Thursday, October 22, 2020

October 2020

In the fall of 1803, American Naturalist John James Audubon wondered whether migrating birds returned to the same place each year. So he tied a string around the leg of a bird before it flew south. The following spring, Audubon saw the bird had indeed come back.

A poem I wrote for Bridget's poetry group. Thank you, Linda, for your comments!

October 2020
by Tabatha Yeatts

Sweeping long hair
into a dustpan after a haircut,
I notice I'm wearing a blue plastic ring
on my right hand,
banded like a migratory bird.

Where did it come from, this tag?
What did it mark before?
My movements are far less mysterious
than this band.

I think of my daughter's preschool teacher
who migrated here from Colombia, and her hand,
which she would raise above her head as she said,
"I am holding you here"
to students needing to wait their turn.

October is holding me here,
accompanied by the gourds
assembled on my stoop
like a family sitting for a portrait,

and the bright maple leaves
strewn around my mailbox
that I attempt to turn into a bouquet,

and the scarecrow
in my neighbor's yard
who makes me do a double-take again.

Fixed in place,
I take off the band.

There's a hint of chill outside.
I settle deeper, forget flight.


This poem was inspired by a true incident. I wasn't sure how this ended up on my hand:
I got jalapeno/habanero juice in my eye while I was making lunch, so it probably made its way onto my finger then (when I couldn't see).

Tracking Birds' Migration Paths Online,
Animal Migrations Track with Wikipedia Searches, Scientific American

Want to send a poem and receive a poem? Join the one-time Holiday Poem Swap! We also send gifts with the poems. (It's been known as the Winter Poem Swap, but it's summer in Australia.) Please email me (tabatha (at) tabathayeatts (dot) com) if you want in or have questions.
Jama's Alphabet Soup has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jama!

Martin Brothers

In the later part of the 19th century, an idiosyncratic potter named Robert Wallace Martin ran a ceramics shop with his brothers, Walter, Edwin, and Charles. Known, aptly, as the Martin Brothers, the quartet—who had grown up extremely poor—became successful and prolific for many years, turning out a wide variety of vases, sculptures, jugs, and more. But the Martin Brothers were known especially for their birds. Nicknamed “Wally Birds” after Robert Wallace, who conceived them, the beaked creations are so expressive, it’s hard to ignore—or forget—them.
~Catherine Zuckerman

Wally Birds and other Martin Brothers pottery for Art Thursday. (Prior to today, I was unaware that sometimes one's spoons need warming.)

Bird, 1888
R. W. Martin and Brothers

Spoon warmer, 1875
R. W. Martin and Brothers

Jar with four birds, 1892
R. W. Martin and Brothers

Tall Bird, 1896
R. W. Martin and Brothers

Small vase with birds, 1905
R. W. Martin and Brothers

Friday, October 16, 2020

Gardens and Snow

I planned out our whole day. First we make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie Dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we’ll snuggle.

We are in between summer and snow, so neither of these poems from Every Day Poems by T. S. Poetry Press match my weather, but they both lifted my spirits. I really love the title "The Once Invisible Garden."

The Once Invisible Garden
by Laura Foley

How did I come to be
this particular version of me,
and not some other, this morning
of purple delphiniums blooming,
like royalty— destined
to meet these three dogs
asleep at my feet, and not others—

read the rest here


On the Necessity of Snow Angels for the Well-being of the World from WisdomWay Institute on Vimeo.

On the Necessity of Snow Angels for the Well-Being of the World
by Grace Butcher

Wherever there is snow, I go,
making angels along the way
Luckily angles have no gender
and are easier to make
than you might think.
All you have to do is let go,

read the rest here


Next week, I'll announce sign-ups for the Winter Poem Swap!

Salt City Verse has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Janice!

Thursday, October 15, 2020


All the heart was full of feeling: love had ripened into speech,
Like the sap that turns to nectar, in the velvet of the peach.
~William Wallace Harney

Velvets from the Cleveland Museum of Art for Art Thursday.

Velvet Fragment, Italy, first half 15th century

Velvet Fragment, Italy, 16th century

Velvet Fragment, Italy, 16th-17th century

Fragments of Velvet (So-Called Velours Jardiniers), Italy, Genoa, 17th century

Brocaded velvet cover with sunbursts
The sunburst’s dynamic rays terminate in small tulips bearing hyacinths that alternate with peacock feathers. Quantities of luxury textiles were made for the Ottoman sultans, who were the largest consumers of textiles in the Western world by the mid-1500s and early 1600s.

Brocaded velvet with falconer and attendant in animated lattice, from a robe, Iran, 1525

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Glück's Duck

The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.
~Jonas Salk

Even though I wasn't familiar with Louise Glück's poetry, I was happy to hear that she won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I love for poetry to garner attention, and I appreciate knowing the million dollar + prize is going to a poet. The excerpt I picked to share is basically in honor of Halloween (which was also the inspiration for my Art Thursday post...what can I say? I've been putting up lights and dressing up my dogs). This excerpt feels like it could be turned into a campfire story.

excerpt from Dawn
by Louise Glück

Child waking up in a dark room
screaming I want my duck back, I want my duck back

in a language nobody understands in the least —

There is no duck.

But the dog, all upholstered in white plush —
the dog is right there in the crib next to him.

Years and years — that's how much time passes.
All in a dream. But the duck —
no one knows what happened to that.


Haunted poems
Wee Words for Wee Ones has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Bridget!


If anyone boos you offstage, that is simply applause from ghosts.
~Sharon Needles

Feeling in the Halloween spirit so we have ghosts for Art Thursday.

Phi Ta Khon Ghost Festival, Thailand
Dan Sai, Dan Sai District

There Cap'n Goldsack goes, creeping, creeping, creeping, Looking for his reasure down below!: illustration of a pirate ghost, 1902
Harper's Magazine
Howard Pyle

The Apparition
by Henri-Jean Guillaume Martin

by Henryk Weyssenhoff, probably from 1893

Ivan the Terrible and the souls of his victums
by M.P.Klodt

The drowned man's ghost tries to claim a new victim for the sea
Thorvald Niss

Hungry Ghost Festival
Ethnic Chinese women burn hell money (food offerings) during the "Hungry Ghost" festival in Medan, North Sumatra

Wednesday, October 7, 2020


I can't read music. Instead, I'd do stuff inside the piano, do harmonics and all kinds of crazy things. They used to put me in these annual piano contests down at Long Beach City College, and two years in a row, I won first prize - out of like 5,000 kids! The judges were like, 'Very interesting interpretation!' I thought I was playing it right.
~Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen, y'all.

(You were expecting Eruption and didn't get it? Eruption is not my jam. I know, I know.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Five minutes well spent

As evidenced throughout - but most notably on ‘Porz Goret’ and ‘Enez Nein’ – Tiersen’s main touchstone is the music of Frederick Chopin. This is sensitive music that ebbs and flows with a subtlety and passion as fingers dance across the keys with a deceptive ease. As with the overall composition, Tiersen favours a ‘less-is-more’ approach and it’s a tactic that works well in his favour; the listener is drawn in and is almost dared to fill in the gaps.
~Julian Marszalek

Music: Yann Tiersen - Porz Goret
Acrobats: Tarek Rammo & Kami-Lynne Bruin

Monday, October 5, 2020

An interlude

Pianos tend to get better as they age, the more you play them. They grow into their sound.
~Alicia Witt

For Music Monday, Saint-Saëns's Aquarium from The Carnival of the Animals performed by The Kanneh-Masons and the last movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 performed by Glenn Gould.

A bit of The Carnival of the Animals trivia: The theme of the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast prologue is based on the 'Aquarium' movement, composer Alan Menken said, as a means of promoting French music in a French original fairy tale.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Beauty Mark and the Round-Up!

Welcome! The Poetry Friday round-up is here.
I have a treat for you...we have a guest post by Carole Boston Weatherford! Carole tells us about her new verse novel called Beauty Mark. My list of "comfort movies" includes "Some Like It Hot," which also happens to be Carole's favorite Marilyn movie. Read on to find out more!
Carole Boston Weatherford:

Why Marilyn Monroe?
After spanning the Harlem Renaissance and World War II in verse novels about Billie Holiday and the Tuskegee Airmen, I had arrived at mid-century. In search of my next subject, I saw college students rocking Marilyn Monroe gear as the #MeToo movement rocked Hollywood. The irony made me wonder how much young adults knew about the pop culture icon, why her star never dimmed and how her story speaks to our times.

Why YA?
Teens will identify with Marilyn’s struggles: self-doubt, family dysfunction, economic hardship, mental illness, substance abuse, gender fluidity, and sexual abuse and harassment. Teens will also connect with her style, body confidence and search for herself.

Why a verse novel?
A poet, Marilyn probed her anxieties through verse. From foster care to fame—her life was a poem as dramatic as any movie.

What was your research/creative process?
[Note from Tabatha: Carole has a wonderful video that I couldn't insert but you can visit here]

I read biographies of Marilyn—ones that were narrative and others that collected her mementoes. I approached her story chronologically, consulting various references about the same chapter of her life. Then, I crafted first-person poems to recreate each scene and to evoke her emotions.

What is the book’s premise?
A few months before her death, Marilyn is backstage at Madison Square Garden being sewn into her gown to sing “Happy Birthday” to President John Kennedy. During the lengthy styling, Marilyn reflects on her troubled life and unlikely rise to a Hollywood legend. I grab readers with the first line: “I am nude. . .”

What will surprise readers?
Marilyn sympathized with the civil rights struggle and used her star status to be an ally. For example, she helped her fan crush, singer Ella Fitzgerald, secure a gig at the Mocambo, a Los Angeles nightclub. The club’s owner had declined Fitzgerald due to her race, weight and jazz bent. He booked her, though, after Marilyn agreed to sit at the front table every night of the engagement.

Though typecast as a blonde bombshell, Marilyn was much more: a painter, gardener, avid reader (despite dyslexia), and the brains behind her brand. Bold and ambitious, she was the first woman since the silent film era to start a production company.

Marilyn was perhaps the original influencer. Although she died in 1962, official Marilyn Monroe sites have garnered 14 million Facebook likes and 244,000 Twitter and 1.7 million Instagram followers. Not to mention the countless international fan sites.

What surprised you?
Marilyn owned 430 books, including some that are also in my collection. I devoted a poem in Beauty Mark to her personal library.

What are your personal Marilyn Monroe favorites?
Reference- Marilyn, a massive book from the 2012 Ferragamo Museum exhibition
Photo-Milton Greene’s shot of her in a tutu
Film-Some Like It Hot
Song-“I’m Gonna File My Claim” from River of No Return
Outfit-The white off-shoulder dress she wears on the 1952 Life cover.
Quotation-"A wise girl knows her limits, a smart girl knows that she has none."
Poem in Beauty Mark-“Who is Marilyn Monroe.”

Rave Reviews for Beauty Mark
“This searing, aching love poem to a widely known but often misunderstood icon will speak even to young readers who may not be familiar with her films. A window into a uniquely magnificent and terrifying life.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Weatherford’s intimate writing style will make readers feel like they’re accessing Marilyn’s private journals.”—School Library Journal
“...[E]xquisite page design, meticulously incorporated research, and magnetic subject...”—Booklist
“[A] psychologically nuanced biography...”—School Library Connection

Thank you, Carole, for sharing your compelling new verse novel with us!

Please leave your link with Mr. Linky!

Koros and censers

At the end of our lives we hope we will look back and, like an incense stick completely burned away, will have poured forth all our fragrance into the world.
~Prem Prakash

For Art Thursday, incense burners, censers, koro. Wikipedia says, "Incense fragrances can be of such great strength that they obscure other less desirable odours" (such as decay at funerals and sweatiness in packed churches). "Incense clocks" have also been used to tell time-- you know how much time has passed by how much has burned. Incense has also been used to keep insects away. We have a pretty fragrance-free household, so no incense here.

Egyptian Incense Burner, 7th century BC
Walters Art Museum

Incense burner in shape of lying ox
Edo period, 17th century, bronze
Tokyo National Museum

Incense Burner ("Koro") supported by entwined dragons
mid 19th century (Edo)
Walters Art Museum

Incense burner in the shape of daikon with mouse, Japan
Meiji period, bronze
Exhibit in the Linden-Museum, Stuttgart, Germany
photo by Daderot

Incense burner (koro) with peacocks
Suzuki Chokichi signing as Kako (1848–1919)
Victoria and Albert Museum
photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen

Censer of Fire God Quetzalpapalotl
Mexico, Teotihuacan, Teotihuacán, A.D. 200-700
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Incense burning at a temple
Taipei, Taiwan
photo by Miuki

Incense Burner (koro) with Design of Peacock and Birds amid Flowers
by Hayashi Kodenji (Japan, 1831-1915)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Kōdō (香道, "Way of Fragrance") is the art of appreciating Japanese incense.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Let's go

What I’m trying to get across to you is: Please take care of yourself and those that you love, because that’s what we are here for, that’s all we’ve got, and that is what we can take with us.
~Stevie Ray Vaughan

The first time I remember hearing a song by Stevie Ray Vaughan, I was 16 and someone was playing "Change It." I was like, "What magic is this??"

Addendum for people who like addenda: Stevie Ray Vaughan died at age 36 in a helicopter accident (1990). He is ranked #12 on Rolling Stone's list of top 100 guitarists.

Thursday, September 24, 2020


All writers are magpies, right? We're always stealing bits from different places and then weaving them into our little nest.
~Stacey D'Erasmo

Celebrating Irene's new book This Poem is a Nest today! Irene wrote a 37-line poem and then found 161 wee poems within it. An amazing feat! Another incredible thing about Irene's book is that every single word of her Nest poem is used in one of the nestlings. Every single one! I decided to see if I could make a zine from her book, and then make a zine with my own nestlings from another poem. What I found is that making nestlings is HARD!

Here are a few photos of the zine I made with Irene's book:

Here's a printable version of the zine I made. You can read about how to fold and cut them here.


So then I wanted to see if I could find enough nestlings in a poem to make my own zine. I got a yen to try with someone else's poem first, so I gave it a shot with "Clap the Carers" by Jackie Kay:

I found:

I keep the best medicine
in the garden--
ten minutes of fresh air
and you.

But then I was stumped for others. Not enough to make a zine with! Next I want to try using my poem Celia Greets Us at the Island. Maybe I'll be able to come up with more :-)

Congratulations on a wonderful, inspiring book, Irene!


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


Painting is concerned with all the 10 attributes of sight; which are: Darkness, Light, Solidity and Colour, Form and Position, Distance and Propinquity, Motion and Rest.
~Leonardo da Vinci

For Art Thursday, some lesser-known painting techniques: grattage, verdaille, brunaille, repoussoir, and rosemåling. (Maybe repoussoir is actually well known and I just hadn't heard that term?) The brunaille paintings are pretty different -- one seems more golden than brown. I'm including them both because I can't decide which to leave out.

by Giovanni Guida
Grattage (literally "scratching", "scraping") is a technique in surrealist painting which consists in "scratching" fresh paint with a sharp blade.

Sleeping Woman
by Pietro Rotari (1707–1762)
Verdaille is a painting executed entirely or primarily in shades of green. Such a painting is described as having been painted "en verdaille."

The Visit to the Tenant Farmer
by Jan Brueghel the Elder
Brunaille is a painting executed entirely or primarily in shades of brown.

A Sibyl and a Prophet
by Andrea Mantegna

Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877
by Gustave Caillebotte
Repoussoir is an object along the right or left foreground that directs the viewer's eye into the composition by bracketing (framing) the edge.
The rear-facing man on the right with the tilted umbrella is an example of repoussoir figure leading the viewer's gaze into the composition.

A celebration plate with rosemåling
Rune Nesher
Rosemåling, Norwegian for "rose painting," a decorative folk art that originated in the rural valleys of Norway.

Monday, September 21, 2020

O Silver Moon

Illuminate him far away,
and tell him, tell him who is waiting for him!

In memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for Music Monday we have a piece that was one of her (many) favorites. Renée Fleming and London Symphony Orchestra with Dvorák's Rusalka, Op.114, B. 203 / Act 1 - "O Silver Moon"

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Joy does another lap around the racetrack of my heart

Happiness is a warm puppy.
~Charles Shultz

When we adopted Preston, our second dog, I hoped his presence would make Lucy feel better about being alone in the house. You know, the two of them could hang out while we were gone. As it turns out, a) due to the pandemic, there are six of us here so them being home alone isn't really a thing and b) Preston doesn't cope that well when I go out. Woe unto everyone if I start to go out and realize I've forgotten something and come back for it. Preston gets really upset when I leave the second time. He actually makes loon noises. I have promised Matthew that I won't go anywhere when he is teaching class. I don't want him to be distracted by loon sounds upstairs.

Lost Dog
by Ellen Bass

It’s just getting dark, fog drifting in,
damp grasses fragrant with anise and mint,
and though I call his name
until my voice cracks,
there’s no faint tinkling
of tag against collar, no sleek
black silhouette with tall ears rushing
toward me through the wild radish.

As it turns out, he’s trotted home,
tracing the route of his trusty urine.
Now he sprawls on the deep red rug, not dead,
not stolen by a car on West Cliff Drive.

Every time I look at him, the wide head...

read the rest here


Waiting for Happiness
by Nomi Stone

Dog knows when friend will come home
because each hour friend’s smell pales,
air paring down the good smell
with its little diamond. It means I miss you
O I miss you, how hard it is to wait
for my happiness, and how good when
it arrives. Here we are in our bodies,...

read the rest here


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


Postman’s bag is always heavy because it carries the life itself: It carries all the sorrows and all the joys, all the worries and all the hopes!
~Mehmet Murat ildan

For Art Thursday, images from the National Postal Museum Archives:

An illustration of the "Jacob Strader," on the Louisville and Cincinnati mail line, 1856

City collection mail wagon used to collect mail from sidewalk mailboxes in Chicago, 1890

Mail team leaving Circle City for Ft. Gibson, Alaska, c. 1900

Railway Post Office streetcar #642, 1900

Robert Shank was hired in 1918, the first year of airmail service, as a Post Office Department airmail pilot. Shrank survived this crash of his Standard JR-1B aircraft, which landed nose down into a woody area. Shank is pictured standing on the airplane, peering into the cockpit.
Creator/Photographer: Charles T. Chapman

A girl trying to reach the top of a street collection mailbox to mail a letter, 1920

Railway Post Office clerks at work sorting mail inside the tight quarters of an RPO car, 1930

USPS Gifts