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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Go See Jone!

Howdy!  I am traveling this weekend but Poetry Month marches on!  Please see Jone Rush MacCulloch today for the Roundup. Don't forget to follow along with the Progressive Poem, parked at Linda Mitchell's place this Friday, and check out Jama's Roundup of Kidlit Poetry Month Events.  Take good care, Robyn

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Poetry Friday - Canticle of the Sun

The Graphics Fairy - vintage image


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Poetry Friday - Bonjour! April in Paris; Olympics in Paris...


Greetings, Poetry Lovers! Bonjour, Mes Amis.


It's almost Poetry Month!  And almost April in Paris… Sigh. I've not (yet) been in person.  And – the Paris Olympics are right around the corner. 


Pardon my French (it's been a few decades), but my thoughts are turning Français this week.  And items in my Etsy shop, too. (Click here to apply a shop-wide coupon code for Poetry Month if interested.)


I found a fun blog called "Snippets of Paris" with some thoughts about children and poetry there. 


And this gem below from Rosemonde Gérard (Louise-Rose-Étiennette Gérard, 1871-1953.) It's a New Year's poem, but since "our" calendar generally had the New Year starting in March until the 16th Century, I say it counts.  (You can learn more about that here.)



Bonne année à toutes les choses,
Au monde, à la mer, aux forêts,
Bonne année à toutes les roses,
Que l'hiver prépare en secret.

Bonne année à tous ceux qui m'aiment,
Et qui m'entendent ici-bas,
Et bonne année aussi, quand même,
A tous ceux qui ne m'aiment pas.

Here's the Enlish translation, compiled from various sites including the one above, but with a correction/tweak of mine, too.



Happy New Year to all things,
To the world, to the sea, to the forests,
Happy New Year to all roses,
That winter prepares in secret.

Happy New Year to all who love me,
And who hear me down here,
And happy new year too, anyway,
To all those who don't love me.


I just adore those last lines.  Our world could use more of that perspective for sure.


The author was a playwright as well as a poet, overshadowed somewhat by her husband, Edmond Rostand, author of Cyrano de Bergerac.  She was the granddaughter of a French prime minister.


Until this week, I didn't know she was also the author of lines that have run through my husband's family, and between my husband and me, for decades and decades. 


"More than yesterday, less than tomorrow."


Perhaps you're familiar with that sentiment, too?


Gérard wrote, in 1889 in a poem to her husband,


Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t'aime davantage,

Aujourd'hui plus qu'hier et bien moins que demain.


While the poem was not immediately popular, the phrase was made so by a jeweler in the early 1900s.  He created medallions with mathematical signs replacing the words for "more" and "less."  These jewelry items became beloved tokens.  You can read more about all that here.  


You can still find the phrase on trinkets today. A few years ago, I found nice quality tags engraved with "Je t'aime plus qu'hier moins que demain" from a jewelry supplier, and I make bookmarks with these for my shop. Folks like them!  Of course, the first one I made was for my hubby, Jeff.


If you're a history buff, but sports are more your thing than jewelry, head over to this link. The second incarnation of the Olympics (our modern games) was first hosted in Paris in 1900, and France has hosted them four more times since then.  (It wasn't really called the Olympics, but had a long, boring name. The months-long event, however, kicked off the modern Olympics era.)


And since it's technically still Women's History Month, let's raise a glass to the fact that those games included women athletes for the first time!


As of this Poetry Friday, there are 118 days until the start of the Olympic Games and 151 days until the start of the Paralympic Games.  Go, Athletes, from all countries represented!!  Of course, over here we'll be cheering on Team USA, but I wish the best for "all who love (us)" and "all who don't love (us)." I pray for a peaceful gathering, spirited competition, and comradery.  Oh, and for lots of pretty blooms in Paris this April.


Now, vous allez over to The Miss Rumphius Effect, where Tricia has our Roundup and is sure to get us started on the write poetic foot for April. 

Be sure to consult Jama's big Roundup of the Kidlit Poetry Month events here!

Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and blessings to all.

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Poetry Friday - Bless Our Pets


Greetings, Poetry Lovers! I'm beyond delighted to share a new picture book poetry anthology from Eerdmans which launches on April 16, Bless Our Pets – Poems of Gratitude for our Animal Friends. This was one of the last books compiled by the incomparable Lee Bennett Hopkins, and he chose 14 gems celebrating our furred, feathered, and scaled friends.

(I might mention that I've personally had 10 of these pets as animal companions myself, so this book is right up my alley!)


This treasure includes poems by Ann Whitford Paul, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Linda Trott Dickman, Eric Ode, Ralph Fletcher, Sarah Grace Tuttle, Joan Bransfield Graham, Kristine O'Connell George, Darren Sardelli, B.J. Lee, Charles Ghigna, Lois Lowry, Prince Redcloud, and Lee himself.  


The watercolor and colored pencil illustrations by Lita Judge are warm and dreamy and full of expression.  I can't help but notice that the color palette, with fresh greens and yellows and pinks and blues and purples, feels just like spring! [Lita Judge's website is very much worth a visit, where she generously shares photos and process videos and behind-the-scenes peeks into the many books she's created as an author/illustrator and illustrator. ]


The poems in this book include prayers, hopes, blessings, and dreams – reflecting the important bond between children and their pets.


Rebecca Kai Dotlich's "Puppy" begins:


Those brown eyes, round as chestnuts,

Calm me, message me I love you without words.


In "A Prayer for My Gerbil," Eric Ode begins and ends with:


Watch over every tiny part.


I appreciate that in Ann Whitford Paul's "Kitten," in Sarah Grace Tuttle's "Hamster Hoping," and in Lois Lowry's "Mouse Dreams," each child-narrator imagines and sympathizes with a new pet's perspective, promising to care for their animal companions.


Ralph Fletcher's "Prayer for a Parakeet" acknowledges "some essential wildness" in a caged bird whose "wild cousins flit across/a thick jungle canopy." And in "Box Turtle," B. J. Lee affirms how difficult it can be when one might want to keep an animal that belongs in the wild. (Don't worry – a compassionate child, after helping a turtle get back on its feet, makes the right decision.)


As Irene Latham noted in her post about this book, Kristine O'Connell George's "Dreaming of Savannah" perfectly captures the wild spirit of a horse-loving youngster, in a particularly magical spread. Also, in another Poetry Friday post, Buffy Silverman offers peeks at several wonderful pages. An early and fulsome review by Tracey Kiff-Judson can be found here


From sensitive, sweet poems to Charles Ghigna's humorous "Pet Snake?," young readers will delight in this colorful menagerie.


This book reminds me once again that Lee Bennett Hopkins was an absolute master at creating anthologies, with his eye for each individual poem and his vision for a collection as a whole. Echoing themes, unexpected surprises, and a thread of tenderness are woven through these words from beginning to full-circle end.


Lee's own poem is the final one, "My Old Dog." It contains his usual simple but profound phrases, such as "let's cherish/the many wondrous/times we have together" and ends with:


I'll forever

recall each and every


I had with you.


I know you'll forever

remember, too.


As one who was lucky enough to know Lee (and who still hears his voice in my head), those last lines particularly got me. We will forever remember, and we'll celebrate that generations to come will enjoy this loving tribute to the non-human members of our families.


For the Eerdmans page about the book, click here.  And for all the goodness in the first Poetry Friday roundup of SPRING, flap on over to visit Rose at Imagine the Possibilities.  The birds are already there!

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Poetry Friday - Dear March by Emily D and Irish Blessings


Greetings, Poetry Lovers! Happy St. Patrick's Day Weekend. 


I remember a plaque on the wall of my grandparents' house with (some version of) the famous Irish Blessing:


May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


(There are variations, of course, and it should be noted this is an English interpretation!  Similar blessings in Irish Gaelic might not be translated correctly.)


Also, wasn't it also at their house - or at my other grandmother's house? - where I was amused by the plaque that read,


May you be in Heaven

a half an hour before

the Devil knows you're dead.


Any other fun Irish sayings/blessings that come to mind? Not everything that circulates is accurate, I'd wager, but we do like to claim our Irish roots, don't we?


Back on this side of the ocean, I'll also celebrate the month with our Dear Emily D. (1830 - 1886).


Dear March—Come in—(1320)

by Emily Dickinson

Dear March—Come in—
How glad I am—
I hoped for you before—
Put down your Hat—
You must have walked—
How out of Breath you are—
Dear March, how are you, and the Rest—
Did you leave Nature well—
Oh March, Come right upstairs with me—
I have so much to tell—


I got your Letter, and the Birds—
The Maples never knew that you were coming—
I declare - how Red their Faces grew—
But March, forgive me—
And all those Hills you left for me to Hue—
There was no Purple suitable—
You took it all with you—


Who knocks? That April—
Lock the Door—
I will not be pursued—
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied—
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come


That blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame—


Wishing you and yours a lovely start to SPRING.  Pear trees and forsythia are blooming in full force here, and a pair of bluebirds has returned to our back yard.


Please wish Tanita a Happy Birthday Month over at {fiction, instead of lies}, and enjoy all the wonderful poetry she's rounding up!  Thanks, Tanita. 

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Poetry Friday - Meet Oskar over at Laurie Purdie Salas's Host Post!

Happy International Women's Day!  This woman is hoping to be caught up by next week.  In the meantime, please enjoy meeting Oskar, the star of Laura Purdie Salas's latest picture book, and do check out the Roundup here. See you soon!

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Poetry Friday - Invest in the Ripples at TeacherDance!

Just a wave from here this week - been driving all over the county and waiting at various veterinary appointments, waiting at the tax office, waiting at the DMV - and trying to meet deadlines in between!  Please visit our beautiful and ever-thoughtful Linda at TeacherDance for the Roundup, and for a soul-nourishing post as well. Happy March!

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Poetry Friday - Haiku in bottle rockets - and Happy 25 Years to the Journal!


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!


Short and sweet today with a big shout-out to Stanford Forrester and bottle rockets! Congrats on 25 years (50 issues) of this wonderful journal.  Here's to the next 25....


Always honored to have a poem included, and here's one I have in this issue:


just a number

rainwater seeps into

my boots


The amazing Tabatha has the Roundup today at The Opposite of Indifference.  Thank you, Tabatha! 

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Poetry Friday - More New Year Poetry Post Cards


Greetings, Poetry Lovers! Hope you've felt loved this Valentine's Day week. 


I'm happy to share the rest of the postcards I've received as part of the New Year Poetry Postcard Swap, organized by Jone Rush MacCulloch. Participants send these wonderful greetings any time after January 1 through the Chinese/Lunar New Year (February 10 this year).  Poems and images may or may not include the animal for the year, which is currently the Wood Dragon. (My post last week featured my own postcard, and on January 25, I featured the first three I received.)  


Enlarge the picture to get a sense of the images in these delightful dozen, and here are excerpted poems from them:


Peace Four Ways 2024

by Linda Mitchell


How to write a peace poem

when our world knows only war?

Millions wander with no home

How to write a peace poem?

as bomb-dropping drones 

pollute our skies and more?

How to write a peace poem?

when our world knows only war?



quiet covers

this warring world

we fight



this peace at twilight

this refuge from day's worries

a breath for this world


In 2024, let

us remake the world for peace

Let us take a moment to begin

again the notion that with

a new year there's no war for you or me




from Denise Krebs:



creative artist

visionary life-giver

like the wood dragon



-another elfchen for Robyn

(Aww... thank you, Denise!)



From Margaret Simon:










From Gail Aldous:


sun holds blue sky's hands

they persuade gray clouds away

sparkling peace and light



From Molly Hogan:


When you lose sight

of the beauty around you

may a new day

restore glory

to the tattered and ordinary

and light the way



From Michelle Kogan:



we can do more

let's begin





Get Ready...



Cooper's Hawk

as you navigate

unknown, unbalanced paths of



From Carol Varsalona:


Year of the Wood Dragon



of fire

warms winter's chills

offering energy and opportunities - 






freeflutter on

windchilled days like

glittery fairies dancing together



From Jone Rush MacCulloch:


first morning, walking on the beach, what

treasures does the ebbing tide have?

Reading sea-foam like tea leaves, I

wonder what my ancestors risked?


From Tabatha Yeatts (& dragon on her card was created by Elena):


As the new year delivers the unknown to hand,

Fortify yourself as well as you can:


Repair your armor, pack a shield,

Stow words and memories that heal,


Keep compassion on tap and pour a deep flagon - 

We're at the edge of the map, and here be dragons.




From Linda Baie:


new year's gift - 

forget the hurry

waste time every day

listen to the rain

and to the cat's purr



Postcard images and poems are copyright each poet. Thank you, poets, for sharing!


For even more wonderful poetry, row your way over to Reflections on the Teche, where our lovely and talented Margaret (included above!) is rounding up Poetry Friday this week. 

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Poetry Friday - Happy Lunar New Year, Dragon Fans!


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Continuing a recent theme, I've received more wonderful, creative New Year postcards as part of Jone Rush MacCulloch's Poem Postcard Exchange, and I look forward to featuring them next week. (Or the next couple of weeks, depending on how many I can fit in a picture!) These surprises in the mailbox really brighten a day, especially in winter.


Today I thought I'd share mine that I sent out this week to everyone.  I hope these cards make it by Saturday, the beginning of the Chinese/Lunar New Year! 


Jone always adds a nod to the Lunar New Year (and its animal) as a an option for creative inspiration. The postcard exchange itself is inspired, she says, by the Japanese custom of Nengajo - sending out greetings for the New Year. 


Jone shared that her own birth year's animal is the water dragon, so she's related to Nessie.  ;0) (Slaintѐ to that, Jone!!)  The animal for 2024 is the wood dragon. 


Online you'll find all kinds of info, customs, and folklore surrounding these dragons as well as the other animals.  The New Year is a huge holiday in many Asian countries, with countless people travelling to their home towns to celebrate, and many businesses closing for a week.


As for me, I've always loved dragons. (My first published/now out-of-print book, a Scholastic Rookie Reader called Sir Mike, featured an imaginary one!)


For my postcards, I reached back into my own misty imagination to find dragons.  Did anybody else "sculpt" treasures from a simple dough in the kitchen, and bake them into being? My mother was very supportive of the creative messes my brother Mike and I could make.  Thank you, Mom.

Oh - and Happy 44th Anniversary today to my mother, Nita,  and her Valentine, Jack!



Here Be


Flour, salt, water
Our mother showed us
how to form dough
 into whatever we wanted
bake it, wait for it to cool.


I made dragons
with pointy wings
and arrowhead tips on their tails.
Their edges browned.
I painted them purple

and royal blue.


If I close my eyes,

I can see them




feel the warmth
of their fiery


©2024 Robyn Hood Black


Fun note: In more of my own internet explorations about Lunar New Year dragons, many days after I wrote this poem, I discovered that their lucky colors are purple and blue.  How about that?!!


The background for my poem card came from some canvas-textured papers I dyed with indigo powder during a recent online mixed media workshop I took. I scanned a small sheet into my computer and enlarged it a wee bit to make it 5 X 7 size.  For the dragon, I carved a little block of "Easy Carve" (like linoleum, but much softer and easier on the hands).  I had drawn a quick sketch - just from imagination, as I was trying to recall freely drawing dragons as a kid - and made a simple outline of it on the block, then loosely carved away. 


I printed the image individually on each card.  Some came out with fairly crisp, even impressions - the usual goal for printmaking, and others were a bit messier.  But, my favorites ended up with gradated amounts of ink over the image, kind of ghostly, like the one above. I thought these blended in with the billowy nature of the indigo wash, adding a hint of mystery, maybe.


Final note:  If you search online for "Here Be Dragons," which maybe a few of us (?) thought was a common warning found on very old maps, you might discover as I did that a Latin variation appeared on a globe at the beginning of the 16th Century... and that's about it.  But I do love me some illustrated sea monsters and such on antique maps! 


Thanks for reading my rambles.  Now, get out your compass and ramble on over to Beyond Literacy Link, where the ever-generous and creative Carol has our Roundup. 

Happy Valentine's Day to all you LOVE-ly people!

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