Monday, August 31, 2015

Hold On

So, bless my heart and bless yours too.
I don't know where I'm gonna go
Don't know what I'm gonna do.
There must be somebody up above sayin',
"Come on, Brittany, you got to get back up!
You got to hold on...
Hey, you got to hold on..."
~Brittany Howard

Alabama Shakes:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hidden Poems

Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.
~Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Could we say the same about poems? In this case, books are mirrors for poems you have inside you:

Poetry for Children is the Poetry Friday host today.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Appalachian Beauty

The more prejudice I faced because of where I was from, the prouder I became of that place. Once I was on the road, at a booksigning, and a woman asked me why I loved Appalachia so much. I said, “Because when you are from a place and a people you have to defend all the time, that makes you love them that much more."
~Silas House

I had a hard time figuring out what to feature for Art Thursday this week. I wanted to do something in honor of the Roanoke, VA WDBJ journalists. A very sweet high school classmate of mine used to work at that station. Peace seemed like a good subject, but I have talked about peace before (more than once!). I wound up deciding to spotlight Appalachia in general.

McAfee Knob
by Seuss

Appalachian Trail
by Frank Kehren

Walls of Appalachia
by Sathish J

Plethodon glutinosus
by squamatologist

Thurmond Depot
by Frank Kehren

by Aaron Knox

Links to previous Appalachia-related posts:

* She Lives
* Still
* The Mountain Music Project
* Appalachian Spring

Friday, August 21, 2015

One Clear Call

I had a different plan for this week's Poetry Friday, but someone I was very fond of passed away suddenly on Wednesday, so I am making today's post in his honor.

Dr. Michael Doran was the principal of my oldest child's high school. As I have mentioned before, I volunteer with the Reflections arts program so I knew Dr. Doran personally through that and I appreciated his enthusiasm for the arts. Additionally, I had the pleasure of hearing him speak many times, including graduation, where his speech was perhaps my favorite. Dr. Doran's wit, common sense, good nature, intelligence, and cheerfulness made him a very special person. My daughter summed it up: "He was the best."

Principal Michael Doran
Thomas S. Wootton High School

Dr. Doran was a fan of poetry. He was from Ireland and grew up in England, and he particularly enjoyed British poetry. My guess is that he liked If, Song of the Wandering Aengus, and The Cup, among many others. Here's Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in honor of Dr. D.:

Crossing The Bar
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

The Poetry Friday round-up is at Reading to the Core.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Impossible Bottles

The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.
~Agatha Christie

Bottles with items way too large to fit down the neck today, including three shots of the same ship (I can't resist! They all seem a bit different to me):

Nelson's ship in a bottle, Trafalgar Square, London
photo by Rose Davies

Olympic Sailing Event ?
photo by Captain Roger Fenton

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle
photo by Pablo Andres

Buddelschiff Titanic
by Werner Willmann

Sailing Ship in a Bottle
by Artem Popov

Ship in a bottle. Late 19th Century, England
Made by a sailor. Displayed at the National Maritime Museum, Israel
photo by Avi Deror

Life Of Pi In A Bottle
by Heather Gabrielle Rogers
photo by Taylor Herring

A Crystallpyramide from Erzgebirge/Germany
photo by Marea85


* Impossibottle
* Harry Eng, Master Bottle Filler
* Inside the Bottle

Monday, August 17, 2015

Blood I Bled

Hat tip to Ariana for introducing me to this group! For Music Monday, The Staves:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Like Ghosts in the Clutches of Dawn

I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.
~Ray Bradbury

I'm on vacation today, but I wanted to drop in. I like a bunch of different kinds of poetry, including science fiction poetry. Here's the first part of "Imperfect Storm" by Robert Borski:

Imperfect Storm
by Robert Borski

Though the thunder is deep enough
to rattle the stones of the castle

and the sky is whited out
for nearly minutes at a time,

none of the storm’s bolder strokes
ever seem to find the copper finials

set atop the parapets designed to conduct
the voltage down to the laboratory

below. As a result, the cold, stitched-
together dead thing lying on the slab

never receives the animating spark
it needs to kickstart its black heart.

read the rest here.

Lightning by David


One more from No offense to politicians, but this little haiku is worth a visit.


My Juicy Little Universe has the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Skateboard Art

Life is a lot like skateboarding.
~Lil Wayne

So what did Lil Wayne mean by that? I didn't see any more to this quote so I don't know. Maybe it's that you have to get good at falling down and getting back up? Watch where you're going? Feel free to make a guess.

The Silver Thread (detail)
by M1k3

raining and not
by Karen Ka Ying Wong

photo by Abraham Orozco

Grind On My Face
by 23rdkey

David Hackett deck "Paint n Skate"
photo by Judi Oyama
from the 2nd Annual Board Rescue Skate Art Show Fundraiser

The Art of Skateboarding, a charity auction benefiting Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and The Dallas Arts Community
Jennifer Conley

Skateistan Charity Show Boards
photo by Joseph Nicolia

SaxonLynn, a skateboard artist on Etsy

Monday, August 10, 2015

New World Symphony

Who hears music, feels his solitude
Peopled at once.
~Robert Browning

I'm surprised I haven't shared Dvořák's New World Symphony before! Dvořák, who was from Bohemia, composed it when he was director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City (1893). He returned to Bohemia in 1895, but this symphony is an exquisite memento of his time in the "new world."

Carnegie Hall has a "Listening Adventure" for young audiences about it.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Of Course

Robyn Gobbel writes thoughtful posts about parenting children who have experienced trauma, but her ideas can also be useful in dealing with other situations. For instance, she writes a lovely post about saying "of course":

Try it now. Think of the most absurd thing that’s happened in your house today. Bring that picture to mind. Say to yourself “Of course.”

The words “Of course” inherently bring order and coherence. They instantly calm the amygdala…even if just a little. They help you find that “proverbial pause” that is so important before you respond. “Of course” helps you find compassion and understanding. “Of course” brings coherence into your own body, which then allows you to approach your child with coherence instead of chaos.

I’m not saying this will solve all your problems and most certainly it will not stop your child raging in the moment. Though you may find that the rage ends sooner because you’ve stopped pushing against it.

Want to know another secret? You can try this with EVERYONE!! OF COURSE your best friend was hurtful when she said that. OF COURSE you felt hurt! OF COURSE your spouse got defensive and stormed off. OF COURSE your child’s teacher has no idea what to do with a traumatized student.

This was a new concept to me, so of course I had to try it. :-) And I think she's right. What about you?

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Listen, real poetry doesn't say anything; it just ticks off the possibilities. Opens all doors. You can walk through any one that suits you.
~Jim Morrison

Welcome! The Poetry Friday round-up is here this week.

Over the years, people have described me in unexpected/mistaken ways (e.g. tall, a scientist, from England, with four kids). I am from England (by way of my ancestors hundreds of years ago) and maybe I am tall-ish at 5'6", but since my thirteen-year-old daughter is a couple of inches taller than me, I don't usually think of myself that way. And I'd be hard pressed to call myself dude-like, but why not? Here's a true-story poem from several years ago:

Back To School

While adding up my stuff
cashier says, "Dude, don't look
until it's over."


Interested in supporting a Kickstarter campaign for an Emily Dickinson documentary? Look here. (I want that acorn!)

Last thing before I start the InLinkz round-up...I am giving away 3 $15 Amazon Kindle gift cards (for buying books for your Kindle). Email me or leave a note in the comments if you want one.


If you were silent
Flight of herons on dark sky...
Oh! Autumn snowflakes!

My dog Lucy has turned me into a birdwatcher. When I take her for walks around our neighborhood pond, I often see the resident great blue heron. Sometimes I see a green heron or two. During the winter, I may see hooded merganser ducks. Recently, I spotted what looked like a snake bird, a cormorant, and a little blue heron, all passing through. I wish they would stay a bit longer.

by Jasper Oostland

Vintage Bird

Night Herons, 1896
by Otto Eckmann

by Virginia State Parks staff

Ardea herodias
by Peter Wilton

Roa Bricklane

photo by ém' Milie

by Stan Lupo

Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias, Florida, USA
by Andrea Westmoreland

Storks, Herons, Flamingos, Cranes and relatives at the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums site

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A couple of things

You know that I wasn't kidding when I named this blog, right? Here are two things that touched me lately...

One of my friends is going to be volunteering with The Wendt Center for Loss and Healing and she said that she was struck by the number of programs they run. For instance, they arrange for a volunteer to be at the morgue twenty-four hours a day, three hundred sixty-five days a year, in case anybody has to come identify a body. They don't want anyone to have to identify a loved one without there being support present. Maybe other people might not be impressed by volunteers at the morgue, but I thought that was just about the kindest thing ever.

The second thing is that I was talking with a neighbor about his teenage son, who is deaf, and he said they have found an exceptional place for his son to go to college. They have a large deaf population there, plenty of interpreters, captions, trained note-takers. It will meet his needs perfectly, and my neighbor said he was absolutely sick with happiness about it. Instead of worrying at night about what would happen to his son, he was crying with relief. Isn't that beautiful? His happiness made me happy too.

I'll end with a quote:

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
~Marcel Proust

Happiness by Pietro Zanarini