Monday, July 31, 2017

Only one small caveat

(And she's got)
Animal Spirits
(And he's got)
Heartfelt lyrics
(Put them together)
And you can hear it --
It's a song everyone knows

Keeping it serious this Music Monday:


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Literarily Angsty

A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetry gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
~The Smiths

Yup, I'm just sharing this song today by The Smiths because he mentions Keats and Yeats and Oscar Wilde (whom I quoted on Wednesday, small world) and (obliquely) Cyrano deBergerac.

If you must write prose and poems
The words you use should be your own
Don't plagiarise or take on loan

An instrumental version:


A Word Edgewise has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Linda!

Addendum: Michelle is sharing the ekphrastic golden shovel swap poem I wrote for her, plus her response poem. (Last week, Brenda shared the Narnia swap poem I wrote for her.)

Check these bags

I want to travel on a train that smells like snowflakes. I want to sip in cafes that smell like comets. Under the pressure of my step, I want the streets to emit the precise odor of a diamond necklace. I want the newspapers I read to smell like the violins left in pawnshops by weeping hobos on Christmas Eve. I want to carry luggage that reeks of the neurons in Einstein's brain.
~Tom Robbins

In honor of vacations, luggage for Art Thursday.

Lost Luggage
by Mr. Gray

A visit to the NYS Museum of Transportation
photo by Norm Wright

The Traveler, Spain
photo by Astur

At Baggage Claim in Indianapolis Airport
photo by lamccain71

butter cow
photo by wasim muklashy

On the road
photo by Kate Ter Haar

I remember that platform bell
photo by Derek Finch

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


It is a great mistake for men to give up paying compliments, for when they give up saying what is charming, they give up thinking what is charming.
~Oscar Wilde

Thinking about compliments this Wellness Wednesday. My daughters had a music teacher who would only give praise when the people he was complimenting were not present. He would brag about something they had done (to people who didn't necessarily want to hear it), but in person, not so much. This fellow did not have the hang of how to give compliments.

We may be better at it than the above-mentioned teacher, but compliments can still be tricky to navigate. I find that many of us take criticisms to heart much more than we savor compliments. There's work to be done!

* An article about the giving and accepting of compliments
* How to give and receive compliments assertively
* Teach students to give and receive compliments
* More compliments (an old post of mine)

Geez, I know I say this all the time, but tissue alert!

One last German proverb:
What flatterers say, try to make true.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Don't let the devil lay a finger on you, baby

“You might, from your appearance, be the wife of Lucifer,” said Miss Pross, in her breathing. “Nevertheless, you shall not get the better of me. I am an Englishwoman.”
~Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

A number of songs have conversations with the Devil (or appearances by him). For Music Monday:

Now here's a story you might not have heard (unless you're my dad)... blues guitarist Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul to the Devil at a crossroads at midnight in exchange for his musical genius. Read about the legend here.

A post featuring blues as poetry (for Father's Day)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Current events in poetry

The poet doesn't invent. He listens.
~Jean Cocteau

In case you were wondering where you could find poems about today's happenings, here are two:

Limericking (on Twitter)

Rattle response poems to current events

Friday, July 21, 2017

Swap poems

Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.
~D.W. Winnicott

Iphigene and I sent each other poems for the first swap. I think they are sort of a conversation in themselves, even though we wrote them at the same time.

Iphigene explained that her poem for me was inspired by a book she was reading called The Lonely City by Olivia Liang, which explores the idea of loneliness through different artists.

She says, "While the poem may be a bit sad, I thought, since you had a blog that explored art, this would perfectly fit...I hope the poem is able to deliver, more than the idea of the lonely, but the way art connects the lonely with each other, hence in a way building this sort of invisible community." Iphigene also sent me an excellent drawing of hers to go with it:

The Lonely
By iphigene
(for tabatha)

Loneliness clings to souls
Like skin to bone

They are the lonely:
Bodies with big black
Voids digging into their bellies

There is no fire in them----
Only a chill, an eternal winter
Gnawing at their backs
seeping through their veins
Reminding them
They are the lonely.

Hopper, Warhol
Darger ---artists
Born with loneliness
Clinging to their souls---
Never to be erased
By crowds and art

Only to be eased,
Eased by the swelling
Depths of their voids
Into canvases, photographs
And prints

Eased by the birthing
Of their loneliness---
To be seen and felt
By those who walk with
big black voids
in their bellies
To stare into themselves
To recognize

That among the bodies
In a crowded city, in the midst
Of laughter and camaraderie
Are the lonely: just like
Them, just like me

Souls with loneliness
Clinging like skin
To their bones.


My poem for Iphigene was inspired by a poem by L.L. Barkat. I’ll include it first:

Let's make walls like this,
you and I.
Not the kind that stand between us,
but the textured kind you might
run your fingers over
to find its heart. And a wall like this
would have a heart,
in case you were wondering.
Because we’d be painting our colors into it,
and it would look like sweet meyer lemon, aqua sky,
grass green (the kind you see in spring) —
and, love.

Here’s the poem for Iphigene:

Let's make scars
by Tabatha Yeatts

Let's make scars like this,
you and I.
Not the kind that
prove the wound stung,
but ones are smooth pink witnesses
to the healing, to the
sealing of the raw cut. No swollen
red streaks scalding the edges,
a scar like ours would mark recovery
that can withstand a poke or prod,
a sleek track that holds fast,
and signifies stories, survival,
and strength.


Katie at The Logonauts is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Katie!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Swedish Embroidery

From the manner in which a woman draws her thread at every stitch of her needlework, any other woman can surmise her thoughts.
~Honore de Balzac

Swedish embroidery this Art Thursday, primarily by Karin Derland.

Swedish Embroidery
by Karin Derland
photo courtesy Bengt Nyman

Swedish Embroidery
by Karin Derland

Swedish Embroidery
by Karin Derland

Swedish Embroidery
by Karin Derland

Julmarknad Galleri

Christmas Market

Huck embroidery
by Victoria Pickering

coif embroidery
by Lia de Thornegge

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Being your own health advocate

In the sick room, ten cents' worth of human understanding equals ten dollars' worth of medical science.
~Martin H. Fischer

For Wellness Wednesday, we're thinking about following your instincts and being your own health advocate. Recently, I was speaking to a family member who told me that she'd had two tender spots on her head that bothered her over time, but doctors told her not to worry. Eventually she insisted on having them biopsied and discovered they were basal cell carcinoma. She was not happy that she'd had to take charge herself.

Things to keep in mind:
Be Your Own Health Advocate from WebMD.
Avoid Misdiagnosis: 8 Ways to Help Your Doctor Make the Right Diagnosis, also from WebMD.
The Empowered Patient Checklist for Doctor Visits – free PDF download
Resources for patient safety including printable "My Health Notebook" and "Hospital Exit Checklist"
A case where both doctors and patient contributed to misdiagnosis
When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes from The Atlantic.

"Some procedures are implemented based on studies that did not prove whether they really worked in the first place. Others were initially supported by evidence but then were contradicted by better evidence, and yet these procedures have remained the standards of care for years, or decades."

Some doctors can be more likely to rely on prescribing pharmaceuticals than recommending lifestyle changes. In truth, patients often expect to walk out with a prescription, despite the fact that in some situations you can get better results with lifestyle changes. For instance, a family member had rosacea that went away after she stopped eating dairy products, which she discovered for herself. When you are being your own advocate, try to be receptive to lifestyle changes, even though they can be harder to implement than taking a pill.

Saint Camillus de Lellis

Side-note: We just passed the feast day of Saint Camillus de Lellis, patron of hospitals, nurses, and the sick (July 18). His is an interesting story.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Nightstand Drawer

Hey, hey baby, I'm your nightstand drawer,
give me your secrets, give me your longings,
give me a chance
to hold these things
~Heather Maloney

For Music Monday, Heather Maloney:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cheesy Friday

On days when warmth is the most important need of the human heart, the kitchen is the place you can find it.
~E.B. White

Welcome! Diane realized that July 14th is National Macaroni and Cheese Day and saw potential for a good poetry theme. Why not? I'm plenty cheesy.

photo by Joshua Bousel

I thought there was a chance that more than one person would share this poem, what with there being a run on macaroni and cheese poems today. Did anybody?

Macaroni & Cheese
by Laura Kasischke

One day you may be asked, “How
was it that God brought forth

out of nothing?” Then, “Is
there no difference between them—
nothing, and being?” Outside

a strange slow snow, and a big
black bird hunched
over something in the road. The sky

read the rest here


When I thought about coming up with my own poem, I considered writing about the time when I wouldn't eat my grandparents' baked macaroni and cheese because only Kraft would do (too embarrassing?). In the end, a particular batch of the dish came to mind:

There once was a mac and cheese
that tasted a bit like a sneeze
with gluten-free pasta,
a total disasta,
still worse was the dairy-free "chreez."

(No offense intended to good gluten-free, dairy-free macaroni and cheese...)


Share your post here!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes.
~Carl Sandburg

Popping in to let you know about two poems I wrote for the Summer Poetry Swap:

Things to do if you are a violet (for Violet)
The Season Collector (for Carol Varsalona)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Don't hold back!

And I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids and that mountain climbing mutt, Scooby-Doo.
~(I can't tell you because that would be a spoiler, right?)

No tissue warning needed this week! Maybe a nonsense warning?

The Holophonics

I'm still away from my desk, so I will be gone until Thursday night when I'll kick off this week's Poetry Friday round-up.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Amazing Humans

Never allow yourself to believe you should be silent.
~Samantha Shannon

Two Music Mondays in a row that require tissue warnings? Well, I don't know about you guys, but this brought a tear to my eye:

If you want more msucial Amazing Humans: Biker Who Sings To People with Dementia To Help Bring Back Memories

For the Fourth of July, I refer you to my election day music post. Can't stop sounding the alarm...

I'm going to be taking the rest of the week off. Hugs to you all!