Friday, August 29, 2014

The Fragrance of Goodness

We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.
~John Fowles

Bubbles in the ice by Christian Guthier

by Susan Kolodny

Waiting in the café for my son
who has been struggling up
from under the ice, trying to find
where it is thin enough to break,
but thick enough to crawl up onto

read the rest here


Santalum freycinetianum by David Eickhoff

A poem by Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha:

The perfume of sandalwood,
the scent of rosebay and jasmine,
travel only as far as the wind.

But the fragrance of goodness
travels with us
through all the worlds.

Like garlands woven from a heap of flowers,
fashion your life
as a garland of beautiful deeds.


You can find the Poetry Friday round-up at Check It Out.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Like a Ton of Bricks

Today, our focus is the humble brick.

Institut d'Art et d'Archeologie
by Paul Bigot
photo by Art on the Fly

Vilnia | Church of St. Hanna
photo by Paval Hadzinski

High art in Indianapolis on Mass Ave.
photo by Steve Baker

Watts Chapel - Compton - Surrey
photo by Nick Garrod

by Mara Smith
photo by Kevin Harber

Abbaye de Pomposa à Cidigoro
photo by kristobalite

Ensemble d'églises romanes Santo Stefano à Bologna
photo by kristobalite

Basilique Saint-Apollinaire-in-Classe à Ravenna
photo by kristobalite

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Gathering of Spirits

I can’t explain it. I couldn’t if I tried
How the only things we carry
Are the things we hold inside
~Carrie Newcomer

A song for Katherine R. this morning in the hopes that it will be a little comforting:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Swap Poems

The Summer Swap 2014 poets were very entertaining, thoughtful, clever givers, as you can see from the poems below. Thank you to Irene, Keri, and Robyn letting me share these!

Summer Poem Swap
by Irene Latham
for Tabatha

Poems flip-flop
across 13 states,
dive into the hands

                         of poets

who savor words
the way wind
relishes treetops.

the poems arrive

other times
they belly-flop,
meaty as pork chops.

Each poem quenches
like a fat raindrop's

Why, oh why
does the swap
have to stop?


Victoria Inner Harbour Panorama 2012 by Gord McKenna

by Keri Collins Lewis
for Tabatha Yeatts

screech high above
mercurial waters
as the ferry slips into place:


by Robyn Hood Black

Twas breakfast, and the slimikin cur
Did tremefy the gray cat away:
All mowburnt was the bacon
All misqueme, the one who groaks
"Beware the scelidate, my son!
Epalpebrate, with kexy fur!
Beware the aquabib, and shun
the crebritous rogitator!"

* Or "Watch Out for the Small Dog Who Begs at the Table"
(thanks/apologies to Lewis Carroll and Tabatha's "Pets in the Kitchen" series)

Lucy, wondering whether she misquemed the cat

(Note from Tabatha: Maybe I should mention that one of the optional prompts was to use obsolete words in your poem? Linda shared my crazy obsolete word poems.)

slimikin - small and slender
tremefy - to cause to tremble
mowburnt - spoiled by becoming overheated
misqueme - to displease, to offend
groak - to silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them
scelidate - having legs
epalpebrate - lacking eyebrows
kexy - dry, brittle, withered
aquabib - water-drinker
crebrity - frequency, period between two occurrences
rogitate - to ask frequently


Irene is our Poetry Friday host today. Hope you are feeling better soon, Robyn!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cloaks, No Dagger

Good words do more than hard speeches, as the sunbeams, without any noise, will make the traveler cast off his cloak, which all the blustering winds could not do, but only make him bind it closer to him.
~Robert Leighton

Today we have cloaks and robes (and a coat).

Kurd Man
by Max Karl Tilke
National Museum of Georgia

Color lithograph depicting nineteenth century General Manuel Pavia y Lacy (1814-1896), Marquis of Novaliches, clad in the ceremonial robe and mantle of the Royal and Military Order of San Fernando, popularly known as Laureate of San Fernando Cruz

Inverness Coat, 1901
Men's Fashion Illustration from the Turn of the Century
Reprint by Dover Publications, 1990

A cloak was the third item of dress in a man's ensemble at the end of the 16th century. It was worn with a doublet and trunk hose.

Count Mollien in Napoleonic court costume
by Robert Lefèvre

Sir Nicholas Vansittart
by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Ludwig II portrait
by Gabriel Schachinger

Koorkap kaproen

Previous clothing-related posts include men's accessories, DIY costumes, and beads.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Honey With Poems In It

Flüssiges Gold by Maja Dumat

Today's poem was written by Su Shi more than nine hundred years ago. The Mountain Songs Chinese poetry website explains that Su Shi was friends with a monk poet named Zhongshu: "Before becoming a monk, Zhongshu...had taken a wife. However, he found it impossible to stay at home, and one day his angry wife poisoned his meat. Zhongshu nearly died but cured himself by eating honey, which he continued to do for the rest of his life. Furthermore, doctors warned him that if he even touched meat again, the poison would reactivate and he would be dead. On hearing this, Zhongshu decided that he might as well become a monk." Su Shi wrote a number of poems for Zhongshu, including "Song of the Honey-eating Old Man from Anzhou."

Song of the Honey-eating Old Man from Anzhou
by Su Shi, 1036-1101

The old fellow of Anzhou has a mind as resolute as iron
But still manages to retain the tongue of a child.
He will not touch the five grains, but eats only honey:
Smiling, he points to the bees and calls them his "donors"!
The honey he eats contains a poetry men do not understand:
But the myriad flowers and grasses vie to transport it.
The old fellow sips and savors and then spits out poems,
Poems designed to entice the ill "children" of the world.
When the children taste his poems, it is like tasting honey,
And that honey is a cure for the hundred ills.
Just when they are madly rushing about grasping at straws,
Smiling, they read his poems and all their cares vanish!
Master Dongpo has always treated others with fairness
But still there are some who like him and some who don't!
Like a tea that some find bitter and other sweet,
And unlike honey, which tastes sweet to everyone.
So, Sir, I am sending you a round cake of Double Dragon tea:
Which, if held up to a mirror, will reflect the two dragons.
Though Wu during the sixth month is as hot as boiling water,
This old man's mind is as cool as the Double Dragon Well!

Translated by Beata Grant


The Poetry Friday round-up is at My Juicy Little Universe.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Francisco de Zurbarán

Only the poet or the saint can water an asphalt pavement in the confident anticipation that lilies will reward his labour.
~W. Somerset Maugham

Art by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) today. I like Zurbarán's colors, textures, and the bits of narrative he includes in the portraits.

The Child Virgin Asleep
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Francis in Meditation
by Francisco de Zurbarán

The Burial of St Catherine
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Andrew
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Ambrosius
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Dorothea

Saint Lawrence
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Engratia
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sonnet XVII

Like many people who only knew Robin Williams through his work, I have been shedding tears for him in the past day. Was it his vulnerability that enabled him to touch his audience so deeply?

Robin Williams chose a number of films that had poetry in them one way or other. The most obvious is Dead Poets' Society, but there were also poems in Awakenings and Patch Adams. Perhaps others, too? I saw the clips of the sonnet Williams reads in Patch Adams and the second clip made me cry (he's reading it in a cemetery). I'm not going to share that clip here, both because I don't want to make anybody cry and because I don't think the producers want the clip around. But here's the poem:

Sonnet XVII
by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Metropole Orkest

Metropole Orkest is a jazz and pop orchestra based in the Netherlands.

Friday, August 8, 2014

And Both Be Right

Two gentle poems today.

Corners on the Curving Sky
by June Jordan (often misattributed to Gwendolyn Brooks)

Our earth is round, and, among other things
That means that you and I can hold
completely different
Points of view and both be right.
The difference of our positions will show
Stars in your window I cannot even imagine.
Your sky may burn with light,
While mine, at the same moment,
Spreads beautiful to darkness.
Still, we must choose how we separately corner
The circling universe of our experience.
Once chosen, our cornering will determine
The message of any star and darkness we

Blue skies, green sod by Casey Sjolund


A Prayer
by Max Ehrmann

Let me do my work each day; and if
the darkened hours of despair
overcome me, may I not forget the strength
that comforted me
in the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that
found me walking over
the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming
on the margin of a quiet
river, when a light glowed within me, and
I promised my early God
to have courage amid the tempests of the
changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and from the
sharp passions of unguarded
moments. May I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not, may my
thoughts and actions be
such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the
stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest
I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world,
but walk calmly in my

Give me a few friends who will love me for what
I am; and keep ever
burning before my vagrant steps the kindly
light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me,
and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me
still to be thankful for
life, and for time's olden memories that are good
and sweet; and
may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.


A Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint on it you can.
~Danny Kaye

A time-consuming, temporary art today -- body and face painting.

Living Statue, Festival Nieuwe Binnenweg
photo by Gerard Stolk

Puli, Kerala, India
photo by Ranjith Shenoy R

photo & retouching by Rodrigo Adonis
body painting by Mila Delaporte

2010 FIFA World Cup Fans
photo by Octagon

Sydney Body Art Ride
photo by Ernest Fratczak

Participant in body painting competition at San Carlos City, Philippines
photo by Billy Lopue

Young Suri boy with face painting in Kibish, Ethiopia
photo by Dietmar Temps

Silver Woman, Living Statue
photo by Simon Mugridge

Colchester Free Festival, 2012
photo by Jason Cobb

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sarah Jarosz

Does life seem nasty, brutish, and short?
Come on up to the house
The seas are stormy and you can't find no port?
Come on up to the house
~Tom Waits

Sarah Jarosz today:

Friday, August 1, 2014

Art is Long

Talk not of wasted affection; affection never was wasted.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Three videos for A Psalm of Life by Longfellow: the first is a centenarian reciting it from memory (she does a really lovely job); the second is from the Favorite Poem Project; in the third, A Psalm of Life is set to Celtic music.

A Psalm of Life
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.


Reflections on the Teche has the Poetry Friday round-up.