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Life on the Deckle Edge

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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