Thursday, September 21, 2023

Words to keep you company, voices that keep singing

Ordinary riches can be stolen from a man. Real riches cannot. In the treasury-house of your soul, there are infinitely precious things, that may not be taken from you.
~Oscar Wilde

Happy Poetry Friday! Poems about the extraordinariness of ordinariness today.

Tin Bucket
by Jenny George

The world is not simple.
Anyone will tell you.
But have you ever washed a person’s hair
over a tin bucket,
gently twisting the rope of it
to wring the water out?
At the end of everything,
dancers just use air as their material.
A voice keeps singing even
without an instrument.
You make your fingers into a comb.


by Tabatha Yeatts

In my daughter's dorm room
while she brings boxes out to the car,
I survey the walls:

           posters, album covers, 
                banners, event flyers,  
             paper butterflies, receipts, 
                 postcards, dried flowers,
            stickers, love notes,
               programs, flags, birthday cards

I pull the tape off the back of each one,
four sticky corners, 
slide them to safety
in case they are for a scrapbook
or a new room,

and notice, among the hundreds
of memorabilia, 
a postcard she made herself:

orange slices 
dangling in mid-air
with the words
I love you
I'm glad I exist–

lines from a poem 
she saw every day in April,
7th grade,
when I led arts programs in her school
and verses lined the hallways.

This poem, which became 
her favorite
and came with her here,

ferries words that will go with her
to her next room
and the next,
wherever that is.


Beyond Literacy Link has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

Poem history: my poem was written during the Summer Poem Swap and given to Sarah Grace Tuttle.

Stage illusions

Magic is an art form where you lie and tell people you are lying.

For Art Thursday, illustrations from Magic: Stage Illusions and Scientific Diversions (1897), compiled and edited by Albert A. Hopkins. Thank you to the Public Domain Review for spotlighting these and drawing my attention!

The Invisible Woman

Illusion produced by a ride in the swing

The Apparition

"Aimee" the human fly

Position occupied by the sword blade in the body

Man in a bottle

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Landing softly at your feet

Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one's hand.
~Ezra Pound

I wanted to use today's poem as a mentor poem but I struggled. Couldn't pick a topic, couldn't dig deep enough to come up with something I liked. Rooney's descriptions are so perfect. I probably need to try again outside.

Six Facts About Light
By Rachel Rooney from My Life as a Goldfish and other poems

At dawn, she climbs over the horizon
to slink between the curtains
and rest her head on your pillow.

You might meet her in a forest gap
growing foxgloves,
or waiting at the exit of a long, concrete tunnel.

Her gaze could scorch your drawings,
set light to the hay,
blind inquisitive eyes...

read the rest here


Imagine the Possibilities has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Rose!

Addendum! I have been getting Dracula Daily, which I am enjoying very much. In fact, I didn't receive one today and I'm like, "What's going on?? Why won't they tell me??" You'll have to wait until May if you want to try it from the beginning.
In January, I'll be starting War and Peace, a chapter a day with Simon Haisell. I heard about that from Kortney Garrison. If anybody else wants to join me, I'd love company!


When a gourd is hollowed out it becomes empty and is of great use to the world because of its emptiness.
~Dorothy Gilman

Happy Art Thursday! It's autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, which is a good time to take a look at gourds. Gourds include the edible kind like pumpkins, squash, and melons and the inedible kind which are used for decoration, vessels, etc. (Cucumbers also count as an edible gourd, which I'm still ? about.)

Catching a Catfish with a Gourd
Utagawa Kunisada

Seated Old Man about to Drink from a Gourd, c. 1763
Francesco Londonio

Courge (white–flowered gourd) from La Plante et ses Applications ornementales (1896)
illustrated by Maurice Pillard Verneuil. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

John Francis Leathers, the owner, in apron touching the stem of a large gourd
Lithograph made by: Thomas Picken Printed by: Day & Co

Mills' seed catalogue, 1900

Lagenaria siceraria
gourd-lamps-calabarte-8b 4

Monday, September 11, 2023

A Grand Opera

I produce music as an apple tree produces apples.
~Camille Saint-Saëns

Returning to Camille Saint-Saëns' Bacchanale from the opera Samson and Delilah. (I shared this composition in 2014, when Elena was playing it with her youth orchestra.) This satisfying performance is by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra:

Thursday, September 7, 2023

A fresh quarry

I started singing because I come from Wales.
~Bryn Terfel

Happy Poetry Friday! I have another poem in translation today. This one was originally written in Welsh. I just love what she does with the word "stone." (BTW, a "stonechat" is "a small Old World songbird of the thrush family, having bold markings and a call like two stones being knocked together.")

by Menna Elfyn
translated by Joseph P. Clancy

The doorstep of your existence
is the morning’s clean slate,

a stone on my soul’s roof-hurdle,
a single necessary step
by love’s wall. Simple, stable.

I’ve never understood why people hunt
for crystal, or a lump of gold,
or a diamond. I’m simply

grateful for the stones at hand...

read the rest here


Below we have Welsh actor Michael Sheen performing Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. This YouTube comment is a wonderfully accurate description of Sheen: "The words come alive because of his moment-upon-moment discovery of the thing breathing-and-speaking, and shares with us the spontaneous delight and joy of that discovery."


The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Amy!

Stained Glass Ships

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky;
and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
~John Masefield

For Art Thursday, stained glass ships. I love The Viking Ship by Edward Burne-Jones. According to Wikipedia:
In the studio of Morris and Co. Burne-Jones worked as a designer of a wide range of crafts, including ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries, and mosaics. Among his most significant and lasting designs are those for stained glass windows, the production of which was a revived craft during the 19th century. His designs are still to be found in churches across the UK, with examples in the US and Australia.

The Viking Ship
by Edward Burne-Jones
photo by Ad Meskens

Stained glass window
Catholic parish church of St. Nicholas in Kuechenheim, execution: Glasmalrei Oidtmann in Linnich, 1910
photo by Reinhardhauke

Parish Church of Saint Apollinare
photo by Lisa Veronesi

Stained glass window depicting a galley, Palais Jacques-Cœur in Bourges
photo by GFreihalter

Stained glass window in the Passy cemetery in Paris, grave: unnamed
photo by GFreihalter