Thursday, October 31, 2019

Come on over!

Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life forever.
~Amy Poehler

Welcome! The Poetry Friday round-up is here.

Today we have also have info on making a writing retreat for yourself, the Winter Poetry Swap, and poems by Samantha Reynolds.

Have you ever thought about making your own writing retreat? It could be especially helpful if you are planning on doing NaNoWriMo (writing a novel -or poetry manuscript- during the month of November).

Here are some resources to help get you started:

* How To Design Your Own Writing Retreat
* How to Have the Perfect Weekend Writer's Retreat
* Rhonda Douglas on writing retreats


The Winter Poem Swap: Would you like to send a poem and a small gift to a Poetry Fridayer by December 7 and receive one in return? Send me an email to sign up: tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com by November 7.


My Four-Year-Old Poetry Teacher
by Samantha Reynolds

My brain is jammed
with the noise of errands
and the poem knows it...

read the rest here

Bonus: Turning Forty by Samantha Reynolds


Add your link here, my dears!


Sharks have everything a scientist dreams of. They're beautiful―God, how beautiful they are! They're like an impossibly perfect piece of machinery. They're as graceful as any bird. They're as mysterious as any animal on earth.
~Peter Benchley, Jaws

I'm not much of a baseball watcher, but I have been keeping up with the Washington Nationals' post-season. (My parents are much better baseball fans than I am and have a home run ball my mom caught at a Nats game on their mantle.) I'm making this post on Wednesday morning so I don't know yet who won the last game of the World Series...I wondered about making an alternate post in case they lose, but sharks seem kind of appropriate for Halloween either way, right? Humor me, guys. For Art Thursday, sharks (baby and otherwise):

Mako Shark
photo by Ed Dunens

photo by Xingtao Qian

Beast of Prey
by Jaroslav Chramosta
photo by Jitka Erbenová

photo by Rachel M. Fry

Villabé, Essonne, France
photo by poudou99

Natural History book from 1657
printed by Jacob Schipper
Biodiversity Heritage Library

Updated to add: YAY!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

When someone shows you who they are,

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
~Maya Angelou

by Kyle Tsui

Of course, I am a believer in second chances, BUT I am also a fan of Maya Angelou's advice. There are very corrupt politicians who showed us who they were before their elections. When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM THE FIRST TIME. Recently someone was mean to a young person I know who "gave them a pass" because the mean person was feeling sad at the time. Nope, I don't think so. If they are going to try to make themselves feel better by bringing you down, that's someone to avoid.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Die Toteninsel

Do not waste your time with music that is trite or ignoble. Life is too short to spend it wandering in the barren Saharas of musical trash.
~S.V. Rachmaninoff

The barren Saharas of musical trash! Tell us how you really feel, Rachmaninoff. Isle of the Dead (Die Toteninsel) by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) for Halloween-week Music Monday.

Rachmaninoff was inspired by the best-known painting of Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin (1827–1901), also called Isle of the Dead (Die Toteninsel):

Rachmaninoff's inspiration was a black-and-white print of the painting. He said that had he seen the original in color, he probably would not have written the music. Huh!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Uyghur poets

...One of the most vital things we can teach our children is how to be storytellers. How to tell stories that are rigorously, insistently, beautifully true. And how to believe them.
~Melanie Tem

Poems by Uyghur poets for Poetry Friday. I've included a bit about the situation in China for Uyghurs down below. Today, the The European Parliament awarded its 2019 Sakharov Prize to Ilham Tohti, a jailed advocate for China’s Uyghur minority.

The first poem is by Abdushükür Muhemet from an article called ‘The night is thick’: Uyghur poets respond to the disappearance of their relatives by Darren Byler. [Muhemet] “first learned that his brother was taken to a Xinjiang “re-education” internment camp in March 2017. Since then he has lost contact with his family. He said: ‘Although I’m physically here in Sweden, my mind is always with them back at home. Sometimes I feel like my whole body is burning with longing. I miss my country, my relatives, my friends, and the hometown where I grow up.’”


A poem from Words Without Borders by Uyghur poet Exmetjan Osman:

The Nights Passing Endlessly through Scheherazade’s Mouth
by Exmetjan Osman

In a public park
where I like to sit
in the thick shade cast by the branches of a tree
I was more or less enjoying the daytime
I was watching grass sprout from cracks in the asphalt
and the sun as it shone in the faces passing by
as I pondered the meaning of the murder taking place
in the nights passing endlessly though Scheherazade's mouth
when a fortune-teller woman approached me
and asked permission
to illuminate my fate
from my life's dark mirrors

read the rest here


A brief bit from Wikipedia about the current situation:
After Xi Jinping assumed the presidency in 2013, Uyghurs in Xinjiang suffer under a "fully-fledged police state" with extensive controls and restrictions upon their religious, cultural and social life. In Xinjiang, the Chinese government has expanded police surveillance to watch for signs of "religious extremism" that include owning books about Uyghurs, growing a beard, having a prayer rug, or quitting smoking or drinking. The government had also installed cameras in the homes of private citizens.

Further, at least 120,000 (and possibly over 1 million) Uyghurs are detained in mass detention camps, termed "re-education camps," aimed at changing the political thinking of detainees, their identities, and their religious beliefs. Some of these facilities keep prisoners detained around the clock, while others release their inmates at night to return home. The New York Times has reported inmates are required to "sing hymns praising the Chinese Communist Party and write 'self-criticism' essays," and that prisoners are also subjected to physical and verbal abuse by prison guards. Chinese officials are sometimes assigned to monitor the families of current inmates, and women have been detained due to actions by their sons or husbands.


Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Karen!

Sam Barsky

I like making a piece of string into something I can wear.
~Author Unknown

I talked about knitting yesterday, which led right into today's post featuring Sam Barsky's Artistic Sweaters. Sam freehands everything. His "Sweater of Sweaters" pretty much blew my mind. (By the way, Sam learned to knit when he had to drop out of nursing school due to health problems — he has lupus.)

Leaning Tower of Pisa
by Sam Barsky

Gateway Arch, St Louis
by Sam Barsky

Sweater of Sweaters
by Sam Barsky

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.
~Elizabeth Zimmerman

Fair Isle knitting by Inger Maaike

I've started learning to knit recently, which I am really enjoying, but it didn't occur to me to share knitting resources for Wellness Wednesday until I saw this article about why it can be a good activity for chronically ill folks. It also mentioned that knitting can be helpful for people with anorexia. Knitting seems popular with people of all ages and interests, so here are a few things to help you get started if you'd like to give it a try:

You can have someone teach you in person (my mom was a huge help), or take a class in person, or learn from online sources. There are a ton of "how to knit" videos. I think it's important to keep going until you find one that works for you. I especially like this dude:

* Knitting 101
* Free Online Knitting Class from Instructables
* Fixing Knitting Mistakes
* Beginner Knitting Projects
* Recommendations about Yarn (and More), NY Mag
* How to Buy Yarn Online
* All Free Knitting's resource collections
* Knitting & the Chronically Ill
* Tips for Teaching Someone How to Knit

Thursday, October 17, 2019

If I could write like Tolstoy

He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.
~Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

I just love Laura Scott's "If I could write like Tolstoy." So rich in details! Before my younger daughter started reading War and Peace, she thought about writing some kind of [much shorter] contemporary version. After she was into it, though, she said it was perfect as it was.

Scott's poem made me wonder (as poems often do) whether it could be used as a mentor poem: "If I could write like ________ " (Mine is below.)

Ninth draft of the beginning of
Tolstoy's novel War and Peace

If I could write like Tolstoy
by Laura Scott ­­

                you’d see a man
dying in a field with a flagstaff still in his hands.

I’d take you close until you saw the grass
blowing around his head, and his eyes

looking up at the white sky. I’d show you
a pale-faced Tsar on a horse under a tree,

breath from its nostrils, creases in gloved fingers
pulling at the reins, perhaps hoof marks in the mud

as he jumps the ditch at the end of the field.
I’d show you men walking down a road,

one of them shouting to the others to get off it.
You’d hear the ice crack as they slipped down the bank...

read the rest here


First, I thought about writing a poem about Emily Dickinson or Elizabeth Gaskell, but since it is October, I took a spooky turn with Edgar Allan Poe. [Warning: There are spoilers below, if you haven't read "The Masque of the Red Death."]

Edgar Allan Poe
by Matthew Brady

If I could write like Poe
by Tabatha Yeatts

                you'd see a prince,
waving his mighty hand as he plans a grand seclusion.

You'd hear the pen nibs scratching busily as invitations are dashed
to a thousand healthy, jolly nobles, and in the distance

the grim sound of peasants falling, a mere half-hour
after the first sign of plague seizes them, and the faint drip

of the final exodus of blood leaking down their
stunned faces. I'd show you the supplies being stocked in the kitchen,

the bolts, ready to shut out the unpleasantries of the countryside,
the musicians, the actors, the dancers, swirling

through the doors to provide Beauty and Pleasure
during the long wait. You'd smell the tang of the wine as they

carouse one month, two, three, and on, safe from the
desperation of the forgotten folk outside

who cannot help but eye each other with suspicion.
Not here, though. You'd see that here, the only thing

that makes the partygoers nervous is the grandfather clock
at the end of the hall, the one in the room with black velvet

curtains and scarlet windows. You might even feel uneasy
about hearing that clock chime yourself, despite your cozy seat,

far from the locked abbey doors. I'd bring you with the prince
as he chases someone dressed as The Red Death, determined to punish

this fearsome killjoy. You won't mind if I let you go
into the last room alone, so you can watch the prince,

and then the nobles, struggling to pull off The Red Death's mask,
until they succumb
one by one.


Jama Rattigan has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jama!

Sound Made Visible

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.
~Nikola Tesla

Videos from "CymaScope: Sound Made Visible" today, starting with the shortest:

The Cymascope App

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A Library of Forms

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world it is best to hold hands and stick together.
~Robert Fulghum

For Wellness Wednesday, Caregivers Library. They have a lengthy list of helpful forms, some of which would be helpful not only for caregivers. My daughter Ariana keeps a binder of info for hospital visits that includes an Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan reminiscent of the Asthma Emergency Plan below.

photo by Thomas Eagle

A sampling:

* Asthma Emergency Plan

* Weekly Medicine Chart

* Driving Assessment Checklist

* Home Modification Checklist How to safety-proof a loved one’s home

* Appointment Information

* Your Valuable Records

Check out the rest of the list here!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Medicine Chant

For the first 18 years of her life, [composer and vocalist Dréa Drury] lived in a rural village of 50 people in the heart of the Kootenay Mountains [British Columbia, Canada]. Her experiences there, as well as her love for nature, wilderness, and the world of the elements, have inspired her to write music which directly reflects their influence.
~Anilah bio

Our Music Monday song isn't the "get up and groove"'s more "ease into the morning." Anilah:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

No Hemlock Rock

When people kill themselves, they think they’re ending the pain, but all they’re doing is passing it on to those they leave behind.
—Jeannette Walls

photo by Ruth Hartnup

Jennifer Michael Hecht is the author of Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against It. Thank you, Jennifer, for giving me permission to share "No Hemlock Rock"!

No Hemlock Rock (don't kill yourself)
by Jennifer Michael Hecht

Don't kill yourself. Don't kill yourself.
Don't. Eat a donut, be a blown nut.
That is, if you're going to kill yourself,
stand on a street corner rhyming
seizure with Indonesia, and wreck it with
racket. Allow medical terms.
Rave and fail. Be an absurd living ghost,
if necessary, but don't kill yourself.

Let your friends know that something has
passed, or be glad they've guessed.
But don't kill yourself. If you stay, but are
bat crazy you will batter their hearts
in blooming scores of anguish; but kill
yourself, and hundreds of other people die.

Poison yourself, it poisons the well;
shoot yourself, it cracks the bio-dome.
I will give badges to everyone who's figured
this out about suicide, and hence
refused it. I am grateful. Stay. Thank
you for staying. Please stay. You
are my hero for staying. I know
about it, and am grateful you stay.

Eat a donut. Rhyme opus with lotus.
Rope is bogus, psychosis. Stay.
Hocus Pocus. Hocus Pocus.
Dare not to kill yourself. I won't either.

"No Hemlock Rock (don't kill yourself)" by Jennifer Michael Hecht from Who Said. © Copper Canyon Press.


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

The palette of autumn

[Fall] settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.
~Stephen King

Celebrating the amber light of autumn this Art Thursday.

Maple Trees at Mama, Tekona Shrine and Linked Bridge
by Utagawa Hiroshige

Autumn on the Seine, Argenteuil
by Claude Monet

Les Alyscamps
by Vincent Van Gogh

Woman with Autumn Leaves, 1994
by Andrew Stevovich

Autumn Landscape
by Albert Bierstadt

Autumn Symphony
by John Joseph Enneking, 1899

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Self-Care Apps

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
~L. Frank Baum

Portrait of a Young Girl With an iPhone,
after Agnolo Bronzino
by Mike Licht

I have been slow to use apps, which could be why I didn't realize that they would be a good topic for Wellness Wednesday. I've heard good things about these:

* InsightTimer: offers an extensive free library of guided meditations

* Breathe+ Simple Breath Trainer (only for iOS devices)

* Fabulous: a science-based app, incubated in Duke's Behavioral Economics Lab, for building healthy rituals

Here is VeryWell's list of top mental health apps for 2019, which includes apps for stress relief, depression, therapy, and learning coping skills.

Do you have any to add to this list?

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Our Oldest Relative

I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it.
~William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Sunray from clouds by Dawid Zawila

Two poems today. I shared another poem by 21-year-old British poet Hannah Hodgson yesterday. She wrote the below poem in 2017:

Our Oldest Relative
by Hannah Hodgson

If your mothers face fell
and her muscles couldn’t pick themselves up
you’d call an ambulance.

Another ice cap falls into the sea
like a cheek.
There are no sirens, no doctors, no A+E.

If your brother’s airway began to close
everyone would fight
to get him oxygen.

read the rest here


An interesting experiment (a Twitter poetry party) led to "At the Oasis, the Camel on Caravan." The first line seems like a good prompt, too.

At the Oasis, the Camel on Caravan
by @llbarkat, @TchrEric and @gyoung9751

Who were you in my dream?
The mermaid asked,
Herself the tears that feared to live.

I was the snow white hart, leaping from the touch.
I was the fish the mermaid shadowed.
I was the story in the burning book.
I was the fork, golden and shining.

I was a clearing
Ringed and shadowed
With evergreens.

read the rest here


Library Matters has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Cheriee!


In matters of the heart, nothing is true except the improbable.
~Madame De Stael

It's Dysautonomia Awareness Month, so I'm celebrating with hearts for Art Thursday. My daughter Ariana was diagnosed with POTS in 2017. A medicine that slows down her heart has been a huge help, in addition to the five liters of electrolytes she drinks daily and compression socks she wears, but she still can't walk long distances and being in the heat is a big no-no. Looking forward to autumn weather when it finally comes!

Bogotá Mural
photo by Pedro Felipe

Ice heart
photo by audi_insperation

bliss heart
photo by Jon Evans

Waverly Place
by James Jowers

Błonia Wilanowskie, Warszawa, Poland
photo by Roman Eugeniusz

I know the weight of your heart
by Neal Fowler

A poem: POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) by Hannah Hodgson

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Shakespeare got to get paid, son

Lincoln, FDR, and Kennedy "understood that the life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of the nation, is very close to the center of a nation's purpose- and is a test of the quality of a nation's civilization."
~Arthur Schlesinger

Today I saw a viral video of a homeless woman singing an aria. She sounded beautiful, but I was appalled. Why was this talented woman homeless? It was supposed to be a "feel good" story about finding beauty anywhere, but in my heart it was a story about how we fail our artists. This year, I've seen our National Philharmonic and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra struggling to make ends meet. To me, the government should be supporting artistry as befits a great nation. As President Lyndon Johnson said, "Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” Ann P. Kahn correctly said, "The arts say something about us to future generations." What will our arts say about us?

I know that the aria-singing homeless woman was helped, but what about the ones who weren't caught on video? What about supporting artists BEFORE they end up on the streets? Some ideas:
* 15 Ways to Support Artists for Free from Heroine Training
* 10 ways to support artists when you’re broke from DIY Musician
* Kickstarter
* CERF+ the artists' safety net
* ArtLifting
* 15 places to buy art online
* Why Art Matters
* The Performing Arts Alliance

people need the opportunity
and time to become good
(and to be rewarded when they do)