Thursday, December 31, 2020

Whatever your heart says to say

Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.
~C. S. Lewis

I have never chosen One Little Word for a year, but I did end up having one for 2020 anyway: flexibility. I feel like that might also be my word for 2021, but I will have to see. (Apparently the word chooses me, not the other way around.)

When I was thinking about what poem to share today, I liked the pairing of Sally Heilbut's "Order on the Phone to a Large Department Store" with Tom Hunley's "If You’ve Met One Autistic Person, You’ve Met One Autistic Person" because they both offer that jolt of seeing things in a new way and embracing surprise. I couldn't find Tom Hunley's poem online, though, so I can only share one stanza of "If You’ve Met One Autistic Person, You’ve Met One Autistic Person":

Who asks how much you weigh? How fast you’ll grow?
Who says whatever their heart says to say?
Don’t let him bend to suit the world, I pray.
Who dreams up paths where no one else can go?
My son’s the only person that I know.


Lily Einhorn shared on Twitter:
My great aunt Sally died on Tuesday night of Covid, 8 days after testing positive in her care home. She wanted to be a poet. She wasn’t really educated, she never had a tutor, an editor or a publisher. But she self-published a pamphlet.

Here is one of Lily's favorites of her great aunt Sally Heilbut's poems:


Wishing you the best in 2021! xo

There's No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Ruth!

The Bells of St Genevieve

At first a faint tinkling passes from church to church...see how, all of a sudden, at the same moment, there rises from each steeple as it were a column of sound, a cloud of harmony...Say if you know anything in the world more rich, more joyful, more golden, more overwhelming than that tumult of bells, than that furnace of music, than those ten thousand voices of bronze singing all at once from flutes of stone three hundred feet high, than that city which has become an orchestra, than that symphony which roars like a storm.
~Victor Hugo

That quote from The Hunchback of Notre Dame makes me want to start reading it asap. Poetry, I'd say. I have a song today, but I also have one painting since it's Art Thursday:

Interesting bits about Marin Marais (1656–1728):

Marais is credited with being one of the earliest composers of program music. His work The Bladder-Stone Operation, for viola da gamba and harpsichord, includes composer's annotations such as "The patient is bound with silken cords" and "He screameth." The title has often been interpreted as "The Gall-Bladder Operation," but that surgery was not performed until the late 19th century. Urinary bladder surgery to remove stones was already a medical specialty in Paris in the 17th century.

Also, he had 19 children.

Hope y'all have a good last day of 2020!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Glass Animals

We're just racin' time, where's the finish line?
~Esthero, Starshell, Malik Yusef, Jeff Bhasker & Kanye West

A colorful video for you as I try to wean myself off Christmas music...Glass Animals:

One more:

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Ring a ling

Let's take the road before us
And sing a chorus or two
~Mitchell Parish

Hi y'all,
I don't have posts for Art Thursday or Poetry Friday, but I do have a song for you! Hope you are well.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Daft Days

Daft in modern English means silly, foolish or mad, but here it has an older sense — which survives in Scots — of somebody who is thoughtless or giddy in their mirth, so daft-days is an exact translation of the French fĂȘtes de fou.
~World Wide Words

Daft Days are the period of celebration between Christmas and Hogmanay (New Year's) or Twelfth Night (January 5). "A Toast Tae The Daft Days":


Addendum: Just realized I should have said that she wrote this poem (poyum) herself! She is Len Pennie.

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


During the nine-day novena before Christmas, these paruls [lanterns] were brought around each barrio in procession to their visita...This tradition gradually evolved as the lanterns became bigger and the designs became more intricate...In the end, these lanterns became a symbol of unity for the barrios.
Wikipedia entry for Giant Lantern Festival

I feel like enjoying some lights, so here are lanterns from a previous Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando, the Philippines. Keep in mind that these lanterns are probably 15 feet across! It must be wonderful to see. Ramon F. Velasquez is the photographer.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Merciful kindness

With just two verses and sixteen words in Hebrew, [Laudate Dominum] is the shortest psalm in the Book of Psalms. It is also the shortest chapter in the whole Bible.

I had a feeling Welsh treble Cai Thomas would sound ethereal, but I did not anticipate how talented he would be. Impressive musicianship from this young singer:

Monday, December 14, 2020

Shimmy shake

Dancing is moving to the music without stepping on anyone's toes, pretty much the same as life.
~Robert Brault

These folks are crazy good. Wow!!

Thursday, December 10, 2020


...Next time you see someone sleeping, make believe you're in a science fiction movie and whisper, 'The creature is regenerating itself.'
~George Carlin

Happy Poetry Friday! I have been busier than a one-armed paper hanger. You'd think that would make me sleep well, but it's a crapshoot.

by Rebecca Aronson

I want to lie down like a tiny birch canoe,
sewn with red thread, afloat in the street
in the rushing aftermath

of a good spring rain. To curl in the y of a desert willow
at sundown when its pink blossoms
are a thousand distant lanterns strung

among the branches. At night
I prop my sleeping body like a shield.
I fly myself like a volley of arrows

toward the glowing eye of sleep’s center...

read the rest here


A bonus poem: Belief in Magic by Dean Young

Buffy Silverman has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Buffy!


The art of cobweb painting, or gossamer, involves gathering, cleaning, then layering the silky excretions of web-spinning insects such as spiders and caterpillars, to form a canvas. The vast number of webs needed to build a single canvas meant people were employed solely to collect them...

The fashion of cobweb painting seems to have begun in 16th-century Austria, specifically in the Tyrolean Alps where monasteries and convents would produce these micro meticulous masterpieces.
~Atlas Obscura

There are less than a hundred cobweb paintings in existence today. Here's the only one in England:

Madonna and Child, Chester Cathedral
probably by Johann Burgman (d.1825)

The above cobweb painting is a copy of this oil painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder (just wanted you to get a better view):

Monday, December 7, 2020

Sister and Sam

Don't ever drive a strange man from your door,
He may be your best friend you don't know
~Make Me A Pallet on the Floor

Vintage recordings for Music Monday. Sister Rosetta Tharpe:

Here's Sam Chatmon, born 1897, in 1978:

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Inclining the Heart

Jules Supervielle was conscripted during the First World War and served until 1917, at which time he returned to poetry.

A poem by Jules Supervielle today. He married his wife in 1906 and they had six children. How many had been born when he served in WWI? What a relief that he lived to return to poetry (and his family). Today's pandemic leaves people learning to hear from afar as well.

Listen, Will You Learn to Hear Me from Afar?
by Jules Supervielle

Listen, will you learn to hear me from afar?
It’s a question of inclining the heart more than the ear.
You’ll find bridges in yourself and roads
that lead right to me.
I’m awake all night, looking out for you.

What does it matter, the Atlantic's width,
The fields, woods, mountains between us two?
One by one they’ll have to abdicate –
When you decide to turn your eyes this way.


A Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up (and host sign-ups for the first half of 2021). Thanks, birthday girl Mary Lee!

Living lights

May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.
~J.R.R. Tolkien

For Art Thursday, illustrations from Living lights: a popular account of phosphorescent animals and vegetables by Charles Frederick Holder, 1887.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

I will feel a glow just thinking of you

Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.
~James Herriot

Two videos YouTube suggested to me...very different, both great.

Sarah Jarosz:

A cat having a spa day: