Friday, July 29, 2011

In the Backyard of Your Heart

The poem I'm sharing today is from the July 2011 issue of Poetry for the Masses.

White Feather by Maria Grist

by Changming Yuan, Vancouver, BC

Yes, all crows under the sky are black
But this one in the backyard of your heart
Is as white as a summer cloud
You have fed him with fog and frost
Until his feathers, his flesh
His calls and even his spirit
All turned into white like winter washed
Your crow’s wings will never melt
Even when flying close to the sun


One of my poems was in the April issue of Poetry for the Masses.

Book Aunt is in charge of the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Planting a Seed

I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth.
~ William Faulkner

This fascinating article in National Geographic got me thinking about seeds...

House Man
by Robert Dicks

Fertile Earth
by Alex Flores

by Outerlands Art

Pomegranate Red
by BalletArt

by ara133photography

Seed Bag
by Christiane Löhr

Four Sunflowers
by Mandy Budan

Giant Seed Cloud
by Christiane Löhr

This last one doesn't feature seeds, but check the artist's store for seed-related prints:

by Jeff Friesen

My appreciation goes to all the artists for giving me permission to post their work!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cricket Poetry Contest for Kids

Cricket is holding an animal-themed poetry contest for young writers.
* Poem should be no more than 100 words in length.
* Poem must be original work.
* Poets must be no older than 18.
* All poems need to be received at Carus no later than midnight, August 10, 2011.
* Check their site for more submission details.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quietly in Charge

A catless writer is almost inconceivable. It's a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.
~Barbara Holland

While looking through our family's most recent photos, I noticed a trend. There was one member of our family of nine (five people and four pets) who popped up more than anybody else.

Cleo and Tabatha

Well, cats *are* awfully photogenic.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thinking about Norway

Gode ord skal du hogge i berg, de dårligere i snø.
"Carve your good words in stone, the bad in snow."
~ Norwegian proverb

The tragedy in Norway has rendered me speechless, but the families of the victims are on my mind and in my heart.

The Guardian: Reaction to Norway attacks

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Carrying the Same Water

Late self-portrait by Rembrandt

excerpt from Late Self-Portrait by Rembrandt
by Jane Hirshfield

...Happiness and unhappiness
differ as a bucket hammered from gold differs from one of pressed tin,
this painting proposes.

Each carries the same water, it says.


Rembrandt painted a great many self-portraits. I rather fancy the one below:

This next Rembrandt self-portrait is Self Portrait as a Beggar from 1630. It strikes me as brave and insightful to imagine yourself this way -- the same water in a different bucket.

Friday, July 22, 2011

An Eldritch Day

"Poets work at the molecular level of language. Our fundamental physics is the interaction of sound clusters, phonemes, consonants, vowels, glides, particles, and syllables. Words and phrases certainly matter, but our truest tools are the purest sounds."
~ Steven Withrow

Welcome to Poetry Friday! Glad you're here.

The works I'm sharing today are by Rhode Island poet, storyteller, teacher, and author Steven Withrow. He's at home with serious themes, humor, puzzles, puns, tongue-twisters -- any means of telling a tale...

Noctilucent Clouds Over Sweden, Credit: P-M Hedén


By Steven Withrow

Night clouds hold no proper names.
Each and all, in their operatic crossings,
Also bear cubs, pearl beads, nesting dolls,
Arias of open vowels, steam engines,
Strange fish scaled with flashes of camphor,
Nacreous, anonymous, noctilucent
Under the yellow music of the moon.


By Steven Withrow

An itchy witch, she never scratches,
Never scratches, never scratches,
The gnashiest of witchy rashes,
Witchy rashes, witchy rashes...
She pitches, twitches on her broom,
Upon her broom, up on her broom,
And howls unhitched her yowls of gloom,
Growls of doom to eldritch moon...
She’d gladly ditch her earthly riches,
Earthly riches, earthly riches,
Or switch her fate with sniveling snitches,
Sniveling snitches in stitchy britches,
To still that itch she never scratches,
Never scratches, never scratches,
That itch which glitches witch’s niches,
And de-mo-LISH-es witch’s wishes!


Also, take a look at Steven's Rhyming without a license, Letter from Fox, and his first e-poetry collection, Crackles of Speech. And here's an in-depth interview with Steven at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.

* "Eldritch" (in Steven's second poem and in the post title) means "strange, unearthly, spooky."


Here's our Poetry Friday round-up:

The Write Sisters share a poem by Izumi Shikibu as they grieve the loss of Sally's daughter, Kathryn.

The Iris Chronicles brings us In The High Country by David St. John.

Mandy shares a post about her grandmother, the poet.

Amy LV has a poem about a lesser-noticed kind of recycling.

Father Goose's blog is featuring a tribute to Billie Holiday.

Gathering Books contributes Tita Lacambra Ayala’s Road Map Series.

Mary Lee has Emily Dickinson and daisies for us today.

Rasco from RIF offers Laughing Corn by Carl Sandburg.

Pentimento brings us W.S. Merwin's 227 Waverly Place.

Charlotte's Library shares The Space Child's Mother Goose.

Laura has two offerings for us today: Sylvia Vardell's video clips from ALA Poetry Blast and 15 Words or Less Poems. She invites everybody to come play.

Diane Mayr's contributions for the week: at Random Noodling she has some poetry prompts and an original poem.

Kurious Kitty looks at a poetry series for teens called "Poetry Rocks." The Kurious K's Kwotes' P.F. quote is by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Kids of the Homefront Army continues with "Scrap Metal."

Robyn Hood Black is celebrating unusual animals with a poem by Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman.

Irene shares a hummingbird poem by Pablo Neruda.

At Wild Rose Reader, Elaine has a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye titled "What Is Supposed to Happen," a video of the song "Baby Face," and a pre-birth picture of the face of her first grandchild.

Mother Reader gives us Jottings of New York: A Descriptive Poem by Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall.

MsMac's PF entry is a Robert Louis Stevenson poem on summer.

Tara is making a joyful noise about fireflies.

Shelley brings us more poems about the old days with her Rain: A Dust Bowl Story

Write Time reminds us that it's never too late to live your dream.

Karen E is in with Richard Wilbur's "Mind."

There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town brings us Consolation by Billy Collins.

Paper Tigers offers Shel Silverstein's No Difference.

Susan Taylor Brown shares How To Listen.

On A Year of Literacy Coaching, there's Lee Bennett Hopkins' Bedtime.

Janet Squires looks at At the Sea Floor Cafe: odd ocean critter poems, written by Leslie Bulion and illustrated by Leslie Evans.

Thanks for coming!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Georgia O'Keeffe

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.
~ Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887–1986

The Black Iris

by Georgia O'Keeffe

Autumn Trees-The Maple
by Georgia O'Keeffe

Abstraction White Rose
by Georgia O'Keeffe

Clam and Mussel
by Georgia O'Keeffe

Series I - From the Plains
by Georgia O'Keeffe

Pond in the Woods
by Georgia O'Keeffe

PBS American Masters: Georgia O'Keeffe

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Coming a Long Way by Water

Excerpt from There is something about coming a long way by water
by Erin Bow

...So there is something about coming
a long way by water. It is like
declining a gravestone, choosing
not to have children. It is like giving up
everything you own, stripping down to one dress
made sturdily. It is like the bit of wood
that hardens in the fire, the heart of Joan of Arc,
that would not burn.


Read the rest here.

Only tangentially related, but here it is even so: the Joan of Arc art page

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Championship Game Today!

“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.”
~ Mia Hamm


Can't wait!

Updated to add:
Well, you can't say this Women's World Cup tournament didn't have it all -- excitement, grit, amazing goals! Yes, the end wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but congratulations to Japan. They never gave up.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dead Flies and Bits of Fluff

"Ah, music, a magic beyond all we do here!"
~ Dumbledore

In honor of the big movie release, here are the lyrics to the Hogwarts School Song. As the song does not have a particular tune, just sing along to your favorite:

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something, please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.


More Harry Potter poems

Mary Lee has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I'm still on vacation, but just popping in to say -- did you see the Women's World Cup quarter final games yesterday??? AMAZING nail-biters, both of them! My hat is off to France and Japan, and England and Germany have my sympathies. Looking forward to another great day of football.

Updated after the U.S.-Brazil game to add:
Abby Wambach's goal = goosebumps! Most. Thrilling. Ending. Ever!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Little R&R

“If you come home as happy as you leave, you have had a good vacation.”
~ Anon.

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet

Time for a little blog vacation...Not sure how long I'll be "off," but The Opposite of Indifference will certainly be updated by July 22nd because I'm the Poetry Friday host that day!

Some old posts you might like to visit during the break: Older Poetry Friday and Art Thursday, Revisited. And you can always wander around the labels in the side-bar. Catch you later!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pictures at an Exhibition

Today's music: Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky.

Mussorgsky's inspiration for Pictures was an art exhibition in memory of his friend Viktor Hartmann, who died at age 39 of an aneurysm. Mussorgsky himself was only 42 when he died, seven years after composing Pictures.

Paris Catacombs
by Viktor Hartmann

Sunday, July 3, 2011

MENC All-National Honor Ensembles

Enjoyed last week's concert by high school All-National Honor Ensembles, sponsored by the National Association of Music Educators.

Students from as far away as Alaska came to D.C. to spend a weekend rehearsing (and sightseeing) and then performing for a sold-out crowd at the Kennedy Center.

My favorite of the band songs was Butterflies and Bees! composed by Yale University band director Thomas Duffy, who also conducted the All-National band. The link above will take you to an mp3 of the song. I was impressed with the way Duffy utilized each instrument to make the most of the butterflies and bees motif. A muted trombone sounds surprisingly like a bee. And apparently you can imitate a butterfly's wings flapping with an oboe and a piccolo.

The orchestra played Beethoven's 5th, which reminded me of this video I posted back in 2009. It bears repeating:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Shall They Persevere?

Good words are worth much, and cost little.
~ George Herbert

Two older poems today. In the Herbert poem, the lines in italics are the echo.

by George Herbert, 1593-1633

O who will show me those delights on high?
Thou Echo, thou art mortall, all men know.
Wert thou not born among the trees and leaves?
And are there any leaves, that still abide?
What leaves are they? impart the matter wholly.
Are holy leaves the Echo then of blisse?
Then tell me, what is that supreme delight?
Light to the minde : what shall the will enjoy?
But are there cares and businesse with the pleasure?
Light, joy, and leisure ; but shall they persever?

I Said To The Wanting-Creature Inside Me
by Kabir, 1398-1448

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?

There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!

And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!

Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.


Andi has today's Poetry Friday round-up at a wrung sponge.