Thursday, December 28, 2017

Postcards, Pavane, and the Young Unknown

I marvel at everything as if it were new.
~Anna Akhmatova

Happy New Year!

I have an enormous pack of literary and nature postcards that I am planning on sending out in 2018 with bits of poems, quotes, what I did that day, I don't know. If you'd like to receive one (or more?) of said postcards, email me (if I don't have your mailing address) or leave a comment (if I do).

Some poems for the new year...I am certainly praying for the world to be built anew:

from PAVANE FOR THE NEW YEAR (from Dec 1948)
by Elder Olson

And now the stones arise again
Till all the world is built anew
And now in one accord like rhyme,
And we who wound the midnight clock
Hear the clock of morning chime.

read the rest here


By Thomas Hardy

The twelfth hour nears
Hand-hid, as in shame;
I undo the lock,
And listen, and wait
For the Young Unknown.

read the rest here


Talking about pavanes (which are "a stately court dance" or the music for such a dance) always makes me think of Gabriel Fauré's. This performance by a Polish youth orchestra is lovely:

My Juicy Little Universe has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Heidi!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


If you've done something wrong in your dealings with another person, it's as if there's an infection in your relationship. A good apology is like an antibiotic; a bad apology is like rubbing salt in the wound.
~Randy Pausch

photo by Tiberiu Ana

Thinking about apologies this Wellness Wednesday. When I was a kid, I really hated saying I was sorry. I felt like that it was the apology itself that meant I had done something bad, and if I didn't apologize, I must not have done anything bad. Clearly, there was a flaw in my logic!

Should people be forced to apologize when they aren't sorry? A bit from The Atlantic (Why Apologize? by Noah Berlatsky):
The reason to teach kids to apologize isn't to make the wrong-doer feel better. It's to make the person wronged feel better. Secondarily, it's to make the wrong-doer feel worse, or at least, to make the wrong-doer understand that he or she has done something wrong and unacceptable.

Okimoto and the other researchers argue that...apologizing...strengthens community and reduces interpersonal violence. Vedantam concludes that people who have a low sense of self-worth have trouble apologizing in the service of these greater goods. Or, as he says, it's strong people, not weak people, who can apologize. He concludes that children feel vulnerable, and so are unwilling to apologize. Rather than coercing apology, he says, it would be better to create a loving environment, where the children feel safe and confident enough to apologize. As a parent, you're not just trying to increase your children's sense of self worth; you're trying to turn them into a civilized human being.

Which seems reasonable, but rather overlooks the fact that one way you create a safe and loving environment is by making it clear that treating each other badly is wrong and won't be tolerated. Insisting on apologies may make the wrong-doer unhappy -- but it assures those who are wronged that what has happened to them is, in fact, wrong, and that someone has their back. As a parent, you're not just trying to increase your children's sense of self worth; you're trying to turn them into a civilized human being. Part of doing that is teaching them that they need to think about others' feelings, not just their own. Which means that when they do wrong, they need to apologize -- a lesson which is more, not less, important because it's a difficult one to learn.

I actually do feel better when I apologize. It's feeling like I've done something wrong but haven't done anything to try to fix it that makes me feel awful.

The two following articles about apologizing have good information, although they do come down differently on asking for forgiveness. (The second one sounds right to me. What do you think?)

How to Apologize: The 7 Steps Of a Sincere Apology

How to Apologize (And Seem Like You Mean It)
("Seem like" sounds funny. Wouldn't "Show" sound better?)

Apologizing for Medical Missteps: Whether it's a Mistake for Physicians
An 8-part comic for people who say "I'm sorry" too often

A final quote:
“By the fifth 'I'm sorry' for the same cause, it's better to just say, I meant to do it.”
― Anthony Liccione

Monday, December 25, 2017

Come lads and lasses every one

And now let all the company
In friendly manner all agree,
For we are here welcome all may see
Unto this jolly good cheer.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it! And a happy new year to all! The words to this are from 1642, and the tune is "Greensleeves" (also used for "What Child is This").

Baltimore Consort

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Vintage photos

“... I have always thought of Christmas-time... as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
~Charles Dickens

me, age three
Dear all,
I'm wrapping presents and cooking so I don't have a post for today, but I'd like to send you over to Joyce's blog, where she is sharing my shivery Winter Poetry Swap poem. (I'm sorry, Australians, I keep thinking of it as the Winter swap, even though it's the Summer swap for you.)
Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!

one-year-old me at Christmas, in Granddaddy's hat...
boy, did I love that Pooh!

me, age two,
and the pure joy of all those colors

Buffy Silverman has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Buffy!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Jólabókaflóðið, plus book doctors and poetry pharmacists

Story is a butterfly whose wings transport us to another world where we receive gifts that change who we are and who we want to be.
~Harley King

Time to settle down with a good book. This is my combo Wellness Wednesday and Art Thursday post, so we have stunning shots of Iceland (home of Jólabókaflóðið) as well as information about books and poems for what ails you.

A book from Iceland, photo by YoungDoo M. Carey
Jólabókaflóðið (Icelandic for "The book flood of Christmas") is the annual flood of new books in Iceland occurring in the months before Christmas every year.

Its name refers to the fact that new books are generally published only during the Christmas season in Iceland...the custom stems from both Iceland's centuries long literary tradition, and strict WWII currency restrictions which limited the amount of imported giftware.

Given that restrictions on imported paper were more lenient than on other products, books became a massively popular Christmas Eve gift, and indeed the default gift, and thus the custom was established for the settling in and of the reading of said books. [Wikipedia]

Black Waterfall, Iceland, NMK Photography

William Seighart has been offering poetry prescriptions to people in the U.K. since 2014. If you can't see Seighart in person, you can take his poetry prescription quiz.

photo by Renan Portela

The Novel Cure offers literary remedies for everything from apathy to zestlessness.

photo by Renan Portela

"Book Dr." Caroline Donahue offers suggestions for books to read for particular needs, such as having a baby and living far away from family.

Poems to Lean On

Monday, December 18, 2017

Stand together

We meet no ordinary people in our lives.
~C.S. Lewis

For Music Monday, a song from Stand Together: Choirs with Purpose. I hadn't realized that no two people with cystic fibrosis can ever be together. But still, they made a choir:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Grow on me like moss

Learning to see mosses is more like listening than looking. A cursory glance will not do it. Starting to hear a faraway voice or catch a nuance in the quiet subtext of a conversation requires attentiveness, a filtering of all the noise, to catch the music. Mosses are not elevator music; they are the intertwined threads of a Beethoven quartet.
~Robin Wall Kimmerer

Moss by Matthew Rogers

My buddy Joyce sent me a completely delightful package for the Winter Poem Swap, complete with adorable wee animals for my mini garden, a journal, chocolate, and this wonderful poem:

Ode to Moss
by Joyce Ray

Woodlands hold trees and flowers,
critters and mythical folk,
play-fullness, seeds of promise and

who carpet Zen gardens,
Scottish moors and even
a childhood storybook where
Belinda searched for a friend.

We say, “A rolling stone gathers no moss,”
yet you, Sphagnum, staunched the bleeding
of WWI soldiers, lined the cradles
of indigenous babies, and

you, Peat, are the reason we have
bog bodies and Scotch.
Better yet,
you sequester carbon while

Africans say, “The people who love me
grow on me like moss,”
like soothing balm to ease the hurt
from rolling through troubled times, so

let me create a garden of still
stones whose only purpose is to grow
moss, and you will invite me in
to gather what I need.


Random Noodling has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Diane!

You don't need to cook

In the cherry blossom's shade
there's no such thing
as a stranger.
~Kobayashi Issa

Henri Le Sidaner (1862-1939) painted quite a few tables, already set, ready for people to have a seat. Tables in spring, in autumn, with dahlias, in the moonlight, etc. Very inviting. Come, let me give you a taste!

Le Dejeuner
by Henri Le Sidaner

Small Table in Evening Dusk
by Henri Le Sidaner

OK, not a table, but:
Lunch in the Woods at Gerberoy
by Henri Le Sidaner

One last quote:

Many cooks and food writers have nothing but negative things to say about people who have dietary restrictions or preferences. Quite often it's suggested that you just make what you want to make, and everyone can find something to eat, most likely. But if feeding people around your table is about connecting with them more than it is about showing off your menu or skills, isn't it important to cook in such a way that their preferences or restrictions are honored?”
~Shauna Niequist

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dr. Duke

“Hell yeah I'm a botanist! Fear my botany powers!”
~Andy Weir, The Martian

For Wellness Wednesday, I'd like to pay tribute to a man who literally wrote the book on wellness -- ethnobotanist James Duke. I met Jim in 2014 when I came to visit his garden. He loved writing and reading poems about plants and I would send him poems occasionally. He was generous with his knowledge and would answer my botanical questions. I'm glad I had a chance to make his acquaintance. (I wanted to write a children's book about him, but when I would interview him, he would pile chemistry up on me and I would wonder how on earth we could make something that would interest kids. Maybe I'll figure it out someday.)

how I remember him

The American Botanical Council alerted me to his passing last Sunday at the age of 88:
He was a brilliant, dedicated, funny, and humble man, who earned the admiration, respect, and love of thousands of scientists and herbal enthusiasts.

On his computer most of the day, he was an author of hundreds of articles, an estimated three dozen books, both popular and technical. He was an avid compiler of botanical data from all types of sources for his “Father Nature’s Farmacy” database, and, a humble botanist who preferred to walk barefoot in his extensive herb garden, or, when possible, in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.

Jim was one of the three founders of ABC in 1988 (along with the late Norman Farnsworth, PhD, and myself) and served on its Board of Trustees, in the last years as a Director Emeritus (he would call it “Director Demeritus”).

Jim’s huge body of work, his love of plants and people, his sense of humor, and his generosity of spirit are positive examples for all of us.

A poem about what we leave behind:

The Poets light but Lamps — (930)
By Emily Dickinson

The Poets light but Lamps —
Themselves — go out —
The Wicks they stimulate
If vital Light

Inhere as do the Suns —
Each Age a Lens
Disseminating their
Circumference —


Michelle posted a poem of his about a skink.
Jim Duke's books
My posts about herbs

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sing we loud!

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
Nowell, sing we loud!
God to-day hath poor folk raised
And cast a-down the proud.
~William Morris

Do I get sick of Christmas music? Not much. For Music Monday, a carol you might not know, plus one you do. French composer Marin Marais composed the tune to Masters in this Hall in 1706, and English poet William Morris wrote the words in 1860.

I'm a sucker for banjos. From Christmas in the Attic:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Do dull tasks

People love to talk but hate to listen. Listening is not merely not talking, though even that is beyond most of our powers; it means taking a vigorous, human interest in what is being told us. You can listen like a blank wall or like a splendid auditorium where every sound comes back fuller and richer.
~Alice Duer Miller

Poems from The White Cliffs by Alice Duer Miller today. The White Cliffs, about an American woman who falls in love with a British soon-to-be-soldier, came out in 1940. The copy I own came out in 1944 and is part of the 34th edition! It sold very well -- 300,000 copies between 1940-44 in the U.S. and 300,000 internationally. Amazing, eh?

The post title comes from "Englishmen
Will serve day after day, obey the law,
And do dull tasks that keep a nation strong."

From The White Cliffs
by Alice Duer Miller


Young and in love--how magical the phrase!
How magical the fact! Who has not yearned
Over young lovers when to their amaze
They fall in love, and find their love returned,
And the lights brighten, and their eyes are clear
To see God's image in their common clay.
Is it the music of the spheres they hear?
Is it the prelude to that noble play,
The drama of Joined Lives? Ah, they forget
They cannot write their parts; the bell has rung,
The curtain rises, and the stage is set
For tragedy--they were in love and young.



When the sun shines on England, it atones
   For low-hung leaden skies, and rain and dim
Moist fogs that paint the verdure on her stones
   And fill her gentle rivers to the brim.

When the sun shines on England, shafts of light
   Fall on far towers and hills and dark old trees,
And hedge-bound meadows of a green as bright--
   As bright as is the blue of tropic seas.

When the sun shines, it is as if the face
   Of some proud man relaxed his haughty stare,
And smiled upon us with a sudden grace,
   Flattering because its coming is so rare.



The English love their country with a love
Steady, and simple, wordless, dignified;
I think it sets their patriotism above
All others. We Americans have pride--
We glory in our country's short romance.
We boast of it and love it. Frenchmen, when
The ultimate menace comes, will die for France
Logically as they lived. But Englishmen
Will serve day after day, obey the law,
And do dull tasks that keep a nation strong.
Once I remember in London how I saw
Pale shabby people standing in a long
Line in the twilight and the misty rain
To pay their tax. I then saw England plain.


After the young lovers are married, and she goes to stay with his mother while he is away at war:


I settled down in Devon,
  When Johnnie went to France.
Such a tame ending
  To a great romance--
Two lonely women
  With nothing much to do
But get to know each other;
  She did and I did, too.
Mornings at the Rectory,
  Learning how to roll
Bandages, and always
  Saving light and coal.
Oh, that house was bitter
  As winter closed in,
In spite of heavy stockings
  And woolen next the skin.
I was cold and wretched,
  And never unaware
Of John more cold and wretched
  In a trench out there.


Steps and Staircases has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Lisa!

Name that art

If you can give your child only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.
~Bruce Barton

I found out about "Kids Explain Art to Experts (Name that Art)" from my friend Buffy. Really adorable stuff:

Monday, December 4, 2017

Save them all

If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.
~Woodrow Wilson

I am both a cat person and a dog person, so this video hits the spot:

Best Friends

Saturday, December 2, 2017


To act without a conscience, but for a paycheck, makes anyone a dangerous animal.
~Suzy Kassem

Politicians who've sold their soul to the devil got you down? After you've registered to vote, donated money, written your congresspeople, etc., come listen to this and calm yourself a bit.

Vaughan Williams: Fantasia cd

Thursday, November 30, 2017

You're Always Doing Amazing Stuff

You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
~Maya Angelou

Some poems by Brian Bilston, Twitter poet, author of You Took The Last Bus Home. (This can't be the first time I've shared a poem with roman numerals, can it?)

by Brian Bilston

you took
the last bus home
don’t know how
you got it through the door

you’re always doing amazing stuff

like the time
when you caught that train


by Brian Bilston

Of that day when we argued,
my memory is VIVID:
I, for one, remained CIVIL
but you ended up LIVID.


by Brian Bilston

Here's an offer
on Romantic poetry
that won't cost you the earth:

if you want
your Wordsworth.



A Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!


A very little key will open a very heavy door.
~Charles Dickens

What's a chatelaine?
a set of short chains attached to a woman's belt, used for carrying keys or other items.
One thing I read said women used these practical, beautiful items because they had no pockets.

Portrait of a Young Girl standing in an interior and holding a bunch of roses. She wears a lace apron and a gold chatelaine hanging from a gold ropework belt.
Early 17th century

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
This cut steel chatelaine was worn by ladies to hold important household items such as keys, scissors and thimbles.

Design for a Chatelaine with Watch
By Alexis Falize (1811 - 1898)

French late 18th century chatelaine

A sewing chatelaine for sale on Etsy
Another chatelaine for sale
Chatelaine for a doll

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


The right word at the right time will unlock the door to treasures.
~Rasheed Ogunlaru

Today's hand lettering was inspired by motivational speaker Angela M. Davis:
"You've got to be willing to look at the people in your life and speak to the gift (you see inside them). Life and death is in the power of the tongue. You have the ability to unlock somebody's greatness by your words of encouragement and affirmation. Not only to the people in your life, but to yourself. You are who YOU say you are and you are who YOU think you are. And who is it that you say you are? You have to be very mindful of that conversation that you have with yourself."

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tyrannosaurus Chicken

She's got big ribs and candied yams
Oh, sugar cured Virginia hams
Basements full of those berry jams
And that's what I like about the south
~Phil Harris

Need a little Monday morning shake-up/wake-up? Here's Tyrannosaurus Chicken with "That's What I like About the South":

Friday, November 24, 2017

Listening tenderly

Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.
~Kahlil Gibran

I'll be spending some quality time with the highway this afternoon, but I hope to have time in the morning for a tree or two.

by W.S. Merwin

I am looking at trees
they may be one of the things I will miss
most from the earth
though many of the ones I have seen
already I cannot remember

read the rest here


Carol's Corner has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

Thursday, November 23, 2017


The key to abundance is meeting limited circumstances with unlimited thoughts.
~Marianne Williamson

For Thanksgiving, we have cornucopias (or horns of plenty):
The cornucopia is a symbol of food and abundance dating back to the 5th century BC, also referred to as the food of worship and holyness, Horn of Amalthea, and harvest cone
But there are varied types of abundance going on here!

Vertumnus and Pomona from Greek mythology
Juan van der Hamen, 1626

Mosaic "The cornucopia" at a factory building by Villeroy & Boch

Skara kommun

Ex libris Pauli Mariae Cogels
Beskrivning: "Omnia fert aetas", tomtar med ymnighetshorn och böcker

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Check in bringing the mind home.
~Sogyal Rinpoche

this week's hand-lettering

Did you see the yoga videos by Adrienne that I showed a while back? In her videos, Adrienne often mentions checking in with the breath, checking in with the body. I like that idea.

These two "body scan" videos below (which I have used when I have insomnia) lead you through a little relaxing checking-in. They are pretty similar, but one has a man speaking and the other features a woman. Take your pick (or try both).

Monday, November 20, 2017


What we ask is to be human individuals, however peculiar and unexpected.
~Dorothy L. Sayers

The other day I received a press release about Hailee Steinfeld's new song. I wasn't familiar with her, but my 16yo had seen her videos, including the one I'm sharing for Music Monday. This upbeat song caught my attention with its supportive message about having things in common even though "no two are the same":

Most Girls (Official Video) by Hailee Steinfeld on VEVO.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sonnets again

A sonnet might look dinky, but it was somehow big enough to accommodate love, war, death, and O.J. Simpson. You could fit the whole world in there if you shoved hard enough.
~Anne Fadiman

Someone who carries a wee copy of Shakespeare's sonnets with him and has your favorite one (nearly) memorized? It's enough to win Kate Winslet's heart:

William Wordsworth in defense of form poems generally, and sonnets specifically:

NUNS fret not at their convent's narrow room
William Wordsworth. 1770–1850

NUNS fret not at their convent's narrow room,
And hermits are contented with their cells,
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest peak of Furness fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison unto which we doom
Ourselves no prison is: and hence for me,
In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground;
Pleased if some souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.


Why did I call this "Sonnets again"? I also posted sonnets by Michelangelo, Shakespeare's sonnets in Chinese and in an app and sonnets by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Raincity Librarian has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jane!


I have tried to improve telescopes and practiced continually to see with them. These instruments have play'd me so many tricks that I have at last found them out in many of their humours.
~Sir William Herschel

Spyglasses today, a.k.a. monoculars! ("Monoculars" sounds like a funny word, although "binoculars" is ordinary. Is it like "disgruntled" and "gruntled"? "Rejected" and "jected"? I'm just making stuff up now.)

Priscilla Long writes, "The spyglass was the first scientific instrument to amplify the human senses, to make previously invisible objects visible." Read the whole article (about Galileo and the spyglass) here.

Galilean spyglass, reproduction of one of Galileo's spyglasses, XX.
photo by Alessandro Nassiri, Museo scienza e tecnologia Milano

Nachet collection: two spy glasses made by Dolland, London

Exhibit in the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Zwinger), Dresden, Germany

O catalexo-Looking at the sea. The spyglass.
photo by luscofusco

Opera glasses, exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum
photo by Daderot

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Looking on the bright side

Make every misadventure an adventure.
~Alana Siegel

Today's hand-lettered quote is from a poem suggested by Michelle and written by Anonymous:

The optimist fell ten stories,
and at every window bar
he shouted to his friends,
"all right so far!"

Scientists say you don't need to start out optimistic because it's possible to become an optimist.

A charming talk by an optimist, perhaps especially good for people who think they don't like classical music:

Monday, November 13, 2017


Are we hanging onto something special?
I think so
~Milky Chance

An interesting video by German group Milky Chance with British singer-songwriter Izzy Bizu (If they seem familiar, I did feature them each before, separately):

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Action needed

If one thinks of various ways in which commonplace items, from car seats to medicine bottle tops, have been childproofed, it's clear that society's general desire has been to eliminate as many potential dangers from children as possible, even when the number of those who might be harmed is relatively small. If one child's death is preventable, then the proper question isn't "Why should we do this" but rather "Why shouldn't we?"
~Gary Younge

photo by silvioassuncao

I had something else ready to go for this week, but when I read this, I moved the other post to next week. This has to be said, much as it tears me up.

Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild
by Kathy Fish

A group of grandmothers is a tapestry. A group of toddlers, a jubilance (see also: a bewailing). A group of librarians is an enlightenment. A group of visual artists is a bioluminescence. A group of short story writers is a Flannery. A group of musicians is — a band.

A resplendence of poets.

A beacon of scientists.

A raft of social workers.

A group of first responders is a valiance. A group of peaceful protestors is a dream. A group of special education teachers is a transcendence. A group of neonatal ICU nurses is a divinity. A group of hospice workers, a grace.

Humans in the wild, gathered and feeling good, previously an exhilaration, now: a target.

A target of concert-goers.

A target of movie-goers.

A target of dancers.

A group of schoolchildren is a target.


Some people say there's nothing that can be done. I reject that.

Jama's Alphabet Soup has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jama!

Tea Bowl and Fruits

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it as the axis on which the world revolves.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

This painting from 1921 speaks to me. Something about the simple comfort of the composition and the interplay of the colors.

Tea Bowl and Fruits
by Gyoshū Hayami (1894—1935)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Going with the gut

The difficult thing is not to pick up the information but to recognise it - to accept it into our consciousness. Most of us find it difficult to know what we are feeling about anything... This is one of the penalties of being human and having a brain so swarming with interesting suggestions and ideas and self-distrust.
~Ted Hughes

Hi y'all,

So I discovered that making something hand-lettered is every bit as fun as I thought, but more of a time sink than I expected, principally because I have no idea what I'm doing. By the time I figure it out, November will probably be over (so I should keep going into December, right?).

I liked Michelle's idea about what to write and will probably do that next week (if you didn't see the comment, you can be surprised). I thought about the "Just Do It" suggestion, but unfortunately I couldn't "just do it" because it is completely intertwined with Nike in my mind. It did make me think about doing things and what we do, and I ended up with this:

Now, I don't think people should always trust their instincts. If you're, say, a politician, you should research the heck out of a topic before you come to a conclusion. Consider all the facts analytically.

But if you are somebody, even a politician, who is trying to decide who to date, trust your instincts. If there's a red flag, don't ignore it. The same thing with jobs, really, or other situations. A little warning could ding in your head. Have a listen. Sometimes your subconscious picks up on something that your conscious mind doesn't.

5 Gut Instincts You Shouldn't Ignore
Intuition as a form of intelligence
How to make your gut instinct more accurate

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Faint Rumble

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
~Martin Luther King Jr.

photo by Eric Heupel

Brenda shared this poem from the Summer Poem Swap a while back and I had the urge to share it again this week.

Crow’s report from the White Witch’s courtyard
by Tabatha Yeatts
for Brenda

[Edmund] saw that there were dozens of statues all about…They all looked so strange standing there perfectly life-like and also perfectly still, in the bright cold moonlight, that it was eerie work crossing the courtyard.
~The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis

this wind-follower, tree-singer
shackled in stone
has roused from sleep
to scan the state of the world:

    caw, wish I could squint
against the light
glinting off frozen larch-girls,
twiggy hands hiding their faces,
and round-bellied
beavers, caught in mid step.

    can't look up at the sky
but there's naught I would change
of the flights I risked,
the songs I revealed
that landed me here.

    does anyone seek
    to save us?

    though the snow is soft,
its reflection blinds me
much as the statues,
    and I think of sleep again.

    hear I the faint rumble of the
    wheels of justice     turning
    in the distance?

    in my mind,
    my outstretched wing
        points to a future

where the wand bearer's power
is snapped,
    where the sun's breath
        touches our upturned faces,
            and our colors flame again.


TeacherDance has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Thanks, Linda!

Der Hexenmeister and the Sorceresses

And now about the cauldron sing
Like elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.
― William Shakespeare

I'm sharing this late (in terms of the holiday), but I'm making this post before Halloween. How DO people manage to get things posted in a timely fashion? Beats me. Doesn't the post title sound like a 1960s band? Witches for Art Thursday:

Illustration from The Enchanted Forest by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite and Grenby Outhwaite
by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

The Sorceress
by Bartolomeo Guidobono

The Lady of the Lake illustration from the 1903 edition of The Story of King Arthur and His Knights
by Howard Pyle

Der Hexenmeister (I'm not gonna lie, I decided to share this one because I like "hexenmeister" so much)
by Carl Spitzweg

Sharing a second version because it is so different (in terms of the colors):

L'Envoûteuse (The Sorceress) (She means business, doesn't she?)
by Georges Merle

Jason and Medea
by John William Waterhouse

Vivien bewitches Merlin illustration from the 1903 edition of The Story of King Arthur and His Knights
by Howard Pyle

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Come tomorrow, I'll wake up new.
~Chad Sugg

So, November is going to be pretty intense for me. A lot of projects, many kites to keep in the air. Since I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep my blog-kite up along with all the others, I thought I'd try to finish my November posts early (before the month starts). Right now it's Halloween morning and I only have three done and a bunch of drafts started...wish me luck!

My plan for Wellness Wednesday is to make hand-lettered images, which seems more doable than a regular post for some reason. Or maybe it just feels like a nice break from my other work. Here's the first one, which fits with all the thinking I'm doing about mistakes:

It reminds me of the Japanese proverb "Fall seven times and stand up eight."

Do you have any suggestions about sayings I could hand letter?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Spending every dime
For a wonderful time

If you'd asked me fifteen minutes ago whether "Puttin' on the Ritz" was a good Halloween song, I would have said no. But now that I've seen this?

Monday, October 30, 2017


Down by the river by the boats
Where everybody goes to be alone
Where you won't see any rising sun
Down to the river we will run
~Agnes Obel

These aren't Halloween songs per se, but they sound appropriate for the season to me... Agnes Obel:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Filling and being filled

Life is painful. It has thorns, like the stem of a rose. Culture and art are the roses that bloom on the stem. The flower is yourself, your humanity. Art is the liberation of the humanity inside yourself.
~Daisaku Ikeda

I shared a Buddhist concept on Wellness Wednesday ("mudita") and I've got poems from Buddhist Poetry Review today.

excerpt from Zen Thoughts
by Diana Raab

Good poems, like good fiction, need a problem
solved, but on some days the jar is replete
with problems in the midst of sleeping answers.


photo by Kevin Harber

Kitchen Meditation
by Darrell Petska

My philodendron is a calculated thinker
appraising each facet of sunlight.
In a clay pot's darkness richly moist
it knows deep intimacies.

read the rest here


In the evening the two of us
by Rick Kempa

In the evening the two of us
kneel before the water-hole
in the creekbed below camp,

filling our bottles. The vault
of the sky opens and down

read the rest here


I was open like a bear trap
by Meredith Maltby

I scratched underneath

my chin and felt

a whole bed

right underneath
the jaw

read the rest here (scroll down)


Friendly Fairy Tales has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Brenda!

Last call!

Updated to add: Also, don't forget to sign up for the Winter Poem Swap!