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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Still Topsy Turvy Here, But Go See Mary Lee!

Greetings, Poetry Lovers.... August! How did that happen? Extra love to all you teachers. I'm still popping in and out of town and getting settled cramming all my studio stuff into closet corners and such st home, but I hope to settle down next week. ;0) & Hope you are having an inspiring summer.
Go see Mary Lee for this week's Roundup over at A(nother) Year of Reading - https://ayearofreading.org/

 

Stay safe!!

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Poetry Friday - Featured in Local Life Magazine!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Oh, I've missed you so.  I've been out of town and out of pocket much of the last couple of months.  This time last year, I was quarantined and caring for family members with Covid, right after the death of my father-in-law. What a difference a year makes.  

 

Since May, we've celebrated my sister's wedding in Florida; our son's graduation from grad school at Candler/Emory in Atlanta; a postponed-from-the-holidays family gathering on my husband's side in Georgia; and the wedding of a dear friend's daughter last weekend in Georgia. Also, on Mother's Day weekend, I made a crazy solo trip to the Upstate (the foothills and mountain-y part of South Carolina) to be the first person to see a house that was coming on the market, as we've been hunting a second home/retreat-type place closer to our kids for weekends and holidays and such.  We bought it!  And, yes, it was a crazy experience in a crazy market. 

 

Then another trip over so my hubby Jeff could see what we were buying.... Then out of the blue I learned that rent for my downtown studio/shop space was going up by 70 percent(!). So I packed up seven years worth of artistic hoarding and clunkily moved it all to my house - still sorting it out here. Shhh.  That was right after said son took much of his stuff out of the house post-graduation, to move with his girlfriend to the North Carolina high country.  (His closet is now full of art and framing supplies and such.)  Then came our house closing and moving a bunch of stuff there, and taking a week to set it up and take care of repairs and lots of little necessary things.  [Jone, if you're reading this, you'll like that I've decorated it all with Celtic/Scottish, British, and Irish themes!]

 

And in the midst of all of this wonderful activity, I was invited to submit work to the Local Life Magazine here to be the featured poet for July, and the kind editors and staff chose several summer-friendly haiku to publish this month!  The poems are accompanied by a stunning photograph from the month's featured photographer, Joan Edkhardt. What a treat and what an honor.  

 

You've probably seen most of these before, but here are the poems included, followed by names of the journals in which they first appeared:

 

 

my small insights

a hummingbird

at the trumpet flower

 

 

night thunder

shaking the house

and the dog

 

 

hatchlings - 

beyond orange tape

the sea

 

 

telling it slant

a ghost crab

slips into a hole

 

 

between 

rounds of rain

rounds of treefrogs

 

 

(Haiku originally published in Modern Haiku, Prune Juice, Frogpond, Acorn, and bottle rockets. Poems ©Robyn Hood Black.)

 

 

Click here to peruse the entire issue of our local Local Life Magazine - my poems are almost at the end, and there is a lot of fun sizzle between the covers of the "hot" July issue! 

 

For lots more summer and lots more poetry, visit our wonderful Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone! Thanks for hosting the Roundup, Molly, and Stay Cool, All. 

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Poetry Friday - Um, New Week, Same Deal... ;0)

 
Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Still navigating all the craziness over here.  (See last week.)  In fact, let me just go ahead and give a hearty wave and a catch-you-in-early July!  It'll be a couple-few weeks before the dust settles.  Wishing you and yours Happy Summer-ing as we journey through June and into the rest of Summer.  Be sure to check out the Poetry Friday Roundup today over at Buffy's place.  Thanks for hosting, Buffy!

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Poetry Friday - Boxes, More Boxes, and Emily Dickinson's "Ebon box"....

https://www.edickinson.org/editions/1/image_sets/12173894
Credits
Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
https://library.harvard.edu/collections/emily-dickinson-collection
Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886. Poems: Packet IV, Fascicle 8. Includes 20 poems, written in ink, dated ca. 1860.
Houghton Library - (14c, d) In Ebon Box, when years have flown, J169, Fr180; Portraits are to daily faces, J170, Fr174

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! I've missed you.  We've been happily gallavanting around for weeks to a family wedding, to our son's M. Div. graduation, to a belated "holiday" family gathering, and more.  Very grateful for vaccines.  

 

AND, life is currently crazy - we are also very grateful to have found a great weekend/holidays family-meet-up house, just a couple of hours away from our grown kids, near the mountains.  (We're closing in a couple of weeks.) Soon in addition to our small coastal cottage in the SC Lowcountry, we'll have a small house in the hills of the SC Upstate.  It's not far from where we got engaged in the mountains decades ago, or from our alma mater, Furman University - and close enough for easy day trips to Asheville, NC, one of our favorite spots on the planet. 

 

So we have boxes everywhere, with things from here we want to take there, and things I've bought along the way the last couple of weeks.  Seth was here after his recent graduation, and has just moved with his girlfriend to Boone, NC.  So he was elbow-high in boxes, and Thursday was his first time driving a U-Haul truck. From the looks of the pix they texted, he did just fine.

 

And finally, in the last bit of boxy news, I received an unexpected email on Tuesday that rent for my studio space downtown was going up - way up.  I was fortunate to rent it very reasonably for seven years, and I loved the dappled-light space in the 1889 building, with its high ceilings and windows and worn wooden floors.  But the new cost is beyond my artist's budget, so I'm boxing up my shop this week, too. Whew.  My artsyletters business is still alive and well - I'm just moving all my work stuff to our house and will have a larger footprint at one of the two local shops where I sell my wares.  My Etsy shop still keeps me hopping, and I look forward to devoting more time to it than I've been able to of late. 

 

Anyway, all of these logistical adventures had me looking for poems about boxes.  I discovered one by our dear Emily, and though it's not about moving boxes, its subject certainly resonates with my artistic endeavors.  (I hadn't read this one before; hope you enjoy!)

 

by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

 

169


In Ebon Box, when years have flown
To reverently peer,
Wiping away the velvet dust
Summers have sprinkled there!

 

To hold a letter to the light —
Grown Tawny now, with time —
To con the faded syllables
That quickened us like Wine!

 

Perhaps a Flower's shrivelled check
Among its stores to find —
Plucked far away, some morning —
By gallant — mouldering hand!

 

A curl, perhaps, from foreheads
Our Constancy forgot —
Perhaps, an Antique trinket —
In vanished fashions set!

 

And then to lay them quiet back —
And go about its care —
As if the little Ebon Box
Were none of our affair!

 

You can find facsimiles of other Emily Dickinson poems, too, at http://edickinson.org.

 

Move yourself on over to Carol's Corner, where you'll find our wonderful Round-up and some gorgeous writing. Thank you, Carol!

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Poetry Friday - Go See Michelle!

Happy Poetry Friday!  My merry month of May has indeed been crazy-wild-busy, from start to finish.  Grateful for several family gatherings and events this month.  I'm away from the computer today, but please enjoy the Roundup over at fellow Etsian Michelle Kogan's place, and wish her a Happy Birthday this weekend!  

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Poetry Friday: 1800s Teacher Humor for Mary Lee!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Happy to pop back in during a crazy-busy month to celebrate our wonderful, talented, generous, tenacious Mary Lee Hahn!

 

Congratulations on your retirement from teaching, Mary Lee.  Can't wait to learn of your next adventures.

 

When you become a bit wistful about the classroom, perhaps the following poem will be good medicine.  I found it in one of my old favorites in my studio, CROWN JEWELS – OR GEMS OF LITERATURE, ART AND MUSIC … (and the rest of the title is about three miles long.)  This particular volume hails from 1887, compiled by Henry Davenport Northrop, D.D., and published by L. P. Miller & Co. (Chicago and Philadelphia).

 

No author is credited with this poem; if anyone knows who wrote it, let me know and I'll give credit where credit's due, a century and a quarter-plus later!

 

 

          TEACHING PUBLIC SCHOOL

 

Forty little urchins,

          Coming through the door,

Pushing, crowding, making

          A tremendous roar.

          Why don't you keep quiet?

       Can't you keep the rule? –

Bless me, this is pleasant,

          Teaching public school!

 

Forty little pilgrims

          On the road to fame;

If they fail to reach it,

          Who will be to blame?

High and lowly stations –

          Birds of every feather –

On a common level

          Here are brought together.

 

Dirty little faces,

          Loving little hearts,

Eyes brimful of mischief,

          Skilled in all its arts.

That's a precious darling!

          What are you about?

"May I pass the water?"

          "Please, may I go out?"

 

Boots and shoes are shuffling,

          Slates and books are rattling,

and in a corner yonder

          Two pugilists are battling:

Others cutting didos –

          What a botheration!

No wonder we grow crusty

          From such association!

 

Anxious parent drops in,

          Merely to inquire

Why his olive branches

          Do not shoot up higher;

Says he wants his children

          To mind their p's and q's,

And hopes their brilliant talents

          Will not be abused.

 

Spelling, reading, writing,

          Putting up the young ones;

Fuming, scolding, fighting,

          Spurring on the dumb ones;

Gymnasts, vocal music –

          How the heart rejoices

When the singer comes to

          Cultivate the voices!

 

Institute attending,

          Making our reports,

Giving object lessons,

          Class drill of all sorts;

Reading dissertations,

          Feeling like a fool –

Oh, the untold blessing

          Of the public school!

 

 

Dedicating this find of a poem to Mary Lee and to all the teachers out there, especially after THIS surreal and challenging year!  Kind of heartening to know teaching ancestors were going through some of the same things, isn't it? 

 

And a tip of the hat to my third-grade-teacher-daughter Morgan, as today is the last day of class for her students this year.  Whew!

 

One more tidbit for Mary Lee, again without attribution, but tucked into JEWELS FOR THE HOUSEHOLD; SELECTIONS OF THOUGHT AND ANECDOTE, FOR FAMILY READING by Tryon Edwards, D. D. (Hartford:  Case, Lockwood & Co., 1866).

 

          CHEERFULNESS AND WISDOM

 

So I saw that despondency was death, and flung my burden from me,

and, lightened by that effort, I was raised above the world:

Yea, in the strangeness of my vision, I seemed to soar on wings,

And the names they gave my wings were cheerfulness and wisdom.

 

Soar on, Mary Lee! #MarvelousMaryLee #PoemsforMaryLee

 

This week's Roundup is hosted by the lovely Christie at Wondering and Wandering, where you can find out more about the Mary Lee poetry celebration, and other Poetry Friday posts, too.

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Poetry Friday - Head over to Bridget's Wee Spot...

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  I'm dipping in and out of PF this month with travel and some extra family events and such. Today, steer your compass toward the Alps and visit the amazing and wonderful Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones

Happy Weekending!

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Poetry Friday - Issa's Dewdrop Haiku Wrap-Up...

Detail of image by Heiko Stein on Pixabay.

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Here's to the last Poetry Friday of Poetry Month, a bonus fifth one this year! :0)  I hope the full moon has smiled on you this week. 

 

Thank you for deliving into dewdrops over here this month with recently translated Issa haiku from Dr. David G. Lanoue, author, poet, professor, musician, former Haiku Society of America president, and Issa scholar. And many thanks to David for allowing me to share these gems.  Learn more about David here, and more about Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) here , as well as through David's many wonderful books!

 

During pandemic lockdown, David decided to add to his 10,000-plus Issa haiku translation archive by translating several hundred more poems, on various themes.  One of these themes was dewdrops, and I fell in love with these haiku and wanted to share them, with David's kind permission.  Remember, you can search David's translations of Issa haiku on a variety of topics using the online tool here, and you can follow along on Twitter here to read a different Issa poem each day. 

 

The first post in my Poetry Month blog series was an introduction to David, Issa, and dewdrops; the second focused on 'pearls' of dewdrop haiku; the third on humorous Issa dewdrop haiku; and the fourth on more dewdrop poems with some cicadas thrown in, in light of Brood X. For today's post, I wanted to share a few of the translations with a decidedly spiritual bent, as Issa's poems about "this dewdrop world" are inextricably connected to his devotion to Pure Land Buddhism.

 

For a much deeper discussion of these matters, you can read David's 2008 article in The Eastern Buddhist, "The Haiku Mind," on JSTOR. [Lanoue, David G. "The Haiku Mind: Issa and Pure Land Buddhism." The Eastern Buddhist, vol. 39, no. 2, 2008, pp. 159–176. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/44362411.] In it, he describes Issa's perspectives on Paradise, which also describe his poetry:  "Amida Buddha's Paradise is revealed when one opens one's heart to nature - looking, listening, and deeply appreciatating."

 

Here are some treasures from David's archives, with his commentary following the poems:

 

1813

 

.朝露に浄土参りのけいこ哉


asa tsuyu ni jôdo mairi no keiko kana

 

in morning dew
a reaching-the-Pure-Land
lesson

 

 

1812

 

.白露のてれん偽りなき世哉

shira tsuyu no teren itsuwari naki yo kana

 

this world--

the silver dewdrops

aren't lying

 

The shimmering dewdrops are telling the truth about life (from a Buddhist perspective): nothing abides.

 

 

1816

 

.露の身は同じ並びぞ仏達

 

tsuyu no mi wa onaji narabi zo hotoke-tachi

 

life of dewdrops--

just the same

as the Buddhas

 

Dewdrops experience (in Issa's imagination) the brevity of life--a key insight of Buddhism.

 

 

1826

 

.置露や我は草木にいつならん

 

oku tsuyu ya ware wa kusaki ni itsu naran

 

dewdrops forming--

when might I become

grass...or a tree?

 

Issa is referring to reincarnation. The way the dewdrops make trees and grass sparkle, he wouldn't mind being reborn as one of them.

 

 

In a presentation on Issa's dewdrop haiku last fall, David noted that:

 

--Awareness of the dewdrop nature of life is part of the DNA of haiku.
--Issa explored this theme of transience (Japanese: 無常 mujô).
--No haiku poet in history has ever devoted more attention to this theme. ...

 

1812

 

.露はらりはらり大事のうき世哉

 

tsuyu harari harari daiji no ukiyo kana

 

dewdrops fall

drip-drip, this floating world's

Great Thing

 

The "Great Thing" (daiji) in Pure Land Buddhism is Amida Buddha's vow to make enlightenment possible for all beings who trust in his "Other Power." Here, Issa is using the expression "floating world" (ukiyo) in its old Buddhist sense of the world being temporary and imperfect.

 

 

 

**All translations © 1991-2021 by David G. Lanoue, rights reserved.**

 

 

In correspondence with me about these haiku, David added:

 

 "The dewdrop haiku, I believe, represent Issa's most important image--at the core of his philosophy."  

 

MUCH appreciation to David for his generosity in allowing me to share his work here this month.  It's a dewdrop world, as Issa said - and we will soon enough move on like dew ourselves - but poetry offers such meaning and beauty along the way, doesn't it?

 

Thank you for joining me on this Poetry Month dewdropping journey.

 

To cap off April's Poetry Friday celebrations, Matt has the Roundup at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme.  Thanks, Matt!

[Note: We will be busy with a family wedding this weekend; thank you for your comments, which I always delight in reading, though I  might not be able to respond right away today/romorrow. In fact, we have several family celebrations in May, so I will likely take a mini-Poetry-Friday-break or two this month to catch up on custom artsyletters orders and ready my shop for re-opening in person in June. But let the poetry continue, long past Poetry Month! I'll be in and out and back soon. :0) ]

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Poetry Friday - Issa's Dewdrops, Continued... and, Cicadas!

"dewdrop" by noahg. is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  We are continuing the "Issa's Dewdrops" journey over here, every Friday in National Poetry Month.  Many thanks to Dr. David G. Lanoue, professor, author, poet, and Issa scholar, among other things, for sharing some recent translations of the poetry of Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), along with his own commentary.  David has translated more than 10,000 of Issa's poems in the last 30 years, and several hundred new ones while in quarantine over the last year.  Here is David's website, and if you'd like to catch up with the series here, feel free to peruse week one's post here, week two, here, and last week's, here.

 

"The dewdrop haiku, I believe, represent Issa's most important image--at the core of his philosophy," David says.  

 

We'll look more at a bit of the spiritual component of Issa's dewdrop haiku next week.  This week, just enjoy some more of the transient beauty, and David's comments!

 

 

1808

 

.夏山や目にもろもろの草の露

 

natsu yama ya me ni moro-moro no kusa no tsuyu

 

summer mountain--

dewdrops in the grass

all shapes and sizes

 

 

A haiku of keen perception with just a hint of a social and religious message.

 

 

 

1808

 

.おく露やおのおの翌の御用心

oku tsuyu ya ono-ono asu no o-yôjin

 

dewdrops forming--

each by each no worry

till tomorrow

 

 

Issa is being playfully ironic. Since dewdrops don't last past noon, they never see tomorrow.

 

 

 

And, because many of us are nature lovers, and lots of Poetry Friday regulars live in the following states:  

Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia...

I thought we should look to Issa to pay homage to an amazing event that is set to "emerge" in these next couple-few weeks:  the Brood X, 17-year cicadas! 

 

Here's a CNN article about them. Billions (with a 'b') will be making themselves known very soon; I'm sure their calls and images will be filling up backyards and news outlets. Watch your step! Seventeen years ago, I had a child in middle school, another in elementary school, a couple of part-time middle school English classes to teach, and a farm-full of animals in North Georgia. What were you up to then?

 

Maybe these unusual large, loud insects will inspire you to write some haiku about them (traditionally, a popular subject). You can do a search for Issa's cicada haiku at David's archive here.  You'll find several dozen, such as these:

 

 

 1804

 

.大雨や大ナ月や松の蝉

ôame ya ôkina tsuki ya matsu no semi

 

big rain

big moon

cicada in the pine

 

A wonderful minimalistic scene.

 

 

 

1822

 

.そよ風は蝉の声より起る哉

soyo kaze wa semi no koe yori okoru kana

 

the soft breeze

from the cicada's voice

wafts

 

Literally, the voice of the cicada is the soft wind's origin, as if its rasping song has stirred the air to gentle movement--one of Issa's more fanciful images.

 

 

If you'd like some tips on how to "write like Issa," well, David has a book for that!  I'm thrilled to have a poem in it.  You can learn more about Write Like Issa just below the search box on David's Issa page, here

 

One last cicada haiku for now, because it's also a dewdrop haiku: 

 

 

1811

 

.露の世の露を鳴也夏の蝉

tsuyu no yo no tsuyu wo naku nari natsu no semi

 

in a dewdrop world

singing of dewdrops...

summer cicada

 

Sakuo Nakamura notes the religious (Buddhist) feeling in this haiku. 'Dewdrop world' suggests fragile life: how all living beings die so quickly. The phrase, "singing at dewdrops," means "singing for a very short time." He adds, "The dewdrop will soon disappear when the sun rises, and yet the summer cicada is alive and singing with pleasure, like a human being. He is not aware of his short life."

 

Shinji Ogawa notes that tsuyu wo naku means "singing of dewdrops." He adds, "Of course, what the cicadas are singing about depends upon who is hearing it. At least to Issa, the cicadas are singing of the dewdrops, of the fragile life."

 

 

All poem translations and commentary ©David G. Lanoue.  Rights reserved. (Many thanks to David for his generosity.)

 

Here's to a continued, wonderful Poetry Month....  I was delighted to share a video on Thursday as part of Michelle Schaub's Poetry Month project at PoetryBoost.com, a different poet featured each day.  (My offerings were a few spring-related haiku, shared from my back yard.) My daughter Morgan and her third graders in Georgia have been tuning in all month!

 

And, I had fun contributing a line to the Kidlit Progressive Poem, which lands at Janice's Salt City Verse  today. 

 

Catch more Poetry Month magic at today's Poetry Friday Roundup, graciously hosted by Catherine at Reading to the Core.  (She has a gorgeous dewdrop photo at the top of her blog, by the way....)

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The Kidlit Progressive Poem Parks HERE Today!

 

Happy Earth Day!  Each year for National Poetry Month, a "Progressive Poem" wends its way through the Kidlitosphere, blog by blog, adding a line until a completed poem emerges on April 30.  This adventure was started years ago by the fabulous Irene Latham, and Margaret Simon took up the coordination reins last year.

 

Also last year, the ever-clever Donna Smith started the poem off with a CHOICE of two lines, and that new dimension held with each new person all month.  It's carried over into this year, too!

 

I'm taking the baton from Carol Varsalona, who offered up these two fun lines to choose from (they will make sense when you read the whole poem below):

 

Inspired by nature, our imaginations soar.

 


-OR-

 


We flitter with our wings of vine diving to touch ground.

 

 

Here's the poem with the line I chose from Carol, and two to choose from for Leigh Anne Eck.

 

 

I'm a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!

Easily contagious - sharing smiles is my plan.

I'll spread my joy both far and wide

As a force of nature, I'll be undenied. 

 


Words like, "how can I help? will bloom in the street.

A new girl along on the playground - let's meet, let's meet!

We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round. 

Over, under,  jump and wonder, touch the ground.

 


Friends can be found when you open a door.

Side by side, let's walk through, there's a world to explore.

We'll hike through a forest of towering trees.

Find a stream we can follow while we bask in the breeze.

 


Pull off our shoes and socks, dip our toes in the icy spring water.

When you're with friends, there's not have to or oughter.

What could we make with leaves and litter?

Let's find pine needles, turn into vine knitters.

 


We'll lie on our back and find shapes in the sky.

We giggle together: See the bird! Now we fly?

Inspired by nature, our imaginations soar.

 

and here are my two offerings:

 

***

 

You lumber and trumpet, I'll race and I'll roar!

 

-OR-

 

Follow that humpback!  Here, take an oar.

 

***

 

Take it away, Leigh Anne! :0)

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