand), eds. Patricia Prime and Margaret Beverland.

 

 

 

 

 

cold house

the children in the pictures

divide the pictures

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black. 

Originally appeared in bottle rockets #42, ed. Stanford M. Forrester.

 

 

I love these Red Moon anthologies, because not only do they offer a sampling of fine haiku from across the globe, they hint at what was going on the world any particular year as well.  Most entries in jar of rain are pretty timeless/universal (as I suppose David's and mine are), but there are also pandemic-themed poems and linked verses. 

 

The gorgeous cover, by the way, is a detail of a woodblock print by Hiroshige, Sudden Shower over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Ataki (1857).

 

You can peruse the many offerings of Red Moon Press here, specifically jar of rain here, and learn more about David and his various creative adventures (including Wordland, his streaming show on UGA's public radio station) here

 

Karen Edmisten kindly hosts our Poetry Friday Roundup this week - Enjoy!

26 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Go Visit Ruth - and, Play Along!

Oops - It's happened again.  Here I was just making my way through the days of the week when, ouit of nowhere, Friday up and nipped me on the heels!  I've got my fingers in a few too many pies this week - one of which is preparing for the free online haiku workshop I'm leading, coming up Tuesday and Thursday through the Oconee (Ga.) Cultural Arts Foundation.  Looking forward to seeing some of you there! But today, make your way over to There Is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town, where the amazing Ruth has our Roundup, and an opportunity to contribute to a poem she's orchestrating, too. 

 

Be well!

Be the first to comment

Poetry Friday - a blue haiku

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I had something else planned for this week, but, alas - glitches and car issues and such, so it can emerge later.

 

And speaking of plans yet to come to fruition, I had many more Valentine-y items I was going to make for my artsyletters shop this year, but they'll keep, too.  I did get some new things in the shop and posted on Instagram, including the freshly baked necklace above with vintage letter charms I couldn't resist working with. (Listing coming this eve.)

 

On a heavier note, I've tuned in to a fair bit of the impeachment trial this week.  I can't imagine the trauma felt by those who were there, as they relive the events of the insurrection and perhaps learn new things themselves about it.  I generally keep politics out of my blog posts, but I do not agree with one my state's (SC) vocal US Senators, who recently stated he is "ready to move on."  Regardless of the trial's outcome, as a country we need to acknowledge what happened, give voice to lives lost and others forever altered, with gratitude for the amazing courage and bravery shown on Jan. 6 by those who faced the mob. Oh, and make the effort to preserve our democratic republic. 

 

So now that I've changed the tone, I'll share a somber haiku just published in bottle rockets.

 

 

one blue feather

then another

then the pile

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

bottle rockets Vol. 22, No. 2 (Issue #44)

 

I was hoping to make this the year I jumped back into Cornell's Great Backyard Bird Count, but that might have to wait another year, too.  Or maybe I can participate a little bit?!  Anyone can join in and help keep track of our amazing feathered earthly comanions.  (I did learn to identify a new visitor to my new bird feeder this week, using The Cornell Lab's wonderful phone app- a pine warbler!)

 

Thanks for reading along and making safe spaces for the gamut of human (and bird) experiences.  Be sure to visit the lovely Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone for this week's Roundup. (She happens to include a Mary Oliver poem about one of my favorite birds, the Carolina Wren.)

19 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Hop Over to Jone's!

Greetings, and - Oops!  How'd it get to be February already?  I've been busy with Etsy orders and making a bunch of last-minute Valentine items to list in my Etsy shop this weekend, and Friday has snuck up on me. 

 

Someone who IS ready for Poetry Friday is Jone MacCulloch, our lovely and talented host for the Roundup.  Enjoy the offerings!  I 'll see you next Friday with a *love*-themed post... ;0)

Be the first to comment

Poetry Friday - One More Poem Postcard Share & Haiku Workshop

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

First, HUGE Congrats to some of our hometown poetic heroes... Monday was a big awards day in kidlit-land.  THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO, written by our own Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha & illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, and published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, was named a Caldecott Honor Book!  And A PLACE AT THE TABLE, by Saadia Faruqi and our own Laura Shovan, published by Clarion Books, was a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book.  CONGRATS, you two, and to all who were recognized across all the categories. 

 

Speaking of nice surprises, I received another New Year Poem Postcard this week!  Rebecca Herzog sent this energetic collage/haiku combination above.  I was humming along to the excerpted lyrics floating in the art on the front (love those layers!!) before reading her own musical poem on the back. 

 

 

 

A QUIET MORNING

REFLECTIONS ON A NEW YEAR

MUSIC TO MY EARS

 

 

 

Image and poem ©Rebecca Herzog.

 

 

Thanks for the uplifting mailbox gift, Becky!

 

And, speaking of haiku, I'm excited to share that I'll be leading a free online two-part haiku workshop for the Oconee County Arts Foundation (Watkinsville, Georgia) at the end of next month, February 23rd and 25th, from 1-2:30 p.m. each day. It's part of a wonderful month-long program, "Small Works Inspired by Poetry."

Click here for more info, and here for the description and registration page.   The foundation director says local and non-local folks are welcome to register. (These free workshops will not be recorded by OCAF since participants will be potentially on the screen and permissions would be required, etc.)

 

Now, tap your toes and warm up your voice - our beautiful Jan at Bookseedstudio has the Roundup today on a theme that Becky's poem and art complement perfectly! 

16 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Two more Poem Postcards celebrating all things NEW!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Two more New Year Poem Postcard swap goodies came my way this week.  These haiku are a PERFECT way to express and celebrate our country's turning the page to a new chapter this week.

 

First up, Margaret gifted the beyond-glorious photo of a blue heron in flight, with these words:

 

 

On wingbeats of blue

heron rises unstatued

heralding the new

 

Image and poem ©Margaret Simon

 

Heralding the new, indeed! 

 

And then came Mary Lee's wonderful offering.  I have to add that it was postmarked the day after Christmas, and it JUST got to my mailbox on Thursday.  [I'd say I can't believe it took that long, but after many headaches worrying about Etsy orders getting to recipients on time in December (a few just plain didn't), I do believe it.  The USPS was stretched far too thin.  Here's hoping we all might be finished with quarantining and such by the time the holidays arrive THIS year.]

 

Mary Lee's words were worth the wait, and just right for this week in history:

 

 

recently minted

shiny coin of here and now

ready to be spent 

 

(and who doesn't live Rembrandt?!)

 

Image and poem ©Mary Lee Hahn

 

 

For more of Margaret's writing, click here; for more of Mary Lee's writing, click here; and to learn more about the creative pursuits of Jone Rush MacCulloch, who dreamed up the New Year's Postcard exchange, click here

 

Thanks to each of these amazing women.

 

By the way, I noticed Margaret added a handwritten note to her card, and Mary Lee's poem was handwritten, as was the poem I sent out on my cards this month. Did you know tomorrow, Jan. 23, is National Handwriting Day?  I'll be celebrating at artsyletters with earrings featuring sterling silver fountain pen charms that I fell in love with.  I made a pair to 'test drive' and have been wearing them all week. (Also, earrings with vintage pen nibs coming soon....) ;0)

 

Tomorrow is also the birthday of an amazing teacher who regularly brings poetry to life in the classroom - my daughter, Morgan!  Happy Birthday to our Super Hero!

 

Now, one more click to check out this week's Roundup - you'll find it at Laura Shovan's place, where there is always something new and wonderful going on. 

18 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - New Year Poem Post Cards Continued...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  With all the grave news and concerns of the day, I've been grateful for more gifts of poems in my mailbox, thanks to Jone Rush MacCulloch's annual New Year's Poem Postcard Project.

 

Here are three more gems.  Enjoy!

 

From Linda Baie, a gorgeous piece of visual and verbal art related to one of her favorite subjects, trees.  She captured the end of fall in such a beautiful way:

 

 

One

leaf drops;

a maple

skids underneath

a yellow aspen.

Sweetgum's orange joins in.

Odd that a green leaf appears,

lands the middle - spring memory

refuses to be one left alone.

they create a wreath of us, together.

 

Poem and Image ©Linda Baie.

 

 

Kimberly Hutmacher sent a gorgeous photo of a celestial treat that I immediately recognized, having made my family go outside and crane necks forever waiting for its appearance:  last month's visual "convergence" of Jupiter and Saturn at dusk. Kimberly's poem on the back reads:

 

 

Connection longing

Watching the great conjunction

Universal hope

 

Poem and Image ©Kimberly Hutmacher.

 

 

(Thanks for that much-needed glimpse beyond ourselves, Kimberly, and promise of hope!) 

 

And Diane Mayr's name on a poetic/visual project is always a welcome sight.  She embraced the "Year of the Ox" theme with her usual clever take in this haiku:

 

A NEW YEAR...

HONEST DAY'S WORK NO LONGER

AN OXYMORON

 

Poem and Image ©Diane Mayr.

 

 

She also included these words of Japanese New Year's greetings:  Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu.

 

Continued greetings all around, as we make our way through the begining of this new year.  These friends remind us to look at the wonders at our feet, and the wonders far, far away in the night sky, and the wonders of being human!

 

A related bit:  Re. poetry swaps,  I had the good fortune to send a Winter Poem Swap poem (Thanks for organizing, Tabatha Yeatts!) to our dear friend Kathryn Apel in Australia.  Kat was kind enough to share it today on her blog, but the cat photos take the cake. ;0)  I did run my simple poem by our dear friend Michelle H. Barnes, who lived in Australia for several years.  Her hubby, Peter, actually suggested the "buddy" line... and I liked it better than what I had there.  (Shhh... he didn't want credit, so keep that a secret.)  When you go visit the Roundup today, you'll see that Kat's Winter Poem Swap gift to Margaret was written along a similar theme - albeit her poem is flowing with lyrical language and gorgeous details. I do so love our Poetry Friday community, and our "doors" are open to new folks as well as old friends.

 

An unrelated bit:  With Valentine's Day just a month away, on Instagram I'll be featuring "Heartsyletters" offerings from my artsyletters Etsy shop over the next few weeks - gifts for literary Valentines! You can find me at @artsylettersgifts . The first post stars an upcycled '80s metal choker base with an upcycled '50s question-mark-in-a-heart charm.  (I made one to test drive and have been wearing it almost every day this week.) ;0)

 

As mentioned, the lovely Margaret has our Roundup this week at Reflections on the Teche.  Row thee yonder. 

12 Comments
Post a comment