Monday, May 30, 2016

Sleeping Beauty

Wait, Prince Philip! The road to true love may be barred by still many more dangers, which you alone will have to face. So arm thyself with this enchanted shield of virtue, and this mighty sword of truth, for these weapons of righteousness will triumph over evil.
~Flora, Sleeping Beauty

A song that my younger daughter played in her orchestral concert last Friday. She would have loved for her orchestra to have these dresses:

Friday, May 27, 2016

A wild, sweet bird

I followed two swift silver wings;
I stalked a roving song;
I startled shining, silent things;
I wandered all day long.
~Sophie Jewett

For Art Thursday, we had nests; today, the birds are back. Special birds. Ones whose songs fill our dreams and make the gray world grow young.

To a Child
By Sophie Jewett

The leaves talked in the twilight, dear;
Hearken the tale they told:
How in some far-off place and year,
Before the world grew old,

I was a dreaming forest tree,
You were a wild, sweet bird
Who sheltered at the heart of me
Because the north wind stirred;

How, when the chiding gale was still,
When peace fell soft on fear,
You stayed one golden hour to fill
My dream with singing, dear.

To-night the self-same songs are sung
The first green forest heard;
My heart and the gray world grow young—
To shelter you, my bird.

Source: The Poems of Sophie Jewett (1910)

Some information about Sophie Jewett from Women's Voices for Change:
Sophie Jewett was born in 1861. Her mother died when she was seven years old. Her father died when she was nine. She and her three siblings were reared by their uncle and grandmother until her adolescence, when, after their deaths, she chose her minister and his daughter for support. They encouraged her literary interests, and by the time she was twenty-eight she was a professor of English at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She never married and never had children.
I wanted to include this info after you read the poem, because I thought it was interesting that she never had kids.


The Poetry Friday round-up is at The Drift Record. Thanks, Julie!

P.S. I have heard from a lot of people about the Summer Poem Swap, but if you haven't contacted me and you want to join for 1, 3, or 5 swaps, let me know a.s.a.p.! I am going to be sending out match-ups sometime next week.

P.P.S. If you signed up but haven't heard from me, I do have your message. I am just disorganized and haven't sent confirmations to speak of. You're welcome to write me again. I love hearing from you anyway :-)

Thursday, May 26, 2016


I saw a crow building a nest, I was watching him very carefully, I was kind of stalking him and he was aware of it. And you know what they do when they become aware of someone stalking them when they build a nest, which is a very vulnerable place to be? They build a decoy nest. It's just for you.
~Tom Waits

Perhaps today's post was subconsciously inspired by Penelopeep, our family's lovebird, who likes to nest in half of a coconut shell. We've got birds' nests and a fungus today. :-)

Birds' nests under bridge
photo by John Kannenberg

Song Thrush at Nest, 1888
by Bruno Liljefors

Bird nest in traffic light
photo by Joseph Devon

Quail Nest
photo by John Hunnicutt II

Chaffinch Nest and May Blossom, watercolor on paper
by William Henry Hunt (1790-1864)

Purple Heron
photo by Steve Garvie

Vase de fleurs et nid d'oiseau
by Jan van Huysum, 1682-1749
shared by Jean Louis Mazieres

Common Birds Nest Fungus (Crucibulum laevi)
photo by danna § curious tangles

Birds' Nest Fungus
photo by Stephanie Davidson

Monday, May 23, 2016

Music for a proper entrance

The princes come!
Make way for them, people of Retra!
~Viktor Krylov

This Three Lions Brass Band performance of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Procession of the Nobles from the opera-ballet Mlada struck me as a good way to walk into a Monday. Make way! Here we come!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cargo Worth Carrying

Last week, I shared a poem by Ariana. This week, I have a chapbook by a poet she met at Vanderbilt.

Ariana told me I would like Anders Carlson-Wee's poems, and she was right. Thanks for giving me permission to share these, Anders, and thanks, Ariana, for introducing me to his work!

Check out an interview with Anders Carlson-Wee in Slice. It's not an exaggeration to say that you probably haven't run across someone quite like him before.


Riding the Owl’s Eye
by Anders Carlson-Wee

Out of all the dumpsters that could have been
empty, all the weather that could have bloomed
over the prairie and ruined me, all the cars
that could have sped by without hesitating and left me
on the fog-line nameless forever. The trains
that could have taken my legs. The hobos
that could have pulled a switchblade and opened me
like a flood enfolding the red North Dakota clay.
Out of all the hazards we pass through
in amazement, all the stories we tell of luck
and good fortune and prayer and survival, it is always
our own lungs that dry up and darken,
our own miles that straighten, our own hunger
that wanes. The Lord gives us mountains
and we fail to mine out that grandness.
The Lord gives us trains and we waste those distances
transporting coal. Some say we are broken,
some say the Good Lord has forsaken our dreams,
but I say it is our own throat that grows
the cancer, our own asthma that blackens our breath
to a wheeze. And the truth is, the mile-long train
will always crawl past. The socket-fixed gaze
of the owl’s skull will always turn perfectly
backwards. We will always be bodies among ghosts.
And what is important to them is not how we ride
on the westbound freighter, not how we shiver,
not how we crawl crooked and thin
and climb yet again into the trembling eye-hole.
It is not about suffering. It is not about fear.
We must peer out from inside the owl’s eye.
Watch the coal dust cook in the wind eddies.
Watch it linger. Watch it spiral thinly as it bruises
the blue-faded mind of the buffalo sky.
We must be the pupil that swells in the coming darkness.
The cargo worth carrying across the distances.


To the Fingerless Man in Banff
by Anders Carlson-Wee

There was little you couldn't do.
With the purple stump of your thumb
you pinned a pencil against
the knuckle-lumps, forming enough grip
to sketch her portrait from memory,
or from the photo you kept hid
in your hatband. You worked the ranches
like before. Rode horses. Knotted
ropes. Shuffled when you dealt.
You let me ball old newsprint
for the fire, but you did everything else.
Gutted the fish. Stuffed the belly
with berries and butter and smoked it
by rotating a willow stick.
And when you folded your hands
to whisper the words over the meal,
nothing folded, but what kind of world
would this be if that mattered?
Your cheeks filled and flickered
as you chewed. The embers bedded down
and the clouds born out of them
twisted through the cottonwoods.
You never told me her name.
That could jinx it,
you said.
If I find her again it ain't gonna be
as a detective.

You could even roll
your own cigarettes, but you couldn't
roll the striker on a Bic.
I flicked it alive for you. Your palms
pulled my hand toward your lips.


Reflections on the Teche has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Margaret!

Thursday, May 19, 2016


A person's a person, no matter how small.
~Dr. Seuss

London-based artist Slinkachu has, in his words, been "abandoning little people on the streets since 2006." He has inspired other artists, and the last four images are inspired by Slinkachu rather than by him (I think!). To see more of his work, visit here and here. You can also read about how Slinkachu makes his miniature street scenes with figurines from train sets here.

Local Amenities For Children
angs school

Sugar High
angs school

Ground Zero
by slinkachu_official
Jurgen Leckie

Displeasure Beach
by slinkachu_official
Jurgen Leckie

photo by John Lord

Doctor Slinkachu
Mr. Evil Cheese Scientist

The world of Slinkachu
The railway into a papercup
Cathrine Idsøe

Breaking the ice
Homenajea a: Vincent Bousserez, Slinkachu, Christopher Boffoli, William Kass, Kurt Moses
David Santaolalla

Homenajea a: Vincent Bousserez, Slinkachu, Christopher Boffoli, William Kass, Kurt Moses
David Santaolalla

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Something Cheerful

All that nipping and tucking doesn't make you look younger—only stranger. My advice? Let the outside sag and wrinkle; change what's on the inside.
~Dick Van Dyke

A bonus cheerful song for you by The Dustbowl Revival:

Another quote from Mr. Van Dyke:

“Real love, as I have come to know it, is when you care about the other person as much as you care about yourself. You can't make another person happy, but you can pave the way for them to make themselves happy.”

Monday, May 16, 2016

Wild Beats

He could tell by the way animals walked that they were keeping time to some kind of music. Maybe it was the song in their own hearts that they walked to.
~Laura Adams Armer

Animals making music and making music from animal sounds today:

From National Geographic Kids:

More DJ Ecotone

Friday, May 13, 2016

Dickinson's Garden

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?
~Emily Dickinson

A poem from The Vanderbilt Review today. I love a poem with plants in it :-)

Emily Dickinson's Gardens: A Celebration of a Poet and Gardener
The Gardens of Emily Dickinson


Visit Violet Nesdoly/poems for the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Violet!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Taraxacum officinale

What we call a weed is in fact merely a plant growing where we do not want it.
~E.J. Salisbury

Or as Author Unknown said, "Man is the only critter who feels the need to label things as flowers or weeds." You can see a list of beneficial weeds here and read about uses for the subject of today's Art Thursday in particular here.

Dandelion art
by Scott Griggs

Dandelion, Inside Light Trapper
photo by Ze'ev Barkan

Our planet
by Pierre Marcel

Dandelion 6
by LadyDragonflyCC

beds and dandelions
by Tomi Knuutila

by LadyDragonflyCC

by Sergio Ruiz

Dandelions and lilacs
by Ben Etherington

Monday, May 9, 2016

Home To Me

Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?
~Stephanie Perkins

Sarah Darling this Music Monday:

Friday, May 6, 2016

What do you need?

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
~Stephen R. Covey

This presidential election cycle has held me rapt, worried, and bewildered. Claerly, people feel that their needs are not being met by standard political candidates, that those politicians aren't listening and don't care, that those politicians are beholden to someone other than their constituents. I'm afraid voter frustration has triggered a widespread disinterest in listening, though.

Linda Eve Diamond started Listeners Unite, and she also wrote the poem below, which feels very appropriate at this time:

Linda announced this Listening-themed poetry contest (deadline July 15, 2016).

I'm learning about reflective listening in crisis situations from a free online Coursera course called Psychological First Aid. I think it might particularly interest teachers, but anyone could benefit from it.

One more thing, not overtly about listening, but really it is -- an article on On Prescribing Poems for the Sick, the Dying, the Grief Stricken.


Today's Poetry Friday round-up is at Poetry for Children. Thanks, Sylvia!

I'm still taking names of swappers for the Summer Poetry Swap! We are doing something new this summer and you can join in on 1, 3, or 5 swaps! Email me if you want in or tell me in the comments.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Care to Dance?

Please send me your last pair of shoes, worn out with dancing as you mentioned in your letter, so that I might have something to press against my heart.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My kids have been involved with visual arts, theater, poetry, and choral and instrumental music, but not much dance. Which may be why I haven't posted as much about dance as some topics, but there are still some to check out. I like the intentness, joy, and intimacy in today's dancing images.

Ukiyoe depicting ballroom dancing at the Rokumeikan, Tokyo, Japan, 1888

by Toyohara Chikanobu alias Yōshū Chikanobu

An impromptu dance - a scene on the Chelsea Embankment, 1883
by Frederick Brown (1851-1941)

The dance floor
by Axel Petersson Döderhultarn

by Camille Claudel (1893) in Musée Rodin (Paris)
photo by Philippe Alès

Orange Line
By Leo Rauth

Jazzapation: Fox Trot
composed by Edward Claypoole, 1920

A Merry Moment
by Antonina Rzhevskaya (1861-1934)

Twenty-two years of getting out on the dancefloor:

Monday, May 2, 2016

A little revival

Between the dawn and the darkness
Ashes and the spark
My miracle moment
Was giving you my heart
~Radney Foster

Radney Foster:

A song by Radney Foster, sung by Keith Urban ...he greets the audience first, so it doesn't start til about 50 seconds in: