Friday, October 31, 2014

Poetry Monster Loves Halloween

The Raven
By Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
   As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
    Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
    Nameless here for evermore...

by Tabatha and Elena

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
    Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
    Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

Read the rest here.


* More visits from Poetry Monster.
* The Opposite of Indifference Halloween Collection
* Information about the Winter Poetry Swap can be found here. The deadline for signing up is November 7th.

Linda has the Poetry Friday round-up at TeacherDance.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Standing Tall

Well, as giraffes say, you don't get no leaves unless you stick your neck out.
~Sid Waddell

You might think there wouldn't be a lot of giraffe art, but...

Engraving of giraffes at Mathendous in the desert of Libya

Tingatinga painting of giraffes
by I.M. Mlaponi

Kunsthofpassage Dresden

Stand Tall 2013 - 50 years of Colchester Zoo
photo by Karen Roe
Stand Tall for Giraffes celebrated the 50th birthday of Colchester Zoo in 2013 with a public art trail of 112 giraffe sculptures. The giraffe sculptures raised £115,400 at auction.

'Sarasvati' inspired giraffe, part of Stand Tall 2013
photo by Karen Roe
by Anne Schwegmann-Fielding

Garden of the Villa Medici di Castello

Giraffe House
photo by Laurie Avocado

photo by Terry Robinson

* One Million Giraffes Project (someone used the Internet to collect one million art representations of giraffes, sent by strangers)
* Wildlife Conservation Society (I couldn't find any four-star charities that work on giraffe conservation...but this one, which has a score of 89.93 out of 100, is the highest rated I could find on Charity Navigator.)

P.S. I thought I didn't have any particular reason for spotlighting giraffes today, but I was just adding the tail to my daughter's giraffe Halloween costume and realized "Oh!"

Monday, October 27, 2014

Who Could Ask for Anything More?

I got starlight,
I got sweet dreams,
I got my girl,
Who could ask for anything more?

~George Gershwin

Gene Kelly today:

* Lines Written for Gene Kelly to Dance to by Carl Sandburg
* A mention of "Singing in the Rain" in one of my posts here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

We Two, Same and Not-Same

The time on either side of now stands fast.
~Maxine Kumin (1925-2014)

For Poetry Friday, we have a poem by Maxine Kumin and a Winter Poetry Swap announcement. This morning, I took my 16-year-old cat to the vet. Dr. V. was startled when he saw Cleo's age on the chart because he thought she was younger. I can't take credit for the twinkle in her eye (or the fact that she purred through getting a shot), but nurturing --animals, children, plants-- is kind of my specialty. Which brings us to today's poem, "Nurture":

by Maxine W. Kumin

From a documentary on marsupials I learn
that a pillowcase makes a fine
substitute pouch for an orphaned kangaroo.

I am drawn to such dramas of animal rescue.
They are warm in the throat. I suffer, the critic proclaims,
from an overabundance of maternal genes.

Bring me your fallen fledgling, your bummer lamb,

Read the rest here


Want to take part in the Winter Poetry Swap 2014?

by Elena Y, age 13

I would like for this to be for non-poets as well as poets, which is something different. Usually, people write poems for their swappee, and I would like for poets to do that this time. But if you are a fan of poetry who doesn't write poems, you can still participate.

Okay, so what do you need to do to be part of the swap? Send me your name and mailing address by November 7th. I will give you someone's name and address. Send that person a poem -- if you are a poet, write one; if you aren't, pick one with them in mind. I don't ask that poets write poems with their swappee in mind, just because I know muses can be fickle creatures, but people often do.

A special part of the Winter Swap is gift-giving. In addition to a poem, swappers send small presents to each other. It could be something handmade. It's really your call. The deadline for sending your swap friend a poem and gift is December 12.

Sound like fun? Join in! You can email me at tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com.

The Poetry Friday round-up is at Merely Day by Day.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I Hope You Never Get Sick Of...

I've put more thought into my Halloween costume than into my career...

Costumes! Again. I can't resist!

Venice Carnivale 2014
photo by JP Bennett

Castlefest 2011, Steampunk, Sascha
by Eric

Venice Carnivale 2013
photo by JP Bennett

Accordion Player
photo by C Nilsen

2014 Cariwest Costume Extravaganza
photo by Karen Lee

Venice Carnivale 2014
photo by JP Bennett

2014 Cariwest Costume Extravaganza
photo by Karen Lee

Battle of Carnival Bands - Mandinga Arts
Aalborg Karneval

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hungarian March

"A Viennese music-lover, well acquainted with the ways of the country I was about to visit, had come to see me a few days earlier with a volume of old tunes. 'If you want to please the Hungarians, he said, write a piece on one of their national themes; they will be delighted...' I followed the advice and chose the Rákóczy theme, on which I wrote the grand march which you know."
~Berlioz, who received "a silver crown of exquisite workmanship" from a group of young Hungarians as thanks for the march

Music from The Damnation of Faust this Music Monday. It was composed by Louis Hector Berlioz, inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust (and by a Hungarian national tune).

YouTube Symphony Orchestra:

A bonus: the trailer for Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python)'s The Damnation of Faust:

Terry Gilliam

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ode to Lucy's Ears

“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
~Samuel Butler

Zeno poems are everywhere, have you noticed? J. Patrick Lewis invented this form based on the hailstone sequence (8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1 syllables that rhyme abcdefdghd), which Michelle has been featuring on her blog in October. I wanted to try it, but was nervous because it looks impossible.

photo by Ariana Y

Recently when my son and I were walking our puppy, I told him, "I could write a poem about Lucy's ears," to which he replied, "I could write a whole anthology about Lucy's ears." I don't know when his collection will be available, but here's my zeno:

Ode to Lucy's Ears
by Tabatha Yeatts

Sleek black waves bounce so charmingly
as she bounds a-
long. Her
is so fancy-
free, we
widely while her
ears be-


Michelle is our Poetry Friday host at Today's Little Ditty.

Calling myself out here for naming it "Ode to Lucy's Ears" when clearly it should be "Zeno (for? to?) Lucy's Ears." I meant it in the sense of a poem "expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion," but really.

Addendum the second: The first thing Lucy's ears reminded us of was Dobby. When Lucy is in trouble, here's what she looks like:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cameos and Intaglios

Carving is easy. You just go down to the skin and stop.

Carved gemstones, shells, and chocolate today.

What is an intaglio? A carved gem used to imprint sealing wax. Cameos have layers — they are sculpted in one layer with another contrasting layer serving as the background.

photo by Amanda Krueger

Cameo vase, Hercules restoring Alcestis to her husband Admetus
Artist: Alphonse Lechevrel (carver)
photo by Black Country Museums

Cameo , Sanibel Shell Museum
photo by Corinne Loomer

Cameo Ring with Marie Antoinette and the Dauphin
This sardonyx cameo features portrait busts of Queen Marie Antoinette of France (1755-93) and her son the Dauphin (1785-95).
Walters Art Museum

Sasanian intaglio with the portrait of a king and a Pahlavi inscription: “the Mazdaean lord Shapur, king of kings of Eran”

Portrait of Roman Emperor Caracalla, amethyst intaglio, ca. 212
From the treasury of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris

Top Hat Skeleton Gentleman
by Daniel Proulx

White Chocolate Cameos
photo by A Forest Frolic

Monday, October 13, 2014

An Occasion of Wild Revelry

Classical music isn't just music. It's a personal diary. An uncensored confession in the dead of night. A baring of the soul.
~Marisha Pessl

My younger daughter's orchestra is rehearsing the bacchanale from Samson et Dalila by Camille Saint-Saëns. It's a wonderful piece. In the video below, the Youth Orchestra of Caracas plays the heck out of it:

P.S. What's a "bacchanale"? It's an occasion of wild revelry, named for Bacchus, the Greek god of wine.

Friday, October 10, 2014

With Stomachs Rumbling

Did you hear about the Chinese poet Wang Zang who was arrested on October 1 for a Twitter post supporting the Hong Kong protests and their Umbrella Movement? (Many headlines about it have been along the lines of "Chinese poet faces jail for possession of umbrella." Read the PEN article about it here.)

Blue Umbrella by Don2G

Today, we have a poem by Hong Kong poet Leung Ping-kwan:

Leung Ping-kwan

by Leung Ping-kwan
Translated by John Minford and Chan Oi-sum 1996

As the Zhou Dynasty rebuilt the Empire
and celebrated the unity of All-Under-Heaven
courtiers were honoured, ceremonial music composed,
metals melted, vessels cast, new injunctions set in bronze, power revalidated.
The grand banquet commenced, noblemen and elders took the places of honour;
while savage fauna bubbled restlessly in the cauldron,
a sober phoenix motif replaced the gruesome mask of the Beast

Our humble bellies have ingested a surfeit of treachery
eaten their fill of history, wolfed down legends --
and still the banquet goes on, leaving
an unfilled void in an ever-changing structure.
Constantly we become food for our own consumption.
For fear of forgetting, we swallow our loved ones,
we masticate our memories and our stomachs rumble as we look outwards.

Read the rest on Leung Ping-kwan's site (look at "Archives" and search for "Cauldron")


You can find the Poetry Friday round-up at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

By the Sea

...all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
~John Masefield

Heading down to the water today:

What freedom!
by Ilya Repin

View from Dosseringen
by Christen Købke

The Battle of the U.S.S. "Kearsarge" and the C.S.S. "Alabama"
by Édouard Manet

Autumn Sea
by Gustave Courbet

Four-Masted Barque
by Henry Scott Tuke

Innseilingen Til Christiania
by Hans Gude

by Casases (not really sure of the painting name or artist)

In Finskom Bay
by Lev Feliksovich Lagorio

Moorage in Gurzuf
by Lev Orekhov

by August Schaeffer von Wienwald (1833-1912)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cold Mountain

A new book about a journey taken by a poet who is fascinated with 1,200-year-old poems and their author:

Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage To Cold Mountain by James P. Lenfestey

A poem by Han Shan (Cold Mountain):

Here we languish, a bunch of poor scholars,
Ravaged by extremes of hunger and cold.
Out of work, our only joy is poetry:
Scribble, scribble, we wear out our brains.
Who will read the works of such men?
On that point you can save your sighs.
We could inscribe our poems on biscuits
And the homeless dogs wouldn't deign to nibble.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Today we're viewing work by Japanese woodblock artist Shôtei, also known as Takahashi Hiroaki, who lived from 1871-1945.

Revolving Lantern and Bell Flowers
by Shôtei

Junks in Inatori Bay
by Shôtei

Night Scene
by Shôtei

Red Lacquered Gate
by Shôtei

by Shôtei

Tennoji Temple
by Shôtei

Moon Rising
by Shôtei

Rural Dance at the Feast of Lanterns
by Shôtei

An unrelated, but cool, quote by a woodblock artist who died before Shôtei was born:

...Of all I drew prior to my seventies there is truly nothing of any great note. When I was seventy-two I finally made out something of the shape of grasses and trees, the structure of birds and other animals, insects, fishes. Therefore when I become eighty I shall have made more progress; in my nineties I shall have penetrated even further the hidden meaning of things; at the age of a hundred I shall have reached the divine mystery, and at one hundred and ten even dots and lines will surely possess a life of their own.
~Woodblock artist Katsushika Hokusai, 1760-1849