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!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Come Along Too

Well, if my thoughts had wings,
I'd be the bird that sings.
~Roger Hodgson

Supertramp has come up a lot recently, so, okay, I got the hint:

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.