Thursday, August 30, 2018

Telling It Right

In the beginning there was Dust, and in the end there will be Dust, and in the middle there is Dust, Dust, Dust!
~Catherynne M. Valente

photo by sookie

Today's poem seemed to me like a variant of a "Where I'm From" poem. Here's "Communion of Dust":

Communion of Dust
by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

It's how I arrived in this place. Dust. Blood.
Thin figures. Shadows stretched like bars
against a farm gone fallow. Gone dust. Gone wind.

My grandmother said, Steinbeck never got it right.
The place. The leaving and how it felt:
to be child in a world gone back to dust.

read the rest here.


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

Jan van Kessel

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
~Albert Camus

Any leaves today? Not really. I just liked the quote and I'm looking forward to autumn. We do have some flowers, though. Jan van Kessell the Elder (1626-1679) for Art Thursday. I appreciate his humor and style.

Autograph, made with insects and caterpillars
by Jan van Kessel the Elder

Stilleven met druiven en ander fruit op een schotel etc
Atelier van Jan van Kessel de Oude

A Dragon-fly, two Moths, a Spider and some Beetles, with wild Strawberries
by Jan van Kessel

Schelpen, vlinders, bloemen
Jan van Kessel de Oude

You can also find his Masks made with Seashells here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Seeing the Goldfish

Traumatized people are not suffering from a disease in the normal sense of the word- they have become stuck in an aroused state. It is difficult if not impossible to function normally under these circumstances.
~Peter A. Levine

I read some info about working with traumatized children that seemed good to share for Wellness Wednesday. If you've visited my blog for a while, you know that I am big on not taking people at face value.

Excerpts from The Trauma Informed Teacher – Silent Front Line by Stacey Gagnon:
The goldfish shark is how I best describe my child and last week I shared it with a group incarcerated mothers who “got it” when it comes to trauma. Here’s the story –

I share the picture below. I began talking about how our children often present with behaviors that look like the shark, but if we look below the water, we will realize they are really just scared goldfish trying to have a need met. Their behaviors might communicate anger and hostility, but below the surface is fear and a hurting child. I further explained that it is our job as parents/teachers to stop parenting the shark fin, and look below the surface and meet the needs of the goldfish.

One of the inmates raised her hand and said, “I’m alot like that picture. I act all tough and mean, but I’m really just a scared fish. I wish when I was a kid, someone would have thought to look for the goldfish, instead of just seeing me as a shark”

How to SEE the Goldfish –

* Consider all extreme behavior within the context of survival to better understand ‘why does he keep doing that?’

* Repetition is important because with every positive experience the impact on the brain grows.

* Traumatized children expect the worst and focus on the negative. If you understand this, you will be better prepared for it.

* Childhood neglect is the most damaging trauma. The child must not have basic needs threatened in any way or survival will be all they think about.
(excerpts from Traumatic Experience and the Brain, A Handbook for Understanding and Treating Those Traumatized as Children by Dave Ziegler.)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Jubilee Stomp

Madame Lily Devalier always asked "Where are you?" in a way that insinuated that there were only two places on earth one could be: New Orleans and somewhere ridiculous.
~Tom Robbins

Cheerful music by Tuba Skinny this Monday morning:

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Where I'm From

I like being near the top of a mountain. One can't get lost here.
~Wislawa Szymborska

photo by Jeremy Hunsinger

I wrote a "Where I'm From" poem after reading about George Ella Lyon and Julie Landsman's Where I'm From project on Heidi's blog. I feel like I could write others, although I don't know whether (when?) I will.

Where I'm From
by Tabatha Yeatts

I'm from roads like a rollercoaster
leading to a valley town,
from clogs and fiddles,
porch swings and crawdaddies,
a little grits with my butter,
and fresh donuts around the corner
from the bookstore.

I'm from barefoot and bees,
and playing outside until someone's hurt --
probably me --
from the smell of cows in the distance,
and from leaving the football game
as soon as I can
but staying until the
basketball game is over.

I'm from riding the lawnmower
with my granddaddy,
playing cards with granny,
from homemade popsicles
for myself and the neighbors,
from art supplies and the
bliss of blank paper,
a joy that fills me still.


Vintage photos of me
I love this Where I'm From poem by Rebecca Bailey.
Reflections on the Teche has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Margaret!

Harry Clarke

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.
~John Masefield

For Art Thursday, we have illustrations by Harry Clarke for The Year's at the Spring; An Anthology of Recent Poetry [1920].

Star Talk
by Harry Clarke

Sea Fever
by Harry Clarke

To the Coming Spring
by Harry Clarke

The Great Lover (1)
by Harry Clarke

The Great Lover (2)
by Harry Clarke


From groves of spice,
O'er fields of rice,
Athwart the lotus-stream,
I bring for you,
Aglint with dew,
A little lovely dream.

Sweet, shut your eyes,
The wild fire-flies
Dance through the fairy neem;[1]
From the poppy-bole
For you I stole
A little lovely dream.

Dear eyes, good-night,
In golden light
The stars around you gleam;
On you I press
With soft caress
A little lovely dream.


[1] A lilac-tree (Hindustani).

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Making Friends

You can make more friends in two months by being interested in them, than in two years by making them interested in you.
~Dale Carnegie

Friendship by Ralf Steinberger

Making friends is a topic that comes up pretty often in people's lives, so it's our Wellness Wednesday topic this week. I saw this quote from Real Simple which explains why it keeps coming up --
"Research shows we're replacing half our close friends every seven years, even into our 60s. It helps to know that the revolving door is a normal part of life."
On the one hand, it doesn't sound very stable, does it? On the other hand, it's not just you who has this happen, and it's not just you who has to muddle through reaching out to old friends and acquaintances you've lost touch with and/or starting fresh. We're all in this together, even though it may not feel like it :-)

Another article about making friends as an adult has these bits:
* Want to make friends? Start a group...A weekly lunch. A monthly sewing circle. A quarterly movie night. Whatever works. Friends bring friends and suddenly it’s not so hard to meet cool new people.
* Many studies show older people are happier. What’s one of the reasons? They prune the jerks out of their social circles.
* If you want to stay close friends with someone, how often do you need to check in? Research says at least every two weeks.

Thoughts on adult friendships from the Vlog Brothers, Hank and John Green:

Introverts and extroverts
Start with Hello
Empathetic Joy
Getting rid of lousy relationships

Monday, August 20, 2018

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal

Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Malian master kora player Ballaké Sissoko and French cellist Vincent Segal for Music Monday:

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Winging It

Nature can only be governed by obeying her.
— Henri Poincaré

When Christie asked for bird poems for this Friday, I was totally on board. Birds are some of my favorite people. I didn't really know what would come out, though, when I sat down to write. Like the scientists in my poem, after doing my research I was just kinda hoping for the best.

Endangered Kirtland's warbler
photo by USFWS Headquarters

Ineptly Benevolent

Picture our warbler-loving scientists,
roaming the forests with battery-powered stereos
in their data-driven hands, tucking them into young pines
and leaving them to sing a warbler here, and another,
to this enticing new home, move-in ready,
with romantic rendezvous potential.

We stage and we plan, but we are also fluent in surprise,
like the experts who realized after years of holding forests still,
keeping the tall piney matches from burning
assuming that blazes were bird-scuttling habitat-ruiners --
that some species seek out after-fire areas,
rejoice in the phoenix world, seek it,
flight-follow the scent of char.


How Makeshift Stereos Could Help an Endangered Warbler Find a New Home
Wildfire Benefits Many Bird Species

Wondering and Wandering has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Christie!

The Pond at Benten Shrine in Shiba

And nearer to the river's trembling edge There grew broad flag-flowers, purple, prankt with white; And starry river buds among the sedge; And floating water-lilies, broad and bright.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

A woodblock print from 1929 for Art Thursday:

The Pond at Benten Shrine in Shiba
by Hasui Kawase

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Nut Up or Shut Up

My momma always told me someday you'll be good at somethin'. Who'd have guessed that somethin' would be zombie killin'?
~Tallahassee, Zombieland

Zombieland is movie which manages to be light-hearted despite its zombie-ridden, post-apocalyptic setting. It's not the sort of thing that would usually make it into Wellness Wednesday, but here we are.

Right before he was about to do something dangerous, Woody Harrelson's character would say, "Nut up or shut up," which always made me laugh.

The cussing and gore starts at 45, so stop then if you just want the quote. (I couldn't find one that just showed the first 45 seconds)

Later, when Jesse Eisenberg's character is faced with a zombie clown (his worst fear!) that he needs to conquer in order to save his ladylove, he isn't even surprised. Of course, he thinks. He had to do this. It was time to nut up or shut up.

Is there something that makes you dig deep, something you need your most crazy/brave self in order to do? It could be something more consequential than finding a Twinkie, but maybe not.

You know what time it is!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Needed: Titanium Spines

Nothing scares me, because I used to think I was indestructible. Now I know I'm indestructible, not to mention my spine is indestructible. It's all titanium.
~Jason Priestley

Maybe "The Bone that has no Marrow" reminds you of someone? (Yes, I am perpetually aggravated by lack of stand-up behavior.)

by Emily Dickinson

The Bone that has no Marrow,
What Ultimate for that?
It is not fit for Table
For Beggar or for Cat.

A Bone has obligations —
A Being has the same —
A Marrowless Assembly
Is culpabler than shame.


For some reason, this week I remembered a project from years ago where someone asked for photos featuring bits of poetry. Here's one I made with a line from "You Can't Have It All" by Barbara Ras:

More are here

Nix the Comfort Zone has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Molly!

Bruno Liljefors

The animals seemed to have an instinctive trust and actual attraction to him.
~Ernst Malmberg, speaking of Bruno Liljefors

Swedish artist Bruno Andreas Liljefors (1860-1939) clearly spent a lot of time outdoors, observing.

Chasing Hare

Flock of Ducks and Sneaky Fox


Sleeping Jeppe

Stalking Fox

Winter Hare

Cat in the Summer Meadow

Men Warping

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Specialized Knowledge

One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.
~Shannon L. Alder

photo by Jack Wallsten

Kao Kalia Yang makes an interesting point about how our experiences give us specialized knowledge that can help others:

I am learning now about what the things we go through, we survive, do to us and our relationships with others, how they shape and change who we are and how we can be — give us specialized knowledge, insights, experiences that we can share when the loneliness of a personal experience is too much to bear.

Going through hardships gives us strength in the places we’d never thought to develop, spaces we didn’t know we’d occupy, room to reach beyond ourselves, toward others who are where we had been.
~Kao Kalia Yang

It can be something as big as Malala starting The Malala Fund after she was shot for trying to get an education, or something as seemingly small as answering questions on a forum. Answering questions in a forum can be so helpful! Posting YouTube videos and blog posts can have a big impact. What are other things that you have found helpful when you were looking for support from people who had already been through a situation?

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Bringer of Jollity

Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.
~Markus Zusak

A bunch of beautiful people making music...students from the Berklee College of Music performing Holst's Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity:

Friday, August 3, 2018

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

You know, I know a few techniques that could help you manage that anger effectively.
~Bruce Banner

I first heard about Aimee Nezhukumatathil when I read "Cheese Curds, The First Time" on T. S. Poetry Press's Every Day Poems, but I wasn't able to find it online to share with you. I found a bunch of others, though!

"What I Learned From..." is a good prompt, isn't it?

What I Learned from the Incredible Hulk
By Aimee Nezhukumatathil

When it comes to clothes, make
an allowance for the unexpected.
Be sure the spare in the trunk
of your station wagon with wood paneling

isn’t in need of repair. A simple jean jacket
says Hey, if you aren’t trying to smuggle
rare Incan coins through this peaceful
little town and kidnap the local orphan...

read the rest here


Cherry Hill photo by Ian Sane

The Woman Who Turned Down a Date with a Cherry Farmer
By Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Fredonia, NY

Of course I regret it. I mean there I was under umbrellas of fruit
so red they had to be borne of Summer, and no other season.
Flip-flops and fishhooks. Ice cubes made of lemonade and sprigs
of mint to slip in blue glasses of tea. I was dusty, my ponytail
all askew and the tips of my fingers ran, of course, red...

read the rest here


First Anniversary, With Monkeys
By Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Periyar Nature Preserve

There is no crumbly frozen cake to thaw.
Today, we are in the jungle. I mean mosquito. I mean

tigers and elephants sludging their way
to the lake for a drink and Don’t make sudden moves

or snakes startled from an afternoon nap
will greet you fang first. I think we are lost. Too hot

for any cold confection to survive. Even my tube
of sunblock is as warm as a baby’s bottle. You get

to those places I can’t reach, those places I dared
not even whisper before I walked down the aisle

in white. You never worried if our families
would clash, if they would clang like the clutch

read the rest here


Swear Words

A Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Finish every day and be done with it. For manners and for wise living it is a vice to remember. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. To-morrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Two serene paintings by Frederick Cayley Robinson (1862-1927):

Blue Bird Dreamships

by Frederick Cayley Robinson

by Frederick Cayley Robinson

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Treasure by Nick Kenrick

Krista Tippett and Rumi today:

I don’t think joy is a privilege. I think freedom can be a privilege; I think luxury and comfort can be a privilege. But joy is a piece of basic human resilience. It’s a human birthright. And in fact, one of the paradoxical and amazing things about our species is how people are able to get through the worst, also, with their joy muscle intact. So I think, if we want to call the world not just to justice but to joy and to flourishing, of which joy is a part, we have to find those ways and those places where that is also what we are finding and stirring and keeping alive in others.
~Krista Tippett

Do you know what you are?
You are a manuscript oƒ a divine letter.
You are a mirror reflecting a noble face.
This universe is not outside of you.
Look inside yourself;
everything that you want,
you are already that.