Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Winter's Tale

What wisdom stirs amongst you? Come, sir, now
I am for you again: pray you sit by us,
And tell's a tale.

Merry or sad shall't be?

As merry as you will.

A sad tale's best for winter. I have one
Of sprites and goblins.
~ Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale

We've got statues that come to life, a man chased by a bear, and a baby left on a doorstep. It's Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, which I haven't yet seen performed. Side-note: the statue that comes to life is named Hermione (the only non-Harry Potter "Hermione" I know). For my fellow costume fans, some costume designs are included! :-) The Folger Library has a terrific collection of Shakespeare images.

Antigonus chased by a bear ("Exit, pursued by a bear")
by Thomas Bragg, Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection

Mary Anderson as Hermione
by Henry Van der Weyde, 1887

Hermione and Leontes, Paulina: Nay, present your hand, Winter's tale, act V, scene III
drawn by J. McL. Ralston ; engraved by Joseph Swain.

Winter's tale, act III, scene III
19th century?

Winter's Tale, Act II, Scene III
by John Opie

Costume designs for the Viola Allen production of Winter's Tale at the Knickerbocker Theatre
by Tom Heslewood

Winter's Tale at the Knickerbocker Theatre
by Tom Heslewood

Winter's Tale at the Knickerbocker Theatre
by Tom Heslewood

* The Winter's Tale, the ballet
* Jeanette Wilson's cover version novel of The Winter's Tale

Monday, December 28, 2015

Happiest Backslider in the World

Father you of all gods ought to know how little to expect from people
But I think you might be pleasantly surprised to see what this girl
Would bring out of me

The Punch Brothers today with "This Girl":

Sometimes I use Music Monday as a way to keep track of songs I want to listen to again. This song by Czech-Icelandic musician Marketa Irglova is one of those.

Friday, December 25, 2015

I learn by going where I have to go

My heart keeps open house,
My doors are widely swung.
~Theodore Roethke

Merry Christmas! I put together this post ahead of time and decided to share these poems before I realized that I'd be sharing them on Christmas. They aren't traditional for the holiday, but they suit the occasion pretty well in their own way. These three poems/excerpts are by Pulitzer prizewinner Theodore Roethke. The Waking starts about twenty seconds in:

The Waking
By Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Read the rest here.


Once More, The Round
by Theodore Roethke

What's greater, Pebble or Pond?
What can be known? The Unknown.
My true self runs toward a Hill
More! O More! visible.

Now I adore my life
With the Bird, the abiding Leaf,
With the Fish, the questing Snail,
And the Eye altering All;
And I dance with William Blake
For love, for Love's sake;

And everything comes to One,
As we dance on, dance on, dance on.


An excerpt from The Light Comes Brighter:

And soon a branch, part of a hidden scene,
The leafy mind, that long was tightly furled,
Will turn its private substance into green,
And young shoots spread upon our inner world.


Live Your Poem has the Poetry Friday round-up.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Peace on Earth

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
~Mother Teresa

Having Art Thursday early this week because it is also kinda my Christmas card to you :-).

Yassan and friend, Kuala Lumpur

Have you ever heard of GPS art? I hadn't before I received a press release about this:

How to make GPS art (running)
How to make GPS art (biking)
Another GPS artist

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sing We Now of Christmas

Christmas comes anew, O let us sing Noel!
~Noël Nouvelet, traditional circa 1500

I seem to have a never-ending stream of Christmas favorites...

Isn't the name "The Stairwell Carollers" fun?

One more of the same song, this time by the Vasari Singers, in case you want to hear it again:

P.S. I heard Sam Clemens' Letter from Santa to Susie on the radio the other day. Wonderful stuff.

One more (will I ever stop??):

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Winter Wish

Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Looking at its sad appearance who would think that those stiff branches, those jagged twigs would turn green again and blossom and bear fruit next spring; but we hope they will, we know they will.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We are celebrating the Winter Poem Swap today, but it hasn't been feeling very wintery in my part of the world. I am looking forward to a bit of snow and ice, one of these days.

The intelligent and lovely Liz Steinglass sent me these sweet Cat Yin Yang cards by our own Robyn Hood Black/Artsy Letters:

The poem Liz wrote for me was perfect, and I appreciate all the effort (and drafts!) that went into it:

Monet, Train in the Snow


Diane has the Poetry Friday round-up at Random Noodling.

Addendum: Dori shared a yoga magnet cinquain and Relaxing in Antarctica (my swap poem for her) last week.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Snow Globes

You know those little snow globes that you shake up? I always thought my brain was sort of like that. You know, where you just give it a shake and watch what comes out and shake it again. It's like that.
~Gary Larson

If you know who Gary Larson is, the above quote doesn't surprise you at all. Today's post almost didn't happen, primarily due to a wonderful program whose timing is awful, but here it is. Snow globes!

Reindeer Snow Globe
photo by Abbie

NYC Snow Globe
photo by Miles Davis

Lights Around the Globe
photo by Jim

Vienna-themed Snow Globes
photo by Mark Turner

I love this snow globe painting by the Art Meister.

This Etsy shop has fantastic snow globes.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I have a lot of favorites

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.
~Peg Bracken

Over the years, I have shared some of my favorite Christmas songs (e.g. In the Bleak Midwinter, Shepherd's Pipe Carol, Sleigh Ride)

Here's another:

One more from a favorite album:

What are your favorites?

Friday, December 11, 2015

David Gilmour, Lynda Barry

You awake with a start
To just the beating of your heart
Just one man beneath the sky
Just two ears
Just two eyes
~David Gilmour

I wasn't sure what I wanted to share this week until I heard this. It hits the spot. David Gilmour:

And then I thought, "You know what could make this even better? Cartoonist Lynda Barry talking about poetry!" So...

A Teaching Life has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Two Hands Tee

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
~Sam Levenson

Cool cause, cool tee... donate $39 to UNICEF and they'll send you this t-shirt:

Monday, December 7, 2015

Nothin' Gets Me Down

When you beat a drum, you create NOW, when silence becomes a sound so enormous and alive it feels like you're breathing in the clouds and the sky, and your heart is the rain and the thunder.
~Ruth Ozeki

Eduarda Henklein, a five-year-old drummer from Brazil:

Friday, December 4, 2015

Songs for the Weary

Children make up the best songs, anyway. Better than grown-ups. Kids are always working on songs and throwing them away, like little origami things or paper airplanes. They don't care if they lose it; they'll just make another one.
~Tom Waits

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Songs for the People
By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Let me make the songs for the people,
Songs for the old and young;
Songs to stir like a battle-cry
Wherever they are sung.

Not for the clashing of sabres,
For carnage nor for strife;
But songs to thrill the hearts of men
With more abundant life.

Let me make the songs for the weary,
Amid life’s fever and fret,
Till hearts shall relax their tension,
And careworn brows forget.

Let me sing for little children,
Before their footsteps stray,
Sweet anthems of love and duty,
To float o’er life’s highway.

I would sing for the poor and aged,
When shadows dim their sight;
Of the bright and restful mansions,
Where there shall be no night.

Our world, so worn and weary,
Needs music, pure and strong,
To hush the jangle and discords
Of sorrow, pain, and wrong.

Music to soothe all its sorrow,
Till war and crime shall cease;
And the hearts of men grown tender
Girdle the world with peace.


Buffy Silverman has the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

All Dolled Up

In the dell of our garden,
my dolls and I take tea,
and days when I have raisins,
the catbirds dine with me.

Dolls today. As you might expect, I am a sucker for an elaborate costume.

MAP Expo Empereur Ojin Poupée
photo by Vassil

Zachheies Lengsdorf
by Hawobo

North American Doll given to Joseph Sturge in 1838, during a visit to North America in connection with the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

El Rey Jareth / David Bowie / Laberinto

Dolls as sweatshop worker in a factory exhibit at the Great American Dollhouse Museum

Hopi Kachina doll
National Museum of Ethnology (Osaka, Japan)

Tango no sekku doll of Samurai warrior Takeuchi No Sukune minister to Emperor Ōjin Japan, 19th century
photo by Mary Harrsch

Porcelain doll in period dress, France, 1877
from Lola Anglada's Dolls Collection

Male Court Doll

Nigerian doll in the Japanese National Museum of Ethnology
photo by Yanajin33

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Swamp Rock

I'm sick of staring at that laptop on my desk
~Dash Rip Rock, Country Girlfriend

It's raining here, but I am keeping things lively. Have you heard of swamp rock music? Here's New Orleans band Dash Rip Rock with Country Girlfriend... check out that guitar solo!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Can't Control the Weather

When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure.
~Alice Hoffman

Fairground Saints:

Hat tip: my firstborn

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Hugs All Around

“You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place.'
'That's why animals are so soft and huggy.”
~Bill Watterson

Thanksgiving seems like a good day to celebrate hugs! ALL kinds of hugs... even face ones :-)

Group Hug
photo by Peter Harrison

by Twice25 & Rinina25

Senior Chief Construction Mechanic Renato Hidalgo hugs his son before departing for an eight-month deployment to Afghanistan
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Ace Rheaume

Free hugs
photo by Matthew G

Douglas Gets Hugged
by Marji Beach

by popofatticus

Self-Portrait with Her Daughter
by Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun

Free Face Hugs
by Nathan Rupert

Free Hugs shirt

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bogányi (and a massage)

You write to become immortal, or because the piano happens to be open, or you’ve looked into a pair of beautiful eyes.
~Robert Schumann

Sharing a new kind of piano today. Hungarian pianist Bogányi Gergely invented a piano that he plays in the video below. Differences between the Bogányi and traditional pianos include: the Bogányi is made with different construction materials, it has fewer legs, and it is played with the top open. What is the result? A jazz pianist who tried it out says it's like playing in a bubble of sound. Interesting!

Sometimes I talk about relaxation music and things people can do to feel less stressed. Here's something I like a lot: hand massage. It feels great and doesn't take long to do. (Isn't it so nice that people share information freely on YouTube? This helpful person has a lovely Irish accent.)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ashraf Fayadh, Poet in Danger

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.
~Harry S. Truman

I am concerned about this news:

Poet and Artist Ashraf Fayadh Sentenced to Death in Saudi Arabia

From English PEN (Freedom to Write, Freedom to Read):

Fayadh was first detained in August 2013 in relation to his collection of poems, Instructions Within. He was released on bail but rearrested in January 2014, accused of ‘atheism and spreading some destructive thoughts into society’, before being sentenced in May 2014. The dismissal of his appeal led to the retrial which concluded earlier this week. Fayadh is reported to be ‘really shocked’ by the sentence, stating, ‘I didn’t do anything that deserves death.’

* Sign an Amnesty International Petition on his behalf *

Friday, November 20, 2015

More Gifts, More Doctors

As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal somebody else.
~Maya Angelou

As you might know, I am really interested in health, wellness, medicine, and the like, which is why I want to read this book: Poetry in Medicine: An Anthology of Poems About Doctors, Patients, Illness and Healing, Michael Salcman (Editor). Has anyone read it?

Here's a video about using poetry to help student physicians from becoming too disassociated from their patients:

Time to talk about poetry gifts! I have posted lists of such things in the past. Here are more possibilities:

Shirts, shoes, and accessories:
Custom Poetry Shoes: Red Wheelbarrow
Similes are like metaphors... shirt
Read More Poetry
Stacks of books scarf
French poetry earrings
Wordsworth button

Posters, books, and cards:
"If I Can Save One Heart from Breaking" poster
Fantasy library poster
100 literary postcards set
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Vogon Poetry book
Nature poem card

Visit The Miss Rumphius Effect for the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


just as it is,
as it is,
as is.
Flowers in bloom.
Nothing to add.
-Robert Aitken

I once read a novel that centered on ikebana (Japanese floral arrangements) but I hadn't looked at many until I put this post together. They grew on me and the more I saw, the more I liked them. Which is one reason I am including quite a few, since, if you're like me, maybe it will take a little while for your appreciation to grow.

Der Herbstwald
Johanna und Heinz Günter Saemann

by David Sobral

Ikebana, Gorcum
Frans de Wit

Ikebana 1
by Holly

Plum Blossoms, Ikebana
by Christopher Paquette

Schlechte Herrscher
Johanna und Heinz Günter Saemann

by Leonid Ll

Für Edda-Sophie
Johanna und Heinz Günter Saemann

Ikebana - Yoshiko Nakamura 01B
by Joe Mabel

Exposición Ikebana
by Carlos Donderis

Saga Goryu moribana useitai
by Gryffindor

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book recommendations

A different kind of book recommendation:

And a walking library!