Friday, May 22, 2015

Bug, Windshield

E. Markham

Two poems today by Edwin Markham, plus a song related to the first poem. Edwin Markham trivia: At the time of his death in 1940, Markham had collected 15,000+ books (some reports say 30,000), which he bequeathed to Wagner College, along with his personal papers. Markham's correspondents included Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, Carl Sandburg, and Amy Lowell.

by Edwin Markham

For all your days prepare,
And meet them ever alike:
When you are the anvil, bear—
When you are the hammer, strike.


Everything can change in the blink of an eye
So let the good times roll before we say goodbye
Sometimes you're the windshield
Sometimes you're the bug
~Mark Knopfler


by Edwin Markham

He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!


The Poetry Friday round-up is at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Button Up

“When buttons came in, about 1650, people couldn't get enough of them and arrayed them in decorative profusion on the backs and collars and sleeves of coats, where they didn't actually do anything. One relic of this is the short row of pointless buttons that are still placed on the underside of jacket sleeves near the cuff. These have been purely decorative and have never had a purpose, yet 350 years later on we continue to attach them as if they are the most earnest necessity.”
~Bill Bryson

I like to consider the artistry of items that don't seem particularly artistic. Like buttons.

Jasperware button, front & back

Satsuma iris button (self-shanked), showing front and back

Hand-painted Sewing Button
by Fiona MacNeil

Fitted doublet, associated with Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, 1594–1632

Buttons, Russia, 1908-1917. Faberge. Lapis lazuli, diamonds, gold, silver, glass, enamel.

by Lisa Clarke

Once a handkerchief

Pink Silk Nouveau button ring
allison fomich

Wilhelmina von Hallwyl wedding dress

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Shots I Got Before They Ran Away

A dog on a walk
is like a person in love −
You can't tell them
it's the same old world.
~Pat Owen

When I'm walking with Lucy, sometimes I see blue herons, green herons, turtles, and goslings, but Lucy generally frightens them all off. So taking pictures of them is a tricky task, especially since I have to hold on tight to the leash or Lucy will pull it out of my hands. Here Lucy is approaching some geese and goslings with interest. Alone, the geese run away from her, but when they have goslings, they stand their ground:

Happy to get this photo before they all slid into the water:

Here's a quote that I've posted before and will probably post again.

I think of it sometimes when people who are right about something on the Internet think that being right means they can be absolutely horrible to the person who is wrong. I wish they would realize that's not actually the case. If you're being a jerk, you're still being a jerk, whether you are technically correct or not.
(Thanks for letting me vent -- I know I'm preaching to the choir here!)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Poetry in the Sand

Sinn er siður í landi hverju. (Each country has its own custom.)
~Icelandic proverb

Icelandic band Árstíðir performs Ljóð í sand (Poetry in the Sand) live:

Saturday, May 16, 2015

All-Women Slam, Videos Wanted

The Kentucky Women Writers Conference is trying something new for the 10th anniversary of its Wild Women of Poetry Slam. This nationally renowned all-women slam will open up its first round of competition to poets residing anywhere in the United States, who may submit a video of their spoken-word performance via the Internet through June 8.

Poets are invited to submit their performances by emailing a video of an original, three-minute slam poem via Youtube or Vimeo link to Artistic Director Bianca Spriggs at biancaspriggsATgmailDOTcom no later than June 15.

Spriggs will select the top 12 submissions, and the 12 first round finalists can be voted on by viewers the week of June 15-22 at The top four receiving the most votes will be invited to compete in a live two-round slam during the Kentucky Women Writers Conference. The slam will be held 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Downtown Arts Center in Lexington.

The featured poet and celebrity judge of the Wild Women of Poetry Slam is Jessica Helen Lopez. Spriggs will return as emcee of the event. The winner of the poetry slam will receive the Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize, a $500 cash prize established by poet Frank X Walker in honor of his mother.

For more information on the conference, running Sept. 11-12, visit online at

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bio Poems

If it is a terrifying thought that life is at the mercy of the multiplication of these minute bodies [microbes], it is a consoling hope that Science will not always remain powerless before such enemies...
~Louis Pasteur

I read "Helen Keller" by Langston Hughes and knew I wanted to share it with you all. It inspired me to try to write one in a similar form about another historical figure. Not sure it's a good idea to share both of them at the same time, but I am going to suck it up and do it anyway. If anybody else wants to try this form, please share your poem with me!

Helen Keller with her dog Kamikaze

Helen Keller
by Langston Hughes

In the dark,
Found light
Brighter than many ever see.
Within herself,
Found loveliness,
Through the soul's own mastery.
And now the world receives
From her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.


Louis Pasteur performing an experiment

Louis Pasteur
by Tabatha Yeatts

tiny worlds
to reveal microbiology.
key connections
to shield humanity.
And so the world receives
from his insight:
Tools defeating
microbes' might.


Don't forget to sign up for the Summer Poem Swap before June 1st!

Random Noodling is the Poetry Friday round-up host today.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Anyone who has a garden, park or orchard tree has an opportunity to ensure that it offers protection, brings beauty and bears fruit for future generations. In short, every one of us should aspire to be a forester.
~Gabriel Hemery

Today's topic was prompted by a mention of the orangerie at Versailles. I was intrigued by the word "orangerie" -- it's actually a building for housing citrus trees in winter (a specialized greenhouse), but I started thinking about fruit groves, and here we are with orchards:

On the Grounds of l'Orangerie du Château de Versailles
photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

The Cherry Orchard
photo by Julie Falk

In the Orchard, 1885-86
by James Guthrie

Apple Blossoms
by Dwight William Tryon

Peach Flower Between Rows, South Carolina
photo by Martin LaBar

Frosty morning, Fields at Bishop's Orchard, Guilford, Connecticut
photo by slack12

Zaun mit Obstbäumen
by Gebhard Fugel

Verger au Printemps (An Orchard in Spring)
by Isidore Verheyden, 1846-1905