Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dreams and Legends

The heart, I think, which is the home of all things rhythmic, is where learned poems go to live.
~Bill Richardson

A couple of poems used in Poetry Out Loud, the national recitation contest for students, today.

The Farmer
by W. D. Ehrhart

Each day I go into the fields
to see what is growing
and what remains to be done.
It is always the same thing: nothing
is growing, everything needs to be done.
Plow, harrow, disc, water, pray
till my bones ache and hands rub
blood-raw with honest labor—
all that grows is the slow

read the rest here

The Legend
By Garrett Hongo

In Chicago, it is snowing softly
and a man has just done his wash for the week.
He steps into the twilight of early evening,
carrying a wrinkled shopping bag
full of neatly folded clothes,
and, for a moment, enjoys
the feel of warm laundry and crinkled paper,
flannellike against his gloveless hands.
There’s a Rembrandt glow on his face,
a triangle of orange in the hollow of his cheek

read the rest here


Just between you and me, sometimes I have been disappointed by Poetry Out Loud judging. I'm not surprised that it is hard to find consistency and skill among the many judges at the various levels. I ran across that problem during the dozen years I coordinated Reflections at the school level. (I still feel bad about a judge I lined up who turned out to be a stinker!) Regardless, I love that kids are learning poems by heart for Poetry Out Loud. Reciting poems is a gift.


Deowriter has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jone!

Pietra dura

The ruby encloses the brilliant red of the clouds of evening.
~Charles Blanc

Pietra dura is an inlay technique using cut and fitted colored stones (often marble, semi-precious, and even precious stones) to make pictures. It was invented in Italy in the 1500s -- "pietra dura" literally means "hard stones."

Table with a parrot on a pear tree, Italy, 1700s

Prague Pietra dura picture with Saint Charles Borromeo

Roses over crossed canes, Florence 1882

Tomb of Jahangir, Pakistan

Saint Catharine of Siena Church, Ohio
photo by Nheyob

A contemporary marble table top, India, employing floral patterns of the Taj Mahal
photo by MyotisSI

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Never Too Late

I'm a late bloomer.
~Frank McCourt

To the extent I bloomed, I'm a late bloomer.
~Lloyd Blankfein
I'm such a late bloomer.
~Ang Lee

To put it mildly, I was just a very late bloomer.
~Harry Dean Stanton
I was definitely a late bloomer.
~Clay Matthews III

I've always been what they call a late bloomer.
~Bill Pullman
I'm a late bloomer.
~Mary Steenburgen

Really, I was such a late bloomer, I really didn't learn how to be me until I was in my late '40s, which is when I started playing roles that were closer to me.
~Ron Perlman
I've always been a late bloomer, so I never feel like, 'Oh, I'm gettin' older; I guess everything is gonna stop.' I'm the opposite: 'Oh, I'm just getting started.'
~Megan Mullally

photo by Joanne Clifford

Were you a late bloomer? You're in good company. Still waiting to bloom? It's not too late! What are you interested in doing?

No one becomes a late bloomer doing something they hate.
~J.M. Orend

* Sylvester Stallone was 30 when he wrote and starred in Rocky.
* Danny Aiello did not start acting until he was 40.
* Anton Bruckner did not become a composer until his forties.
* Actor Alan Rickman got first real break into theatre in his forties.
* Singer K. T. Oslin released her first album at age 47 which was a major country music success.
* Eugène Ehrhart started publishing in mathematics in his forties, and finished his PhD thesis at the age of 60.
* BAFTA winning British actress Liz Smith did not become a professional actress until the age of 50.
* Richard Adams's first novel, the bestseller Watership Down, was published when he was in his fifties.
* Charles Bukowski wrote his first novel at age 51.
* Caspar Wessel published his only mathematics paper at the age of 54.
* Indian (Bengali) actor Paran Bandopadhyay started his acting career at the age of 60.
* Colonel Sanders began his franchise in his sixties.
* Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first novel in the Little House series of children's books in her sixties.
* Roger Apéry proved Apéry's theorem at the age of 63.
* The first volume of Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy was published when she was 63.
* Grandma Moses' painting career began in her seventies.
* Manoel de Oliveira became a full-time filmmaker at the age of 73.
* At the age of 74, Norman Maclean published his first and only novel, best-seller A River Runs Through It.
* Marjory Stoneman Douglas founded "Friends of the Everglades" at age 78, and she continued until she was over age 100.
* Bill Traylor who started drawing at age 83.
* Carmen Herrera sold her first artwork when she was 89 years old.

It's never too late to get your act together. It's never too late to be your authentic self. It's never too late to try something new.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Classical Music Mashup

I try to decorate my imagination as much as I can.
~Franz Schubert

How did Grant Woolard combine 57 musical compositions into one pretty song? Amazing! (You can see a list of all 57 pieces and where to buy the sheet music here.)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cope is helping me cope

It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do'. And mostly, against all odds, they do.
~Anne Lamott

Tabatha, you ask, when will you stop being angry at corrupt politicians? Verily, I say -- never! This week I was so spitting mad about Brett Kavanaugh that sometimes I woke up mad in the middle of the night. Dang it. Two poems:

Differences of Opinion
by Wendy Cope



He tells her that the earth is flat —
He knows the facts, and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long
She tries her best to prove him wrong.
But he has learned to argue well.
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round.


When I Rise Up
by Georgia Douglas Johnson

When I rise up above the earth,
And look down on the things that fetter me,
I beat my wings upon the air,
Or tranquil lie,
Surge after surge of potent strength
Like incense comes to me
When I rise up above the earth
And look down upon the things that fetter me.

Black tern by USFWS Mountain-Prairie


The Water's Edge has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Thanks, Erin!

Marianne von Werefkin

I adore my life: it is filled with so much true poetry, fine feelings, things many have no idea about. I despise my life, which, being rich, allowed itself to be crammed into the confines of conventions. Between these two opinions pulsates my soul always longing for beauty and good.
~Marianne von Werefkin

Today's artist was born Marianna Wladimirowna Werewkina on September 10, 1860 in what is currently Lithuania. In 1892, Marianne met someone who wanted to be her protégé and she ended up putting her own work on hold for nearly ten years to help him. When she got back into it, she created these vibrant works:

The Red Tree
by Marianne von Werefkin

The Ragpicker
by Marianne von Werefkin

After the Storm
by Marianne von Werefkin

The Way of the Cross II
by Marianne von Werefkin

The Beer Garden
by Marianne von Werefkin

The Night Shift
by Marianne von Werefkin

One last quote from Marianne, talking about looking at a painting in Berlin:

...Every day my soul sang in response to it stronger and stronger. I was very sick then, and that genius alone reconciled me to my life when there was so much suffering in it. Looking at his creation, at these lines, at these half-tones (remember that shadowed jaw against the background or the column against the dress), at all this charm of the art, at this grand style, I started to want to live again, to see it again and again, to live on by painting and perhaps by painting alone.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Trajectory Altering

What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day, and altering the trajectory of our world.
~Glennon Doyle

Could you use hearing a nice story? Here's one about a teacher who is devoted to helping her students, unobtrusively.

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.
~G.K. Chesterton

(Guess we should pay teachers appropriately, eh?)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ukrainian Cello

The Unicorn Sonata ... tells us that our true home is often right around the corner, if we'd only open our eyes — and our ears — to find it.
~Peter S. Beagle

A lovely sonata from Ukrainian Cello for Music Monday:

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Hey, Suit Lady. I kind of feel bad calling you "Suit Lady," you know? I think I should probably give you a name...What about Karen?

Two Karens today! First, sharing poems Karen Edmisten sent me during the Summer Poem Swap. Thanks, Karen!

    We have never met
    yet our hearts know each other.
    Poetry Friday.

photo by Antti T. Nissinen

    Friends, like good coffee,
    revive me when the world has
    worn me down again.


One last poem from another Karen:

A Word Like Rat
by Karen Harryman

My Aunt Sandra—a large woman,
a holy woman, maybe you can see her—

quilted housecoat, just-washed auburn hair
past her waist when she tips her head, heavy

to the side, and pulls wet strands over one shoulder,
both hands working to brush and smooth.

read the rest here


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


I received from my experience in Japan an incredible sense of respect for the art of creating, not just the creative product.
~Julie Taymor

Japanese stencils (Katagami) today, used for dyeing fabric. You can see how they do it here:

Metropolitan Museum of Art
19th century

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Existence as love story

As much as I adore dogs, people are my favorite species. I know, what an aggravating, messed-up bunch. But still, my favorite, which is why this shirt from TourDeBookshop caught my eye:

I also like this one:

Some aphorisms by Yahia Lababidi from Where Epics Fail for Wellness Wednesday:

Don’t squander your boredom; dig deeper, treasures are buried there.

Silence is the great jeweler of words—certifying their authenticity and assessing their true worth.

The only real borders are those of our compassion.

You can’t bury pain and not expect it to grow roots.

As we make peace with ourselves, we become more tolerant of our faults—in others.

Think of existence as a great love story; every shy creature or timid truth wants to be courted.

Life is a time-release capsule, granting us only glimpses of ourselves at a time.

photo by Frank Carman

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Thank you

If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for ... but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong.
~Robert A. Heinlein

On September 11, 2001, we were living in a new state and I was home with our ten-day-old baby. My parents had left; my husband was back at work. I'm a pretty emotional person, and when I learned about the plane crashes, I realized that I had to find a way to hear about the overwhelming news and still be functional as a mom.

I'm reminded of that because today we look back on the horror of those losses and the bravery of the heroes, and we also feel the tug of our current responsibilities. We are in the middle of a constitutional crisis and we have to keep from being overwhelmed. We all need to VOTE. Our democracy needs us.

So I'd like to say thank you to all the people who stepped up on September 11, 2001 and to all the people who will step up this fall. What you do matters.

9/11 Health Watch
Past September 11th posts
Helplessness Management

Monday, September 10, 2018

Can you come through?

Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.
~Dave Willis

A song by Jeremy Zucker for Music Monday:

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Glowing for a while

No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.
~Laurie Colwin

Three poems today, all about "ordinary" things: food, laundry, a doctor's check-up. This first one is also kind of a "Where I'm From" poem:

A Mediocre Vegetarian Remembers the Pleasures of Slow Cooker Ownership from Her Childhood
by Erin Renee Wahl

It is good to have a slow
cooker in the house.
I know my mother best,

throwing concoctions together
quickly in the early mornings
before yellow buses and goodbye

read the rest here


A couple of poems by Jim Richards:

by Jim Richards

What we owned was piled on the bed
and warmed the room with the smell
of bodies, bleach, and dryer sheets.
You, on one side, folded the colors
and I, on the other, the whites. Between us,
years, children, holes in the knees, stains.

read the rest here


I love the ending on this one :-)

by Jim Richards

When you check me, look deep.
I lost something in all that darkness.
When you examine my ears
fine tune the small bones for music.

read the rest here


Bonus links and catch-up: Michelle Kogan has a post about IMPERFECT. Last week, Brenda Davis Harsham had a post about IMPERFECT. The week before that, Diane shared a poem I wrote about Vincent Lunardi's cat.

Beyond Literacy Link has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

Hilma af Klint

In her will, Hilma af Klint left all her abstract paintings to her nephew, vice-admiral in the Swedish Royal Navy. She specified that her work should be kept secret for at least 20 years after her death.
~from her Wikipedia page

Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) for Art Thursday.

by Hilma af Klint

What a Human Being Is
by Hilma af Klint

The Ten Largest
by Hilma af Klint

The Swan
by Hilma af Klint
Photo: Albin Dahlström/ Moderna Museet

Self Portrait
by Hilma af Klint

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Self-Help Books

The best way to get started on the path to sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn, and make a commitment to learning in front of others.
~Austin Kleon

I got a kick out of this video by Leena Norms, (Hat tip to Austin Kleon) (Note: some cussing):

Monday, September 3, 2018

Dandelions in Action

Most of the dandelions had changed from suns into moons.
~Vladimir Nabokov

Not a music video, but still, it does have music. I could have watched this for much longer. By Temponaut: