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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Poem Postcard Swap!

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Can you believe we're sliding into the last week of January?  I can't.  But I sure have enjoyed ushering in 2020 with poetic, artistic surprises in the mailbox.  The postcard poem swap, coordinated by the amazing Jone MacCulloch, is a fun way to celebrate a new decade's beginnings.

 

Jone tossed out a possible prompt/inspiration in the form of the Chinese New Year, and this year the animal star of the zodiac is... the Rat!  The Lunar New Year officially begins this Saturday, the 25th, and celebrations will continue through Feb. 8th or 11th or so.  (Unfortunately, the virus outbreak is curtailing much of the customary travel and plans in China... a logistically awful time for such a crisis.)

 

Here are the wonderful poem postcards which have scurried inside my door - some with whiskers and tails, others not, several in haiku, others not. Enjoy! (All poems are copyrighted by their authors.)

 

 

Linda Mitchell's colorful card features a fetching text-bodied, line drawn literary rat with a bit of fabled history (about the Jade Emporer and the animals seeking to be his guards.)  Boxed in are these lovely words:

 


Some days we dash
to win the race.

 

Others, friends carry us
over dangerous rivers.

 

Each a heavenly gift.

Happy New Year, 2020.

 

 

********************************

 

 

Irene Latham brings on some perfect January imagery:

 

 

Blades slice

easy 8s

across ice pond

 

You breathe

teeter 

weave

 

arms tight

flung w i d e

tight again

 

Just you

with your tingly

truths

 

your deliberate

unmittened

heart

 

and a whirl

of white

waiting

 


********************************

 

 

A Happy New Year 2020 Fireworks card from Kimberly M. Hutmacher offers these sparkling words:

 

Crackle, fizz, flash, bang!

Bold dreams bursting from the sky.

New hope springing forth!

 


********************************

 

 

Rebecca Herzog is up to a little mischief:

 

little snow angel

with snowballs in mittened hands

devious device

 

 


********************************

 

 

Margaret Simon takes on a triolet (I love triolets!)

 

 

In New Year's arms, we find a space

open for our thoughts to inspire,

dreams seeded in winter with grace.

In New Year's arms, we find a space

to refresh a lost sense of place,

and find hope for what we aspire.

In New Year's arms, we find this space

open for our thoughts to inspire.

(Margaret's words have been inspiring to me as I've been trying to wrangle order out of chaos in my studio, and also in my wee home office, where my computer is.  Thanks for the timely encouragement, Margaret!)

 


********************************

 

 

More literary collage fun from Kay McGriff!  Her card features the image of a stack of books, against a backdrop of text from a Harry Potter volume....

 

stacks of books, rivers

of words beckon adventure

through the new year

 

(A little book spine poetry sandwiched in there, too?) :0)

 


********************************

 

Jone MacCulloch shares her gorgeous photography along with this comforting poem:

 

incoming tide brings

words on waves

throughout the decade

 

 


********************************

 

And Robert Ertman has a little fun in the natural world:

 

winterberry--

among fifty shades of brown

 

 


********************************

 

I'm grateful to begin a new year - and new decade - with these fabulous people and lively poems!  (A couple of folks on my "list" aren't represented; here's hoping nothing has gotten lost in the mail.  We've had a few delivery mishaps this month....)

 

Our wonderful Kat Apel is hosting Poetry Friday this week; continued prayers and light to Autstralia and all her inhabitants, including Kat, and Sally, who hosted earlier this month. 

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Poetry Friday - (Postcard Nod) and Go See Catherine!

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  This weekend finds us with an extended family get-together, so this post is just a skipping-stone to next week.  But I did want to mention I'm loving the wonderful postcards gracing my mailbox as part of the winter poem postcard swap courtesy of Jone MacCulloch. What an inspiring bunch of creative souls you are! I am getting my postcards mailed today, in my typical life-on-the-edge, deadline-taunting fashion.... ;0)  

 

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday weekend as we celebrate the life of one of our country's heroes.  For all kinds of great poetry for any occasion, head on over to Catherine's at Reading to the Core for this week's Roundup! 

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Happy Janiveer.... with Birds

 

Greetings and Happy Janiveer, Poetry Lovers!

 

After a few weeks of being slammed with Etsy orders before the holidays (thanks to anyone who contributed to those late nights! :0) ), and then the better part of two weeks road-tripping to visit family hither and yon, I'm still "starting" my New Year.  I SHOULD have spent every free hour this week restoring order in my studio (not to mention house/home office).  Somehow, I also took little detours into a local thrift shop or two to see what new (old) things might call my name.

 

I found a hardcover edition of a book I love, THE COUNTRY DIARY OF AN EDWARDIAN LADY by Edith Holden.  I've professed my affections for this tome before, as Jeff gave me a cherished paperback copy early in our marriage.  But for a buck going to a good cause, I succombed to bringing home this larger version, too.  

 

Our Dear Edith opens her January pages with  notes on Janus, and Epiphany (Jan. 6), and an excerpt from Spenser's Faerie Queen, and mottoes such as:  "If the grass do grow in Janiveer/It grows the worse for it all the year."  Her illustrations of Blue Tits, a Cole (Coal) Tit and Great Tit are delightful. 

 

What exactly are these birds, you ask?  Well, good thing that my Christmas gift from my son, Seth, was a copy of Collins Bird Guide - the Most complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. (Here's a British link to that bird family in case you were not similarly gifted.  It describes these charming feathered friends as "small birds with plain or colourful plumages, stout legs and strong feet and short, triangular bills," noting that some have crests, and all are frequent visitors to bird feeders.)  Last February I included a photo of one from our 2018 trip to Scotland in my Poetry Friday Roundup post here.

 

Edith Holden includes one more spread of January musings - two poetic selections and an illustration of dead leaves - before her daily entries for the month.

 

Here is her excerpt from "Frost at Midnight" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), the last stanza:

 

 

  Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the night-thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

 

 

(You can read the whole poem here.)

 

(I'm quietly swooning at the quiet last line.)

 

The always-shining Sally Murphy hosts our Roundup this week; so glad to "see" her as I know we are all worried about our Australian friends.  (Continued prayers for everyone through those fires, Sally and Kat.)  Click over to see what she's been up to, and to enjoy all the poetry links!  

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Happy New Year - of Poetry!

Greetings on this first Poetry Friday of 2020!  We just got back last night from a long and wonderful trip at several stopping points seeing both sides of the family, so I didn't get a real post together for today.  But I was delighted to see lovely Linda's post featuring the Winter Poem Swap goodies I sent her way right  before the holidays. :0)  As I'm now getting my studio ready for First Friday downtown this evening, so I'll jump back in for good next week. Visit the wonderful Carol's Corner for this week's Roundup. :0)

Happy New Year!

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Happy Holidays & Enjoy the Roundup at Buffy’s!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Yayyyy, Solstice! (Taking a little holiday break over here - see you after we cross into 2020! XO.). Enjoy all the poetic offerings graciously rounded up at Buffy's Blog this week. Thanks, Buffy!

http://buffysilverman.com/poetry-friday-the-almost-solstice-edition/

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Poetry Friday - Winter Poetry Swap Goodness from Linda Baie!

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Once again, our wonderful Tabatha Yeatts organized a Winter Poem Swap - just the thing to make one slow down for five minutes in the midst of the seasonal chaos and think and breathe and ponder and wonder.  (Oops - am I confessing too much?)  I was delighted to receive a magical box in the mail from Linda Baie, who fills the world with poetry and goodness every season.  It had special fun touches such as a rustic verdigris-y metal bird clip, and cheerful red and white baker's twine. 

 

Real confession:  Linda has NOT received my LATE package in return - yet - because it just got mailed Thursday.  I am lucky she is a woman of patience and understanding.  Saturday's deadline whhooossshed right by me before I looked up to see what day it was.  (I am still quite covered up in Etsy orders, in double digits waiting in the wings.  Thrilled, but I've been burning LOTS of midnight oil!!)

 

I waited for a snatch of time to open Linda's package, so I could savor the surprises.  So much to savor!

 

She sent a lovely note.  

 

She sent a wonderful old book full of The Best Poems of 1930. (!) :0)

 

She sent THE most scrumptiuos toffee, explaining that it is a local favorite, and I find that 100 percent believable. Yum.  And more yum!

 

And, she sent a lively, colorful collage and poem!  A bird with a playful pattern - and a STAR eye :0) - floats and flitters, with real feathers, too.    It is the perfect accompaniment to Linda's poem, which she signed, "For Robyn."

 

 

Best Bird

 

I remember the magic

  when I was a wee bird. 

I tried to be the best bird on the block. 

I flitted and fluttered around the trees,

hoverd and hopped

in and out of bushes

being the bird that I was... not. 

 

Now grown, my secret reveals

I'm still flying in my dreams. 

 

 

©Linda Baie.  All rights reserved. 

 

 

Wonderful, isn't it?  Conjures up all kinds of memories and possibilities.  

 

Do you have a favorite line or phrase?  I'd have to say I just "took off" with that final line! 

 

MANY thanks, Linda, for your talents and your generous heart.  

 

Now, fly yourself right over to Elizabeth Steinglass's blog for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup!  (Thanks, Liz.)

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Poetry Friday - Kris Kringle's Surprise

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I hope your holiday season is filled with sparkle and light, at least here and there and in surprising places. I've been up to my elf-ears in Etsy orders (not complaining!) and so have been running on coffee fumes for the past week or two. I'm still listing items online, and on the home front, today is our First Friday that is also the "Night on the Town" downtown. Shops stay open with grown-up refreshments and such, and there is music, sometimes puppets, and general family holiday merriment on the streets, with the lighting of the Christmas tree and stirring music by US Marine Corps Band members. I have much to do to get my wee little shop ready!

 

Since I'm currently immersed in my favorite things - art supplies and old books - and since I've no free space in the ol' brain for anything too profound or complicated this week, I peeked around for something old and fun to share today.  In one of my volumes of CROWN JEWELS, I found a poem I hadn't stumbled upon before.  I hope it brings a chuckle!

 

It's from CROWN JEWELS or Gems of Literature, Art and Music Being Choice Selections From the Writings and Musical Productions of the Most Celebrated Authors From the Earliest Times (etc. - it actually goes on and on!), compiled by Henry Davenport Northrop, D. D., and published by W. J. Connaton, Kansas City, in 1888.

 

 

Kris Kringle's Surprise

by Henry Davenport

 

With heavy pack upon his back, 

  And smiles upon his face,

  Kris Kringle waded through the snow,

  And went at rapid pace.

His sack that made him sweat and tug

  Was stuffed with pretty toys,

And up and down throughout the town

  He sought the girls and boys.

 

Not long before, within one door,

  One little Johnny Street,

By lucky chance got into pants,

  And grew about two feet.

On Christmas eve he asked for leave

  To hang upon a peg

The woolen stockings he had worn,

  Each with its lengthy leg.

 

The cunning boy, on Christmas joy

  With all his heart was bent,

And for old Kringle's packages

  With all his might he went.

In big surprise Kris Kringle's eyes

  Stuck out and stared around,

For two such stockings as those were

  He ne'er before had found.

 

He thought he'd never get them full,

  They were so strangely deep;

So standing there upon a chair,

  He took a hasty peep:

Young Johnny Street, the little cheat,

  Had watched his lucky chance,

And to the stockings, at the top,

  Had pinned his pair of pants.

 

 

Now, take your mischeivous selves right on over to fiction, instead of lies, where Tanita is rounding us up today.  Thanks, Tanita!

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Poetry Friday - Remembering Dear Ones, with Gratitude...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers, and Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for you.

 

It's been a week of wistful and sweet remembrances, showing up in unexpected moments during the retail hurry and flurry over here.  My mother-in-law died in February, and her birthday was Sunday; a dear family friend died in July, and her birthday was Tuesday.  And I've been thinking of Lee Bennett Hopkins so fondly and often; have you? Three months he's been gone, and I'm reminded of him so often.  

 

I wanted to find a poem in honor of these, and others, who won't be around our Thanksgiving tables this year but whose spirits still guide and warm us, nudge us, make us notice some odd or delightful thing here or there.

 

I turned to my mother-in-law's college copy of THE ARBUTHNOT ANTHOLOGY of Children's Literature from the 1950s.  I've mentioned it before, having borrowed it before, and my sister-in-law kindly saved it for me after Marge's death.  On the inside cover is written in pencil, "Margie Pinson Black" in Marge's hand, and the price - just $7.00. I always remember Marge's saying, "That was my favorite class!"

 

Our friend Cheryl would have enjoyed all the stories and poems as well.  Both of our kids were lucky to have her as their third grade teacher.  Morgan has now taught third grade herself for several years, selected to represent her school in a leadership program this year at the county level, and Seth is off in seminary, blowing the grad school classroom curves as he did in college.  [While Morgan practically learned to read while in diapers, Seth took his time and had to get over some second-grade frustrations; Cheryl worked her magic to help him become a confident student.]

 

Here's a poem by Grace Noll Howell ( 1877-1969) I think they and Lee would like.  I wasn't familiar with the author, but here's an article about her from Baylor University in Texas, and Wikipedia has an entry.  She was a much-loved inspirational and religious writer in the early 1900s, and was Poet Laureate of Texas for three years, beginning in 1936.

 

 

The Day Will Bring Some Lovely Thing

 

Grace Noll Crowell

 

"The day will bring some lovely thing,"

I say it over each new dawn:

"Some gay, adventurous thing to hold

Against my heart when it is gone."

And so I rise and go to meet

The day with wings upon my feet.

 

I come upon it unaware -

Some sudden beauty without name:

A snatch of song - a breath of pine - 

A poem lit with golden flame;

High tangled bird notes - keenly thinned -

Like flying color on the wind.

 

No day has ever failed me quite -

Before the grayest day is done,

I come upon some misty bloom

Or a late line of crimson sun.

Each night I pause - remembering

Some gay, adventurous, lovely thing.

 

 

A couple of pages before that poem were a few lines from a short Langston Hughes poem, "Heaven." Lee loved Langston Hughes so, I'll share the whole poem, which I found after a little searching:

 

 

Heaven

 

Langston Hughes

 

Heaven is
The place where
Happiness is
Everywhere.

 

Animals
And birds sing---
As does
Everything.

 

To each stone,
"How-do-you-do?"
Stone answers back,
"Well! And you?"

 

Here's to lovely things, and adventure, and conversing with stones, and to those we remember with full hearts.

 

For more poetic inspirations today, saunter over to savor the Roundup at Sloth Reads, hosted by the lovely and adventurous Rebecca! 

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Poetry Friday - A Wee Evergreen Found Poem...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Have you been among the 75 percent of the country unpacking coats and scarves and socks this week?  Brrrr!  It's been two layers of sweaters on the Chihuahua for her morning walks the past few days...

 

Perhaps it gets us in the mood for the holiday season, though.  Thursday night our little downtown began an initiative for shops to stay open until 7 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays.  I tossed my beret into the ring and agreed, with just a few exceptions for holidays themselves.  

 

So the elves are busy, busy - though not nearly as far along as I thought they'd be by now!  (Okay, truth be told, the one rather sleep-deprived and overworked elf is still working on getting a bunch of new items listed on Etsy this weekend. Bring on the coffee!  The tea!  The hot chocolate!) ;0)  I'm slowly getting more collage & altered pieces-in-progress finished up, like the one above celebrating the coming holly-laced holidays.

 

 

lovers of
delight turn
to


evergreens,

holly and
mistletoe
with
ivy

 

©Robyn Hood Black, found in "The Garden in December" in a bound compilation of Cassell's Family Magazine, Cassell & Company Limited, London, Paris & Melbourne, 1890.

 

(More coming soon, including ornaments!)

 

In the meantime, I'm hoping to catch up on some Poetry Friday visiting during the quiet stretches in the studio.  One never knows, but there's usually a good bit of quiet in those open hours, since I'm tucked upstairs in a historic building,.  Folks have to 1.) want to come up and 2.) be able to navigage those steep stairs if they do! 

 

This week's Roundup start with a big ol' par-TAY over at Michelle's Today's Little Ditty, with the launch of THE BEST OF TODAY'S LITTLE DITTY 2017-18.  (I'm thrilled to have two poems in another volume in this series!) Poetry always makes a good gift, no?   Enjoy the festivities, and all the great links Michelle is rounding up. Congrats, Michelle, and Cheers to all!

 

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Poetry Friday - New Aging in Haiku Book and Happy Birthday, Bro!

(Hope it's okay that I swiped a couple of Facebook pictures taken by your friends?  ;0) )

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

First today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my amazing older brother, he of the pictures above.  Not to give away his age or anything, but NEXT year one of us will no longer be in our 50s? ;0) 

 

Mike doesn't hear it from me nearly enough, but he's one of my heroes.  As a young boy he had some leg surgery, and our folks were told he might have difficulty walking, might not ever run.  Well, he just tells people the big ol' scars on his lower legs are shark bites as he makes his way from triathlon finish lines to the winners' podiums.  Yep, while he was taking home hardware for First Place in his age group this past August, yours truly was hobbling around with that broken ankle, since my athletic coordination is challenged at the "walking and conversing simultaneously" level. 

  

And while Mike is quite the reader, writer, insights-wrangler, and cultural connoisseur, he also designs computer chips or something that is so far beyond my skill set I don't even quite know how to describe it.  For decades he's worked as an electrical engineer, after heading off to Vandy at age 16 to double major in math and electrical engineering.  

 

He's heard me, perhaps, mention the name "Sheldon" in conversations about him (haven't you, Mike?)... but he's also figured out how to be quite the social butterfly after navigating school years while two years younger than his peers, but way past them in the math & science books....  Of course, Scott helps.  He's the other handsome devil pictured above, and I'm so very thankful to have him as my brother-in-law. 

 

So, you've gathered Mike is a very YOUNG (and fit) 59! Still, I've already gotten a Christmas present for him - a hot-off-the-press copy of Robert Epstein's newest anthology, ALL THE WAY HOME:  AGING IN HAIKU (Middle Island Press). Robert has edited many anthologies and written his own collections.  On this subject of aging, he recently published a book of his own work:  TURNING THE PAGE TO OLD:  HAIKU & SENRYU.

 

I've just started reading my copy of ALL THE WAY HOME, and it's chock-full of tender, profound, heartbreaking and hilarious poems that will have all kinds of readers of a certain age nodding here and there, or thinking of someone they know.  As usual, Robert has provided a thoughtful introduction (after sharing many wonderful quotations on the topic).  In addition to haiku, there are some tanka and haiga as well. 

 

Here is a taste of just a few poems.

 

First, for Mike, looking forward to the next year...

 

 

sixtieth summer --

I fold the dryer's heat

into the towel

 

©Lenard D. Moore, originally published in Modern Haiku, 50.1, 2019.  Posted with permission.

 

 

(I remember being struck by the gorgeousness of that poem the first time I read it in Modern Haiku.)

 

Lenard D. Moore is a rock star in the haiku world, and I was honored to meet him a few years ago at a conference.  He's a past president of the Haiku Society of America, an award-winning writer across many genres, from poetry to criticism, an encourager and nurturer, a college professor, and recipient of the 2014 North Carolina Literature Award.  Seek out his work in the journals and anthologies; you will be rewarded!  Or enjoy some jazzy creative and collaborative presentation, if you ever get the chance.

 

Second, after recently returning from our 35th Furman University reunion (Jeff and I married two weeks after our graduation there in 1984!) , I particularly enjoyed this poem:

 

 

forty-fifth reunion...

seniors

again

 

©Charlotte Degregorio, first published in Haiku & Senryu:  A Simple Guide for All, 2014. Posted with permission.

 

 

And, if you don't know Charlotte Degregorio and her work, you are in for more enjoyment and enlightenment!  She is the author of several books and writes, and teaches writing, across multiple genres.  She has served as an officer in the Haiku Society for America and currently maintains a wonderful blog for writers featuring "Daily Haiku" - just scroll through the many treasures she selects to share if you want to read lots of wonderful haiku from around the world. She has also been recognized by her state, Illinois, with a Commendation from former Governor Bruce Rauner for her achievements in literary arts and education. 

 

Lastly, below are three of the five poems I have in the anthology.  As you can imagine, I'm honored to share pages with poets such as these!  I'm enjoying reading haiku by friends and names I know, as well as new-to-me poets, among the hundreds of poems. 

 

 

winter rain

the fine print

smaller each year

 

©Robyn Hood Black, first published in Chrysanthemum, 11, 2012

 

 

first frost

today she misplaced

our names

 

©Robyn Hood Black, first published in Frogpond, 42:1, 2019

 

 

years later

my Achilles heel

still just that

 

©Robyn Hood Black, first published in bottle rockets, #37, 2017

 

 

Click here to read more about or purchase your own copy of ALL THE WAY HOME on Amazon.  It's nice to have company on the journey.  Warmest thanks to Lenard and Charolotte for allowing me to share these fine sample poems from the book. 

 

And for more company on the Poetry Friday journey, join our ever-young and talented Irene at Live Your Poem for this week's Roundup! 

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