Thursday, July 30, 2020

Permission to be unsure

Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.
~Richard Bach

More from the 2020 Summer Poetry Swap! Tricia Stohr-Hunt sent me a beautiful zentangle and a charming journal decorated with inspiring quotes. The zentangle:

Made from a page of Treasure Island by
Robert Louis Stevenson,
Charles Scribner's Sons (1909)


Poetry Papers

a book opened

come round
pen in hand

fancy words
pages filled with

nothing sure


These are not swap-related, but I've never had a bouquet of gladiolas before and I could take pictures of them all day! They look to me like "flower antlers." The little cup next to the gladiolas has cobweb spiderwort cuttings in it.

Sending healing thoughts to Ruth.

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


Fifty lemons are a load for one person, but for fifty persons they are perfume.
~Ethiopian Proverb

Hi y'all! There are a lot of "if life hands you lemons, make lemonade" variants, but I decided to go with the proverb.

The weather is still unpleasantly hot here and I am still working my way through the 18 lemons I accidentally bought the other week. In lemonade's honor, here's Art Thursday:

Still Life with Lemons
Rita arrigo

Vase with Bananas, Lemons and Books
by Juan de Echevarría (1875-1931)

Lemon, Fig, Pear, Almond Trees
by Anton Seder (1850–1916)

Aquarelle d'un citronnier
by Alice Bailly (1872-1938)

by Oscar Ghiglia

Citrus Limonum
by David Blair
from Medicinal plants by Robert Bentley and Henry Trimen, 1880

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Senryū Girl

Humor is a reminder that no matter how high the throne one sits on, one sits on one's bottom.

What is senryū?
Senryū is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 or fewer morae (or on) in total. However, senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryū do not include a kireji or verbal caesura (cutting word), and do not generally include a kigo, or seasonal word. [Akita International Haiku Network]
Senryū Girl is an anime show about a girl who just communicates through senryū:

Senryu Girl Ep. 1 from Yandere Fangirl on Vimeo.

The story focuses on the relationship between Nanako Yukishiro, a girl who only communicates through senryū written on tanzaku, and Eiji Busujima, an ex-delinquent who attempts to write his own senryū.
Some examples of senryū from the Haiku Society of America:
back pain
again I pick up
unsaid words

Kyle D. Craig
summer concert
fanning myself faster
during the scherzo

Donna Claire Gallagher
age spots
the last banana
in the bunch

Tom Painting, Atlanta, GA

Reflections on the Teche has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Margaret!

Cooling Off

I think rain is as necessary to the mind as to vegetation. My very thoughts become thirsty, and crave the moisture.
~John Burroughs

It's been unpleasantly hot in my corner of the world recently. The only respite is while it's raining, so that's the subject of Art Thursday this week.

Tarda de pluja
by Santiago Rusiñol

April Showers, Napa Valley
by Jules Tavernier, c. 1800

La rue de la Douane à Strasbourg, effet de pluie
by Lothar von Seebach

Rainy Night, Charing Cross Shops
Joseph Pennell (1857–1926)

Rain in oak forest
by Ivan Shishkin (1832–1898)

Stadttheater and Alleestrasse
by Ludvig Munthe

More rainy posts:
It's Gonna Rain (song)
Five Things about the Rainbow (poem)
A Rainy Evening with Turn Signal by Windshield Wiper (poem)

Monday, July 20, 2020

What helps

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.
~Etty Hillesum

Anybody want to share things that help them relax and revitalize? Some of the things that help me are dogs, plants, tea, and art supplies.

Vivien (Dash's girlfriend) painted the sweet picture of Lucy and Preston above.

I wake up in the night and have been known to check the news. Arg! Bad idea, I know. January 20, 2021 cannot come soon enough for me. I am not one for shouting, so you'll just have to imagine that last sentence in all caps and 50 point font. At any rate, this woman helps me go back to sleep. Thank you, Lauren.

My friend Chris offers wonderful easy movement and meditation classes over Zoom at Bent Twig Studio.

Let me know in the comments if you have any relaxation recommendations!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Metaphors, Mixed not Stirred

She was a poetry book with the wrong dust jacket, shelved in the Reference section.
~Joyce Rachelle

A friend shared this with me. The name of the poet was cut off so I looked it up...I should have guessed it was Brian Bilston!

How to Avoid Mixing Your Metaphors

It’s not rocket surgery.
First, get all your ducks on the same page.
After all, you can’t make an omelette
without breaking stride.

Be sure to watch what you write
with a fine-tuned comb.
Check and re-check until the cows turn blue.
It’s easy as falling off a piece of cake.

Don’t worry about opening up
a whole hill of beans:
you can burn that bridge when you come to it,
if you follow where I’m coming from.

Concentrate! Keep your door closed
and your enemies closer.
Finally, don’t take the moral high horse:
if the metaphor fits, walk a mile in it.

Brian Bilston


Margaret is sharing a snake hunt poem that I wrote for her, inspired by photos of her family on a gator hunt.

Bookseedstudio has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jan!


Are we not witnessing a strange tableau of survival whenever a bird alights on the head of a crocodile, bringing together the evolutionary offspring of Triassic and Jurassic?
~Annalee Newitz

The only travel I'm doing these days is virtual. In this case, it's more temporal than spacial. For Art Thursday, dinosaurs:

Butting dinosaurs
Matt Brown

Reconstruction of Coelophysis rhodesiensis.
by Wikipteryx

Cryolophosaurus ellioti pair
by Fabio Pastori

Tyrannosaurus origami designed by Shunsuke Inoue
William Hartman

A bronze statue of Coelophysis
Paleontological Research Institution

Mechanical Dinosaur
photo by Greg Goebel

Natural History Museum, London, Dinosaur Gallery Tyrannosaurus model
Photo by Denis Bourez

Dinosaur lesson plans from the American Museum of Natural History

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Mindfulness for Chronic Illness

Having a chronic illness, Molly thought, was like being invaded. Her grandmother back in Michigan used to tell about the day one of their cows got loose and wandered into the parlor, and the awful time they had getting her out. That was exactly what Molly's arthritis was like: as if some big old cow had got into her house and wouldn't go away. It just sat there, taking up space in her life and making everything more difficult, mooing loudly from time to time and making cow pies, and all she could do really was edge around it and put up with it.
~Alison Lurie

I heard about this video through Dystautonomia International, an organization I follow because my daughter Ariana has POTS. Mindfulness can be tough for people with chronic illness because your body can be distracting or generally bothersome while you're trying to be quiet. Here's the link:

Virtual Wellness Class: Mindfulness for Chronic Illness from Dysautonomia International on Vimeo.

photo by Guy Tetreault

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tea and Zine

How wonderful if we human beings could have such power of emitting light as do the fireflies, — a sort of personal flash to be turned on at will!
~Dorothy Scarborough

Last week I shared a journal from Linda, and this week I'm sharing the poem that went with it. I've also got a poetry zine that Kay McGriff made for me, knowing how much I like zines. Linda and Kay are very thoughtful swappers!

These summer evenings, we have fireflies all over our street. The sight of them and their "lamps of love" always pleases me.
Yet mark! as fade the upper skies,
Each thicket opens ten thousand eyes.
Before, beside us, and above,
The fire-fly lights his lamp of love
~Reginald Heber
Linda captures many summer traditions in her poem Firefly Tea:

Summer Night
drops of dew

camp fire
circles loved one
a ghost story
or two.

Sun burned nose
bare feet
swim suits drip
dreams sweet
set aside to sleep

Drink slowly



Kay's zine:

Against All Odds
by Kay Jernigan McGriff

I am amazed
by green shoots
poking up
through cracks
in the sidewalk,
taking root
and reaching for the sun
against all odds.

I hope
that acts of kindness
can break
through cracks
in the walls of fear
and anger and hatred
that we build between us.

I want to be surprised
by kindness
taking room
toward each other
against all odds.

The folded kindness zine plus some rose lemonade tea


There is no such thing as a Godforsaken town has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Ruth!

Life in Miniature

Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

For Art Thursday, chess. I've mentioned before that we have themes with our birthdays, even for adults. Most recently, we celebrated Matthew's birthday with a chess theme. (My favorite chess joke: "What did the Australian chessplayer say to the waiter?" "Check, mate!")

Alma, playing chess
by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Chess at a campfire
photo by Armando Olivo

The Game of Life
by Anthony W. Jones

The chair of Alfabia (The Chair of the Moor King), featuring Tristan und Isolde playing chess
photo by H. Zell

Heavenly Scene with the Gods of Olympus Surrounding a Chess Board, Poseidon and Pan Below

John Carwitham 1723–41

Micro Chess
by Anatoly Ivanovich Konenko

Mädchen mit Puppe (Girl with Doll)
Alexander Demetrius Goltz (1857-1944)

"The chessmen were walking about, two and two!"
illustration by Peter Newell for Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There"

Thursday, July 2, 2020

A Poem Place

Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people.
~Deb Caletti

Hello, my dears! I am going to try to post a couple of times a week, if possible. Linda Mitchell generously sent me this handmade journal and gave me permission to share it here. I love Linda's mixed media art -- it's so inventive and playful -- and had fun taking outdoor pictures of "A Poem Place."


Next time I'll share the poem that came with it. Linda herself has the Poetry Friday round-up at A Word Edgewise!

Printable zines from earlier in the week


2020 has felt like a six month wall sit.
~Afshon Ostovar

Do you know what a wall sit is? It's this, and I think Afshon's quote is pretty much spot on. A little horology today:

Captive balloon with clock face and bell, floating above the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
by Camille Grávis

Antiquitätenstillleben mit Kaminuhr
by Josef Schuster (1873–1945)

Hourglass in Austria
photo by Krokotraene

Resonance-tourbillon mechanical watch with nested epicyclical gearings with visualization of time by the center of satellites
photo by Sergiy Sheyko