Monday, March 30, 2020

Beautiful Chorus

I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness that characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.
~Saul Bellow

For Music Monday, something calming from Beautiful Chorus:

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The long view

We have been fooled into taking the short view. The trees know this.
~L.L. Barkat

L.L. Barkat wrote a lovely post called Pine Needle Tea and Small Kindnesses where she said:
“If Darwin had studied trees, we might have a whole different view of things now,” my daughter recently said to me. After supper, she’s been reading us The Hidden Life of Trees.

Trees, who can live for thousands of years, take the long view, and for this reason they are very, very kind to all their members. Relying on an underground network of communication via roots and fungi, they will sometimes do things like send sugar and water to threatened trees on the other side of the forest, temporarily giving up what they could take for themselves alone.

What the trees understand is that the health of the whole forest depends on the health of even its weakest members, for if they let the weak trees suffer and die, then too many gaps open up in the overstory, and then the wind can come in and wreak havoc, knocking even the strongest trees down. Trees, oddly, to our eye, will even take care of mother trees that died long ago, sending sugar and water to still-living roots whose trunk and branches turned to humus hundreds of years prior.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Poets, Unite! (Separately!)

It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.
~Winston Churchill

Welcome to the Poetry Friday round-up!

It's been quite a week, hasn't it? I certainly can't pretend it hasn't. We've seen highs and lows of people's behavior. Rich people who try to keep ventilators for themselves on one hand, and on the other, medical personnel who are working 12-hour (or more) days without the proper equipment. "Pro-life" politicians who are stone-hearted about saving lives vs. grocery store staff who come to serve an unpleasant public at risk to themselves. I hope we are able to show our gratitude to the people who are doing their best for us.

We can't accept bad behavior, but we do need to accept our current stay-at-home, social distancing circumstances. I've been thinking about acceptance because it came up when I did another exercise in The Crafty Poet. This exercise was to take a poem someone else wrote and write its opposite. I took a poem about hope and had to decide what its opposite would be. My first impulse was "despair," but I didn't want to write about that. When I thought about it, "acceptance" came to mind. Hope and acceptance are two sides of a useful coin.

by Tabatha Yeatts

it crackles like a fireplace
  inviting slumber in its hum,
it is the lightning-struck tree
  reborn as home to all who come.

it bursts from pine cones
  like a fist releasing its hold,
it treasures early daffodils
  tho they may end as frozen gold.

it is strands of light
  seeping through a drizzly haze,
it is the sturdy bench
  in the heart of the winding maze.


Welcoming your poetry, readership, resources, comfort, and concerns. Add your link here!

Sign-ups are coming!

logo by Elena

It's the same as usual (you can do 1-5 swaps) so if you already know what you want to do, you can email me (tabatha@tabathayeatts(dot)com).

P.S. I'm still gathering Things I Wish You Knew poems and Michelle is still collecting game poems at Today's Little Ditty. Both end March 31st!

Damien Kempf

From medieval tapestries, we know that slingers were capable of hitting birds in flight. They were incredibly accurate.
~Malcolm Gladwell

I read the above quote in the middle of the night (insomnia!) and I first thought he was talking about "singers." I sat there for a minute trying to figure out how that would work, and then I realized it was "slingers." ha!

For Art Thursday, medieval art as interpreted by Damien Kempf:

Ready for work

Enjoying my social media break

We all need a little cuteness in our lives
img from Bosch, Saints Triptych

I am writing

Love [BnF, Fr. 166, 15th c.]

Monday morning

Monday morning is from Noah’s Ark, [John Rylands, MS. Lat. 8, 12th c.]

A bonus:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.
~Catherine Drinker Bowen

photo by Ernie & Katy Newton Lawley

I am a bit scattered and am making things catch-as-catch can. I have a friend who is writing for three hours a day. My hat is off to her! Nancy Strauss from Creative Writing Now says:
Scientists have discovered that it's easier to form new habits when your normal routine is disrupted. For example, if someone wants to stop smoking, the ideal time might be during a move to a new city, or when switching jobs. When everything's up in the air, it gives you a chance to reinvent things from scratch.

So, if your normal life feels like it's been disrupted right now, it's an opportunity to reinvent yourself as a writer, to get more serious about writing, more creative, more productive.

...If you can...

- take some time away from the news and reread one of your favorite books, a book that you love and admire so much that it makes you want to write something as wonderful yourself.

- spend one or two minutes doing something related to your writing. Jot down a few ideas, write the first line of a poem or the name of a character you can write about. Even if you only spend a minute or two, it's a step forward.


In case you just feel like reading, here's a "pro-reading" quote:

The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.
~Samuel Johnson

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Soothing content from Open Culture

Smile, breathe, and go slowly.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

photo by Jeremy Keith

Open Culture thoughtfully said:
What about caregivers who suddenly find themselves providing 24-7 care for elders with dementia, or neuro-atypical adult children whose upended routine is wreaking havoc on their emotions? ... What can we do to help lighten those loads when we’re barred from physical interaction, or entering each other’s homes?

We combed through our archive, with an eye toward the most soothing, uplifting content, appropriate for all ages:

Soothing, Uplifting Resources for Parents & Caregivers Stressed by the COVID-19 Crisis

Monday, March 23, 2020

Bird Youngsters

All the people that we lost
Light the way when we're in the dark
~Little Dragon

For Music Monday, something upbeat from Little Dragon and a smooth groove from Se So Neon:*

* One translation of Se So Neon is "Bird Youngsters."

Sunday, March 22, 2020

An Isolation Wellbeing Daily To-Do List

There’s really no wrong way to move through this season as long as the choices you are making are choices made with kindness for yourself and your community.
~Lindsay Braman

A To-Do List by therapist Lindsay Braman:

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Switching Gears

Life is like a 10-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.
~Charles Schulz

I read an article last night about almost half of coronavirus patients having digestive symptoms and it threw me for a loop. I had already known that information about COVID-19 treatment is in flux, but I felt relatively settled in my theoretical plan (hydration, lung support, fever management).

This info suits the "hydration" part, but changes how to recognize whether someone has it. Apparently a lack of appetite and diarrhea are way more common than I realized. Dealing with diarrhea hadn't been on my radar. I wanted to mention it to y'all, because maybe this is new to you also.

* You can make your own electrolyte drinks (if someone in your family is losing liquids due to diarrhea or vomiting) or you can use something like nuuns (or, of course, Gatorade or Pedialyte).
* An old post about making plain water more palatable for people who don't drink it plain
* Do you like peppermint tea? That's something I like to have on hand when people need to have their stomachs settled.

It is certainly hard for me to plan out posts -- I don't know what I want to be saying the next day! xo

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Light sources at the ready

No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That's the only way to keep the roads clear.
~Greg Kincaid

Ugly Lamp contest at the KY State Fair
photo by rreihm

Can I tell you how much I love that there's an Ugly Lamp contest at the Kentucky State Fair? Yay for things that are wacky and creative :-) I also love Kathryn Petruccelli's mom. You'll see why in this week's poem:

by Kathryn Petruccelli

My mother used to tell me
there was a time
she kept a closet full of lamps
so whenever one of her kids
broke one, she’d sweep up
and pull another out.

I imagine her trolling
the Saturday morning garage sales
of the ’70s, buying every cheap,
ugly thing that lit, handing over a dollar,
50 cents, maybe haggling them down
to a quarter. A woman with a stockpile
of light sources at the ready
while her children flipped
like gymnasts through the living room:

my brother leaping for all he was worth
toward the old brown sectional,
the rug underneath a hot pit of lava;

read the rest here


Have you read Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale? I gave it two thumbs up when I read it a long time ago. Might be good reading while you're at home.


For info about my Things I Wish You Knew project (and the TLD March challenge), visit this post.

Michelle Kogan has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Michelle!

Engravings of Venice

Streets flooded. Please advise.
~Robert Benchley

I'm so specific today, aren't I? Venice, Italy:

Venice: Grand Canal, Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute Church
Unknown engraver

Venezia panoramic c1850
Adolphe Rouargue

At the Santa Maria della Salute church in Venice
After a painting by G. Schönleber

Venice, The Grand Canal (woodcut).
Henri Théophile Hildibrand, 1887

St Marks Square in Venice
After Luca Carlevarijs

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

At-Home Activities

Development is a series of rebirths.
~Maria Montessori

I was asked for ideas about things to do at home with kids and it seemed like a good topic for Wellness Wednesday. What you're going to want to do will depend on the age and interests of your kids, the weather and outdoor surroundings of your place, and what supplies you have at home. So, lots of variables.

Some suggestions include: letting each child plan a day, meaning let them be in charge of the activities that day (perhaps picking one art activity, one outdoor/game/physical activity, and one cooking/food activity). You can have the first Special Day yourself to show them how it's done.

Another possibility is making a family newspaper. My younger two kids loved doing this and made quite a few. They had articles in them like "The Mystery of the Missing Keys" and "The Laundry Conundrum."

Sometimes it's fun
to take pictures of random things

They also wrote a short story about our pets and my parents' pets ("The Battle of Staunton"), which they were turning into a movie before they realized that stop-motion animation takes forever...Maybe if they were doing it now, something that takes forever would be a good idea.

Pinterest is pretty awesome for ideas, so I made a Pinterest board as a starting place for activities (see below). I also included a link to all my DIY posts.

I made this fridge magnet
based on something I saw on Pinterest

* My Things to Do At Home with Kids Pinterest board
* All the DIY posts from The Opposite of Indifference
* The Metropolitan Opera has free nightly opera streams. Fantastic!
* Open Culture has terrific resources, such as free language class links, free audio books, free online movies, and free online courses.
* Free puzzles from Penny Dell Puzzles
* Melissa Wiley has advice for people who are suddenly homeschooling
* Skillshare has tips on working from home and the link between creativity and wellness

Saturday, March 14, 2020

You matter

Preston and Patsy

My daughter Ariana gave me permission to share a post of hers from Facebook here:

Everywhere I turn there is another reminder that the world is scary and I am medically vulnerable. As the crisis continues to escalate, I am trying to find new ways to soothe and distract myself. I’m sharing this pep talk to myself because I know I’m not the only one:

You may wake up with fear every single day until this blows over. That makes sense. That’s okay. Your heart is big enough to hold this fear, and it still has room for other emotions too.

There is a point where researching is productive, and there is a point where it becomes obsessive, a way to feel a false sense of control. Reading 100 articles with the same 5 tips or knowing precisely how many cases there are in your state will not fix your immune system. Focus on what you can control. Make a good, detailed plan and then watch a gardening show or read a detective novel.

Now may be the right time to have a movie marathon or reread a favorite book from childhood. A lucky rock, a beloved stuffed animal. Is there any small way to feel a little braver, a little more whole?

Skype your therapist, cuddle your pets, text your friends. Ask them how they are holding up, and when they ask you, be honest. It can be a huge relief to vent and commiserate. That said, if it feels like 100% of your conversations are being pulled into the black hole of the coronavirus and your brain can’t produce a single unique thought, google “questions to ask your friends” or “36 questions to fall in love.” It may feel silly to talk about which celebrity you’d want as a dinner guest or whether you’d rather have a baby fox or a baby koala as a pet, but it may also be exactly what you need.

Insight Timer is a great app with thousands of free guided meditations. Grounding yourself in the present moment is the antidote to mourning things that have not yet come to pass (and may never come to pass). Maybe gardening or watching the Bachelor or crafting or cuddling your dog is your version of meditation. Whatever way you meditate, meditate.

Reflect on everything you have already survived. You are here. You matter. Your heart is big enough to hold this-- even this.

A caveat: I know there are young, healthy people who feel invincible and need to take the coronavirus much more seriously… this post is not for you! Stop reading this post and go wash your hands. This is for my friends with anxiety, my friends who take immunosuppressants, my friends with asthma and mast cell disease and other serious chronic health issues, my friends who have loved ones at risk-- for anyone who feels doomed and overwhelmed. You are not alone.


I think I've posted this song before, but it seems like a good time to bring it back. A song from Waitress, sung by Natalie Weiss and Brad Greer:

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Still wings

She walked with the Universe
on her shoulders and made it
look like a pair of wings.
~Ariana Dancu

Encouragement today from Sarah Cannavo.

"White Wings"
Stained Glass Sculpture by Edgar Phillips
photo by David Merrett

Fallen But Not Down
by Sarah Cannavo

Your wings might be dirty,
white feathers darkened with mud
and blood, stiffened by sweat and
burned to peeling by the sun
constantly beating down at your...

read the rest here


For National Poetry Month, I'd like to share poems on my blog with the general theme of "Things I Wish You Knew..." with an emphasis on physical/mental health.

For instance: * Someone with dyslexia talking about why a particular font is easier to read * Someone with POTS talking about why they sometimes use a wheelchair even though they can walk * Someone with celiac talking about unexpected problem foods * Someone who had a gunshot wound talking about a ramification of it * Someone with anxiety talking about why they might avoid someone they like

This is just a tiny sampling of possibilities. The idea is to inform the reader about something that is outside their realm of experience, something that is maybe not that obvious. Your poem can be directed toward any age group -- I'm leaving it open. Please send poems no later than March 31st to tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com. (Earlier is great!)


March TLD padlet: I am in the spotlight this month on Today's Little Ditty with a game poem challenge!


Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Matt!

Celtic Knots

Love does not remain within the heart, it flows out to build secret tabernacles in a landscape.
~John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

In honor of the upcoming St Patrick's Day holiday, Celtic knots:

Celtic circle and roses
photo by Dianna Ott

Monmouth ceramic table
photo by Jambamkin

Baptismal font in the parish church of St Mary Magdalene, Eardisley, Herefordshire
photo by Poliphilo

Celtic Circle Shirt
Eden, Janine and Jim

Agnus Dei, Tállara, Lousame, Galicia, a probable copy from the church of Saint Salome, in Santiago
photo by Froaringus

Celtic knot
by Nevit Dilmen

* You can read about types of Celtic knots on the Ancient Symbols site.
* Etsy has cool Celtic knot stuff like pendants, garden art, and quilt patterns.
* Make your own Celtic knot necklace.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Worry dolls and stones

Her forehead was a maze of anxious little grooves, from a lifetime of wondering about whether everyone within range was OK.
~Tana French

I thought maybe people were worried and might find worry dolls and stones helpful for Wellness Wednesday. Let a doll hold on to your worries while you get a good night's sleep. The directions call for using a small version of a clothes pin, but I went out and found a little twig to make a doll with. (My husband said, "Did you forget the arms?" and I told him the directions didn't have arms. Honest!)

How to make worry dolls

How to make worry stones

I couldn't find out whether this was really something Mark Twain said. Sounds like it might be:

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.
~Mark Twain

One last link:
Don't feel bad about feeling bad

Monday, March 9, 2020

Bootsy's Basic Funk Formula

My mother named me Bootsy. My birth name is William Earl Collins. I asked her why and she just said, “Because you looked like a Bootsy.” I left it at that.
~Bootsy Collins

For Music Monday, Bootsy Collins explains basic funk formula:

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Labeling Keys

When I was 12, I forgot the keys to my parent's apartment. So I simply climbed up seven floors to get in.
~Alain Robert, urban climber

There's something so intriguing about keys.

photo by Ivan Radic

Labeling Keys
by Taylor Mali

Though not a secretive man,
my father understood combination locks and keys.
Yes, he was a Yale man. And he had a love affair with brass.
And he had a key rack as organized as the writing on the label of each key was neat.

It’s the same angel that made him label and date
butcher‐paper­‐wrapped leftovers in the refrigerator
with Christmas‐present creases & hospital corners
and little 2 by 2 post‐it notes with possible suggestions
for the leftover’s use: “Turkey scraps. November twenty­‐three.
Yummy treat for the D‐O‐G?”
secured with (count ‘em) one, two rubber bands,
one for snugness, the other for

But there’s an art to labeling keys.
The one you keep to your neighbor’s house
cannot say on it:
“Neighbor’s house across the street.
In Maine for all of May.”
these are labels you will not see at our house.
Instead, my father wrote in his own argot,
in a cryptographic language of oblique reference;
the key to the burglar alarm he called THE SIREN’S SONG,

read the rest here

You can also watch it here:

Bonus from Taylor Mali's blog: A poetry assignment based on a poem by Danusha Laméris

Michelle has an interview with me and monthlong poetry challenge at Today's Little Ditty!

Rebecca Herzog has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Becky!


You are afraid of me, because I talk like a sphinx.
~Charlotte Brontë

On a recent visit to Hillwood in D.C., I was taken with the sphinxes. Hillwood has two terracotta sphinxes that were made in the 1700s: one representing Marie Antoinette, the other Marie Therese, Princess de Lamballe.

A sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and body of a lion. They are guardians, and may be benevolent or not. In Greek tradition, they ask riddles...and you'd better get the answer right!

Sphinx at Hillwood
photo by Maia C

Sphinx statue on the Red Bridge, Aschaffenburg, Germany
photo by Maulaff

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
photo by Daniel H. Tong

Sphinx de la fontaine du Palmier, place du Châtelet, Paris
carved by Henri-Alfred Jacquemart

Sphinx, Chiswick House, London
photo by Orangeaurochs

by Odilon Redon, 1889

Illustration from the book Gargantua
Gustave Doré

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Fortunately muggles are delightfully oblivious

Begin your story with a sentence that will immediately grab hold of your listener’s ears like a surly nun in a Catholic school.
~Amy Sedaris

Amy Sedaris is just as entertaining as the above quote indicates. The comments for this video note that "she’s trying and failing to remain inconspicuous among muggles." 'Nuf said. Check out her apartment!

Hat tip to Bonnie Boo for the video!

Monday, March 2, 2020

An MM List

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
~attributed to Lao Tzu

When I decided to put together a list of favorite Music Monday posts, I knew it was pretty much a case of Mr. Mack giving Mrs. Mack a stereo system. (In our family, that expression refers to when somebody gives a present that they will use the most themselves.) Here's your post for today! I am looking forward to using it! :-)

I didn't know how to divide a bunch of them, so I did it by song speed. There were some I wanted a middle designation for, but "Middler" seemed a little funny.

Caravan Palace: Miracle
Caro Emerald: That Man
City of the Sun: Everything
COIN: Simple Romance
Eric Clapton: Watch Out for Lucy
Fairground Saints: Can't Control the Weather
Isley Brothers: Fight the Power
J. Rabbit: Happy Things
Laura Mvula: Green Garden
Marina Satti: ΜΑΝΤΙΣΣΑ
Miranda Lambert: Gunpowder and Lead
Mint Royale: Blue Song
Old Dominion: No Such Thing as a Broken Heart
Otava Yo
Paolo Nutini: New Shoes
Radney Foster: A Little Revival
Revivalists: Keep Going
Saint Motel: Just My Type
SG Lewis: Aura
Tom Misch feat. De La Soul: It Runs Through Me
Vulfpeck: Animal Spirits

Allen Stone: Consider Me
Bluey Robinson and Jeremy Passion: Just Friends
Bobby McFerrin: Fix Me Jesus
Brooke Fraser: C.S. Lewis Song
Devin Dawson: All on Me
Pentatonix: Can't Sleep Love
PJ Morton feat. YEBBA: How Deep is Your Love
Samm Henshaw: Broke
Sarah Jarosz: Ring Them Bells
Steve Winwood: Can't Find My Way Home

Bach: Partita N°3 prelude
Beethoven: Ode to Joy
Beethoven: Symphony #7
Berlioz: Hungarian March
Brahms: Hungarian Dance #6
Dvořák: New World Symphony
Khachaturian: Masquerade
Mozart: Horn Concerto No.3
Rimsky-Korsakov: Snow Maiden
Rossini: Figaro
Saint-Saëns: Danse Bacchanale
Smetana: Die Moldau

Eric Whitacre: Alleluia
Orlande de Lassus: Le lagrime di San Pietro
Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week
Handel: Messiah (For Unto Us a Child is Born)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Mr. James's Marvelous Thing

I went out with this girl the other night, she wore this real slinky number...She looked great going down the stairs.
~Milton Jones

Slinky, Amsterdam
photo by Ceescamel

by Prartho Sereno

In this week’s obituaries—Betty James,
whose 90 years are boiled down
to three paragraphs, one and a half given
to her husband Richard, the marine engineer
who fell in love with a torsion spring
when it toppled from his desk and
cartwheeled out the door.

In the picture, Betty’s holding the beloved
Slinky in her stair-step hands. Most likely
she’s been shuffling the toy—one of its many
irresistible charms. But for the picture’s sake...

read the rest here


This amazing video doesn't have any talking (btw, it ends at 1 minute, 14 seconds):


Addendum: This poem is from Rattle. I looked at several issues (Civil Servants, Adjunct Professors, Japanese forms, etc.) and I thought I remembered that today's poem was from the Poets of Faith issue. It's actually from the Mental Health Workers edition. Isn't it interesting how that categorization could change your interpretation? Probably thinking it was from the Adjunct Professors issue would change it again!

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

Rolling pins

There is a mystery inherent in a pie by virtue of its contents being hidden beneath its crust.
~Janet Clarkson

Rolling pins for Art Thursday? You probably think I've dropped my stopper, flipped my wicket, fruited my loops. Well, take a look at these:

Unknown maker, England, 1775-1810
Exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum, New York
photo by Daderot

Glass rolling pin, engraved with ship, anchor and words Chars. Oliver
Auckland Museum

Rolling pins, Smithsonian Folklife Festival
photo by Paulo O

Swedish decorative wooden rolling pin with the commandments of the house written onto it
photo by Martin "xarragon" Persson

MODO museum, Colonia Condesa, Mexico City.
photo by Apoptosical

A rolling pin as a monument to a local pastry-cook Dana Šupáčková, Řevnice, Czechia
photo by ŠJů

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week for Wellness Wednesday, some purely entertaining things..why not?

New Shoes by Paolo Nutini:

Don't you love how inventive people are? Here's a clock that shows the time in sequins:

I don't know how they control 4 million volts of electricity, but it looks pretty cool. Lords of Lightning:

One more feel-good song (Warning: cuss word, although it is sung beautifully). Allen Stone:

One last thing that makes me smile:
If you're in the market for Literary Chicken greeting cards, check out From Scratch Studios.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Simple Romance

Why fight the feeling?

Keeping things upbeat this Music Monday with COIN:

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Hand-marked paper ballots, y'all

Dictators are not in the business of allowing elections that could remove them from their thrones.
~Gene Sharp

Hi folks! For a couple of years now, I have had a preoccupation with election security. I can't remember exactly when it started. I was already concerned in 2018 when Brian Kemp served as overseer of the same Georgia election he was running in. At the time, I was like, How is this allowed? Nobody stopped him, which has really been an ongoing theme of the past few years. Who will stop the people who want to cheat?

That's what I'm wondering, and that's why I asked some poet-friends if they wanted to write on the topic of election security, especially the necessity of hand-marked paper ballots. When I asked, I wasn't sure I would get any takers. I mean, who wants to write about that? I hadn't even written one yet myself! But poets care, and they are willing to take on a challenge, so here we are!

Ballots for Swedish national election
photo by Jens O. Z. Ehrs

One last thing -- I would encourage everyone to follow Jenny Cohn. Keep informed!

Election dreams of a clumsy dialer
by Tabatha Yeatts

I inadvertently dial my uncle's number
on speed dial again...his spot, at the
right place for an accidental push. I

miss a call from my husband-- the ring
volume unintentionally silent on my
phone. He thinks we can find a way to keep

me from pushing the wrong buttons.
Oh mom, my children would say, unsurprised.
They would recommend me for many things--

You should run a B&B, they say, you could
sell these cupcakes, these creams
-- but they
wouldn't suggest that I run an election. The

voting machines would malfunction and I
would only be able to supply snacks for the
repair people, could we find any. Lines would form

down the block while people missed work and
babysitters fumed as no one came to pick up
the kids. Foreign countries would change the tallies

and I would only be able to say, "Did you see
that? Just then? Well, it's gone now."

I'm sure I could make paper ballots, though. Nice-

looking ones, easy to read, and I definitely could
come up with all the pencils a quick-moving line
of voters could want. "So happy you could come,"

I would say, shaking each hand as they depart,
duty done, ballot ready to be counted, safe from
fingers that push the wrong buttons.


Muddied Tech Trail

Yes, I have my ballot.
And yesterday dropped it in.
I hope it will be counted.
I'm wishing for a win.
But with the news reported
of mysteries and hacks.
I'm also counting on the truth
that America has our backs.
The truth is that I'm troubled
as never before I've been
that people in our country
ensure that we ALL win!

© 2020 Linda Baie


You can check what is going on in your state with The Verifier map.



From the Italian ballotta
meaning "little ball."

Long, long ago a voter made
a choice by means of a little ball
placed in a container to be counted.
Imagine how quickly the tallying
of little balls would lead to chaos.
One or two or twenty balls
rolling to the floor, into corners.

Paper came to replace the spheres.
A simple marking of one's choice
on a piece of paper. Years go by...
'til mechanization...interference.
And so, we come back to paper--
easy to mark, easy to collect,
easy to count (and count again).

That's how democracy really rolls!

© 2020 Diane Mayr


Your Vote Only Counts If It’s Counted (A Nonet)

not digital,
not ephemeral.
In your hand. Palpable.
A vote that will be counted.
An actual piece of paper
holding officials responsible.

© 2020 Mary Lee Hahn



Paper trails tell
voting tales--
They note
the way we vote.
For Democracy--
What do we need?
Paper trails!

Did you know that all 50 states
have been graded on our
voting election security,
and we didn’t score so well overall…
My home prairie state of Illinois
came in with an uninspiring C.
Though the report indicates
we’re making changes.
Out of 50 states in our 2016 election
Illinois was hacked into and compromised.
Hmmm, wonder ‘bout the hanky panky go’n on…
I’ll let you figure out who compromised Illinois,
and who tried to compromise 23 other states too…

Paper trails tell
voting tales--
They note
the way we vote.
For Democracy--
What do we need?
Paper trails!

You might wanna throw up your arms
and pass on our upcoming primaries–
But not I, I still believe in
I still believe in our
inalienable right to vote
I still believe in truth–
It’s there somewhere
I hear about it everyday
I see people fighting for it

Paper trails tell
voting tales--
They note
the way we vote.
For Democracy--
What do we need?
Paper trails!

Find out where to vote–
Find out how to vote–
Get your name on the rolls.
If you wanna try a
Paper ballot, and make a
Paper trail–
Start early!
You may run into some snags --I have--
But I’m plugging along.

I’m gonna hand mark my paper ballot,
They will note the way I vote.
Start your own
Paper Trail!

© 2020 Michelle Kogan


Cheriee Weichel was inspired by today's poems to add one of her own, after The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams:

so much depends

you and me

paper and pen

counted by real


One more poem: Thinking of String by Ian McMillan


John Oliver talks about voting machines
Why paper ballots are the best safeguard against election hacking
Verified Voting Recommends Hand-Marked Paper Ballots

Addendum: I felt bad just talking about hand-marked paper ballots because that's not the only thing. To assuage my conscience:
1. Hand-Marked Paper Ballots (exception 4 voters w/ disabilities)
2. Remove The Modems
3. Remove Remote Access
4. Ban Internet Voting
5. Manual Audits
6. Paper Voter Lists (in case e-pollbooks fail)
7. Protect Your Voter Registration (triple check; save screenshot or other proof)


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

Saints, stories, and allegories

Shaped a little like a loaf of French country bread, our brain is a crowded chemistry lab, bustling with nonstop neural conversations. Imagine the brain, that shiny mound of being, that mouse-gray parliament of cells, that dream factory, that petit tyrant inside a ball of bone, that huddle of neurons calling all the plays, that little everywhere, that fickle pleasuredome, that wrinkled wardrobe of selves stuffed into the skull like too many clothes into a gym bag.
~Diane Ackerman

I winged it for Art Thursday and ended up with a selection of European paintings from the 1500s and 1600s featuring interesting women (and one skull).

Vanitas Bust of a Lady
by Catharina Ykens II, Flemish painter

Artemisia Drinking Wine Mixed with the Ashes of her Husband, Mausolus
by Filippo Tarchiani

Saint Catherine
circa 1505-10
by Fernando Yanez de la Almedina

Dulle Griet (Mad Meg)
by David Teniers the Younger

Allegory of Fortitude
circa 1568-72
by Michele Tosini