Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Recharging

Introverted feeling types have a wealth of warmth and enthusiasm, but they may not show it until they know someone well. They wear their warm side inside, like a fur-lined coat.
~Isabel Briggs Myers


For Wellness Wednesday, we're thinking about how we become re-energized. Does having quiet time alone help you recharge or do you seek out other people? In other words, do you know whether you are an introvert or an extrovert or somewhere in between? Being aware of your preferences, and that they are perfectly fine whatever they are, can be helpful.



Susan Cain (who wrote Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking) speaking for 2 minutes:



Here's the 19 minute version

And for people who are wondering what "Extrovert Problems" might be:

25 Frustrating Things About Being An Extrovert

Lastly, some bits about meeting in the middle:

Hospitality tips from an introvert married to an extrovert

22 Tips To Better Care for Introverts and Extroverts

Monday, April 23, 2018

Extended dramatic compositions

The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart,
Death and despair flame about me!
~Queen of the Night aria


Have you heard the Queen of the Night aria by Mozart? It's an unusual-sounding piece, which makes sense when you consider the words she's singing (and that she's trying to get her daughter to kill somebody).

My daughter was singing that aria to herself the other day; I don't know what made it come to her mind, but it's been in mine ever since. It made this list of Top 10 Opera Songs:









Sunday, April 22, 2018

2018 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem



I have the next line of this year's Progressive Poem, brainchild of beloved poet-friend Irene Latham. When the poem began, I thought the seed might spend time wondering what she was going to become, but I was off-base! We found that out in line 4! And in line 5, a game was introduced. Both my daughter Elena and I wanted to know more about the game, so I circled back around there with my line today. We're in the middle of a party, and a poem within a poem, so things are busy already, but if you're at a party, maybe you'll play a game, right? (Elena also wanted more stardrops, but I didn't see how I could shoehorn those in!)


Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.

Oh, what wonderful dreams she had!

Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with

the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine

invented a game.

"Moon?" she called across warm honeyed air.

"I'm sad you're alone; come join Owl and me.

We're feasting on stardrops, we'll share them with you."

"Come find me," Moon called, hiding behind a cloud.

Secure in gentle talons' embrace, Jasmine rose

and set. She split, twining up Owl's toes, pale

moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes.

Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee's party!

Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone.

                                                       Jas grinned,
                                                                
                                                               stretched,
                                                                          
                                                                     reached,
                                                                             
                                                                           wrapped
                                                                               
                                                                          a new,
                                                     
                                                   around          tender
                                                              rootlet

a trellis Sky held out to her, made of braided wind and song.

Her green melody line twisted and clung.

Because she was twining poet's jasmine, she

wiggled a wink back at Moon, and began her poem.

Her whispered words floated on a puff of wind,

filled with light and starsong. "Revelers, lean in –


let's add to this merriment a game that grows



...Take it away, Amy!

******************

1 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

2 Jane at Raincity Librarian

3 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

5 Jan at bookseedstudio

6 Irene at Live Your Poem

7 Linda at TeacherDance

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

10 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme

11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales

12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

13 Linda A Word Edgewise

14 Heidi at  my juicy little universe

15 Donna at Mainely Write

16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle

17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a Godforsaken town

18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering

19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan

20 Linda at Write Time

21 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

22 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

23 The Poem Farm

24 A Year of Reading

25 Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge

26 No Water River

27 Buffy's Blog

28 Kat's Whiskers

29 April atTeaching Authors

30 Doraine at Dori Reads

 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Come on in!

A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar.
~Stephen King


Welcome! The Poetry Friday round-up is here -- looking forward to seeing your poetry posts!


Today we're celebrating the release of IMPERFECT, poems about mistakes for middle schoolers. We're also having a mistake party on the TEAM IMPERFECT blog. Bring your melty ice cream cake that you almost tossed in the bin and wear your shirt that turned pink in the laundry. Somebody accidentally delivered a giant butter statue in the shape of a frog and I don't know where it's really supposed to go (a herpetology convention?). Looks like we're having froggy butter with our bread and bagels!

In addition to our virtual parties, we're giving away real-world kintsugi kits! Both here and at TEAM IMPERFECT (The one here is silver and the one at TI is gold...you can try for either or both.) The deadline for the giveaways is May 4. Just leave a comment or drop me a line.



Why kintsugi? We have it on the cover of IMPERFECT...Kat Apel wrote this poem from the text of our cover reveal:

KINTSUGI
by Kat Apel

Precious scars
filling cracks
with liquid gold,
mended
more beautiful;
broken history
displayed with pride;

imperfection golden.


*********

An off-the-cuff limerick for imperfect poets:

There once was a mistake-making poet
whose persistence was truly heroic
every word she'd misspell
made her feel so unwell
her stomach moaned that she wasn't more stoic

*********

Do you Pin? Here's the Pinterest board for IMPERFECT.

Please leave your link below!



Thorny

The thorns are still there — there are more thorns than flowers — but we do not call it a thorn plant. We call it a rose plant because of that single rose. Everyone's attention goes more towards that single rose than a hundred thorns that are on the plant, isn't it? So all the thorns in you, maybe you cannot remove them right now, but if one rose flower blossoms, everyone is willing to overlook those things.
~Sadhguru


Yes, we're challenging ourselves to find the beauty in thorns this Art Thursday. The animals don't seem concerned, do they? (Except for the lion.)

Euphorbia viguieri var. capuroniana
by Frank Vincentz

from Europa's fairy book (1916)
by Joseph Jacobs and John Dickson Batten

A Cattle Egret in Breeding Plumage searching for the stems for constructing nest
by Vaibhavmridul

Hopper
by Kathy

Elephant grasping a thorn tree
by Tim & Annette

Dans les dunes de Sables d'or les pins, dans les côtes d'Armor
by Benjamin Scalvenzi

Rosa sericea prickles in botanical garden in Kraków
by Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Spoon Theory

Most people live in fear of some terrible event changing their lives, the death of a loved one or a serious illness. For the chronically ill, this terrible event has already happened, and we have been let in on an amazing secret: You survive. You adapt, and your life changes, but in the end you go on, with whatever compromises you have been forced to make, whatever losses you have been forced to endure. You learn to balance your fears with the simple truth that you must go on living.
~Jamie Weisman


For Wellness Wednesday, we have a very helpful theory for understanding what it's like to have a reduced amount of energy due to chronic illness. If someone says that they are saving their spoons for later, do you know what it means?


An excerpt from
The Spoon Theory
by Christine Miserandino

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.

At that moment, the spoon theory was born.

Read the rest here

25 Helpful Things to Say to Spoonies

23 Spoonie Hacks That Can Make Life With Chronic Illness Easier



Monday, April 16, 2018

Água de Beber

I believe I learned my songs from the birds of the Brazilian forest.
~Tom Jobim


A song by Brazilian composer Tom Jobim for Music Monday. The Portuguese lyrics (first video) are by Vinicius de Moraes and the English lyrics (second video) are by Norman Gimbel:





Flora Purim
Connie Evingson

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thieves, Fairies, and Hearts

My plan is just to love harder than I've ever loved before, hide nothing, and embrace that I'm an imperfect human being.
~Sam Smith


Happy birthday to Lee Bennett Hopkins! And many happy returns. More mini mistake-maker poems this Friday in honor of IMPERFECT, a poetry anthology for middle schoolers (release date: April 20th!).


Can you name these books and invention?

A GREEDY GAFFE

Burglars think stealing from a girl alone will be child's play...
look at those piles of gold coins!

But she gets them to dance the polka all night
and they stagger out sheepish with nothing purloined.

~~~~~~~~~


photo by John Graham

TRUST HER WHEN SHE SAYS IT'S POISONED

a faithful fairy friend
drank the poisoned medicine...
clap or it's the end!

~~~~~~~~~

SOMETIMES IT'S BETTER WHEN YOU JUST GRAB SOMETHING FROM THE BOX

Wilson Greatbatch tried
to make a heartbeat recorder

but putting the wrong resistor inside
mimicked the beat's proper order

This canny mistake-maker
led to the ______

~~~~~~~~~

There are more minis on IMPERFECT's blog. None of these are in the book, so maybe I'll collect all of the mini mistake-maker poems and put them in a pdf for anyone who wants them. If you have one to share, email me or leave them in the comments.

Robyn Hood Black has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Robyn!

Looking into the distance

The artist should not only paint what he sees before him, but also what he sees within him. If, however, he sees nothing within him, then he should also omit to paint that which he sees before him.
~Caspar David Friedrich


I like these paintings by German artist Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) showing people looking into the distance (although in Chalk Cliffs on Rügen, they seem to have dropped something!):

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog
by Caspar David Friedrich

The Stages of Life shows five ships at various distances from the shore, echoing the five figures at various stages of life
by Caspar David Friedrich

Two Men Contemplating the Moon
by Caspar David Friedrich

Moonrise over the Sea
by Caspar David Friedrich

Chalk Cliffs on Rügen
by Caspar David Friedrich


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Plant your heels on cobblestone

The three ordinary things that we often don't pay enough attention to, but which I believe are the drivers of all success, are hard work, perseverance, and basic honesty.
~Azim Premji


This Wellness Wednesday, we're singing the praises of hunkering down and doing the work. Isn't it satisfying to feel productive?


To be of use
By Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

read the rest here

**********

WARNING, or DO NOT WISH UPON A STAR
by Tanita Davis
with no apologies to Disney whatsoever

When you’ve wished upon a ROCK
You’ve wished, at least, on sturdy stock,
& tethered it to solid ground –
(not vague celestial hopes unsound).

Wishes on stars are ill-advised;
A heavenly-body’s VAST, in size
You wish might land… or, go astray,
Become some wind-tossed castaway…

But plant your heels on cobblestone,
‘Wish’ turns to ‘deed’ with your backbone.
Persist, and dreams you’ll undertake,
That starlight’s whimsies cannot make.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Corinne Morris

When I die, I'd like to come back as a cello.
~Wayne Newton


Corinne Morris for Music Monday:





Friday, April 6, 2018

Mistake-makers

All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely appointed, that the law of human life may be Effort, and the law of human judgment, Mercy.
~John Ruskin


I'm celebrating IMPERFECT, the mistakes anthology for middle schoolers, all month, and especially on its release date: April 20th! The cover of IMPERFECT has a kintsugi vase. Here's a pretty print that explains kintsugi (click to embiggen):


Mistakes can be tragic, useful, or anything in between. These mini riddle poems contain famous mistakes...can you name them?

Fleming's neglected dish
turns a moldy blue-green --
bacteria killer!

*************
I always run late...
maybe I should fix my watch
for important dates

*************
Keys left back on shore,
binoculars stay locked up --
iceberg spotted too late.

*************

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

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Little Stones

“I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone.”
—ALICE PAUL, Women’s Rights Activist


The name of Little Stones, a 2017 documentary about four women around the world who use art to create positive change, comes from the above quote. I think it also applies to the world...don't we all contribute a stone?

There are a heartening number of young men who help out in the video below:

Panmela Castro Fights Domestic Violence Through Graffiti - LITTLE STONES Sneak Preview from Driftseed on Vimeo.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Decluttering

Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.
~Wendell Berry


Today for Wellness Wednesday: decluttering, an activity which never fails to make me feel good. It's definitely time to do it again.



* There's a nice article on Becoming Minimalist about creative ways to declutter, which includes this tip:
The Four-Box Method. As we first set out on our journey to minimalism, this was the technique most often used in our home. As I set out to declutter an area, I brought four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Each item in every room was placed into one of the four categories. No item was passed over. Each was considered individually. Some projects took an hour… others took days or weeks. But the technique and principles remained the same.
* The Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Decluttering Your Home
* About Swedish Death Cleaning

Monday, April 2, 2018

Back to the 80s

That there was nothing so wrong in the world that we couldn’t sort it out by the end of a single half-hour episode (or maybe a two-parter, if it was something really serious).
~Ernest Cline


Boy, people liked the 80s music last week. It's back!







Maybe you didn't listen to this in the 80s? I did (loudly):


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hydrogen and Gold

Gold is a constant. It’s like the North Star.
~Steve Forbes


Today I'm sharing part of a post from five years ago and a new found poem by Kat Apel (which is also on the Team Imperfect blog).

Starting with the old post:


NASA E/PO, Sonoma State University, Aurore Simonnet

As we know, poetry is for everybody: people in the military, police officers, people who like math, doctors, artists, presidents, suffragists, people who die, people who speak ASL, people who like Doctor Who, and, of course, people at the Division of Poetic Licensing. So it's no surprise that science-minded/astronomy types would write poems:

From The Periodic Table of Haiku:

1: Hydrogen
by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

two-thirds of water
a big part of all of us
and the bones of stars

*****************

Want more out-of-this-world poetry?

* Astropoetry by children
* National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Poetry Corner
* Comet Hyakutake by Arthur Sze
* The End of Science Fiction by Lisel Mueller

*****************

And now to switch gears from the stars to objects closer-to-home. Kat's found poem from the Imperfect cover reveal:

Kintsugi

Precious scars
filling cracks
with liquid gold,
mended
more beautiful;
broken history
displayed with pride;

imperfection golden.

*****************

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

Paolo Boncompagni

Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.
~Bertrand Russell


Paintings by Paolo Boncompagni today. There are two sprites hiding in Sotto Albonico (they aren't very hard to find!).

Riposo ai monti di Vercana
by Paolo Boncompagni

Baviera
by Paolo Boncompagni

Il cappellaio pazzo di Mantova
by Paolo Boncompagni

Bamberg
by Paolo Boncompagni

Sotto Albonico (i folletti)
by Paolo Boncompagni

Vernazza
by Paolo Boncompagni


Monday, March 26, 2018

Celebrate

I was watching a collection of vintage '80s cereal commercials when I paused to wonder why cereal manufacturers no longer included toy prizes inside every box. It was a tragedy, in my opinion. Another sign that civilization was going straight down the tubes.
~Ernest Cline


I wasn't sure what to post for Music Monday, and then I remembered my youngest high-fived me yesterday for growing up during the '80s (thank you, Ready Player One). The '80s it is!









It's hard to stop! I should probably do more '80s music next week...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Notes for the Babysitter

It is a little ironic that one thing a babysitter should not do is sit on a baby.
~Demetri Martin


I've been getting ready for Poetry in the Halls again. Somehow all those poems and all that thinking inspired today's poem.


WHILE I'M OUT
by Tabatha Yeatts

Dear Babysitter,

While I'm out, please look after
this baby poem. I'll only be in the other room
watching tv, but I'm hoping she does some
growing in my absence

Keep her away from knives
and don't let her stick her fingers in the sockets
even if she gets on your nerves
repeating herself over and over,
nagging you to pay attention,
and not having anything to say

Play with her --
she likes nursery rhymes,
songs of all kinds,
and try to feed her --
anything is fine,
she may not have teeth
but she manages to chew

Call me if she does anything
     unusual

If she won't stop crying,
for instance,
because I'm gone

I've been gone before and she has never
even seemed to notice,
so if she misses me,
I'll come running back.

********

Writing the World for Kids has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Laura!


In the 1600s

But whether it be dream or truth, to do well is what matters. If it be truth, for truth's sake. If not, then to gain friends for the time when we awaken.
~Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681)


In 2013, I ran a post for Art Thursday that focused on the 1700s. I figured I would get around to posting about other centuries sometime, and now I'm finally doing it. The 1600s was a fascinating century.

A Map of the Myriad Countries of the World (Kunyu Wanguo Quantu)
two page colored edition (1604?), copy of the 1602 map by Matteo Ricci at the request of the Wanli Emperor

1616: William Shakespeare dies.

I'm not in favor of people being defenestrated, but I am very much in favor of the word "defenestration."
The Defenestration of Prague, 1618
by Johann Philipp Abelinus

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) (His trial by the Inquisition was in 1633.)
by Peter Paul Rubens

Matsuo Bashō, the first author of haiku (1644-1694)
Bashō meets two farmers celebrating the mid-autumn moon festival in a print from Yoshitoshi's Hundred Aspects of the Moon. The haiku reads: "Since the crescent moon, I have been waiting for tonight."

1659: Christiaan Huygens first to observe surface details of Mars.

1663: Robert Hooke discovers cells using a microscope.
Microscope manufactured by Christopher Cock of London for Robert Hooke. Hooke is believed to have used this microscope for the observations that formed the basis of his book Micrographia.

1664: British troops capture New Amsterdam and rename it New York.
New Amsterdam as it appeared in 1664
By Johannes Vingboons

1665: The Great Plague of London
1666: The Great Fire of London
1676: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovers Bacteria.
1676: First measurement of the speed of light by Olaus Roemer.

1687: Isaac Newton publishes Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
Eduardo Paolozzi's Newton, after William Blake
Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727)

Salem Witch Trials (1692-93)
Baker, Joseph E., ca. 1837-1914


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Comparisons

Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.
~Shannon L. Alder


Dr. Aziz seems like a nice guy. (Note: some cussing)



From A Helpful Guide to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others by Joshua Becker
1. Comparisons are always unfair. We typically compare the worst we know of ourselves to the best we presume about others.

2. Comparisons, by definition, require metrics. But only a fool believes every good thing can be counted (or measured).

3. Comparisons rob us of precious time. We each get 86,400 seconds each day. And using even one to compare yourself or your accomplishments to another is one second too many.

4. You are too unique to compare fairly. Your gifts and talents and successes and contributions and value are entirely unique to you and your purpose in this world. They can never be properly compared to anyone else.

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Lovely, Airy Dance

Sometimes,
when inspiration runs dry,
I drink classical music
until my words spill out.
~Kamand Kojouri


Usually people encourage you to avoid the comments on places like YouTube, but this comment is very good*:
Alfven perfectly captures the innocence and joy of the Norwegian folk spirit in this lovely, airy dance. It might seem simple, or even simplistic, but to me this particular dance embodies the deepest, most moving sort of musical expression known to man. ~HassoBen Soba




*except that Alfvén is Swedish, not Norwegian

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Let Forth the Pent-Up Melody

If I cannot fly, let me sing.
~Stephen Sondheim


Happy Friday, y'all! This week, I ran across a lovely poem by Amy Lowell and decided to write a golden shovel from the first line. I wrote my poem from the memory of the line, and what I thought it was wasn't quite right. Ah, well! Let's just say my poem was inspired by "Listening"!

an excerpt from
Listening
by Amy Lowell

'Tis you that are the music, not your song.
The song is but a door which, opening wide,
Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,
Your spirit's harmony, which clear and strong
Sings but of you. Throughout your whole life long
Your songs, your thoughts, your doings, each divide
This perfect beauty; waves within a tide,
Or single notes amid a glorious throng.

My poem:

On a day when light and breeze entwine like so, tis
easy to feel the rightness, the brightness of this world you
love like a child loves a rambunctious puppy who
chews on your fingers with wee teeth that are
too small to break the skin, that don't even make you pull away. The
laughter of children at play weaves into the sky like music
written on a staff of bird flight, lines you can not
see but reverberate in the air like the call of a finch to the
mate he is soon to find. You feel it still -- the day is not over for the song.

******

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

Useful and beautiful

Have nothing in your home that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
~William Morris


If you had these, would you keep stuff in them? (Would they be both useful and beautiful or just beautiful?)

Painted chest (Ketterskastje), 1665
by Susanna van Steenwijk

Still-Life with an Ebony Chest
by Antonio de Pereda y Salgado

Korean chests from the 18th century


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

10 Minutes

I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
~Sylvia Plath


Hey folks! Thinking about breathing this Wellness Wednesday.



Rather try one that's just 5 minutes long?



Breathing apps for your phone

Monday, March 12, 2018

Even Our Worst Enemies

Music brings a warm glow to my vision, thawing mind and muscle from their endless wintering.
~Haruki Murakami


Michael Franti & Spearhead for Music Monday:



Thursday, March 8, 2018

Voices Beyond the Wall

Grief shared is half grief; Joy shared is double joy.
~Honduran proverb


The subtitle for this movie is "Twelve Love Poems from the Murder Capital of the World":



Voices Beyond the Wall:
Founded twenty-five years ago in San Pedro Sula, a Central American city infamous for its poverty and violence, Our Little Roses is the only girls’ orphanage in Honduras. Seventy girls, ages 1-18, have found refuge there from broken and destitute homes, murderous streets, and the neighboring Bordo, the worst slum in the Americas. Inside twenty foot high concrete walls topped with barb wire, they receive medical attention, food, shelter, and the nurturing care of a vibrant and entirely female collective of other “Desechables”. (a slang word for orphans- also used for ‘disposable containers’).

"Voices Beyond the Wall" explores the question: how do those subjected to profoundest trauma and rejection begin to heal themselves and change the course of their lives? It bears witness to the catharsis that occurs when marginalized adolescent girls are encouraged to find their voices, in poetry and their own words. In the winter of 2012, Spencer Reece, an award winning American poet and Episcopal priest, came to live at the home for a year. On a Fulbright grant to teach the girls poetry and help them create a book of their own work, he found himself immersed in a profoundly challenging environment. His attempts to teach the girls were largely rebuffed- poetry is too difficult, personal, and boring they insist. Who would want to read about their lives anyway? Oh and Padre, we don’t like the words ‘orphan’ or ‘orphanage.’ We call ourselves “Chavas”. And we call this place home.

Home is both setting and subject of the film. What happens when a home is lost? What is needed to rebuild one? And the difficulty of growing up, leaving, and creating a home of one’s own. At the end of Spencer’s year, a book of the girls’ poems has taken shape and he returns to the United States to edit and publish it. The writings are moving and complex, operating both as emotional touchstone and an inspiration for the mosaic structure of the film itself. The range of subjects are varied but return often to the nature of love and family, the pain of betrayal, and the mothers they lost or never had. Always a central back-drop is the frightening world that awaits them outside the thick steel gate.

**********

A couple of excerpts from poems by Honduran poets (not associated with the movie)...

METEMPSYCHOSIS
by Juan Ramón Molina

I was a fish in the mirrors of the sonorous ocean wide,
where I beheld the glimmer of gems and metals;
that is the reason why I love the foam, the sourly
rocky shores, the briny gales, and the vivid choral reefs.

Then I was a treacherous viper of shifty tints,
magnetic pupils, and poisonous fangs; that is
the reason why I love the swamps, the shadowy trails,
the crepuscular wetlands, and the steamy forests.

Thereafter, I became a bird in a wild garden.

read the rest here

**********

Elegy to Obesity
by Rigoberto Paredes

Blessed be obesity, its grease
full of grace, the perfect
and resplendent curves of its contours.
Happy are they of ample arbor
where all who desire it
may find a sure port to pass the night.

read the rest here

**********

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

Itō Jakuchū

Issun saki wa yami.
Japanese proverb meaning "It is dark one inch ahead of you."
English equivalent 1: Who can see in the future?
English equivalent 2: Expect the unexpected.


Itō Jakuchū's roosters caught my eye and led me down the happy path of checking out more of his work.

Rooster
by Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800)

Flock
by Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800)

Plum Blossoms and Cranes
by Itō Jakuchū

White Phoenix on Old Pine
by Itō Jakuchū

Maple Tree and Small Birds
by Itō Jakuchū

Elephant
By Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800)

Whale Screen
by Itō Jakuchū

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Beginners in the Garden

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.
~Ruth Stout


A guest post today by Maria Cannon:

Spring Gardening Tips on a Budget: A Guide for Beginners


Photo via Pixabay

For many states, winter seems to last forever, and then one day, it’s suddenly spring. It can be difficult to know how to plan for a nice garden when the weather is all over the place, and if you’re a beginner who doesn’t have a large landscaping budget, it may seem like your options are very limited.

However, there are some tips and tricks you can use to get a stunning garden started; it’s mostly a matter of knowing the best time to make your move and how to make the most of a small space, or a large space on a small budget. Start planning when the temperatures are still cold so you’ll be ready to go. Not only will this help you get an idea of what you want so there are no mistakes, it will also allow you to start seeds indoors so they’ll be ready to harvest once it warms up outside.

It’s important to pick out a section of your yard for a garden space that gets plenty of sunlight but will be protected from animals, especially if you have pets. If you live in a very dry area, think about the best ways to keep your plants watered. This may require an irrigation system or special plants that are drought-resistant. Do a little homework to figure out what will work best for you. For some tips on choosing your garden site, click here.

Here are a few tips on starting a garden for beginners:

Pick your seeds

Before you start planning your garden, you’ll need to think about what type of garden you want. You can integrate flowers and veggies or keep it strictly edible; the latter will save you money on your grocery bill if you plant what you and your family enjoy eating. Consider the climate where you live before choosing your seeds and make sure they will be easy enough for you to maintain.

Get the soil ready

Before you can start seeds, you have to make sure the soil is ready. After you’ve chosen the spot where you want your garden to go, dig up the sod, till the soil, and add a layer of compost, manure, decayed leaves, or dry grass clippings. These will boost the soil with extra nutrients so your seeds will take root easily and grow, and are more cost-effective than buying pre-made fertilizer.

Know when to seed

Some plants—pansies and kale, for instance—can handle cold temperatures, so you can plant them in fall or winter. Others don’t fare so well in cold weather and need warmth to take root, such as tomatoes and beans. If you know you want to plant some veggies but the timing just isn’t right, think about starting the seeds indoors while it’s still cold out and let them flourish in the warmth until you can transplant them or harvest them.

Know how to water

We already know that seeds need sunlight, water, and good soil to grow into healthy plants, but it’s important to give them enough of each of those things (and not too much). New seeds need watering every day so they don’t dry out, but as the plant takes hold, you can scale it back a bit. Every plant is different, so do some research into which ones will be best for your lifestyle.

Starting seeds may sound like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, but with a little research and a good plan, you’ll be able to garden with the best of them. Be sure to look into organic pesticides if your garden has a bug problem in order to keep your family and your pets safe.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tom Leeb

You don’t need a new year to make a change… All you need is a Monday.
~Unknown


A pretty song for Music Monday:



Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dear March, come in!

March came in that winter like the meekest and mildest of lambs, bringing days that were crisp and golden and tingling, each followed by a frosty pink twilight which gradually lost itself in an elfland of moonshine.
~L.M. Montgomery


Crisp golden days sound good, and I'm all about pink twilights and magical moonlight. Did you know that Emily D wrote a welcoming poem for March?

TO MARCH.
by Emily Dickinson

Dear March, come in!
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat —
You must have walked —
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell!

I got your letter, and the birds';
The maples never knew
That you were coming, — I declare,
How red their faces grew!
But, March, forgive me —
And all those hills
You left for me to hue;
There was no purple suitable,
You took it all with you.

Who knocks? That April!
Lock the door!
I will not be pursued!
He stayed away a year, to call
When I am occupied.
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come,
That blame is just as dear as praise
And praise as mere as blame.

**********

No Water River has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Renée!

Flowers and a book

Think before you speak. Read before you think.
~Fran Lebowitz


Just one today. Flowers and a book, what could be better?

Reading on the garden path
by Albert Aublet, 1883



Wednesday, February 28, 2018

:-)

A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.
~Madeleine L’Engle


Laughter really IS the best medicine, right? Of course, what makes each person laugh is such a personal thing, for sure. A sampling of things that made me laugh within the past day include Stephen Colbert, Wanda Sykes, Joe Lycett, cat gifs, my sixteen-year-old, myself, my dog, and Cyclops Road by Jeff Strand.





I shared this video a few years ago, but thought I'd bring it back for the occasion:



Monday, February 26, 2018

Rode hard and put up wet

I've been knocked down, drug out and left for dead
Barely held together by a few old threads
And I'm still here
~Blackberry Smoke


Blackberry Smoke for Music Monday. The lyrics may be bleak, but it's a pretty cheerful song for all that...



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Entombed

Here lies clever Trevor;
Truth was not his friend.
He lied until the end;
Now, he’ll lie forever.
~Esther Spurrill Jones


I've really been enjoying the epitaphs Michelle has been collecting this month at Today's Little Ditty. I wrote one for the occasion...not funny like most, but certainly heartfelt.


Epitaph for Apathy

In days gone by, I'd assume
our leadership was largely true...
but now I follow and I fume--
my trust has been entombed.

********

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

Addendum: My birthday is coming up (March 6), and if anyone (who lives in the U.S.) wants to sign up for the Let America Vote email list or follow them on Twitter or Facebook in honor of my b'day, I would love it. Preserving the right to vote is basic and crucial.

Looking up

Did you know...that around the tenth of August, any year, you can look up in the sky at night and see dozens and dozens of shooting stars?
~Elizabeth Enright


Just one painting today. Shooting Stars by Franz Ritter von Stuck: