Thursday, July 18, 2019

Missive from a Working Motorcycle, 1917

A woman who rides a motorcycle is in tune with the universe, a candidate for high adventure.
~Celestine Sibley

When I was thinking about what to write for Donna for the Summer Poem Swap, I knew I'd write something that rhymed, and I wanted to write about motorcycles since she is a dedicated rider. I don't know anything about motorcycles, though, so I looked into them and discovered that Doug Domokos (aka The Wheelie King) had a record for doing a wheelie for 145 miles. Which is mindblowing, but didn't turn itself into a poem (wouldn't that be a fun concrete poem?!).

I kept going and read about despatch riders, motorcyclists who volunteered in World War I to bring messages from the military units to headquarters (and vice versa). That caught my attention and the next thing I knew, I was talking about pigeons:

Missive from a Working Motorcycle, 1917
by Tabatha Yeatts
for Donna

My wheels in mud don't trouble me,
Nor driving dark so no one sees,
Nor endless work, nor blood and dirt–
I say with all due modesty,
My motto is semper gutsy.

Ferrying wounded I prefer,
Or bringing leaders vital word
Or munitions for special missions...
Instead I have this task absurd–
My side is loaded down with birds.

My poor seat is feather-adorned,
Coos wake me in the early morn,
The scat I wear– too much to bear–
Still the communiqués they carry
Make me a noble aviary.

The Royal Engineers Signals Service on the Western Front, 1914-1918
photo by David McLellan

More pigeon photos from World War One, just because they were such amazing creatures:

Pigeon at the front

A message-carrying pigeon being released from a port-hole in the side of a British tank, near Albert, France.
photo by David McLellan

The Royal Navy on the Home Front, 1914-1918
Pilot releasing a homing pigeon from a British seaplane
photo by Royal Navy official photographer


The most famous homing pigeon from World War I was Cher Ami, who saved nearly two hundred lives despite being severely injured.

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

Lighthouses at Night

The scars you share become lighthouses for people who are headed to the same rocks you hit.
~Jon Acuff

Lighthouses are cool to look at during the day, but at night they really shine. (Ha!)

Dongquan Lighthouse
photo by Wcfan49

La Hague Lighthouse at night
photo by Luk

Baishajia Lighthouse
photo by Wcfan49

Cape Recife Lighthouse
photo by Suzi-k

Stars Over La Palma
photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Wellness Retrospective

When you discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough to make room for it in your life.
~Jean Shinoda Bolen

Seneca Creek State Park

I've been observing Wellness Wednesday for over two and a half years now, so there are quite a few posts. Elena helped me put them into sections for your browsing pleasure:

Chronic Illness
The body's bank account
Invisible illnesses
Notes from the book Introducing Disability Studies
Scent Sensitivity
Spoon Theory
Traveling while chronically ill

Comfort foods
Gluten-free tea party
How to cook
Low histamine tea
Making stocks and broths
Notes about Extra Helping: Recipes for Caring, Connecting, and Building Community

Big Dreams, Small Spaces
Gardening on a budget, tips for beginners
Getting your hands dirty

Helping Others
Doing random acts of kindness
Gifts for people in the hospital
I am in your boat (reaching out to people who are struggling)
Start With Hello Week
Suicide prevention

Helping Your Body
Being your own health advocate
Cold and flu season
Digestive systems
Emergency self-care kits
Getting the right diagnosis
Keeping hydrated
Making a tummy tamer glycerite and digestive pastilles

Activities for celebrating
Bad advice
Funny stuff
The God of Cake (funny cartoon story)
Having fun/being silly
Nut up or Shut up
Take-one posters

Making Things & The Arts
The Crafs Man
Cycles of creativity
Engaging with art
Gifts you can make
Keeping a quote journal
Make Good Art (Neil Gaiman)
Making things
Making Vision Boards

Poems, Quotes, & Books
Book doctors and poetry pharmacists
Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith (book)
Krista Tippett and Rumi
Lin-Manuel Miranda's pep talks
Mr. Rogers
Naomi Shihab Nye on taking a fresh look at your life
The philosophical notebooks of poet Anna Kamieńska
Poems about being productive
Poem by Mary Oliver
Quote from Joyce Sidman about doing scary things
Quotes from Naomi Shihab Nye (about poetry)
Tammi Sweet on setting your intentions for the Winter Solstice

Empathetic Joy
Healthy relationships
Love languages
Relationship Advice

Relaxing Your Body
A poem, art therapy, Zen garden, and yoga
Background sounds
Body scan guided meditations
Calming down after a bad dream
Mindful breathing
Tensing and relaxing your muscles
Walking a labyrinth

Thinking Patterns
Accepting things we can't avoid
Character development
Comparing yourself to others
Conversations we have with ourselves
Create the things you wished existed
Getting re-energized
Gut instincts and intuition
How to practice emotional first aid
Joy of Missing Out
Personal mottos
The 1-10 Scale (not sweating the small stuff)
Write yourself a love letter

Time Management
Making to-do lists
Pomodoros and a 5-minute break
Ways we spend our time

Monday, July 15, 2019

Not my taste

For years, I stored my sweaters in the oven.
~Lesley Visser

One of the folks from The Sweater Set looks so much like my cousin that I had to do a double-take. I enjoyed the unexpected lyrics:

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Getting Good

There is no glory in practice, but without practice there is no glory.

A poem today about what it takes to get good at something, the effort behind making things look effortless.

photo by Derek van Vliet

Decorating a Cake While Listening to Tennis
by Peg Duthie

The commentator's rabbiting on and on
about how it's so easy for Roger, resentment
thick as butter still in a box. Yet word
from those who've done their homework
is how the man loves to train—how much
he relishes putting in the hours
just as magicians shuffle card after card,

read the rest here


That poem made me think of Ira Glass and the Gap. It's probably time to post it again!

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Jone at Deowriter has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jone!


Faith is a fine invention
For gentlemen to see;
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency.
~Emily Dickinson

I've posted microscopic art before. Microscopes themselves can be very cool characters:

Microscope with ivory handle, 1680s
photo by Rama

Lucernal microscope

Microscope de bronze ciselé de François Laurent Villette Propriété du Musée des Hospices civils de Lyon, 1765
Aurélie Troccon et Manon Mauguin

Oppelt bronze microscope Germany, 1780
© Jorge Royan

A stand microscope created by Joseph Gutteridge, a weaver from Coventry
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Two microscopes, Dublin
photo by Haydn W Hammerton

One last quote by James Thurber:
"We'll try it," the professor said to me, grimly, ' with every adjustment of the microscope known to man. As God is my witness, I'll arrange this glass so that you see cells through it or I'll give up teaching. In twenty-two years of botany, I -' He cut off abruptly for he was beginning to quiver all over, like Lionel Barrymore, and he genuinely wished to hold onto his temper; his scenes with me had taken a great deal out of him.

So we tried it with every adjustment of the microscope known to man. With only one of them did I see anything but blackness or the familiar lacteal opacity, and that time I saw, to my pleasure and amazement, a variegated constellation of flecks, specks, and dots. These I hastily drew. The instructor, noting my activity, came back from an adjoining desk, a smile on his lips and his eyebrows high in hope. He looked at my cell drawing. "What's that?" he demanded, with a hint of a squeal in his voice. "That's what I saw, " I said. "You didn't, you didn't, you didn't!," he screamed, losing control of his temper instantly, and he bent over and squinted into the microscope. His head snapped up. "That's your eye!" he shouted. "You've fixed the lens so that it reflects! You've drawn your eye!"