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:


Precious scars
filling cracks
with liquid gold,
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

by Paolo Boncompagni

Il cappellaio pazzo di Mantova
by Paolo Boncompagni

by Paolo Boncompagni

Sotto Albonico (i folletti)
by Paolo Boncompagni

by Paolo Boncompagni

Monday, March 26, 2018


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.

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

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


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

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
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)...

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.

by Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800)

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

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.

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?

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