Friday, March 31, 2017

Everyone's First Word

My first word, everyone’s first word, was air.
~Simon Armitage

As I said yesterday, I'm thinking about the world around us and the moral imperative to take care of it.

In England, University of Sheffield and poet Simon Armitage teamed up to create a poem billboard with a hi-tech coating of titanium dioxide, which uses sunlight and oxygen to eliminate pollution particles. Awesome, right? It only costs $168 to add the pollution-fighting layer to the billboard, which works for a year.


by Jackie Kay

We closed the borders, folks, we nailed it.
No trees, no plants, no immigrants.
No foreign nurses, no Doctors; we smashed it.
We took control of our affairs. No fresh air.
No birds, no bees, no HIV, no Poles, no pollen.

read the rest of it here.


A Mother on the West Virginia Line Considers the Public Health
by Julia Spicher Kasdorf:

...They drilled the gas pipeline on a weekend, didn’t go where the DEP said,
so it blew out in our crick—bentonite and “residual waste” clouding

clean water stocked with trout. That’s when I cried. That crick flows
into the Mon, and people get their drinking water out of that river...

“Alternate waste disposal on site” means they can bury radioactive
drill cuttings in your land. When they drained the frack pits,

they shook the tarp and bulldozed the sludge into the ground, too.
There’s places we mow now, but we don’t feed that hay to our horses.

read the rest here.


A smog-inspired poem from the point-of-view of lung cancer (written by a Chinese doctor): I Long to be King.

Air, Air Everywhere activity guide, grades 3-5

The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Amy!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Needed: Good Stewards

Pollution, by its nature, engenders a kind of trespass.
~Benjamin Hale

Thinking about what matters this Art Thursday. Or, as Henry David Thoreau wrote, "What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?"

Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there
by Ian Burt

Modernity I: Cloud Maker
photo by Ilario Reale

Earth Mother
by Gideon Wright
Credit: A Water Baby by Herbert Draper (1900)

Art work made from sea pollution
photo by Ed Bierman

by Laura

City in pollution (Shanghai, 2013)
by leniners

The Ultimate Sin
photo by Pulpolux

Environmental Defense Fund
National Resources Defense Council

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Making It

The self is...a creation, the principal work of your life, the crafting of which makes everyone an artist. This unfinished work of becoming ends only when you do, if then, and the consequences live on.
~Rebecca Solnit

Today for Wellness Wednesday, I'm thinking about how good it feels to make things. I'm not talking about particular things. It could be anything: constructing a table, baking a cake, knitting a scarf, writing a poem, putting together a floral arrangement, composing a song, making your own video. Does fixing something that's broken count as making something? I would say yes -- you're making something usable again.

I LIKE TO MAKE THINGS from Nathan Boey on Vimeo.

We don't need to make things that win Emmys, although it's certainly cool if we do. We can make things just for fun, just because it feels good, just because we like to make things. I have a friend who makes really cool soap. I am in the middle of making vanilla extract and just finished making Queen of Hungary water. The Queen of Hungary water feels great but doesn't smell quite the way I'd like it to. I'm working on it. Everything you make doesn't have to turn out exactly right, you know? Just do what you do, and keep going.

In case you're interested in swapping with other people who make things: Swapbot.

You can pretty much find all kinds of ideas on YouTube. This one made me laugh at the beginning (can't reach the soda!). It's a clever little project:

I found this interesting, sort of like when you watch someone cooking a meal you know you'll never actually fix:

Going to make anything today?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dancing on a Sunny Road

It is...his elasticity of spirit, his fine gifted nature, his noble heart that I love.
~Clara Schumann about Johannes Brahms

For Music Monday, Icelandic singer/songwriter Emilíana Torrini:

The Atlanta Chamber Players:

Friday, March 24, 2017

A swoony post from the archives

Unicorns are immortal. It is their nature to live alone in one place: usually a forest where there is a pool clear enough for them to see themselves-for they are a little vain, knowing themselves to be the most beautiful creatures in all the world, and magic besides.
~Peter S. Beagle

I've been working on Poetry Month stuff but I didn't know what to post today, so I raided the archives.

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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

August Macke

Among a thousand good men, a bullet hit an irreplaceable one.
~Franz Marc on the death of August Macke

Today's artist, German expressionist August Macke, lived from 1887-1914:

Painter, watercolorist, and decorative artist...also designed carpets and tapestries and made pottery and glass paintings...mobilized during first week of war; killed in action seven weeks later.

...As a fallen veteran, German officers protested the confiscation of his works and his inclusion as a degenerate artist by the Nazis. (information from the MoMA Collection)

Just a taste of info, but it makes you wonder, doesn't it? It seems as though there's a whole movie's worth of story there. I shared art by his friend Franz Marc a number of years ago, along with this info:
Marc volunteered to join the army during World War I. I read that "his name was on a list of notable artists to be withdrawn from combat in World War I. Before the orders were carried out, he was struck in the head and killed instantly by a shell splinter during the Battle of Verdun (1916)."

I'm fascinated by the list of artists that the government wanted to save, but I didn't see any more information about that.

And here is art by August Macke:

Woman in park
by August Macke

Hat Store
by August Macke

Ansicht vom Tegernsee
by August Macke

Cathedral of Freiburg, Switzerland
by August Macke

by August Macke

Zoologischer Garten
by August Macke

Angler am Rhein
by August Macke

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ways to take a break, with an example

Love to faults is always blind,
always is to joy inclined.
Lawless, winged, and unconfined,
and breaks all chains from every mind.
~William Blake

Good morning, y'all!

I posted a couple of extra times this week so Wellness Wednesday snuck up on me and I'm not ready. I'm posting the above drawing instead :-)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


I read as much poetry as time allows and circumstance dictates: No heartache can pass without a little Dorothy Parker, no thunderstorm without W. H. Auden, no sleepless night without W. B. Yeats.
~J. Courtney Sullivan

Celebrating World Poetry Day and Bach's birthday today!

I attempted Donna's blog scavenger hunt and deduced this:

Silence blooms
the world turns green
Another year
spinning around to throw
ferns unfurled
under trees *
pining for the fragrance of the forest
figments and fancies
play with me

(Is it right, Donna?)

* second attempt

And here's some Bach, performed by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields:

If you'd rather have the choral version:

Monday, March 20, 2017

Queen and Teens

Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see
~Freddie Mercury

Two songs related to my younger daughter today. The first is from a symphony that her orchestra performed earlier this month. It was epic! (Listen to this second if you want to end on a big note.)

Elena is planning on singing this next one for an audition. It's "Lifeboat" from the musical Heathers. It struck me that, in just one minute and thirty-eight seconds, this really sums up what high school can feel like.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

International Day of Happiness

I've got nothing to do today but smile.
~Paul Simon

March 20th is the U.N.'s International Day of Happiness. A good day to reassess how we can promote our own happiness and the happiness of others.

You can use the code HAPPY10 to shop the UNICEF Market before March 23rd and save 10% while helping children.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Scavenger Hunt

Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure
~John Dryden

For this Poetry Friday, I'm sharing a literary scavenger hunt. This was a new concept to me, concocted by my older daughter last week for my birthday. She put together a poem with bits (1-6 words) from ten different books from her own bookcase.

The clues were things like "if you know only one contemporary poet... 85, 1" which led me to find the first line on the 85th page of a Billy Collins book. "Elena's bae, 11, 5" led me to Jane Austen, page 11, line 5. "D's the namesake, 89, last, 6" led me to Dashiell Hammett, page 89, last line, sixth word. "the only book in my favorite trilogy that I haven't read, 156, 13, 4-7" brought me to Marilynne Robinson, page 156, line 13, words 4-7.

It was quite a project for her, as you can imagine! It would be hard to do with anyone who you didn't share books with, but perhaps students or teachers could create a classroom literary scavenger hunt.

The compiled poem was:

My best beloved and approved friend,
Well, I'll be danged!
Another year.
The beauty of thy days:
this love for everyday things
and always
being a little silly and sweet.


Thanks, Ariana! xo

I was wondering whether it would be possible to do a literary scavenger hunt with blogs. I haven't figured out how, yet, though. I could say go here, 2, 3-10, but that would be too easy. Basically, it would work with clues to people's blogs, but doing clues to specific posts seems too tough. (There are fun possibilities...seems like something Donna might be able to make the most of!)


Life on the Deckle Edge has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Thanks, Robyn!

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Look at Scottish guys wearing kilts - you could look at them and laugh, but the way they carry themselves, how can you? You can wear some of the weirdest things and be cool. If you believe in it, that's what makes it cool.
~Andre Benjamin

Kilts today, in all their grand variety:

Backhold Wrestling
photo by Shemsu.Hor

Storm Trooper
photo by J. Neal Goggins

Kilt and dress made of silk ties
photo by B

Les 4 kilts
photo by Etienne Valois

photo by Beatrice Murch

Lego Scottish dancers (in kilts)
photo by Ben Sutherland

A humorous caricature depicting Scottish soldiers, wearing kilts, in Continental Europe ca. 1815
Public Domain

Soldiers looking at a shrine damaged by shells, World War I
National Library of Scotland

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Secret Song

Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.
~Dalai Lama XIV

Okay, so the first part of this isn't soothing at all (talking about the situation in Tibet), but I could listen to the Dalai Lama laugh all day. The interview with the Dalai Lama starts about ten and a half minutes in.

John Oliver talks to the Dalai Lama:

The Singing
By Patrick Phillips

I can hear her through
the thin wall, singing,
up before the sun:
two notes, a kind
of hushed half-breathing,
each time the baby
makes that little moan—

read the rest here

Monday, March 13, 2017

Not quiet and not wind

Let it out Let it out
Let it out now
There’ll be someone who understands

Two songs today. The cello composition was based on a Russian folk song: “It’s not the wind that is bending the branch, it’s my heart that is sighing for you, trembling like a leaf on a tree.”


Ian Maksin:

Friday, March 10, 2017

Whitman, Alabama

...[Whitman] wrote the first version of ['Song of Myself'] in 1855, but the idea in the poem is just to talk about the diversity — not just amongst Americans or between Americans — but within every individual American themselves. It just is a massive canvas to work from. It allows us therefore to go forward in Alabama and really capture not just a small part of Alabama, but a pretty sprawling lot of people.
~Jennifer Crandall, filmmaker

Whitman, Alabama is a project by Jennifer Crandall, who has spent two years "inviting people to look into a camera and share a part of themselves through the words of Walt Whitman."

She says: "Whitman, Alabama, est. 2017, is an experiment in revealing those threads that tie us together—as individuals, as states, as a nation, inside of a shared universe. All of us poets. And so, in that spirit, we invite you to be with us. To take part. To see and hear the whole. To exist as you are; that is enough."


If you'd like to have Whitman, Alabama videos sent to you, sign up here.

Today's Little Ditty has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Michelle!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Romania II

See, when I went to the Olympics in '76, the gymnastics people knew that I was good, but everybody else, after I won, everybody was like, 'Where's she coming from? Who is she? What is Romania?'
~Nadia Comaneci

Spending some time in Romania for Art Thursday:

Merry Cemetary, Sapanta, Romania
Each of the wooden "headstones" illustrates an aspect of the life (or death) of the person commemorated
photo by John Spooner

Nagyvárad - Saspalota üvegmozaikja

Saint George New Church, Bucharest, Romania
photo by fusion-of-horizons

Rock Sculpture of Dacian King Decebalus
photo by Byron Howes

Cetatea Oradea-1
photo by Rachel Titiriga

Woman selling bags in market
photo by Woody Wood

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bottle and Tea

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.
~Charles Dickens

As a thank you for my Music Monday post, Monique sent me this charming stop-motion animated video by Kirsten Lepore of an unusual conversation:

Along similar lines, here's a list of 5 TEDx talks that will help you talk with anyone.

Would anybody like an assortment of 25 teas? You can pick what kinds. Email me at tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com and I will send two people tea samplers.

Monday, March 6, 2017


He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.
~Jack London

Sharing some previously-posted joyful favorites this Music Monday especially for Monique, who has only been visiting The Opposite of Indifference since January and probably hasn't seen these. Hope you enjoy these as much as I do, Monique!

Oh Wonder:

Caro Emerald:


A bonus: Me and My Cello

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Billy's Birthday

In Barcelona a poetry competition is held every year. There are three prizes: The third prize is a rose made of silver, the second prize is a golden rose, and the first prize: a rose. A real rose. The flower itself. Think of that the next time the term “priorities” comes up.
~Billy Collins

So happy to be wishing Billy Collins a happy 76th birthday on March 22nd! I wish I could give him a real rose. Instead, I brought a poem.

Radio Weather
by Tabatha Yeatts

On the morning drive to school,
the quiet of the rising sun is broken only
by the voice of D.G. giving the weather report,
which, surprising for a weather report,
makes me laugh,
and makes my kids laugh,
who know better than to turn the station when D.G. is talking,
because, not only is he knowledgeable
about the composers, conductors, and soloists,
he seems like even he is never sure what he is going to say next
when he starts talking about things like the weather,
and that is pretty much the only kind of surprise I like.
Like poet Billy Collins, he has a
reassuring here we are together voice,
and a what can you do, there it is laugh
He only tells me the songs and the weather,
but I always think if there's bad news,
I want him to give it.


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


Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.
~Bill Blass

In the past, I've spotlighted blue, yellow, brown, green, and orange. Is that all? I'm pretty sure I haven't featured red yet. For an interesting look at cultural feelings about the color red, visit Color Matters.

Dario Argento Decorative Gate, Brooklyn Museum
photo by Chris Montgomery

The young Queen Elizabeth I (here in about 1563) liked to wear bright reds, before she adopted the more sober image of the "Virgin Queen."
By Steven van der Meulen

Standing Dog, Mexico, 200 B.C. - A.D. 500

Brush with Carp and Dragon, Middle Ming dynasty, about 1450-1550

Made in China
by Sui Jianguo
photo by Thomas Hawk

Brighton University Peace Cranes
A group from Brighton University, England raised funds in support of the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
photo by Dominic Alves

Siamese Fireback
photo by cuatrok77

Red Menace
photo by William Beem

Cardinals in winter art lesson

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.
~Fred Rogers

Spending time with Mr. Rogers today. Have you seen the video where he argues for not cutting the budget for PBS? Makes me sigh for better days, but Mr. Rogers is still comforting even today. As he said, "Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are? Those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life?" I'm taking more than ten seconds to think about you, Mr. Rogers.

Mr. Rogers with Koko

Here's another quote from him:

When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong with the fearful, the true mixed in with the façade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way.
~Fred Rogers