Friday, December 19, 2014

Time to Ponder and Listen

This time of the year is spent in good cheer,
And neighbors together do meet
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire,
Each other in love to greet;
Old grudges forgot are put in the pot,
All sorrows aside they lay;
The old and the young doth carol this song
To drive the cold winter away.

My friend Joyce Ray made my day with the thoughtful parcel she sent for the Winter Poetry Swap. Here's her elegantly-illustrated pantoum:

The Language of Trees
by Joyce Ray

Twigs, sap stilled by cold,
etch brush-stroked Kanji
over gray skies and hold
a promise of spring through winter’s story.

Brush-stroked Kanji etch
tree poems in stick season.
Limbs promise spring and stretch
toward orbs of light to illume and open

the tree poems of stick season
because now is the time to ponder and listen
as light orbs illume and open
Kilmer’s analogy of trees to poems.

Let poets listen. Let poets ponder.
Do trees beckon to hear poems,
stripped of Kilmer’s summer wear,
in winter’s language, plain-spoken?

Perhaps they beckon to hear our prayer
and like twigs, sap stilled by cold,
we’ll pray in the stripped language of winter
against gray skies we must hold.

Joyce also sent chocolates, candles, and a custom ornament
(not pictured because it is already on the tree)

The Poetry Friday round-up is at Buffy's Blog.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It Was Terribly Cold

Have you ever heard Hans Christian Andersen's story of The Little Match Girl? It's a sad tale about a little girl who is sent into the cold to sell matches, but when no one buys any, she winds up using them to warm herself. In their light, she sees happy visions of food, comfort, and her loving grandmother. She freezes during the night and is found in the morning by people who passed her by the night before. It's not a story that I have a sentimental attachment to from my childhood or anything, but last year I shared a bit of David Lang's the little match girl passion. This year I have some art:

Remember the little match girl (Please donate to your local food bank)
photo by Justin Ennis

The little match girl of tucia
photo by 黑本

The Little Match Girl dreaming of Christmas trees (The Hans Christian Andersen museum, Copenhagen)
photo by kurozukin

The fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen
by Helen Stratton

Little Match Girl
photo by Scott Moore

The Little Match Girl
by Shigeru Hatsuyama

The Little Match Girl loses her shoes, Fairy tales and stories, 1900
illustration by Hans Tegner

The Bloggess is running a "give what you can, take what you need" post that you might want to look at if you are interested in direct ways to help people out. I would scroll down quite a bit to get to messages that have been seen fewer times.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I'll Paint You A Picture

I am a lighthouse, worn by the weather and the waves.
I keep my lamp lit, to warn the sailors on their way.

This Music Monday, Nickel Creek :-)

Friday, December 12, 2014

How I Was

A poem today by Ukrainian poet Oksana Lutsyshyna.

The Cat
by Oksana Lutsyshyna

father asked: write a poem about me
how I was young, how I was, period
played the guitar, chased a soccer ball in the field,
bouncing it with my head high into the sky

how I returned home
to our apartment
that smelled of oatmeal and Saturday laundry
with a tapestry hanging on the wall

(on the tapestry
a man and a woman
woven in red
ride a pair of black horses)

no, father, I kept saying, I can’t...

read the rest here.

Poets in Ukraine celebrated like stars
Dave Bakke: Ukrainian war sparks poetry protest
An article about Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan

These Four Corners is the Poetry Friday round-up host.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


The means by which migratory animals navigate from place to place are as diverse as the journeys themselves. Some species follow an invisible road map created by the earth’s magnetic field, which they perceive through tiny magnets in their bodies. Others rely on landmarks such as mountain ranges and coastlines, the alignment of the stars in the night sky, or olfactory cues to determine where they’re going.
~David S. Wilcove

Male hooded merganser photo by Ken Billington

We live near a pond that is populated by a blue heron, green herons, dozens of Canada geese, mallard ducks, and (at the moment) hooded mergansers. The hooded mergansers are only here for a little while, on their way to warmer climes. I love to hear the hummingbird-esque noise their wings make when they fly. In honor of those beauties, we have a migration theme today.

Gathering Wings
photo by Steve Wall

Morning Migration
photo by Nathan Johansen

Tundra (Whistling) Swans resting after the long migration flight
photo by Dave Rooke

Zebra migration
photo by Francesco Veronesi

Wildebeest migration
photo by Francesco Veronesi

Birds storm!
photo by Riccardo Palazzani

Monarch Migration
photo by Nicole Hanusek

Operation Migration
photo by Virginia Piekarski

Monday, December 8, 2014

Two Birds of a Feather

Our cheeks are nice and rosy,
And comfy cozy are we,
We're snuggled up together
Like two birds of a feather would be,
Let's take that road before us,
And sing a chorus or two,
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you.
~ Mitchell Parish

Two versions of Sleigh Ride...the first will ease you into waking up, and the second will finish the job :-) :

Friday, December 5, 2014


In Soundings, Emily Hancock has created an elegant, lovingly-made work of art. Emily crafted the poems, carved linoleum prints, set the letterpress, and hand-bound the book. Thank you to Emily for allowing me to share these poems and thank you to my daughters for taking these photos!

after snow, warm wind
and from each eave
the steady
heartbeat of ice

sundown in pine woods ~
on and on it burns
an ember in a grate

when the tide
comes in,
no argument
is strong enough

ash petals tumble,
turn to dust
against stone ~
fire's brief flowers

You can read more about Soundings at St Brigid Press.

The Poetry Friday round-up is at BookTalking.