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Life on the Deckle Edge

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 - Helping Hand Haiku and a World of Thanks

I've got the anthology link on Amazon below, and here's a link to my Antique Map "A World of Thanks" cards. (I also have those as part of a pack with USPS Thank You Forever stamps, and gold swirl seals.)


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!


What a week.  In the midst of the chaos and anticipation and general global angst, bright spots have been found.  First, a big THANKS to Jama Kim Rattigan, who kindly included some of my artsyletters wares in her "Nine Cool Things on a Tuesday" post - she does find the COOLest things, with help from Mr. Cornelius, of course. I enjoyed the delightful diversions!


Also, I've just started perusing the latest haiku anthology from Robert Epstein, THE HELPING HAND HAIKU ANTHOLOGY (Including Senryu, Tanka, and Haiga).  The collection includes poems about kindness between humans and non-humans alike.  It's hot off the press, and I've not had time to read much yet. But it's a refreshing tonic for these stressful days!


Robert was kind enough to include three of my haiku:



sorting darks and lights

my love note

in his pocket


HSA Members' Anthology, 2019 - A Moment's Longing, edited by Tanya McDonald.




blue mask she smiles with her eyes




hatchlings - 

beyond orange tape,

the sea


Frogpond 42:3, Fall 2019



And, finally, I'm running around trying to get my shop ready for our November First Friday event.  (Masks required!)  As we did last month, we'll have a table set up with cards and pens for folks to write holiday notes to deployed service members.  I was running shy of the total Thank You cards I wanted to send this month, so I asked my daughter Morgan if her third graders might want to write some. 


They were excited to participate, she said, and wrote them this week.  (She made a lesson out of it.)  That daughter of mine also enlisted fellow third-grade classrooms, so she'll be mailing me a whole bunch to send!  I can't wait to receive them and send them on with others I've been collecting.  Now I can get the December batch going.


I am grateful for TEACHERS, for all the active duty MILITARY who serve, and for our VETERANS (Happy Veterans' Day next week!).  I'm grateful for kindnesses great and small.  I'm grateful for poetry.  And, for YOU!


Fellow Etsy shop owner Susan has our Poetry Friday Roundup over at Soul Blossom Living today - thanks, Susan!  (You can find her on Etsy at SoulBlossomLiving - she even has a fun felted mouse kit! And circle back here next week, where I'll be Rounding Up with some HOP TO IT fun & poetic holiday gift ideas.)


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