Thursday, March 28, 2019

Poetry for your halls!

Poetry Monster is ready

National Poetry Month is coming! I'm starting early :-)

In the past I've featured fictional characters' favorite poems and poems about imaginary places. This year, I'm offering FREE poetry printables.

Kicking things off is a pdf for Poetry in the Halls featuring poems by Linda Baie, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, Robyn Hood Black, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Charles Ghigna, Mary Lee Hahn, Michelle Kogan, Irene Latham, JoAnn Early Macken, Diane Mayr, O.V. Michaelsen, Heidi Mordhorst, Christina Rossetti, Masaoka Shiki, and me.

Print out these ledger-sized poems and put them up in your school hallways, library, or other poetry-inviting place! Laminate them if you can :-) Came back later to say: Just saw them mounted on colored construction paper and they look great that way, too!

Addendum: I forgot that I have a Poetry in the Halls response form! I've been coordinating this program in various elementary, middle, and high schools for maybe a dozen years now and some years we had prizes for responses. You might want to have the kids respond without giving prizes. Here's the link to the form. (If you want the doc. file so you can change it, email me.)

Carol's Corner has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

Versailles Sculptures and Fountains

To maintain the design, the garden needed to be replanted approximately once every 100 years. Louis XVI did so at the beginning of his reign, and the undertaking was next carried out during the reign of Napoleon III. Following damage caused by a series of storms in the late 20th century, including one in December 1999, which was the most devastating, the garden has been fully replanted and now boasts a fresh, youthful appearance similar to how it would have looked to Louis XIV.
~The official site for Versailles

Gardens yesterday, the grounds at Versailles today. For Art Thursday, here are a few of the gardens' striking sculptures and fountains:

Baths of Apollo, Versailles

Bassin de Flore, Versailles
photo by Remi Jouan

Fountain of Neptune, Versailles
photo by Miguel Hermoso Cuesta

View of the Latona Basin in the gardens of Versailles in 1678
Jean LE PAUTRE (1618-1682); André LE NÔTRE (1613-1700)

The Bosquet du Marais, Versailles, 18th century

The Story of Versailles by Francis Loring Payne

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Dreams in progress

You do not need to know anything about a plant to know that it is beautiful.
~Monty Don

Lately I've been a wee bit obsessed with the BBC show Big Dreams, Small Spaces. In it, Britain's most famous gardener (Monty Don) helps people realize their gardening dreams. The spaces they are working with are generally not only small, but pretty much a wreck, too. It is inspiring to see them following through and creating beautiful, personalized gardens. I feel like I've learned a lot from the show and can sort of imagine what Monty Don would advise me about my own plants.

Big Dreams, Small Spaces is on Amazon and Netflix

More Monty Don videos:
The Secret History of the British Garden Part 1: 17th-century
How to create a wildlife garden
How to grow lemon balm and lemon verbena

Have you ever seen The Great British Bake-Off? I loved that, too. I feel like if you like GBBO, you might as well try BDSS and vice versa.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Don't Give Up The Fight

You can fool some people sometimes,
but you can't fool all the people all the time.
~Bob Marley

I was going to share this song because it had been going through my head for a few days, but then I thought maybe I needed something about not giving up.

A post about Helplessness Management

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Watering the tomatoes

Few of us could bear to have ourselves for neighbors.
~Mignon McLaughlin

I feel like I could practically write a poem about this poem. A poem about noticing and then looking again. A poem about neighbors and connection and anonymity and the effort that it takes to reach across such a small distance. (A poem that wonders what if she had tried to give him the tomato plant?)

by wsilver

to the neighbor who keeps watering my tomato plant

by Amanda Williams

I am trying to let it die. We are moving in a few weeks
and I know I will forget to water it, to re-home it in the soil

of our new yard. I figured I’d let it shrivel now, and have one less thing
to haul up into the musty truck, one less item to cross off my packing list

and one less strain on arm, back. But every few days I catch a glimpse
of you from my living room window, bent over the small plant as if scolding

a young child, urging it to grow. You pick up the pollen-dusted watering can
left on its side under a bike wheel, take it into your apartment to fill it.

At first I felt violated, annoyed even, at your taking of my can,
your spontaneous husbandry of my plant, for I truly felt my neglect

read the rest here


Sloth Reads has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Rebecca!

Living Art

For much of its existence, the painting was coated with a dark varnish, which gave the incorrect impression that it depicted a night scene, leading to the name by which it is now commonly known. This varnish was removed only in the 1940s.

For Art Thursday, we have two sides of the same strange coin with paintings that come to life and mechanical flowers that open and close.

Here's the painting before it comes to life...The Night Watch (also known as Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq) by Rembrandt:

Here it is in action...The Rijksmuseum's flashmob 'Our Heroes are Back':

After that excitement, let's calm down with the soothing, mesmerizing MEADOW:

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Scary things

A quote from Joyce Sidman for Wellness Wednesday:
I have discovered a great motivator to do something that scares me: 1. Sit down at my desk. 2. Think about scary thing. 3. Suddenly remember that there is something even scarier that I should be doing. 4. Realize that original scary thing is preferable to the even scarier thing. 5. Do scary thing. 6. Realize that it wasn't so scary, so I could probably do just about anything now.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Here, take my sweater

The greatest respect an artist can pay to music is to give it life.
~Pablo Casals

For Music Monday, a song that brings back fond memories. My older daughter sang it for me one year for Mother's Day or my birthday (neither of us can remember which) and my younger daughter sang it for the school talent show this year. It was perfect for her voice. (My son has never sung this song, as far as I know. The last song I can remember him singing in public was Locked Away.)

Ingrid Michaelson:

Someone made a kawaii version:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Memory keeper

Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.
~Teen activist Greta Thunberg tells Davos elite they're to blame for climate crisis

This gorgeous bear is named Earring
photo by Emma

Isn't Ms. Thunberg marvelously direct? She's not pulling any punches. Learn about her Fridays for Future movement here.

Today's poem is from the Chicago Review of Books' Best Poems about Climate Change. There's a link below to Gabriel Byrne (that voice!) reading it.

The Solace of Artemis
by Paula Meehan
For Catriona Crowe

I read that every polar bear alive has mitochondrial DNA
from a common mother, an Irish brown bear who once
roved out across the last ice age, and I am comforted.
It has been a long hot morning with the children of the machine,

their talk of memory, of buying it, of buying it cheap, but I,
memory keeper by trade, scan time coded in the golden hive mind
of eternity. I burn my books, I burn my whole archive:
a blaze that sears, synapses flaring cell to cell where

memory sleeps in the wax hexagonals of my doomed and melting comb.
I see him loping towards me across the vast ice field
to where I wait in the cave mouth, dreaming my cubs about the den,
my honied ones, smelling of snow and sweet oblivion.

* Gabriel Byrne reads The Solace of Artemis
* The Chicago Review of Books has a regular feature by Amy Brady on climate fiction (cli-fi) called Burning Worlds.
* If you're thinking about making a donation to assist polar bears, The NRDC (Natural Resource Defense Council) gets terrific ratings from Charity Navigator.


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

Three for Spring

Behold, my brothers, the spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love!
~Sitting Bull

I bring you three oversize paintings of spring:

The Troitse-Sergiyev Monastery in spring
by Konstantin Yuon

Spring Plowing
by Edvard Munch

Flowering Garden
by Vincent van Gogh

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Emotional First Aid

Failure is so common a human experience that what distinguishes us from one another is not that we fail but rather how we respond when we do.
~Guy Winch

For Wellness Wednesday, checking out a TED Talk about Emotional First Aid. After I saw this video, I read an article about resilience and now I'm being resilient like doing emotional first aid on yourself?

One thing that surprised me in this TED Talk was when Dr. Winch talked about rumination, which is when we get stuck going over something negative (like when we get in a fight or something embarrasses us and we relive it for days). Dr. Winch said that when you feel like you're starting to ruminate, a two-minute distraction is enough to keep you from getting stuck in that rut. Good to know!

Thursday, March 7, 2019


Architecture is by definition a very collaborative process.
~Joshua Prince-Ramus

For International Women's Day, I bring you: my mom. I mentioned before that I was writing poems based on my parents' artwork. This time, I started with my mom's arch collages as a springboard. I used Joyce Sidman's "Deeper Wisdom" form, which features two stanzas of three lines each, which rhyme aaa bbb and "What do ____know?" as the title and stanza openers. Each line ends with a period.

Early Morning Shade by Catherine Wingfield-Yeatts

Riverview Through Arches by Catherine Wingfield-Yeatts

Sweet Smell of Spring by Catherine Wingfield-Yeatts


What do arches know?

Praise a keystone that is true.
Give all steady stones their due.
Show the way to somewhere new.

What do arches know?

Storms are blows you will outlast.
Avoid collapse by standing fast.
Rounded beauty's unsurpassed.


Tired of peace poems from my month of peace poems yet? Hope not, because here's one more. (I used art supplies my parents gave me for Christmas to make the background.)

Reading to the Core has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Thanks, Catherine!

Board Game Box Art

'A man can learn all of an opponent's weaknesses on that board,' said Gilt.
'Really?' said Vetinari, raising his eyebrows. 'Should not he be trying to learn his own?'
~Terry Pratchett

Board games can have wonderful art on their boxes. They can also be pretty intriguing...what kind of useful (lion-related) knowledge does Grandmama have? I know it might seem like I didn't, but I really did restrain myself -- there were many more I wanted to include! These are in chronological order:

Grandmama's Useful Knowledge, 1887
Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers

Game of the Man in the Moon, 1890
Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers

Game of Four and Twenty Black Birds, 1908
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers

International Game of Spy, 1939
Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: E. E. Fairchild Corporation

Flash, 1956
Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Selchow & Righter

Railroader, 1963
Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: John Waddington Ltd.

Wings, 1981
Designer: S. Craig Taylor
Publisher: Excalibre Games, Inc., Yaquinto

Troja, 2004
Designer: Marek Mydel, Michał Stachyra, Maciej Zasowski
Artist: Jakub Jabłoński
Publisher: Imperium

Endeavor, 2009
Designer: Carl de Visser, Jarratt Gray
Artist: Josh Cappel, Klemens Franz, Hanno Girke
Publisher: Z-Man Games

Two of our family's favorite board games have cool box art: Ticket to Ride and 7 Wonders.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

365-Day Reward

A birthday theme this Wellness Wednesday. Do you treat birthdays like New Year's, as a time to re-assess, make new goals, start projects? I generally don't, to be honest. But I enjoy hearing about what other people are thinking and doing. I know someone who did 50 volunteer projects in the year leading up to her 50th birthday, and Ruth decided to write fifty first drafts before she turned 50.

Hey, here's something that isn't birthday-related but is a feel-good thing, and could be related if your goal is to be a good stranger (and don't we all want that, really?). Nicole Miller asked people on Twitter to tell her the nicest thing a stranger had ever done for them, and the answers were great.

Back to birthdays:

I see birthdays as a reward for having shown up 365 in a row. It's like getting a badge for attendance.
~Gina Barreca

Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time.
~Jean Paul Richter

Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.
~Larry Lorenzoni

The best birthdays of all are those that haven't arrived yet.
~Robert Orben

Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again.
~Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Real birthdays are not annual affairs. Real birthdays are the days when we have a new birth.
~Ralph Parlette

Happy birthday to Michelangelo and happy belated birthday to Vivaldi, who was born March 4, 1678: