Friday, January 31, 2014

How The Flowers Felt

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.
~James Baldwin

Poems of empathy and encouragement today. If you'd like more, visit Poems to Lean On from a 2013 post.

by Robert Frost

The rain to the wind said,
'You push and I'll pelt.'
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged--though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.


To Know The Dark
by Wendell Berry

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.


Rooted by Noah G.

excerpt from A Home in Dark Grass
by Robert Bly

We did not come to remain whole.
We came to lose our leaves like the trees,
The trees that are broken
And start again, drawing up on great roots;


The Miss Rumphius Effect is the Poetry Friday host today.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Right on cue, I figured out the letter that comes after P.
~Jarod Kintz

Antonio Basoli (1774–1848) was an Italian painter, engraver, professor, and set designer. He also decorated theaters and palaces. Here's an example of one of his set designs:

It's not too big of a leap from there to his Alfabeto Pittorico (Pictorial Alphabet), 1839:

* You can see the whole alphabet here
* Amazon sellers have 2 copies
* Calligraphy and a calligram

Monday, January 27, 2014

Yo-Yo Ma

I think that peace is, in many ways, a precondition of joy.
~Yo-Yo Ma

Guess how many albums Yo-Yo Ma has recorded?

75! More than you thought? 15 of them have won Grammy awards. Seems like it's about time for us to listen to Mr. Ma for Music Monday. By the way, do you know how old the instruments are that he plays?

From his site: "Mr. Ma plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius." (I heard that he left one in a taxi a few years ago but got it back unharmed -- whew!)


* Yo-Yo Ma's home page
* Album: The Essential Yo-Yo Ma
* Top 10 Yo-Yo Ma Albums by Aaron Green
* More Ma on Sesame Street. And more! He also visited Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.
* Yo-Yo Ma talks about music in a world of fast communications, expanding horizons and shrinking borders

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Campus Safety

This incident at Alabama State University is completely disturbing.

It makes me want to share some resources with you all (and also make sure my children don't attend universities where sexual assaults go uninvestigated and unpunished!). Perhaps if enough alum donors, potential students, their parents, and other interested parties point out to negligent colleges the error of their ways, we will see improvement.

Some resources:

* Students Active for Ending Rape
* The Clery Center for Security on Campus has a Help for Victims section with "The Federal Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights" and information about how to file complaints if your rights have been violated
* Know Your Rights: Campus Sexual Assault from the American Association of University Women
* Campus Rape Victims: A Struggle for Justice
* Sexual Assault on Campus reports from The Center for Public Integrity
* Female students' safety on campus is a right
* Campus sexual assault: suggested policies and procedures from the American Association of University Professors
* Men Can Stop Rape: Creating Cultures Free From Violence
* Previous posts on antiviolence visuals and Men Against Rape and Discrimination
* Also art as therapy, music therapy, and meditation

Friday, January 24, 2014

Imaginary Poems

I want you, as a reader, to experience what I experience, to let that other world, that imaginary world that I have created, tell you things about the real world.
~Terry Brooks

It's only January, but lately I've been asked to sign my kids up for summer camp and to plan out a school program for National Poetry Month in April. People are thinking ahead. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I say, so I came up with a scenario of my own for NPM at The Opposite of Indifference. So...anybody want to go somewhere imaginary?

A while back, I wrote some poems that I filed under "Directory of Imaginary Poems." They were inspired by The Dictionary of Imaginary Places by Gianni Guadalupi and Alberto Manguel. You are invited to add poems to my "Directory," either by writing poems for it or nominating poems that someone else wrote (for instance, Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll). I will collect them and post them throughout April.

There's a list of imaginary places here to help you get started. Pretty much any place from your favorite book or movie would work, with these caveats:

Only places a traveller could expect to visit --
No heavens or hells
No places in the future
None outside the planet earth
No pseudonymous places (places that are real but just called something else)

I'm not worried about getting multiple poems about the same imaginary land -- the more, the merrier! I'm sure no two people would have the same thing to say about Narnia, Gallifrey (Doctor Who), or Florin (The Princess Bride), for instance.

Some examples (my own and others):

* Alice in Wonderland
* The Sugar-Plum Tree
* Atlantis
* On the Island of the Fay
* O.O.U.
* The Sea of Frozen Words

Plus a poem for today:

Waiting On Hogwarts
by Tabatha Yeatts

You imagine
the slither of the envelope
slid suddenly under the door
might sound like two clouds
brushing against one another,
or a knife slicing
through a steamy, perfect
Christmas pudding.

You wonder
if the letter will be thin
as firecracker smoke,
or crackly and substantial
as a parchment map.

You see your name
written in letters
that a calligrapher would admire,
the ink barely dry
before you are spirited away.

You hope you won't cry,
but in the triumph of being chosen–
of being recognized
for who you really are–
who could blame you
for a tear or two?


If you come up with a poem, send it to me at tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com!

The logo above was designed by my daughter (I painted the background). Thank you, Elena!

You can find the Poetry Friday round-up at A Teaching Life.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.
~Japanese proverb

This Art Thursday, we have selections from the beautiful "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo" by Andō Hiroshige (1797–1858). The "Views" were made from 1856-1858 and Edo is modern-day Tokyo, so these woodblock prints show seasonal scenes of 19th century Tokyo. (You might notice that the numbers for the last three images are higher than 100. There are actually 118 pictures in the series!)

Plum Estate, Kameido (Kameido Umeyashiki)
no. 30

Mannen Bridge, Fukagawa (Fukagawa Mannenbashi)
no. 51

Sudden Shower Over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake (Ohashi Atake no Yudachi)
no. 52

Sakasai Ferry
no. 58

Silk-Goods Lane, Odenma-cho
no. 74

The Dyers' District in Kanda
no. 75

Kinryuzan Temple, Asakusa (Asakusa Kinryuzan)
no. 99

Asakusa Ricefields and Torinomachi Festival
no. 101

Fukagawa Susaki and Jumantsubo
no. 107

The Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill at Meguro
no. 111

Information about the process of printing One Hundred Famous Views of Edo from the Brooklyn Museum

Monday, January 20, 2014


When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

Upbeat music on Mondays seems pretty popular (I,II, III). I've got more of it for you. The first one is pretty relaxed; the last is fairly frenzied; both songs begin about 40 seconds in. The second one starts at the beginning :-)

* Raphael Saadiq
* Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
* The history behind "This Train"
* Old Crow Medicine Show
* Mumford and Sons
* Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Difference between Water and a Wave

...But if a mirror ever makes
you sad

you should know
that it does
not know
― Kabir

Kabir with a disciple

Kabir was an Indian mystic poet and saint who lived circa 1440–1518.

I have been thinking ...
by Kabir

I have been thinking of the difference between water
and the waves on it. Rising,
water's still water, falling back,
it is water, will you give me a hint
how to tell them apart?

Because someone has made up the word
"wave," do I have to distinguish it from water?

There is a Secret One inside us;
the planets in all the galaxies
pass through his hands like beads.


Keri is the Poetry Friday round-up host this week.

Next week, I will be inviting participation in my Directory of Imaginary Poems!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rings, Winds, Moons

Deep in the shady sadness of a vale,
Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star,
Sat gray-hair'd Saturn, quiet as a stone,
Still as the silence round about his lair;
~John Keats, Hyperion

Time for another NASA Art Thursday. These photos are primarily from the Cassini spacecraft. NASA explains, "In 2004, Cassini-Huygens reached Saturn and its moons...In some ways, the Cassini spacecraft has senses better than our own. For example, Cassini can 'see' in wavelengths of light and energy that the human eye cannot. The instruments on the spacecraft can 'feel' things about magnetic fields and tiny dust particles that no human hand could detect." (Side-note: Huygens was a probe that landed on Titan; Cassini is still sending back data.)

Some Saturn Wiki-trivia:
* Although prehistoric people realized that Saturn existed, no one knew about Saturn's rings until Galileo saw them through his telescope in in 1610.
* Saturn has at least 150 moons and "moonlets," the largest of which is Titan.
* Saturn's second largest moon, Rhea, may have a ring system of its own.
* Saturn's moon Enceladus has potential for microbial life.
* It takes Saturn about 29½ years to finish one revolution around the Sun.
* The winds on Saturn are the second fastest among the Solar System's planets (Neptune is first).
* Infrared imaging has shown that Saturn's south pole has a warm polar vortex, the only known example of one in the Solar System.

The Cassini program is an international cooperative effort involving NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), and others. Thank you to all of these contributors for the photos we are viewing today!

A rough comparison of sizes of Saturn and Earth

An Earth-Titan comparison

The Rite of Spring
This mosaic shows Saturn, its rings, and a few of its moons a day and a half after exact Saturn equinox, when the sun's disk was exactly overhead at the planet's equator.

Neon Saturn
This striking false-color mosaic was created from 25 images taken by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer over a period of 13 hours, and captures Saturn in nighttime and daytime conditions.
High-level, fine particles block Saturn's glow more strongly in the south, making Saturn look brighter in the north.

Hyperion, a moon discovered in 1848
Hyperion has a notably reddish tint when viewed in natural color. The red color was toned down in this false-color view, and the other hues were enhanced, in order to make more subtle color variations across Hyperion's surface more apparent.

Ring Shadows
Currently, the rings' shadows shield the mid-northern latitudes from the harshest of the sun's rays. As Saturn travels around the sun in its 29-year orbit, the shadows will narrow and head southward, eventually blanketing the opposite hemisphere.

Saturn's moon Iapetus, near-true color view

Sizeable Swirls
Huge clouds swirl through the southern latitudes of Saturn.

Secretive Rings
Saturn's rings cut across their own shadows on the planet and hide a tiny secret.
Barely visible in the Encke Gap is the embedded moon Pan (16 miles across). The Encke Gap is the thin, dark line near the rings' outer edge; Pan is a faint speck halfway between center and right.

Saturn info for kids from NASA
Saturn poetry lesson plan

Monday, January 13, 2014

See You in the Spring

Did you think I was taking a blog break? Naw! That's just the name of today's song by the Court Yard Hounds with Jakob Dylan. :-)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Woven Fine

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.
~William Blake, The Poison Tree

A bit of Blake today.

from Auguries of Innocence
by William Blake

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.


The Blake poem is completely un-lullaby-y, but somehow this song works:


Mainely Write is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Snow Queen

The flake of snow grew larger and larger; and at last it was like a young lady, dressed in the finest white gauze, made of a million little flakes like stars. She was so beautiful and delicate, but she was of ice, of dazzling, sparkling ice; yet she lived.
~Hans Christian Andersen

Seen Frozen yet? I am hoping to soon. This Art Thursday, we're looking at Hans Christian Andersen's Snow Queen. Aren't they full of glorious (if chilly) blues and whites?

Snow Queen, Christmas display at Chatsworth
photo by Susan McKeon

The Snow Queen, Maria Kousouni-Fika with the Greek National Opera
photo by Stefanos

Commemorative coin "Snow karaleva"("Snow Queen"), Belarus

Hans Christian Andersen, Snow Queen Stamp of Belarus

The Snow Queen by H.C. Andersen
by Elena Ringo

Snow Queen illustration from Hans Andersen's fairy tales, 1913
illustrated by W. Heath Robinson

Snow Queen, Lithograph For Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, 1916
Illustration by Milo Winter

Snow Queen illustration
shared by Georges Nijs


* A Pinterest Snow Queen board
* Scandinavian recipes
* The Snow Queen, a poem by Jeannine Hall Gailey
* Composers and The Snow Queen

Monday, January 6, 2014

For High School Singers

Passing along info for young singers, their parents, and teachers:

Do you know a fabulous young singer? Encourage them to audition for Washington National Opera's Opera Institute 2014 at American University.

This inspiring three-week summer program brings passionate, talented young musicians together in the nation's capital to experience opera in a professional and nurturing environment that only a world-class opera company can provide. Dedicated classical singers thrive from the Opera Institute's intense and focused curriculum, which prepares students for college performance programs and beyond.

June 23–July 12 | Ages 15–18
WNO Opera Institute 2014 at American University

All students must submit an online application on or before Mon., Jan. 20.

Auditions for the WNO Opera Institute 2014 program will be held in Washington, D.C., on Sat., Jan. 25 and Sun., Feb. 2 at the Kennedy Center. All video auditions must be received by Mon., Jan. 20.

Repertoire requirements: Please prepare two art songs; one must be in Italian. Arias from the standard operatic repertoire are not permitted. Art songs such as those in 24 Italian Songs and Arias and similar are suggested. An accompanist will be provided.

To schedule a live audition, or for additional information on audition requirements, tuition, scholarships, program details, and how to apply, please call (202) 416-8846 or e-mail

WNO Opera Institute singers will have the option to compete in the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition at American University on Sat., June 21. Singers can receive feedback and compete for cash awards. Past adjudicators and master clinicians include Sherrill Milnes, Nicholas Muni, and Cynthia Lawrence.



Everybody's a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We're all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos.
~David Cronenberg

For this Music Monday, we have music video experimentalists cdza, turning themselves into a human jukebox (complete with dino-saxophonist) and pun-ny groups including "Bassoon 5":

Friday, January 3, 2014

Resolution by MHB

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.
~G.K. Chesterton

You know what I love about Michelle Heidenrich Barnes? Her good-nature, humor, supportiveness, and wit, among other things. She is an energetic and consistent part of this very dear poetry community. As my winter swap partner, Michelle sent me the book I mentioned last week, in addition to the timely poem below. Enjoy!

One more quote:

Good resolutions are like babies crying in church. They should be carried out immediately.
~Charles M. Sheldon

Betsy at I Think in Poems has the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Art Deco

Out of the corner of his eye, Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalks really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees—he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder.
~F.S. Fitzgerald, 1925

art deco
a style of decorative art developed originally in the 1920s with a revival in the 1960s, marked chiefly by geometric motifs, curvilinear forms, sharply defined outlines, often bold colors, and the use of synthetic materials, as plastics. (

A little Deco for Art Thursday, starting with three works by Lee Lawrie:

Odin and Quetzalcoatl, door detail, east entrance, Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, D.C., 1939
by Lee Lawrie, photographed by Carol Highsmith

Ogma and Sequoyah, door detail, east entrance, Library of Congress
by Lee Lawrie, photographed by Carol Highsmith

Portion of Wisdom, with Light and Sound, 30 Rockefeller Center, New York City
"Wisdom and Knowledge Shall Be The Stability of Thy Times"
by Lee Lawrie, photographed by Jaime Ardiles-Arce

Los Angeles Public Library, South Facade, Central Library
photo by Kansas Sebastian
Inscriptions above South facing door--
Top: Lucerna pedibus meis | lumen semitis meis; "Thy word, O Lord, is a lantern unto my feet, and a light unto my steps."
Bottom: In the world of affairs we live in our own age; In books we live in all ages.

Stained glass from the building of "Acieries of Paris and Outreau"
designed by architect J. Monchicourt
photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Boston Avenue Methodist Church in Tulsa, Okla
photo by Robert Blackie

The Arts of Peace, Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, Washington, D.C.
by James Earle Fraser, photographed by Christian Bradford

* Facts about Art Deco for Kids from Free
* Art Deco artists on Artcyclopedia
* A.M. Cassandre (and a tribute to him)