Monday, December 31, 2018

Right? Right!

I’ve found a way
A way to make you smile.
I read bad poetry
Into your machine.

by Marco Verch

It's the end of the year as we know it. Here's Great Big Sea covering R.E.M.:

I heard a sampling of the top K-pop songs from 2018, and this one by NU'EST W was my favorite.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

New Year's Bashō

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
~William E. Vaughan

I'm not sure one has to be a pessimist to want to see some years out :-) But there are some things that it's nice to have the same. Like poems on Fridays, for instance. A haiku by Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) for the new year:

Year after year
on the monkey’s face
a monkey’s face.

Monkey World by Karen


Mainely Write has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Donna!

Lights in the dark

They rise like sudden fiery flowers
That burst upon the night,
Then fall to earth in burning showers
Of crimson, blue, and white.
~ James Reeves

Rerun time! Six years ago, Art Thursday fell on December 27th and I shared this post:

Fireworks on Shortest Night
by Grzegorz Chorus

Street Light
by Simon Sun

La girandola a castel San Angelo
by Franz Theodor Aerni

Brighton Clock Tower
by Dominic Alves

Starburst Cluster Shows Celestial Fireworks
by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Credit: NASA, ESA, R. O'Connell, F. Paresce, E. Young, the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee, and the Hubble Heritage Team

Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Old Battersea Bridge
by James McNeill Whistler

by Steve Jurvetson

Monday, December 24, 2018

Holst's Christmas Day

Never compose anything unless the not composing of it becomes a positive nuisance to you.
~Gustav Holst

Two versions of Gustav Holst's Christmas Day today, one instrumental and one choral:

Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The only way

A miracle without a cape and top hat:
scattering white doves.
~Wislawa Szymborska

Redhill Garden by Gareth Williams

Poems by Nobel prizewinning Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska today. The endings to her poems make me give happy sighs, so I hope you click through to read the rest! (I also posted one of her ekphrastic poems for Art Thursday, if you want to scroll down a wee bit.)

A Note
by Wislawa Szymborska

Life is the only way
to get covered in leaves,
catch your breath on sand,
rise on wings;

to be a dog,
or stroke its warm fur;

to tell pain
from everything it's not;

to squeeze inside events,
dawdle in views,
to seek the least of all possible mistakes;

read the rest here

The Crest (Tatry Mountains, Poland) by Leszek Kozlowski


Love at First Sight
by Wislawa Szymborska

They’re both convinced
that a sudden passion joined them.
Such certainty is beautiful,
but uncertainty is more beautiful still.

Since they’d never met before, they’re sure
that there’d been nothing between them.
But what’s the word from the streets, staircases, hallways—
perhaps they’ve passed by each other a million times?

read the rest here


A 'Thank You' Note
by Wislawa Szymborska

There is much I owe
to those I do not love.

read the rest here


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

Unique Rays

By art alone we are able to get outside ourselves, to know what another sees of this universe which for him is not ours, the landscapes of which would remain as unknown to us as those of the moon.
Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world, our own, we see it multiplied and as many original artists as there are, so many worlds are at our disposal, differing more widely from each other than those which roll round the infinite and which, whether their name be Rembrandt or Vermeer, send us their unique rays many centuries after the hearth from which they emanate is extinguished.
~Marcel Proust

For Art Thursday, a work of art and a poem it inspired.

by Wislawa Szymborska

As long as the woman from Rijksmuseum
in painted silence and concentration
day after day pours milk
from the jug to the bowl,
the World does not deserve
the end of the world.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Sweet Solstice

We can use any situation, any moment, to come home.
~Tammi Sweet

Winter Solstice by Liga Eglite

In addition to being a massage therapist and an herbal medicine practitioner, Tammi Sweet has taught Anatomy and Physiology for many years. I've taken online classes from Ms. Sweet about various health topics. Not talking about anatomy and physiology today, though. Tammi suggests "Setting Your Intentions for Winter Solstice." She says:
The medicine for many of our modern ailments is not complex, nor does it require expensive interventions.

The simple act of pausing and bringing your full attention to the moment allows your entire being (including your nervous system) to reset, to come into the gorgeous present and remember what is important.

Here are Tammi's summarized suggestions regarding setting your intentions on the shortest day for the upcoming year:
Practice gratitude
Put down the distracting electronics
Go outside
Give yourself space, without an agenda
Be present to your surroundings
Look around at something bigger than you
Feel what’s present
Offer kindness


"The Yule Log is Prepared" by Orin Zebest

Mocha Yule Log recipe

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Singing the sun in flight

I was...raised with jeong, translated into a deep attachment, bond, and reciprocity for places, people, and things. Everything has meaning because I have jeong for it, and I was born of my parents’ jeong for me, and I fall in love with strangers because I have jeong for each of their unique, individual lives and experiences.
~E.J. Koh

Revisiting poems by the lovely E.J. Koh, plus a song:

by E.J. Koh

There is a Korean belief that you are born
the parent of the one you hurt most. Watching
my father use chopsticks to split chicken katsu,
he confesses that I may be the reincarnation
of his own father. We finish our waters in silence
and walk home chatting about who to blame
for where we are. He says, The present is the revenge
of the past. Revenge goes too far, I argue. And
in our unhappiness, we both want to know
we cannot pay enough. Pain becomes meaning.
After this life, I fear I’ll never meet him again.


by E.J. Koh

always sit in swivel chairs that won’t fit under low desks.
A fireplace log shifts
and the center leg of a table sinks without sound.
You can tell a ghost is here when the dog sniffs plaster walls,
or your left elbow itches, or windowpanes
bend where the sun hits.
Just now the staircase called out, old wood rasping.
A ghost has drifted in and he
settles like dust with nothing to gain or lose,
a sculpture in a museum—
until headlights cast beams across the ceiling,
bursting the shadows. If I say
ghost out loud, he will hover over the vacant seat at the table,
a voyeur from my past. No wonder
I enter my house like a visitor.


Ending with a Rainbow Girls song whose title (and a wee bit of the lyrics) come from Dylan Thomas' villanelle Do not go gentle into that good night:

Laura Shovan has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Laura!


Even kappa can be washed away by the river.
~Japanese proverb

Legendary Japanese supernatural creatures today. Spooky, cute, funny -- they really cover all the bases.

A kappa (an amphibious yōkai demon said to like old tradition was to write family members' names on cucumbers and send them afloat on streams to mollify the kappa)
by Katsushika Hokusai

Nurikabe (a plaster wall said to manifest as an invisible wall that impedes or misdirects travelers walking at night)
from Bakemono no e

Rokurokubi (There are two types of Rokurokubi: one whose neck stretches, and one whose head comes off and flies around freely)
from Bakemono no e

Hahakigami (broom spirit)
Toriyama Sekien

Mujina (shape-shifting badger demons who deceive humans)
from the Wakan Sansai Zue
Terajima Ryōan

Onibi (ghost light, spirits born from the corpses of humans and animals, often blue)
Wakan Sansai Zue
Terajima Ryōan

Bakemono Chakutōchō (a tōfu-kozō, a yōkai that takes on the appearance of a child possessing a tray with tōfu on it. Sometimes teased by other yōkai for being weak yōkai)
by Masayoshi Kitao

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
~John Muir

Red Parrot on the Branch of a Tree by Itō Jakuchū

Dear Companion,

Did you know that a flock of magpies can be called a "tidings"? I love collective nouns. No magpies here, though -- this tidings is just a communique to tell you that I appreciate that you're here, and that I appreciate any and all other times you've been here. I appreciate your comments, your emails, your ideas, and the things you haven't said, anything you may have quietly taken with you from here and found useful. I'm thankful that we come together on our life's journey and share this time and space. I'm even thankful for the dude who keeps coming here to spam us about Tibetan hikes. He's teaching me something about persistence (not sure if it is his or mine, ha ha).

Thanks for being with me!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sweet rejoicing

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.
~John Calvin

For Music Monday, In Dulci Jubilo from Christmas with The Singers. You know I love choral Christmas music!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights / Jamal Khashoggi

I am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot.
~Jamal Khashoggi

Today's post is a response to the following message from the international literature festival berlin:
On December 10, 1948, 70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was announced by the United Nations General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. On this anniversary, the international literature festival berlin (ilb) calls upon individuals, institutions, universities, schools, and media who value freedom of the press and human rights to organize and participate in a worldwide reading in memory of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Poems in honor of
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and the memory of Jamal Khashoggi

Universal Declaration for Jamal
by Linda Mitchell

barbarous acts have outraged us.

Since Jamal,
of our human family, is murdered.

Because Jamal
championed freedoms of justice and peace.

Considering Jamal’s
rights should have been protected.

Insomuch as Jamal’s
dignity and human worth were disregarded.

We reaffirm
better standards for all peoples and nations.

Forasmuch as Jamal
is compatriot, colleague, father, spouse, friend, brother

We are not his
We are not his
We reaffirm
This Declaration
and, Amen

© 2018


Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

by Michelle Kogan
Golden Shovel built from Article 03 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

A human life is the responsibility of everyone.
When a voice has
spoken for those oppressed, the
voice also needs right-
ful protection. To
slaughter any life
is a blight against all liberty
everywhere, and
all measures of human security
need to unite to right this heinous act of
dehumanization toward that person.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan


Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article VI
by Tabatha Yeatts

For you,
made of the universe,
breathing stars with every breath,

For you,
who unfurled like a flower
in the world's womb,

The right to be seen—
replete with spirit
a complete unit of life—

For you,
spark of life's fire,
wherever you go.


Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 18

by Harry Yeatts
iambic tetrameter blank verse pentastich

These folks hold tight to their beliefs.
Those folks over there do the same.
And both believe diff'rent from me.
So then we're all non-believers,
And have every right to be.

© 2018


Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
an acrostic

all I need is
determined by
elected officials who
question my value and
understand nothing of the
allowances made
to make
ends meet

perhaps it's time to
reject the
optimistic view
that these
elected officials
can comprehend
the truth of
nothing is ever secure.

© 2018 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes


freedom to be nice
by Donna JT Smith, © 2018
found poem from the UDHR

  with reason
  and conscience
  in brotherhood
  has rights
   religion or belief
   and friendship
 may nothing be
  aimed at


A concrete poem by Brenda Davis Harsham:

© 2018


Elizabeth Steinglass has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Liz!

Reading the paper

[Nick] Davies does a bit of teaching, and he has his students imagine that they are asked to write a report on what the weather will be like tomorrow. They interview a woman in one room who says it will be sunny. Then they interview a man in another room who says it's going to rain. Your job, as a journalist, is not to simply write up what you have been told, he says. Your job is to look out the window.
~The Economist

Journalism-related art today, getting ready for a Khashoggi post tomorrow.

Newspaper Reader
photo by Dr. Avishai Teicher

Women’s photojournalism course in Farah City, Afghanistan
photo by ResoluteSupportMedia

Allegory of communist press censorship
by Jacek Halicki

Die Zeitungsleserin
by Adolph von Menzel

by Suzanne Scheuer
for the U.S. Works Progress Administration

Portrait of Emma Zorn
by Anders Zorn

Trompe l'oeil mit Porträt
by Martin Orthner

A final quote:
News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is advertising.
~Katharine Graham

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Use as needed

I suspect that we are all recipients of cosmic love notes.
~Sam Keen

Sometimes I don't know which way to go with Wellness Wednesday because I'm not sure what you need this week. My younger daughter came down with a stomach bug last night, so I mostly need electrolyte recipes and permission to nap. But what is on your plate? My Australian friend Kat just told me about the bushfires that recently blazed through her area and how stressful that experience was (thank goodness for rain!). I ended up going with a little bit of a bunch of things...use as needed:

Smoke pollution from fires:
* Fire Support: Herbs for Lungs and Trauma

DIY Electrolyte drinks:
* 4 Homemade Electrolyte Recipes

* Gratitude Journal: 67 Templates, Ideas, and Apps for Your Diary

* Study: Tetris is a Great Distraction for Easing an Anxious Mind
* Relaxation Apps

* Nick Cave on death and grief

* Amaretto Cream Truffles (I made them Sunday and had planned on using amaretto extract, but at the last minute I decided on strawberry. TBH, I couldn't taste the strawberry, but the truffles were still a hit.)

Anything you want to add?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Anita Baker

I used to sing at funeral homes for families that didn't have a vocalist. I didn't get paid. I needed to sing.
~Anita Baker

Anita Baker's Rapture album (1986) was one that I listened to on a daily basis. For Music Monday, Anita Baker:

One more Anita quote:

I'm picking and choosing in terms of the stress factor. If it's not fun, I'm not going to do it.
~Anita Baker

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Papery Dark

It makes your teeth feel good to say it: Maggie, Maggie, Maggie. It feels like eating peanuts. Try it.
~Sylvia Cassedy

Two Maggies today. I just love this Maggie Smith poem with its gold butterflies and shadows:

Mountain Child
by Maggie Smith

When the girl leaves the mountain,
she is no longer a child,

but she has not outgrown the hawk.
She wears its shadow on her shoulder,

an epaulet. It bears the weight

of allegory. When the girl leaves
the mountain, it’s autumn,

so many yellow leaves on the gingko,
clusters of butterflies seem to cling

to each branch. Each time
the wind blows, a few take wing...

read the rest here (scroll to the bottom)

Ginkgo Tree by Will Power


I love this (admittedly dark) Maggie Blake Bailey poem, too:

Glacier Climbing
by Maggie Blake Bailey

...Years ago, I left to climb a glacier
in Alaska and learned how to cling
to the mountain, how to bracket...

read the whole thing here


Last day to turn in human rights poems!

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


[Vilhelm] Hammershøi's art is about being present in the world as it is, accepting its beauty, and living in the moment.
~Richard Dorment

Today's post was inspired by a visit to The Phillips Collection in DC.

Interiør med kunstnerens staffeli
by Vilhelm Hammershøi

Grey Thaw
by John F. Folinsbee

Garden at Vaucresson
by Édouard Vuillard

Moulin à Saint-Jacut or Les Villas
by Édouard Vuillard

by Nathalie Djurber
photo by Tabatha

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Personal Gifts

A hug is a great gift - one size fits all, and it's easy to exchange.

For Wellness Wednesday, some ideas for things that you can make and give.

* I made these last weekend and they are really saving my lips:
10 minute DIY lip balm

* Construct a timeline of a person's life (or a couple's lives), and make game from it. I talk about Timeline here. You would take life events and put them on slips of paper or cardstock and see if other people in the family can put them in the right order. Did Grandma start working at the library before or after she lived in Georgia? Did Grandma and Grandpa meet before or after Grandpa joined the army?

* Make a zine for someone about a topic that interests them. What's a zine? A mini magazine with 8 sections folded from a single page:
Zine Template
How to Make a Zine

* Make some healthy cookies for someone who shies away from everyday sweets:
Turmeric Ginger Cookies

* Make some florentine cookies for someone who eats sweets with gusto:
Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies

* I made a lyric fill-in-the-blank game that we played as a family...I tried to include songs that either all three generations might know, or that people could guess. Players got 1/2 points for entertaining answers. People were more likely to get it right when the blank was only one word, like "Rock me momma like a south bound ______" so include lots of those if you want it to be fairly easy.


I know it's not much but it's the best I can do, ___________________ and this one's for you

There's nothing you can do that can't be done, ___________________ that can't be sung

You may be right, _______________, but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for

Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong, _________________, mountain mama (The person who answered "baby llama" got 1/2 point and me singing that version for probably all time.)

(Answers: my gift is my song, nothing you can sing, I may be crazy)

Do you have any suggestions for things to make? (Or any lyrics for me to guess?)

Monday, November 26, 2018

Bonny boys

We must ask nothing of artists but to be of their own time.
~Eileen Grey

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving! The above quote doesn't really relate to the song other than that Eileen Grey is Irish, and so are today's musicians. For Music Monday, the Chieftains with the Corrs:

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Hat

I think it just takes one little snowflake to start a snowball to go down the hill.

Happy Poetry Friday! I was feeling kind of mistake-y this week. Revisiting my mistakes, experiencing other people's tomfoolery, watching how one mistake can lead to another...which inspired this week's poem. (Is this a form you guys know? I am not sure whether I made it up or had already seen it somewhere.)

Hats by Marco

The Hat
by Tabatha Yeatts

Sara labelled the hat the wrong size
And Ronald bought the hat

Ronald's new hat covered his eyes
And he walked into the cat

The cat jumped and ripped the screen door
And the dog ran outside

The barky dog woke Baby mid-snore
And Baby cried and cried

Her cries spooked a squirrel who raced
And roused a lazing snake

Snake hugged squirrel in a snug embrace...
All due to a hat mistake.


I'm going to take next week off for Thanksgiving, but I hope to still be able to visit some of y'all's blogs to say hi. Hope you have a warm and snuggly holiday! TeacherDance has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Linda!

P.S. I've enjoyed the Human Rights poems I've received very much. Please send yours in by November 30th.

Monkey Flower and Hawk's Beard

From one to half-a-dozen plants are figured on a page; but Miss Adams manages to keep the character of each species distinct, and the grouping is often full of skill and grace.
~The Spectator, 1907

For Art Thursday, illustrations from Wild Flowers of the British Isles by H. Isabel Adams, 1907:

Crab Apple, Dog Rose, Blackthorn

Mullein, Monkey Flower, Mimulus

Red Bearberry, Scotch Menziezia, Marsh Andromeda

Chicory, Hawk's Beard, Ox-Tounge

Spotted Catchfly, Soapwort, Corn Cockle

The Stonecrop Family

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Slow Down

Only one in four jokes ever works, and I still can't predict what people will laugh at.
~Steven Wright

Keeping ourselves amused this Wellness Wednesday with this and that. Here's Jim Ignatowski from Taxi taking a driving test:

Dad Joke Generator (Dad Jokes do make me laugh, like this Dad Joke competition between Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.)

Shakespearean insult generator and a Shakespearean insult song by Hank Green.

And because it's always nice to watch Robin Williams speaking gibberish:

What made you smile this week?

Sunday, November 11, 2018


I shall not easily forget those long winter nights in the front line. Darkness fell about four in the afternoon and dawn was not until eight next morning. These sixteen hours of blackness were broken by gun flashes, the gleam of star shells and punctuated by the scream of a shell or the sudden heart-stopping rattle of a machine-gun. The long hours crept by with leaden feet and sometimes it seemed as if time itself was dead.
~F. Noakes

Commemorating the end of World War I:

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Continuous Living

If nothing saves us from death, at least love should save us from life.
~Pablo Neruda

photo by Larry Jacobsen

Today, poems about our commonalities, our struggles and joys, our rebirth.

Don't forget to send me your human rights poems by November 30th!


Your Laughter
by Pablo Neruda

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.


The Street
by Octavio Paz

It’s a long and silent street.
I walk in the dark and trip and fall
and get up and step blindly
on the mute stones and dry leaves
and someone behind me is also walking:
if I stop, he stops;
if I run, he runs. I turn around: no one.
Everything is black, there is no exit,
and I turn and turn corners
that always lead to the street
where no one waits for me, no one follows,
where I follow a man who trips
and gets up and says when he sees me: no one.


photo by Tauralbus

Instructions on Not Giving Up
by Ada Limón

...Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.


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

Phlogopite Plus

I love rocks with the unconditional love that you lavish upon a newborn baby.
~Hope Jahren

Rocks today!

Smithsonite, Aurichalcite
photo by Rob Lavinsky

Phlogopite, San Vito quarry, Monte Somma, Italy
photo by Didier Descouens

Apatite-(CaF), Muscovite
photo by Robert Lavinsky

Azurite, cross-section through merged stalactites
photo by Tony Hisgett

Pyritized brachiopods
photo by James St. John