Friday, January 29, 2016

Matches, The Weather Report

I hear the Wind Woman running with soft, soft footsteps over the hill. I shall always think of the wind as a personality. She is a shrew when she blows from the north -- a lonely seeker when she blows from the east -- a laughing girl when she comes from the west -- and tonight from the south a little grey fairy.
~L.M. Montgomery

We have snow, stars, wind, and ice poem-song matches today! Heidi contributes her "Independence Day Graffiti," which she matched, rather naturally, with the Star-Spangled Banner.

Independence Day Graffiti
by Heidi Mordhorst

Oh say can you see
by the winter’s pale light
where I scratched my initials
in the fresh-poured cement

I got off of my bike
while the cars whistled by
found a sharp sturdy stick
squatted by the new sidewalk

And my letters were clear
and my flag wasn’t square
all my stars and my stripes
seemed to ripple in air

Oh say does my snow-spangled banner yet wave?
Yes my mark is still there since the day I was brave!


I matched Julie Larios' poem about a runaway kite, "No Strings Attached," with "Born to Fly" by Sara Evans ("I will soar away like the blackbird/I will blow in the wind like a seed").


I matched Donna's "Heart of Snow" with O.K. Go's "This Too Shall Pass" because you know, just like spring sun, morning comes again.

Addendum: The weather report in sum is this quote and this song.

The Poetry Friday round-up is at Reading to the Core. Thanks, Catherine!

Previous matches: Matches I (with Matt Forrest Esenwine, Liz Steinglass, and Amy LV) and Poem-Song Match-Ups: Communication Difficulties Edition (with me and Mary Lee)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Greener Venues

I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels
~Lisel Mueller, "Monet Refuses the Operation"

On my sixteenth birthday, my French class took a trip to Washington D.C. to see Les Miserables and visit a French Impressionism exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. What a birthday that was! I couldn't see Les Mis well (my seat wasn't very good), but the Impressionists were a spectacular gift.

The world around me may be snow-covered, but we can always visit greener venues:

Le Bassin des Nympheas
by Claude Monet

Chemin Montant
by Gustave Caillebotte

A Rest in Rotten Row, Hyde Park
by Rose Maynard Barton

The Basket Chair
by Berthe Morisot

Eugene Manet and His Daughter in the Garden, 1883
by Berthe Morisot

Summer, 1909
by Frank Weston Benson

Banks of the Yerres
by Gustave Caillebotte

Le jardin aux pavots
by Robert Antoine Pinchon

In case you want to read all of Monet Refuses the Operation, here's the link.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

2016 Edgar Nominees

There is always a pleasure in unravelling a mystery, in catching at the gossamer clue which will guide to certainty.
~Elizabeth Gaskell

I really need to go through my books and give some away. I have piles all over the place. And here are some more I want to buy!

The 2016 MWA Edgar nominees for Best Juvenile and Best Young Adult mysteries:


Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi
If You Find This by Matthew Baker
Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver & H.C.Chester
Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Footer Davis Probably is Crazy by Susan Vaught


Endangered by Lamar Giles
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Ask the Dark by Henry Turner

The full list of nominees

Friday, January 22, 2016

Matches, I

I like this place,
And willingly could waste my time in it.

I'm making Poem-Song Match-Ups (something I first did in 2011 after reading about it in a list of National Poetry Month activities). Matt Forrest Esenwine is helping me kick things off with a match between his poem "The Apple Tree" and the Crowded House song "Into Temptation," connected because they both talk about temptation and consequences.

The Apple Tree
by Matt Forrest Esenwine

An old tree
in the field across the road
stood in solitude amidst the sawgrass
and goldenrod
and a few errant wildflowers,
so full of precious fruit
I surmised it must be
in wont of a visitor
with whom to share
its treasures.

Desirous of the beauty
I beheld, I journeyed
through green-amber weeds
high to my waist, urgent
soft steps growing
quicker, quicker
and more deliberate.

Read the rest here.

Sharing a cover version of Into Temptation:


I matched Liz Steinglass' "A Winter Wish" with "Winter Song" by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson because they both feature friendship and making the best of cold, dreary days:


I matched Amy LV's "Wisdom" with "Stressed Out" by Twenty One Pilots not because they were similar thematically but because they are opposite! No one is less stressed out than Amy's dog-friend. I like the juxtaposition of the two.

There's a lot we can learn from our pets, although their attitude isn't super helpful vis a vis making money :-) ("Wake up, you need to make money!" ~"Stressed Out")

As you can see from the post title, this is just the first set of Matches. Feel free to send me yours! Kids are welcome to join in. You don't have to use Poetry Fridayers' poems, although feel free to do so! Here are links to Donna Smith's poems, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes' poems, Matt's poems, and mine. I am happy to add more PFers to the list, just send me a link to your poems.

A Teaching Life is the Poetry Friday round-up host. Thanks, Tara!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

In Your Pocket

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.
~Henry David Thoreau

Pocket watches today. I don't wear any kind of watch, but pocket watches are a temptation.

Wooden pocket watch, Russia stamp 2010

Zenith Keyless Dress Watch ca. 1920
by kitchener.lord

Pocket watch
by Karen

Pocket Watches
by Curious Expeditions

Make The Seconds Count
by Daniel Lee

Pocket Watches
by Mabel Lu

Pocket Watch
by Artiom Gorgan

by Ellie

The new 'Marie-Antoinette' perpétuelle watch features a minute repeater that on command strikes hours, quarters and minutes as well as a full perpetual calendar showing the date, the day and the month at two, six
by Shawn

Monday, January 18, 2016

Leo Moracchioli

Every survival kit should include a sense of humor.
~Author Unknown

It might be an understatement to say that my listening habits are eclectic. Last week, I listened to Jamie Woon's Spirits somewhat obsessively. I was singing a waltz this morning (at our house, we are prone to singing classical music, who cares if it doesn't have words?). I love blues, country, choral music, folk rock, Andalasian dance songs, etc., and today I can't stop listening to Norwegian heavy metal musician Leo Moracchioli.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Run and tell the angels
That everything is all right
~Learn to Fly

Have you seen the video where an Italian town asks the Foo Fighters to come play there? I saw it on Collette Bennett's fine blog, Used Books in Class. If you haven't seen it, do check it out! You won't be sorry.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Wider Thoughts

When a gift is deserved, it is not a gift but a payment.
~Gene Wolfe

This week, I want to share something I made for my dad for Christmas. We always give homemade presents, in addition to store-bought ones, and in 2014, I gave him a coupon for putting together a book of his poetry myself. He gave me a manuscript of his poems over the course of 2015 and I gave him his book at Christmas 2015. So it was a two-year gift, really. He was very happy with it, and I thought y'all might like to know the name of the publisher, in case you wanted to make one yourself. I used Book Wright/Blurb.

Some sample pages from his book:

Note: I used Flickr photographs with Creative Commons licenses.

Thank you to Keri for hosting the Poetry Friday round-up today! And thank you to Pop for letting me share his book.

Wands up for Alan Rickman. Sigh.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


If you’re ever in a jam, a crayon scrunched up under your nose makes a good pretend mustache.
~Phil Dunphy

Taking a look at those beloved cylinders of colored wax today.

Crayon Boxes
by Ed Welter

by Mark Ingle

Melted Crayons
by R Cabanilla

Crayola Graffiti
by Tyler Howarth

Ring (crayons, erasers, paper clip)
by Erin Austin

Josh Smith

After This Our Exile
crayon drawing by Bill Rogers

Crayola's Things you can do with crayons page

Monday, January 11, 2016

Nobody's fault but mine

Walk on if you're happy
Walk on if you're blue
~Carolyn Wonderland

Ah yes, back to figuring out who gets the blame (see previous posts here and here). This time, amazing blues vocalist/guitarist Carolyn Wonderland is performing a Blind Willie Johnson song "Nobody's Fault But Mine." First up, though, is "Walk On."

For Music Monday, Carolyn Wonderland:

Saturday, January 9, 2016

National Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Month

People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.

Until this week, I didn't realize that January is National Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Month (or if I did, I'd forgotten).

"In Fiscal Year 2015, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested 1,437 individuals for human trafficking -- the illegal trade and exploitation of people for commercial gain, most commonly in the form of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. From those cases, nearly 400 trafficking victims were identified and offered critical services."

They say: "While human trafficking can occur in a variety of scenarios and industries, indicators of trafficking activities often look the same across cases.

Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking:

Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
Has a child stopped attending school?
Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.

If you notice suspicious activity, please contact ICE through its tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or For more information about the Department of Homeland Security’s overall efforts against human trafficking, please visit"

* Resources for Counter Trafficking
* Things You Can Do (Anti-Slavery International)
* Global Supermarkets selling shrimp peeled by slaves
* Slave-Free Shopping Guide (particularly useful re: chocolate)
* UNICEF's suggestions for taking action

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Muscle and Grace

The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.
~Thomas Carlyle

Welcome! Glad you stopped by. The top quote doesn't have anything to do with the post, except that I am always celebrating those hidden veins of water. Our weather finally turned cold this week, so I am bundling up and sharing the first part of a poem by Jamie Morewood Anderson called "Winter Milk." You can read the rest here. Please leave your link in the comments!

Winter Milk
by Jamie Morewood Anderson

Now it is morning,
dawn begins to hem the day, the meadow
and brindled grass take the light.
There is something so beautiful about the window,
the loose silhouette behind the rinse of glass,
the liquid shadow of feline so angular and illustrated
its clarity could break the heart.
The moment she sees him,
panther-like in the dusky daybreak,
the dun-colored cow lets down her milk.
I know precisely
how this bovine’s body is composed,
withers and hoof, the flesh of udder,
her skin so alive against mine.
But he is a mystery, an indescribable movement
of muscle and grace.


Robyn Hood Black has a winter poem, too - by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. And a picture of her adorable Chihuahua. All connected by mice....

Kathryn Apel (Kat) is experiencing altogether different weather in her Australian home. She shares three short poems from her #MoP16 efforts.

CB Hanek says, "Thanks to Donna Smith's Christmas Eve post and photo, I was motivated to experience the same Winter heavenly wonder, albeit from another vantage point “underneath the same big sky" (as Linda Ronstadt once reminded us). Thus, my haiku: 'Cold Moon on Christmas Morn.'"

Buffy Silverman has been thinking about snowflakes, and is sharing some snowflake poems today. (Her snowflake photo is spectacular!)

Linda Kulp is in this week with a review of Irene's Latham's lovely new book WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA.

Mary Lee offers some haiku art she made over Christmas break as a gift for her brother.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes turns the spotlight on Douglas Florian and a rather unexpected ditty challenge. (She also makes a good point about the quote and poem being more connected than I first thought!)

Karen Edmisten keeps the holidays going with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

April Halprin Wayland says, "Watch a 49-second video of a poet giving a writing tip...and then try it. I did! It sent me on a wild ride..."

At Random Noodling, Diane celebrates the lovely gift from her winter swap partner, Robyn.

Kurious Kitty has A Great Big Cuddle to share with everyone!

Jama Rattigan is back from holiday break with Michael Blumenthal's "Be Kind."

Laura Purdie Salas brings us Row 1 of a Poetry Princess crown sonnet. Her sonnet is about hydrogen, an extra timely element this week.

I wanted to put it in order, so I am breaking in with the rest of them:

Tricia Stohr-Hunt has the second poem in the Poetry Princess crown sonnet.

Sara Lewis Holmes features the element Argon in her sonnet, the third.

Kelly Fineman has the fourth sonnet.

Liz Garton Scanlon brings the fifth sonnet.

Tanita Davis offers the sixth in the crown of sonnets on the Periodic Table.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt also has the final poem in the crown and the entire poem shared.

Matt Forrest Esenwine posts a winter haiku inspired by Buffy Silverman's snowflake photo.

At Gathering Books, Fats is in with bookish poetry.

Linda Baie is thanking Margaret Simon for her winter swap gifts.

Heidi Mordhorst is excerpting Cybils finalists this month and she chose two poems from Joyce Sidman's Winter Bees to begin.

Carol's Corner has another Cybils finalist: Deborah Ruddell's "How a Poet Orders a Milkshake" from POPCORN ASTRONAUTS AND OTHER BITE-ABLE RHYMES.

Kay at A Journey through the Pages has a review of a poetry anthology "What Have You Lost?" selected by Naomi Shihab Nye.

Irene Latham shares three favorite poems from Mary Oliver's newest book FELICITY.

Katie @ The Logonauts brings some of her third graders' responses (as poems) to the question "What is Poetry?"

Kimberley Moran wrote about the pieces of herself she has lost along the way.

Tara at A Teaching Life is in with a snowy poem, feeling the absence of snow.

At The Poem Farm, Amy shares a little story of a poem that grew from a discovery on a winter walk.

Ruth at There's No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town offers Philip Booth's First Lesson.

Doraine Bennett has "Frost at Midnight" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Friendly Fairy Tales has an icy offering.

Violet Nesdoly contributes a tanka, written to celebrate a stretch of winter at her most beautiful.

As if we weren't already delving into the most difficult kinds of poems to write with a crown sonnet in our midst, Keri Recommends gets us thinking about reversos!

At A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, Penny's great niece, Klaire, illustrates her poem.

Bildungsroman has lyrics from the song "Wait For It" from the musical Hamilton.

Poetry for Kids Joy has The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science.

Because of the frigid temperatures this week, Catherine at Reading to the Core's cat has been sticking close, making her think of Eleanor Farjeon's poem, "Cats."

Carol Varsalona welcomes winter.

Charles Waters shares a wonderful update at Poetry Time.

Janet Squires' selection is "It's Raining Pigs & Noodles" by Jack Prelutsky with illustrations by James Stevenson.

Julieanne's poem at To Read To Write To Be is about reading joy.

Andi is cheering for the Poetry Sister's Crown.

Alice at Supratentorial has "In Memoriam (Ring Out Wild Bells)" by Lord Alfred Tennyson.

Margaret Simon cruises in with acrostic poems she and her students are writing with their one little words.

Mrs. Merrill is back!.

Like Apple Blossom After Rain

Proper writing ink comes in a bottle, can be swirled like brandy in a glass, and smells like apple blossom after rain.
~Fennel Hudson

Inkwells, glass nibbed fountain pens...don't they look like they would inspire elegant calligraphy and witty letters? Perhaps in my case, they would just inspire heartfelt splotches, but I would enjoy making them! :-)

photo by Butch Dalisay

Schreibfedernsortiment Soennecken
photo by Nicolas17

Glass Nib Dip Pens
by Aganippe

Glass Pens
by Aganippe

Inkwell from the late 19th or early 20th century
photo by Alejandro Linares Garcia

Musée de la faïence, encrier Gien
photo by Robert Valette

Inkstand with plaque inscribed FHH and dated 1822, owned by chimney-sweep in Coburg, Sachsen-Coburg, Germany
photo by Daderot

Armadillo Inkwell
photo by David

Inkwell depicting water nymph's head in lily pond, early 20th century
photo by Daderot