Thursday, March 15, 2018

Let Forth the Pent-Up Melody

If I cannot fly, let me sing.
~Stephen Sondheim

Happy Friday, y'all! This week, I ran across a lovely poem by Amy Lowell and decided to write a golden shovel from the first line. I wrote my poem from the memory of the line, and what I thought it was wasn't quite right. Ah, well! Let's just say my poem was inspired by "Listening"!

an excerpt from
by Amy Lowell

'Tis you that are the music, not your song.
The song is but a door which, opening wide,
Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,
Your spirit's harmony, which clear and strong
Sings but of you. Throughout your whole life long
Your songs, your thoughts, your doings, each divide
This perfect beauty; waves within a tide,
Or single notes amid a glorious throng.

My poem:

On a day when light and breeze entwine like so, tis
easy to feel the rightness, the brightness of this world you
love like a child loves a rambunctious puppy who
chews on your fingers with wee teeth that are
too small to break the skin, that don't even make you pull away. The
laughter of children at play weaves into the sky like music
written on a staff of bird flight, lines you can not
see but reverberate in the air like the call of a finch to the
mate he is soon to find. You feel it still -- the day is not over for the song.


TeacherDance has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Linda!

Useful and beautiful

Have nothing in your home that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
~William Morris

If you had these, would you keep stuff in them? (Would they be both useful and beautiful or just beautiful?)

Painted chest (Ketterskastje), 1665
by Susanna van Steenwijk

Still-Life with an Ebony Chest
by Antonio de Pereda y Salgado

Korean chests from the 18th century

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

10 Minutes

I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
~Sylvia Plath

Hey folks! Thinking about breathing this Wellness Wednesday.

Rather try one that's just 5 minutes long?

Breathing apps for your phone

Monday, March 12, 2018

Even Our Worst Enemies

Music brings a warm glow to my vision, thawing mind and muscle from their endless wintering.
~Haruki Murakami

Michael Franti & Spearhead for Music Monday:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Voices Beyond the Wall

Grief shared is half grief; Joy shared is double joy.
~Honduran proverb

The subtitle for this movie is "Twelve Love Poems from the Murder Capital of the World":

Voices Beyond the Wall:
Founded twenty-five years ago in San Pedro Sula, a Central American city infamous for its poverty and violence, Our Little Roses is the only girls’ orphanage in Honduras. Seventy girls, ages 1-18, have found refuge there from broken and destitute homes, murderous streets, and the neighboring Bordo, the worst slum in the Americas. Inside twenty foot high concrete walls topped with barb wire, they receive medical attention, food, shelter, and the nurturing care of a vibrant and entirely female collective of other “Desechables”. (a slang word for orphans- also used for ‘disposable containers’).

"Voices Beyond the Wall" explores the question: how do those subjected to profoundest trauma and rejection begin to heal themselves and change the course of their lives? It bears witness to the catharsis that occurs when marginalized adolescent girls are encouraged to find their voices, in poetry and their own words. In the winter of 2012, Spencer Reece, an award winning American poet and Episcopal priest, came to live at the home for a year. On a Fulbright grant to teach the girls poetry and help them create a book of their own work, he found himself immersed in a profoundly challenging environment. His attempts to teach the girls were largely rebuffed- poetry is too difficult, personal, and boring they insist. Who would want to read about their lives anyway? Oh and Padre, we don’t like the words ‘orphan’ or ‘orphanage.’ We call ourselves “Chavas”. And we call this place home.

Home is both setting and subject of the film. What happens when a home is lost? What is needed to rebuild one? And the difficulty of growing up, leaving, and creating a home of one’s own. At the end of Spencer’s year, a book of the girls’ poems has taken shape and he returns to the United States to edit and publish it. The writings are moving and complex, operating both as emotional touchstone and an inspiration for the mosaic structure of the film itself. The range of subjects are varied but return often to the nature of love and family, the pain of betrayal, and the mothers they lost or never had. Always a central back-drop is the frightening world that awaits them outside the thick steel gate.


A couple of excerpts from poems by Honduran poets (not associated with the movie)...

by Juan Ramón Molina

I was a fish in the mirrors of the sonorous ocean wide,
where I beheld the glimmer of gems and metals;
that is the reason why I love the foam, the sourly
rocky shores, the briny gales, and the vivid choral reefs.

Then I was a treacherous viper of shifty tints,
magnetic pupils, and poisonous fangs; that is
the reason why I love the swamps, the shadowy trails,
the crepuscular wetlands, and the steamy forests.

Thereafter, I became a bird in a wild garden.

read the rest here


Elegy to Obesity
by Rigoberto Paredes

Blessed be obesity, its grease
full of grace, the perfect
and resplendent curves of its contours.
Happy are they of ample arbor
where all who desire it
may find a sure port to pass the night.

read the rest here


Today's Little Ditty has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Michelle!

Itō Jakuchū

Issun saki wa yami.
Japanese proverb meaning "It is dark one inch ahead of you."
English equivalent 1: Who can see in the future?
English equivalent 2: Expect the unexpected.

Itō Jakuchū's roosters caught my eye and led me down the happy path of checking out more of his work.

by Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800)

by Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800)

Plum Blossoms and Cranes
by Itō Jakuchū

White Phoenix on Old Pine
by Itō Jakuchū

Maple Tree and Small Birds
by Itō Jakuchū

By Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800)

Whale Screen
by Itō Jakuchū

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Beginners in the Garden

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.
~Ruth Stout

A guest post today by Maria Cannon:

Spring Gardening Tips on a Budget: A Guide for Beginners

Photo via Pixabay

For many states, winter seems to last forever, and then one day, it’s suddenly spring. It can be difficult to know how to plan for a nice garden when the weather is all over the place, and if you’re a beginner who doesn’t have a large landscaping budget, it may seem like your options are very limited.

However, there are some tips and tricks you can use to get a stunning garden started; it’s mostly a matter of knowing the best time to make your move and how to make the most of a small space, or a large space on a small budget. Start planning when the temperatures are still cold so you’ll be ready to go. Not only will this help you get an idea of what you want so there are no mistakes, it will also allow you to start seeds indoors so they’ll be ready to harvest once it warms up outside.

It’s important to pick out a section of your yard for a garden space that gets plenty of sunlight but will be protected from animals, especially if you have pets. If you live in a very dry area, think about the best ways to keep your plants watered. This may require an irrigation system or special plants that are drought-resistant. Do a little homework to figure out what will work best for you. For some tips on choosing your garden site, click here.

Here are a few tips on starting a garden for beginners:

Pick your seeds

Before you start planning your garden, you’ll need to think about what type of garden you want. You can integrate flowers and veggies or keep it strictly edible; the latter will save you money on your grocery bill if you plant what you and your family enjoy eating. Consider the climate where you live before choosing your seeds and make sure they will be easy enough for you to maintain.

Get the soil ready

Before you can start seeds, you have to make sure the soil is ready. After you’ve chosen the spot where you want your garden to go, dig up the sod, till the soil, and add a layer of compost, manure, decayed leaves, or dry grass clippings. These will boost the soil with extra nutrients so your seeds will take root easily and grow, and are more cost-effective than buying pre-made fertilizer.

Know when to seed

Some plants—pansies and kale, for instance—can handle cold temperatures, so you can plant them in fall or winter. Others don’t fare so well in cold weather and need warmth to take root, such as tomatoes and beans. If you know you want to plant some veggies but the timing just isn’t right, think about starting the seeds indoors while it’s still cold out and let them flourish in the warmth until you can transplant them or harvest them.

Know how to water

We already know that seeds need sunlight, water, and good soil to grow into healthy plants, but it’s important to give them enough of each of those things (and not too much). New seeds need watering every day so they don’t dry out, but as the plant takes hold, you can scale it back a bit. Every plant is different, so do some research into which ones will be best for your lifestyle.

Starting seeds may sound like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, but with a little research and a good plan, you’ll be able to garden with the best of them. Be sure to look into organic pesticides if your garden has a bug problem in order to keep your family and your pets safe.