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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Embracing Summer with Issa (and wee bloggie break)

Image from The Graphics Fairy. thegraphicsfairy.com


Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 


It's been a while since I shared an Issa poems from David G. Lanoue's amazing treasure house of thousands of Issa poems he has translated (up to more than 12,000 now....)


So here are a few to welcome summer, and you can find details about these, and many more summer poems, here. (Just put any term you are interested in into the search box.  I found these with "summer.")


Haiku by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828)



meeting at the fence--
an early summer rain
streams down



answering prayers
for the grasses...
summer heat



amid scented cedars
a bush warbler's song...
new summer robes



making the lawn
a sit-down teahouse...
summer trees



short summer night--
a deer pokes her face
through the hedge



All poems translated by David G. Lanoue and used with permission.  Learn more about David here


Wishing you and yours a fantabulous start to summer.  My blog will be taking a wee break for June as we have several trips planned, plus elbow surgery for the pup, who turns 1 at the end of the month. Our first little trip is to celebrate our Baby Grand's SECOND birthday - how did that happen so fast?! We have a wedding anniversay in June, too - number 40! (Yes, we were babes when we got married - Ha!)


I'll see you in a few weeks (and look forward to hosting in July). Be sure to start your first weekend in June off with all the poetic goodness hosted by the oh-so-talented Janice at Salt City Verse. She's highlighting Carol Labuzzetta's new anthology!

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Poetry Friday - Memorial Day - My Grandfather & Poetic Fields


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  As we enter the Memorial Day weekend, my thoughts turn to the grandfather I never met.  He died four years before I was born.  I blogged about him before, I'm sure, and know I used this picture, though I can't put my finger on that post at the moment! 


John Hollingsworth Conditt was born in 1900, though he lied about his age to join the Army in World War I in 1917.  (Official records say either 1898 or 1899.) Both of his parents died in 1917; I'm guessing from the influenza pandemic? He was a fiesty one, a drinker and a fighter in his youth, as my mother Nita remembers being told.  From my forays through family trees and on Ancestry.com, his line of folks seems to be the most livelly and interesting in the family, on both his mother's and father's sides!  But I digress. 


He was wounded in France, was sent back and patched up, and returned to the fight.  Then he went with the Army to China for a bit.


My mother also told me once that after he returned home to Arkansas, he saw my grandmother working in a field and told his buddy, "I'm going to marry her."  And, he did!  Outside on the street, evidently, as her father had some sort of objection.  


He was reserved and devoted to his family.  In my living room I have a wooden box with maps pasted on the inside, something he made for my mother to put her doll in.  They were dirt poor tenant farmers, but they could make and make do like nobody's business. My grandmother bore six children, losing one as an infant and another at the age of four.  Times were hard.  My mother was the baby. 


She said her daddy never talked about the war.  As I was researching a few years ago, I discovered on his "Headstone Application for Military Veterans" that someone had written in "Silver Star" and "Purple Heart" in red pencil.  Looking at a few more of these types of applications, it looks like red marks were made by the government staff members who reviewed the applications.  Though he got himself into a bit of trouble during his service, my mother recalls, he was honorably discharged in 1922. In World War I, the award was called the "Citation Star" - the Silver Star was retroactively awarded to those recipients.  I only recently discovered that on his actual grave marker, it does say "SS" and "PH"!  The Silver Star is awarded for "gallentry in action" and is the third highest award for combat valor.


I've only seen one giant list online of majojr mililtary award recipients and didn't see his name listed (though a very close name attributed to WWII), but the list said the absence of a name should not be interpreted to mean one's family member did not receive the Silver Star.  So it's still a bit of a mystery, one I might have to hire a professional to help track down if possible.


My mother says she doesn't remember her father smiling.  Times were certainly different.  And those who came back from the front lines 100 years ago didn't have the resources we have available today.  (My psychiatrist hubby worked for 10 years with Marines and members of the Navy before starting his current job.)


Thanks for reading this family ramble.  I'm sharing two poems, a famous one associated with WWI, and an older one with a couple of similar images but NOT about war.  


Deep gratitude to everyone who wears or has worn a uniform, and to their families, especially those whose grief will be especially keen this weekend. 



In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae

(1872 – 1918)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.



This one was written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who died a decade before John McCrae was born. I wish peace like this for all who face any kind of battle.



Out in the Fields

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


The little cares that fretted me
   I lost them yesterday,
Among the fields above the sea,
   Among the winds at play,
Among the lowing of the herds,
   The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
   The humming of the bees.


The foolish fears of what might happen.
   I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
   Among the new-mown hay,
Among the husking of the corn,
  Where drowsy poppies nod
Where ill thoughts die and good are born--
  Out in the fields with God.


This Just In - My mother read the post and offered a few more details that tugged at my heart:


"Flanders Fields" always brings tears and memories of Poppies which Daddy loved and respected. He always made sure we each had a red poppy to wear on National Poppy Day, which is the Friday before Memorial Day....TODAY! He always donated $10.00 to The American Legion to help provide Poppies which were given to people to wear. We kids gave him our 'savings' to help. $10.00 was a lot of money! ... I know we sometimes would donate and wear a poppy when you were young...American Legion members would be on street corners or in front of stores. Do you remember?


I do seem to remember those little red poppies, with paper-covered wires to wrap around a button or such I think. 


Thanks again for reading along.  Start your long weekend off with all kinds of poetry (and art) at More Art 4 All with Michelle (& blow out a birthday streamer in her honor!).


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Poetry Friday - Go See Patricia!

Quick wave from the Where-Did-the-Week-Go Dept.... Well, I'm not sure, but Patricia knows.  She's been up to SOME good and she's also rounding up this week at https://patriciajfranz.com/blog-poetry-friday-is-here/ - Go plant your roots for a bit!

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Poetry Friday - The Kindness of Strangers (& a Bit of Robert Browning)


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  May is well upon us.  In my corner, our flowers are blooming, the trees are leafy and full, and the first brood of baby bluebirds has fledged. And, storms have been rolling through.  [We've been fortunate; prayers for those who have lost so much this week.]


Are you familiar with those NPR/Public Radio "driveway moments?" You know, when you become entranced by a story and even though you've parked your car, you leave it running to listen until the end? Recently I had that experience with an episode of the "My Unsung Hero" series.  It has stuck with me. It was about the life-saving power of a very simple kindness - just a smile - extended by a stranger. Here's the link to the 3-minute recording, or you can quickly read the text. 


In looking for some poetic May morsels to share, I turned to my oft-mentioned copy of THE ILLUMINATED BOOK OF DAYS edited by Kay & Marshall Lee with illustrations by Kate Greenaway and Eugene Grasset (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1979.) There I stumbled onto the fact that May 7 was Robert Browning's birthday.  May 7 is also the birthday of our wonderful son-in-law, Matt! :0)


(Hang with me.  This all relates.) A romp through THE COLUMBIA GRANGER'S DICTIONARY OF POETRY QUOTATIONS (Columbia University Press, 1992) for a few inspirational Browning lines found me reading some familiar ones - but I must confess, I never knew the origin of the ones below!  They are from Pippa Passes, a four-part verse drama published in 1841. Here's the brief Encyclopedia Brittanica description: 


On New Year's morning, her only holiday for the entire year, Pippa, an impoverished young silk-winder, sings as she wanders aimlessly. In each section of the poem, people who are at critical points in their lives make significant and far-reaching decisions when they hear Pippa sing as she passes by.


Here's the excerpt from Robert Browning (1812-1889, British):


The year's at the spring,

And day's at the morn;

Morning's at seven;

The hillside's dew-pearled;

The lark's on the wing;

The snail's on the thorn:

God's in His Heaven --

All's right with the world!


I know it certainly doesn't feel like all's right with the world these days. 


I've just turned in some yearly freelance writing I do for a character education program, Core Essentials, and part of my contribution is choosing and writing about an animal to pair with each month's value.  For one of next spring's months, I picked the bluebird - a symbol of happiness but also of hope.  Last year, our pair of bluebirds built a nest, but babies never hatched.  (Perhaps a snake or some other mishap.) This year, I never actually saw the babies - but I heard their hearty high-pitched cries from the little nest box when I was outside.  Mom and Dad worked so hard feeding them, day after day after day.  I was afraid they might flege when I was out of town attending an SCBWI conference in Birmingham weekend before last, and evidently they did.  


I still think of them each time I take the dog out. Though I never laid eyes on them and the birdhouse is quiet now, I hope the young ones are making their way in the world to build their own nests some day.


Wishing you grace to receive a smile (or bluebird song) if you need one this week; appreciation if you're able to share with someone who does. 


Our gracious and mulit-talented Linda at A Word Edgewise has today's Roundup. She's sharing a fun tradition that makes poetic lemonade out of lemons!

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Poetry Friday - Go See Buffy!

Howdy!  HAPPY MAY!  This week has been a blur of wrangling deadlines, Etsy orders, and a big rambunctious pup to various vet appointments.  I didn't get a post ready for today!  But be sure to visit the ever-delightful and talented Buffy Silverman for the first Roundup of May.  Thanks, Buffy!

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