Thursday, April 30, 2015


The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
~Jacques Yves Cousteau

I guess I took Latin at a formative age because my fingers get twitchy over the keyboard if I make the plural of words that end in "us" anything but "i." Same thing with "um" to "a." Anyway, we have more-than-one nautilus today. I didn't realize that they are being overfished:
There is growing concern that nautiluses are being greatly overfished not just for the shape of their shells, but also for the nacreous inner shell layer, which is used as a pearl substitute. Because there are currently no national or international regulations protecting this ancient creature, biologist Peter Ward, from the University of Washington, says "there is a horrendous slaughter going on out there." Their limited ecological range and the late onset of their sexual maturity combined with this overfishing has led to recent investigations into the need to protect them from possible endangerment or extinction though no regulations yet exist and thus the nautilus remains unprotected. -- Wikipedia
Check out two boys (and their mentors) who are working hard to Save the Nautilus.

S.E.A. Aquarium
photo by Sarah Starkweather

Nautilus shell
photo by Steph Matthews

Nautilus Sculptures, Applied Arts Museum in Budapest
Curious Expeditions

photo by Beth Hoffman

photo by Benson Kua

Chambered Nautilus
photo by Leroy Andersen

Cup made from a nautilus, Metropolitan Museum of Art
photo by Miria Grunick

A previous post on spirals

Monday, April 27, 2015


Wrapped up in the music, I threw myself into an overstuffed chair and let my legs dangle over the arm, the position in which Nature intended music to be listened to, and for the first time in days I felt the muscles in my neck relaxing.
~Alan Bradley

Guess where I am? On a walk with Lucy

I have some friends, young and old, who have been in need of relaxation. While I was looking around for relaxing music for young people, I found Indigo Dreams:

Other relaxing things, in case you are in the market for any:

Cup of Calm tea (If you try it, might want to drink just a little at first just to see if it makes you sleepy. Sometimes a little can relax and more can make you want to go to bed!)

Coloring books for relaxation (for all ages)

A warm footbath can be *very* relaxing.

A soothing poem addendum: Leonard Nimoy reads Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2015 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

I've written lines for Irene's Progressive Poems before, but this time freaked me out the most... it feels as though we are in mid-story. How will it ever be wrapped up in five days?

When I was pondering my line, I thought about the fisherman's reaction to her bracelet, the fact that their eyes are so similar, and that both of their grandmothers are playing a role here. You might be surprised where I take it! Forgive me, romantics.


I used the more elaborately-formatted version:


She lives without a net,

walking along the alluvium of the delta.

Shoes swing over her shoulder,

on her bare feet stick

jeweled flecks of dark mica.

Hands faster than fish swing

at the ends of bare brown arms.

Her hair flows,


in wild wind

as she digs

in the indigo varnished handbag,

pulls out her grandmother’s oval

cuffed bracelet,
 strokes the turquoise stones, and steps

through the curved doorway.







hair first





She                  glides               past                 glossy              water

hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,

listens to the ibises

roosting in the trees

of the cypress swamp

an echo

of Grandmother’s words, still fresh

in her windswept memory;

“Born from the oyster,

expect the pearl.

Reach for the rainbow

reflection on the smallest dewdrop.


The surface glistens, a shadow


above her head, a paddle


she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy

and turquoise eyes.

Lifted high, she gulps strange air – stares

clearly into
 Green pirogue, crawfish trap, startled

fisherman with turquoise eyes, twins

of her own, riveted on her wrist–

She’s swifter than a dolphin,

slipping away,

leaving him only

a handful

of memories

of his own

grandmother’s counsel:

“Watch for her.

You’ll have but one chance


to decide. Garner wisdom from the water

and from the pearl

of the past.”


In a quicksilver flash,

an arc of resolution, he


into the shimmering water

where hidden sentries restrain  

any pursuit and the bitter taste

of impulse rushes

into his lungs.

Her flipper flutters his weathered toes

     – Pearl’s signal –

Stop struggling.

The Sentinels will escort you

He stills, closes his eyes,

takes an uncharacteristic breath of ...


Released, he swims,

chasing the


of the bracelet

Gran gave the daughter

who reveled in waves,


Take it away, Brian!

2015 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

1 Jone at Check it Out
2 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
3 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
4 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog
6 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson
8 Irene at Live Your Poem
9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
10 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
11 Kim at Flukeprints
12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine at DoriReads
14 Renee at No Water River
15 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
16 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
17 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
19 Linda at Teacher Dance
20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots
21 Tara at A Teaching Life
22 Pat at Writer on a Horse
23 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy
24 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
25 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
26 Brian at Walk the Walk
27 Jan at Bookseedstudio
28 Amy at The Poem Farm
29 Donna at Mainely Write
30 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

Friday, April 24, 2015

Written with grains of sand and kisses

the poem doesn’t have stanzas, it has a body,
the poem doesn’t have lines, it has blood,
the poem is not written with letters, it’s written
with grains of sand and kisses, petals and moments,
shouts and uncertainties.
~José Luís Peixoto

Portuguese author-poet José Luís Peixoto finishes up my month of poems about poetry, words, and books. Sending appreciation to José for allowing me to share this!

from Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry)
by José Luís Peixoto

The poem has nothing more than the sound of its meaning,
The letter P is not the first letter of the word poem --
Poem is sculpted from the senses and this is its form.
You don’t read poem as poem,
You read it bread or flower,
Read it as fresh grass and your lips,
You read it as smile stretched over a thousand trees
Or sky of knives,
You read fear and looking for the blind,
You read it child's hands
Or you, mother, who is sleeping
And assured that I was born of you
To be words which are not written,

You read it country and sea
And forgotten sky and memory,

You read it silence
Yes, over and over, poem reads silence ...


Here's a poem by José that brought a tear to my eye (you've been warned!):

By random selection, we have a winner of St. George's Reward...BECKY SHILLINGTON! Congrats, Becky! I look forward to being your patron-of-surprises (or is that matron?). I will be sending a one-time surprise to two other randomly selected folks, but I will keep their names secret so it will really be a surprise...

No Water River is the Poetry Friday round-up host.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Have a Seat

Old empty chairs are not empty in reality; memories always sit there!
~Mehmet Murat ildan

Not sure I could sit in the Big-Eared Chair, but I think I could enjoy John Gay's Chair (as long as I didn't set fire to anything!).

Stone Chair
photo by Tim Green

Wheelchair with writing desk and umbrella, 1886
George F. Sargent's Illustrated catalogue

Big-Eared Chair
photo by Nathan Gibbs

Poets' Chair
The inscription on the front of the chair is a poem by Seamus Heaney which includes the line, "When you sat ... in the basalt throne"...On the back of the chair is a list of artists and poets who have visited Rathlin, with room for many more.
photo by Anne Burgess

A Unique Chair
photo by Bisayan lady

(John) Gay's Chair
Under the arms of the Chair are drawers, with the necessary implements for writing; each drawer turns on a pivot, and has attached to it a brass candlestick."
Devonshire characters and strange events by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1908

Lunch Guest
photo by Riccardo Romano

Art Chairs on Pinterest
Creative Chair Design

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another Walk with Lucy

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

~e.e. cummings

So pink, so blue, so green.

Miss Luce Goose herself:

We saw ten turtles on our walk, and this underwater shot is the only photo I managed (Lucy scares them away):

Petal puddle:

That is one good thing about this world...there are always sure to be more springs.
― L.M. Montgomery

A Very Big Sky

Maybe part of my mission is also to erase invisible dividing lines, lines between cultures or musical genres or people with differing beliefs. It's all part of creation. We live under a very big sky.
~Bobby McFerrin

Two songs by George Ezra and one by Bobby McFerrin.

I think Bobby McFerrin is a national treasure. Here he is getting bluesy with "Fix Me, Jesus":

Friday, April 17, 2015

delight and glory and oddity and light

You're back with the mystery of having been moved by words.
~Dylan Thomas

Continuing with poems about poetry, words, and books in honor of National Poetry Month.

Texas Heaven by Gino

An excerpt from One Star Fell and Another
by Conrad Aiken

...Then let us not be precious of our thought,
Nor of our words, nor hoard them up as though
We thought our minds a heaven which might change
And lose its virtue, when the word had fallen.
Let us be prodigal, as heaven is:
Lose what we lose, and give what we may give,–
Ourselves are still the same...

Read the rest here.


Plaque for Dylan Thomas at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea by John Levin

excerpt from Dylan Thomas' Notes on the Art of Poetry, with line breaks:

I read indiscriminately,
and with my eyes hanging out.
I could never have dreamt that there were
such goings-on in the world between the covers of books,
such sand-storms and ice-blasts of words,
such slashing of humbug,
and humbug too,
such staggering peace,
such enormous laughter,
such and so many blinding bright lights
breaking across the just-awaking wits
and splashing all over the pages in a million bits and pieces
all of which were words, words, words,
and each of which was alive forever
in its own delight and glory and oddity and light.


You can find the Poetry Friday round-up at Life on the Deckle Edge.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


What land is this? Yon pretty town Is Delft
with all its wares displayed:
The pride, the market-place, the crown
And centre of the Potter's trade.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Delftware (or Delft Blue) is blue and white tin-glazed pottery made in Delft, the Netherlands beginning in 1602. At its height, there were 33 Delft Blue factories open. Today, Royal Delft is the only 17th century factory still in operation. (They do still paint them by hand.)

Plate, 1727, Delft, Netherlands, tin-glazed earthenware
Exhibit in the Art Institute of Chicago

Bombardment of Dunkirk August 11, 1695 by the fleets of England and Holland
Museum of Fine Arts in Dunkirk
Cornelis Boumeester

Window display of Delftware in the market place, Delft
Kim Traynor

Bench Hommage aan Gaudi
by Chris Dagradi, Delft - Prinsenhof in the Netherlands

Eighteenth century plate, National Ceramics Museum (Sèvres, Hauts-de-Seine, France)

Tulipvase (Delft), 1700-1800
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen

Dish with judgment of Solomon (Delft), 1645
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen

Delft blue tiles, Portugal
Rory Hyde

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.
~Kobayashi Issa

Photos from a walk with Lucy:

Woodpecker's tree

Goose on a nest

Baby turtle

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tiny Musicians & Kazoos

Do anything, but let it produce joy.
~Walt Whitman

Need something a little ridiculous to lighten up this Monday morning? How about Mystery Guitar Man? This first song is actually only 45 seconds long:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Military Child of the Year

“Cope? Adapt? Uh, no. These are military kids. They roll with it. I once asked a new student, 'See any familiar faces?' She pointed out various kids and replied, 'Seattle, Tampa, Okinawa, New Jersey.' For military dependents, school is literally a non-stop revolving door of old and new friends.”
~Tucker Elliot

Did you know that April is Month of the Military Child? I'd like to recognize the winners of this year's Military Child of the Year Award.

The Military Child of the Year Award is bestowed annually on six young Americans who have turned the challenges of frequent relocations and deployments of loved ones into a passion for excellence, service and helping others.

2015 Military Child of the Year recipients:

Cavan McIntyre-Brewer, 13, of Duncannon, Pa. representing the Army

Christopher-Raul Rodriguez, 17, of Camp Lejeune, N.C. representing the Marine Corps

Emily Kliewer, 17, of Orlando, Fla. representing the Navy

Sarah Hesterman, 16, of Doha, Qatar representing the Air Force

Caleb Parsons, 18, of Suffolk, Va. representing the Coast Guard

Zachary Parsons, 16, of Warrensburg, Mo. representing the National Guard

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bombs, Rewards, and Pictures in the Words

Poetry will die when love and pain cease to exist.
~Kellie Elmore

This April, I am sharing works about poems, words, and books for National Poetry Month. If I had been planning ahead, I would have saved my daughter's poem for April. (Plan?? What's that?)

My Poems
by Robert Currie

My poems
are slim bombs
craving explosion
Their fuses lie
dark on the page
awaiting your arrival with a light.


excerpt from Apart (Les Séparés)
by Louis Simpson and Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Do not write. I fear you. I fear to remember,
For memory holds the voice I have often heard.
To the one who cannot drink, do not show water,
The beloved one's picture in the handwritten word.
              Do not write!

Read the rest here.

(Oddly enough, the copy I have says that it was written by Louis Simpson and Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, but the site I am sending you to says it's just by Louis Simpson. Other sites that say the sole author is Marceline Desbordes-Valmore. ?)


I was reading about poet Geoffrey Chaucer recently and this bit caught my eye:

"Edward III granted Chaucer 'a gallon of wine daily for the rest of his life'...given on a day of celebration, St George's Day, 1374, when artistic endeavours were traditionally rewarded."

The part I liked about this was that there was a day when artistic endeavours were rewarded. Isn't that a great idea? I can't offer anybody a gallon of wine daily, but I would like to offer a little present to one of you creative types. Pretty much everybody who visits my blog is artistic; this offer is available to all of you. St. George's Day back in Chaucer's time was celebrated April 23rd, which also happens to be Shakespeare's birth and death day (attributed). So on April 23rd, I will draw one person's name to give a small gift to every month for the rest of 2015. It could be a book, magazine, homemade granola, a custom poem, tea, whatever strikes my fancy (although you are welcome to give me a heads-up about things you like). If you'd like to be in the running for "St. George's Reward," send your name to tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com.


Writing the World for Kids is the Poetry Friday round-up host today.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Slow Art Day & Renoir

Work lovingly done is the secret of all order and all happiness.
~Pierre-Auguste Renoir

How Slow Art Day Works
Find a venue near you and register online (it's free).

Show up on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at your venue, pay the admission fee (if there is one) and then look slowly - 5-10 minutes - at each piece of pre-assigned art.

Meet up with your volunteer host and the other participants at a pre-assigned lunch spot.


A bit of Impressionism today with Renoir:

Monet painting in his garden at Argenteuil
by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Madame Monet Reading
by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

La Grenouillere
by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Bouquet of Flowers
by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

The Hat Pinned
by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Friday, April 3, 2015

Poetry City

If I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect.
~Charles Darwin

When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for National Poetry Month, I knew only this: I wanted to keep it simple. I thought about a number of ideas, sort of circling around like a dog before it lies down, and finally settled on poems about poetry, books, and words.

I like that kind of poem, e.g. these by Eve Merriam, Billy Collins, William Stafford, Taha Muhammad Ali, and Laura Purdie Salas. I've written some myself, such as this one called Poetry City. Today's poetry happens to be from a book by Dave Morice called Poetry City: A Literary Remembrance of Iowa City, Iowa

I spent two happy years in Iowa City when I was in graduate school, so I recognize some of the places that turn up in Dave's poems. (The poems I'm sharing with you today, though, are not really Iowa City-specific.)

I wonder whether Dave has seen this photo? I'm guessing he has. I thought Poetry Fridayers might be interested in seeing Nobel prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore and professor Sudhindra Bose in Iowa City circa 1912:

Take it away, Dave!

Dave Morice, Iowa City Press-Citizen

Books Read You
by Dave Morice

Books read you
Cooks feed you

Pages make you
Ages take you

Words write you
Birds sight you

You sight birds
You write words

You take ages
You make pages

You feed cooks
You read books.


The Ping-Pong Game
by Dave Morice

At the Rec Center,
I watch two people
playing a game
of ping-pong.

The first player's paddle hits the red
ping-pong ball with a squishy splat.
The ball rolls, not bounces,
over the net.

The second player whacks it back.
The first player returns it.
And so on, with a splat
accompanying each player's hit.
And then it dawns on me:
These two players are
ex-girlfriends of mine!

I watch the game a while longer,
And then I shout,
"Hey! Wait a minute!
That's no red ping-pong ball.
That's my heart!"


Poetry City Motto
by Dave Morice

Poetry is a way
Of keeping sane
When things
Get too insane.

Poetry is a way
Of keeping insane
When things
Get too sane.


The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ch'ng Kiah Kiean

Drawing makes you see things clearer, and clearer, and clearer still. The image is passing through you in a physiological way, into your brain, into your memory - where it stays - it's transmitted by your hands.
~Martin Gayford

Works today by Malaysian "Urban Sketcher" Ch'ng Kiah Kiean. Thank you, Ch'ng Kiah Kiean, for giving me permission!

Igreja N. Sra. Das Dores, Paraty
by Ch'ng Kiah Kiean

Jelutong Promenade
by Ch'ng Kiah Kiean

Sun Moon Lake
by Ch'ng Kiah Kiean

Nine Emperor Gods Temple
by Ch'ng Kiah Kiean

by Ch'ng Kiah Kiean

Prangin Lane
by Ch'ng Kiah Kiean

by Ch'ng Kiah Kiean

Lumut Lane
by Ch'ng Kiah Kiean