Friday, June 26, 2015

Dancing Margaret

Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.

Today's poem style was inspired by Nikki Grimes' challenge at Michelle's blog.

When I was thinking about writing a poem for Margaret Simon for the Summer Poem Swap, I could have focused on a word that related to her as a teacher, mother, sister, wife, daughter, poet. Margaret lives all these roles with verve. But the word that appealed to me for Margaret was "dance."

Background from Mayang's Free Textures
Thanks, Elena

Carol's Corner has the Poetry Friday round-up.

* Integrating Poetry and Dance (lesson plan, high school)
* More lesson plans integrating dance and language arts (K-12)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dragons and Damsels

Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragonfly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky.
~Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Do you know the difference between dragonflies and damselflies? Sometimes they are both referred to as "dragonflies," so it can be confusing. Damselflies have very slender bodies and their wings are together (closed) when they are resting. Dragonflies' wings are outstretched at rest. The San Diego Zoo has a page about them.

Eine Libelle - A Dragonfly - Libélula - Libellule
K. Günter Sturm

Skimming over my wife's flowers
by Joel Haas, sculptor

The Dragonfly
by Gustave Moreau

Dragonfly Insectothopter
Developed by CIA’s Office of Research and Development in the 1970s, this micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was the first flight of an insect-sized aerial vehicle (Insectothopter).

Dragonfly 1
by Dave Emerson

by Dan Machold
Taken at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, TX

Art car, Seattle, Washington
by Joe Mabel

One more quote:
Clouds of insects danced and buzzed in the golden autumn light, and the air was full of the piping of the song-birds. Long glinting dragon-flies shot across the path, or hung tremulous with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies.
~Arthur Conan Doyle

Citizen Science in the Classroom: Monitoring Dragonflies
Migratory Dragonfly Partnership

Monday, June 22, 2015

Joy Williams

I heard your voice sing like heaven's choir
Gathered up my fears and threw them in the fire
~Sweet Love of Mine

I was sad when The Civil Wars broke up. They were so good together! But I guess only for us, not for them. Joy Williams, half of The Civil Wars, has some new music, which I am sharing today:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Claudia Emerson

Claudia Emerson
The University of Mary Washington
(my alma mater)

Isn't that a great smile? I was prompted to share a poem by Pulitzer-prizewinner Claudia Emerson today by my older daughter, who was reading Late Wife and said, "Listen to her description of a turtle!" ("All is defense: the mud-covered shell, the ragged blade of the mouth, /the head thicker than your clenched fist.") I am sad to say that Ms. Emerson died last year at the age of 57.

Great Depression Story
by Claudia Emerson

Sometimes the season changed in the telling,
sometimes the state, but it was always during

the Depression, and he was alone in the boxcar,
the train stalled beneath a sky wider

than any he'd seen so far, the fields of grass
wider than the sky. He'd been curious

to see if things were as bad somewhere else
as they were at home. They were—and worse,

he said, places with no trees, no water.
He hadn't eaten all day, all week, his hunger

hard-fixed, doubled, gleaming as the rails. A lone
house broke the sharp horizon, the train dreaming

beneath him, so he climbed down, walked out,
the grass parting at his knees. The windows

were open, curtainless, and the screendoor,
unlatched, moved to open, too, when he knocked.

read the rest here


Two more:

Spring Ice Storm
Animal Funerals, 1964


Mary Lee at A Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. We are on the road today, but I look forward to catching up with the round-up over the weekend.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

On Your Feet

It was a stark choice: shoes or food; beauty or sustenance; the sensible or the self-indulgent. "I'll take the shoes," she said firmly.
~Alexander McCall Smith

I found so many striking, fascinating shoes that I could do at least one more post, maybe more. So don't be surprised if I return to this subject again some day! (The shoes at the very bottom are the scariest shoes I've ever seen. What about you?)

Pair of crystal glass slippers made by Dartington Crystal
photo by Glamhag

Pair of Woman's Shoes, England, circa 1720s
Brocaded silk, leather, linen, kid

There was an Old Woman who lived in a shoe, circa 1875
illustration by Joseph Martin Kronheim

Detail of Krishna's shoes, Orissa State Museum, Bhubaneswar
photo by Steve Browne & John Verkleir

Shoes on a rock

Tiger shoes, China
photo by florathexplora

Cantabrian shepherds brogues
photo by Tamorlan

Slipper, pre-1700s
velvet, leather, metallic thread, sequins

Minefield Crossing Sandals

Monday, June 15, 2015

Make Music Day 2015

Join the worldwide celebration of music on June 21!

Make Music Day is a free celebration of music around the world on June 21st. Launched in 1982 in France as the Fête de la Musique, it is now held on the same day in more than 700 cities in 120 countries.

Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music is open to anyone who wants to take part. Every kind of musician — young and old, amateur and professional, of every musical persuasion — pours onto streets, parks, plazas, and porches to share their music with friends, neighbors, and strangers. All of it is free and open to the public.

If you want to play — or to host a performance — follow these easy steps.

1. Check to see if your hometown is already a Make Music city. If so, you’re in luck! Follow the link to their site and get the full details on how to participate.

2. If your city isn’t on board yet, download the Event Kit with tips for setting up and promoting a Make Music event where you live. You can create a concert almost anywhere – storefronts, porches, garages, gardens, parks, or the sidewalk outside your home or business are all options. Then register your event with us and we’ll put it on the schedule.

3. Or come to one of the 100+ Mass Appeal events around the country, where you can just bring your instrument and join in!

4. If you are interested in organizing a larger-scale Make Music celebration in your city, please email


And here's a song ... I'm an early bird, so I can't relate to the lyrics of half the songs I like: