Thursday, October 17, 2019

If I could write like Tolstoy

He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.
~Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

I just love Laura Scott's "If I could write like Tolstoy." So rich in details! Before my younger daughter started reading War and Peace, she thought about writing some kind of [much shorter] contemporary version. After she was into it, though, she said it was perfect as it was.

Scott's poem made me wonder (as poems often do) whether it could be used as a mentor poem: "If I could write like ________ " (Mine is below.)

Ninth draft of the beginning of
Tolstoy's novel War and Peace

If I could write like Tolstoy
by Laura Scott ­­

                you’d see a man
dying in a field with a flagstaff still in his hands.

I’d take you close until you saw the grass
blowing around his head, and his eyes

looking up at the white sky. I’d show you
a pale-faced Tsar on a horse under a tree,

breath from its nostrils, creases in gloved fingers
pulling at the reins, perhaps hoof marks in the mud

as he jumps the ditch at the end of the field.
I’d show you men walking down a road,

one of them shouting to the others to get off it.
You’d hear the ice crack as they slipped down the bank...

read the rest here


First, I thought about writing a poem about Emily Dickinson or Elizabeth Gaskell, but since it is October, I took a spooky turn with Edgar Allan Poe. [Warning: There are spoilers below, if you haven't read "The Masque of the Red Death."]

Edgar Allan Poe
by Matthew Brady

If I could write like Poe
by Tabatha Yeatts

                you'd see a prince,
waving his mighty hand as he plans a grand seclusion.

You'd hear the pen nibs scratching busily as invitations are dashed
to a thousand healthy, jolly nobles, and in the distance

the grim sound of peasants falling, a mere half-hour
after the first sign of plague seizes them, and the faint drip

of the final exodus of blood leaking down their
stunned faces. I'd show you the supplies being stocked in the kitchen,

the bolts, ready to shut out the unpleasantries of the countryside,
the musicians, the actors, the dancers, swirling

through the doors to provide Beauty and Pleasure
during the long wait. You'd smell the tang of the wine as they

carouse one month, two, three, and on, safe from the
desperation of the forgotten folk outside

who cannot help but eye each other with suspicion.
Not here, though. You'd see that here, the only thing

that makes the partygoers nervous is the grandfather clock
at the end of the hall, the one in the room with black velvet

curtains and scarlet windows. You might even feel uneasy
about hearing that clock chime yourself, despite your cozy seat,

far from the locked abbey doors. I'd bring you with the prince
as he chases someone dressed as The Red Death, determined to punish

this fearsome killjoy. You won't mind if I let you go
into the last room alone, so you can watch the prince,

and then the nobles, struggling to pull off The Red Death's mask,
until they succumb
one by one.


Jama Rattigan has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jama!

Sound Made Visible

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.
~Nikola Tesla

Videos from "CymaScope: Sound Made Visible" today, starting with the shortest:

The Cymascope App

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A Library of Forms

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world it is best to hold hands and stick together.
~Robert Fulghum

For Wellness Wednesday, Caregivers Library. They have a lengthy list of helpful forms, some of which would be helpful not only for caregivers. My daughter Ariana keeps a binder of info for hospital visits that includes an Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan reminiscent of the Asthma Emergency Plan below.

photo by Thomas Eagle

A sampling:

* Asthma Emergency Plan

* Weekly Medicine Chart

* Driving Assessment Checklist

* Home Modification Checklist How to safety-proof a loved one’s home

* Appointment Information

* Your Valuable Records

Check out the rest of the list here!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Medicine Chant

For the first 18 years of her life, [composer and vocalist Dréa Drury] lived in a rural village of 50 people in the heart of the Kootenay Mountains [British Columbia, Canada]. Her experiences there, as well as her love for nature, wilderness, and the world of the elements, have inspired her to write music which directly reflects their influence.
~Anilah bio

Our Music Monday song isn't the "get up and groove"'s more "ease into the morning." Anilah:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

No Hemlock Rock

When people kill themselves, they think they’re ending the pain, but all they’re doing is passing it on to those they leave behind.
—Jeannette Walls

photo by Ruth Hartnup

Jennifer Michael Hecht is the author of Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against It. Thank you, Jennifer, for giving me permission to share "No Hemlock Rock"!

No Hemlock Rock (don't kill yourself)
by Jennifer Michael Hecht

Don't kill yourself. Don't kill yourself.
Don't. Eat a donut, be a blown nut.
That is, if you're going to kill yourself,
stand on a street corner rhyming
seizure with Indonesia, and wreck it with
racket. Allow medical terms.
Rave and fail. Be an absurd living ghost,
if necessary, but don't kill yourself.

Let your friends know that something has
passed, or be glad they've guessed.
But don't kill yourself. If you stay, but are
bat crazy you will batter their hearts
in blooming scores of anguish; but kill
yourself, and hundreds of other people die.

Poison yourself, it poisons the well;
shoot yourself, it cracks the bio-dome.
I will give badges to everyone who's figured
this out about suicide, and hence
refused it. I am grateful. Stay. Thank
you for staying. Please stay. You
are my hero for staying. I know
about it, and am grateful you stay.

Eat a donut. Rhyme opus with lotus.
Rope is bogus, psychosis. Stay.
Hocus Pocus. Hocus Pocus.
Dare not to kill yourself. I won't either.

"No Hemlock Rock (don't kill yourself)" by Jennifer Michael Hecht from Who Said. © Copper Canyon Press.


Reading to the Core has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Catherine!

The palette of autumn

[Fall] settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.
~Stephen King

Celebrating the amber light of autumn this Art Thursday.

Maple Trees at Mama, Tekona Shrine and Linked Bridge
by Utagawa Hiroshige

Autumn on the Seine, Argenteuil
by Claude Monet

Les Alyscamps
by Vincent Van Gogh

Woman with Autumn Leaves, 1994
by Andrew Stevovich

Autumn Landscape
by Albert Bierstadt

Autumn Symphony
by John Joseph Enneking, 1899

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Self-Care Apps

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
~L. Frank Baum

Portrait of a Young Girl With an iPhone,
after Agnolo Bronzino
by Mike Licht

I have been slow to use apps, which could be why I didn't realize that they would be a good topic for Wellness Wednesday. I've heard good things about these:

* InsightTimer: offers an extensive free library of guided meditations

* Breathe+ Simple Breath Trainer (only for iOS devices)

* Fabulous: a science-based app, incubated in Duke's Behavioral Economics Lab, for building healthy rituals

Here is VeryWell's list of top mental health apps for 2019, which includes apps for stress relief, depression, therapy, and learning coping skills.

Do you have any to add to this list?