Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Little Green Orchard

Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me.
~William Shakespeare

I've given myself permission to just post when the spirit moves me, so I don't know what my upcoming blogging schedule will be. Last week, posting was pretty much out of the question, but I did buy some Christmas presents. (?) I'm back to the correct season this week with a shivery poem:

The Little Green Orchard

by Walter de La Mare

Some one is always sitting there,
In the little green orchard;
Even when the sun is high
In noon's unclouded sky,
And faintly droning goes
The bee from rose to rose,
Some one in shadow is sitting there
In the little green orchard.

Yes, when the twilight's falling softly
In the little green orchard;
When the grey dew distills
And every flower-cup fills;
When the last blackbird says,
'What - what!' and goes her way - ssh!
I have heard voices calling softly
In the little green orchard

Not that I am afraid of being there,
In the little green orchard;
Why, when the moon's been bright,
Shedding her lonesome light,
And moths like ghosties come,
And the horned snail leaves home:
I've sat there, whispering and listening there,
In the little green orchard.

Only it's strange to be feeling there,
In the little green orchard;
Whether you paint or draw,
Dig, hammer, chop or saw;
When you are most alone,
All but the silence gone...
Some one is watching and waiting there,
In the little green orchard.
Jama's Alphabet Soup has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jama!

Kuroki Neko

The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats.
~Ray Bradbury

Isn't that Bradbury quote great? I am a fan of cats of all colors, including beautiful black ones.

A Black Cat
by Jahn Henne

Slim Woman with a Cat (1913)
by Géza Faragó

Black Cat (Kuroki Neko)
by Hishida Shunso

Elena Kats-Chernin's Black Cat Rag
Ivana Tomášková - violin, Renata Ardaševová - piano

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Checking in

This hospital, like every other, is a hole in the universe through which holiness issues in blasts. It blows both ways, in and out of time.
~Annie Dillard

Hi folks!

My husband Ben had sudden kidney failure and was in the hospital for two weeks, so I have been mostly hanging out there. He came home today! Looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight (is it bedtime yet??) One interesting thing about being in the hospital was how different it was from my pandemic experience. During the pandemic, it has been pretty standard for me to not spend a lot of time with strangers. A hospital is chockful of strangers. I feel like I talked to a hundred of them in the past couple of weeks. It made me remember how much I enjoy interacting with random people. (Nurses and hospital staff are fascinating!)

While I was there, I enjoyed reading Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer's daily poems, like "Morning Encouragement":

I would like to be a kingfisher—
just for a morning.
I’d arrive at the edge of the pond
with the other kingfishers
and watch for crawdads.
“Catchin’ any?” I’d say
to the birds on my right.
“Nah,” they’d say,
“But we keep trying.”
“Good luck,” I’d say,
as took my own spot
in the branches,
waiting for the pond to still
so I could see the movement
at the bottom.
“Good luck,” they’d squawk back,
then they’d rattle with laughter

read the rest here

Monday, October 4, 2021

Tongue Drum Music for Concentration

She imagined that her drums were planets and the music was all the voices of growth and light and life joined together and traveling the universe.
~Francesca Lia Block

For Music Monday, Greenred Productions from Lithuania:

Thursday, September 30, 2021

A Simple Mystery

Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light.
~Mary Oliver

I made this post backwards today. I started with photos that I took while walking Preston and I looked around to see if there was a poem to go with them. Mary Oliver came through.

Mysteries, Four of the Simple Ones
by Mary Oliver

How does the seed-grain feel
when it is just beginning to be wheat?

And how does the catbird feel
when the blue eggs break and become little catbirds?

Maybe on midsummer night’s eve,
and without fanfare?

And how does the turtle feel as she covers her eggs
with the sweep of her feet,
then leaves them for the world to take care of?

Does she know her accomplishment?

And when the blue heron, breaking his long breast feathers,
sees one feather fall, does he know I will find it?

read the rest here


I've only heard this once, walking around the pond at night, and it was incredibly startling to hear in the dark:

P.S. When I play this video, Preston thinks someone is barking and he gets all bark-y himself.

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

In the Small Hours

Sleep opens within us an inn for phantoms. In the morning we must sweep out the shadows.
~Gaston Bachelard

For Art Thursday, George Clausen and his lovely "In the Small Hours":

In the Small Hours, 1911
by George Clausen

The person who shared this identified the bright object in the sky as Venus.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Ah, good news

If society collapsed, we’d just rebuild it better. I know this, because it’s happened before.
~Jason Pargin

An excerpt from What we do and don't know about kindness by Claudia Hammond, BBC:
One morning, people walking down a street in the Canadian city of Vancouver were asked to take part in an experiment run by the American psychologist Elizabeth Dunn. They were given an envelope containing either a $5 or $20 note. Half the people were instructed to spend the money on themselves. The other half were instructed to use the money to buy a present for someone else or to donate the money to charity. In both cases, they had until 17:00 that day to spend the money...

Whether they had $5 or $20 made no difference, nor did what they bought. What mattered was who they spent their money on. The people who had spent it on someone else felt significantly happier than those who treated themselves.

...In [another] study, a researcher is hanging up washing, but then runs out of pegs. Meanwhile, it's been arranged that the toddler playing nearby opens a box, finding either another peg, a marble to use in their own game or a useless piece of plastic. Digital analysis of their body language showed that on the whole they were just as delighted to find the peg for the researcher as they were at finding the marble for themselves.

I can imagine the pleasure of the children who found a peg in their box, can see their surprised faces.

Also, here's Stop Telling Me Humanity Is Doomed by Jason Pargin (note: there is cussing.)

Monday, September 27, 2021

Hada Ghareeb

My soul loves yours. It does. But this lifetime, my body won’t get on board.
~Molly Ringle

I am prone to sharing old songs for Music Monday, but here's one that was released this month. Jordanian singer Issam Alnajjar & Palestinian-Chilean singer Elyanna present “Hada Ghareeb,” (“Stranger To Me”) which is about "having deeper feelings but being afraid of sharing them because of the possibility of ruining the friendship."

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Big Invisible Pieces of Ourselves

The Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us.
~Karl Paulnack

Linda shared Welcome Address to freshman parents at Boston Conservatory, given by Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of music division at Ithaca College this week on Facebook and it is a long, moving read that goes well with today's poem. I encourage you not to miss it!

The Art Room
By Shara McCallum
for my sisters
Because we did not have threads
of turquoise, silver, and gold,
we could not sew a sun nor sky.
And our hands became balls of fire.
And our arms spread open like wings.

Because we had no chalk or pastels,
no toad, forest, or morning-grass slats
of paper, we had no colour...

read the rest here


"10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2021" from Americans for the Arts

Small Reads for Brighter Days has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Laura!

Audubon Mural Project

When the bird and the book disagree, believe the bird.
~John James Audubon

More birds, y'all. I can't help it -- they're so captivating. I had kind of a Shirley Jackson/E.A. Poe short story experience with my backyard crows this summer, but no hard feelings. For Art Thursday, here's the Audubon Mural Project.

AMP is a public art initiative spotlighting birds who are threatened by climate change. The 93 murals are (or were, in a few cases) located in New York City, clustered in a several-block radius from where Audubon once lived and is buried. The photos are by Mike Fernandez/Audubon.

Black-capped Vireo
by George Boorujy
A small, cartoon-like bird, the Black-capped Vireo is limited to oak scrubland in South Texas, Oklahoma, and Mexico. Audubon's climate models show that while the species may expand its range to include a small portion of New Mexico, if warming continues apace, it will lose 87 percent of its existing summer habitat, much of it in Mexico and Texas. It also faces threats that will compound its climate vulnerability, such as increased drought, fire, spring heat waves, and urbanization.

Blackburnian Warbler and Yellow-throated Warbler
by George Boorujy
A fiery little warbler, the Blackburnian stands to lose 99 percent of its existing breeding range across the northern United States and Canada; nearly half of that could be saved by limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Although it may push north into New York and New England, the Yellow-throated Warbler, meanwhile, may lose 92 percent of its current breeding range as climate change alters its preferred pine- and sycamore-filled landscapes.

Evening Grosbeak and Black-headed Grosbeak
by Ouizi
They share a last name based on their most prominent feature, but Evening Grosbeak and Black-headed Grosbeak are not at all related. Both evolved massive beaks to feast on large, crunchy fare. Evening Grosbeaks live in the north woods and eat seeds and buds, while Black-headed Grosbeaks are western and munch many insects as well. Audubon’s climate models predict that both will lose habitat as forests are damaged by rising temperatures.

Greater Sage-Grouse
by George Boorujy
This bombastic bird commands attention in the northwestern United States with its stunning appearance and mating display. It’s also the symbol of the sagebrush steppe, an ecosystem threatened by fossil-fuel extraction and other development. According to Audubon's climate models, the Greater Sage-Grouse stands to lose almost all of its current range, owing to changes in the sagebrush ecosystem, if rising temperatures are not brought under control.

Baird's Sparrow
by Ralph Serrano
Grassland birds are feeling the squeeze from climate change, and the Baird's Sparrow is no different. While the species has a high threshold for adaptability, its staple prairie habitat is quickly disappearing. According to Audubon’s analysis, it stands to lose 100 percent of both its summer and winter ranges if global temperatures rise to 3 degrees Celsius. Keeping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would help them retain a foothold in Canada.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Salut d'Amour

He enjoyed football, supporting Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C., for whom he composed an anthem, "He Banged the Leather for Goal."
~Wikipedia on Edward Elgar

I went down such a rabbit hole once I decided I wanted to feature "Salut d'Amour" by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) for Music Monday! I listened to so many versions, trying to decide which I liked best. It made me very relaxed! I hope you find this piece relaxing, too. Elgar dedicated it to his wife as an engagment present.

Salut d'Amour Op.12 (Arr. for Trumpet and Piano), performed by Ketil Christensen and Jørgen Andersen:

Cellist. SaYA Lee (Celloya):

Saturday, September 18, 2021


One can study a caterpillar forever and never be able to predict a butterfly.
~R. Buckminster Fuller

I missed Poetry Friday because I was off celebrating my dad's birthday. Here's a photo I took while I was there:

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Landscape with a Sunlit Stream

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
~Galileo Galilei

Toni Bernhard, author of How to Be Sick and How to Wake Up, posted this on Facebook and I liked it so much I couldn't resist sharing it for Art Thursday:

Landscape with a Sunlit Stream
by Charles-François Daubigny

Monday, September 13, 2021

A classic

One of the most played, arranged, and rearranged pieces in blues history.
~Gérard Herzhaft about Baby, Please Don't Go

Muddy Waters:

AC/DC's version

Monday, September 6, 2021

Stevie and Kenny

I always want to call you "Friend"
~Kenny Loggins

I made it in time for Music Monday! I was singing this song while making dinner...Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks:

Thursday, September 2, 2021


The heart's regulation of the pulse fashions the body into a musical microcosm keeping time with the rhythms of the universe.
~Bruce W. Holsinger

My uncanny, well-read daughter Ariana sent me this poem on a postcard.

Chinese Foot Chart
by Kay Ryan

Every part of us
alerts another part.
Press a spot in
the tender arch and
feel the scalp
twitch. We are no
match for ourselves
but our own release...

read the rest here

(If you haven't heard of reflexology, would you still get this poem?)


* The postcard arrived right after my heart had an odd knock...A rib injury over my heart made me feel like my heart had rather literally cracked open. I did some speedy healing and am much better now.

My Juicy Little Universe has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Heidi!

Grasset's Beautiful Garden

When you plant something, you invest in a beautiful future amidst a stressful, chaotic and, at times, downright appalling world.
~Monty Don

September is one of my favorite months. Lots of birthdays, beautiful weather. September 2021 got off to a humdinger of a start, though...I hope the rest of it is a bit more "hydrangea" and a little less "urgent care."*

La Belle Jardiniere – Septembre
by Eugène Grasset

* (I'm fine, we were there for Dash's knee, which is not fine. Meniscus tear? Update: It was a large bone contusion and lateral corner injury. Painful but nothing torn!!)

Monday, August 30, 2021

Make yourself a plate, love

If you were music, I would listen to you ceaselessly, and my low spirits would brighten up.
~Anna Akhmatova

For Music Monday, Carter Ace with "Stay Here Instead":

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Dark's Feathery River

A book is a dream you hold in your hands.
~Neil Gaiman

Thank you to Richard Hedderman for giving me permission to share "Reading Yourself to Sleep" for Poetry Friday. Such beautiful imagery.

by Richard Hedderman

Eyelids flutter over the blank verse
of sleep. You brush the crow’s wings

from your face. The book, perhaps a collection
of Chekhov’s short stories, spills

from your hands and tumbles into the dark
as through still water, sinking

under the weight of words. You follow,
flumed like a spent swimmer,

happy for the long, quiet slide
into the book’s depths

and down into the dark’s feathery river.
The full moon, like the Pequod’s coin

weights your eyelids. Regret streams away
through the countless estuaries

of sentences until you finally let go.
Go ahead. The page numbers

will mark the way. The chapters
will toll the fathoms.

(Published in Front Range Review, 2015)


Unexpected Intersections has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Elisabeth!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

30 Years of Independence

The territory of Ukraine is indivisible and inviolable.
From this day forward, only the Constitution and laws of Ukraine are valid on the territory of Ukraine.
~Verkhovna Rada

August 24th was the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence and August 20th was the 30th anniversary for Estonia. Congratulations to Ukraine and Estonia!

On 11 September 1988, roughly 300,000 Estonians (almost one-third of the population) came together in the Tallinn Song for the national Song Festival. For the people of the Baltic States, choral singing has always been a source of strength as well as national unity. That year, the sense of nationalism was high and singing became a means of expression and protest to Soviet hegemony.

Along with the Singing Revolution, the Baltic Chain (also called the Baltic Way) was instrumental in Estonia regaining its independence. On August 23, 1989, nearly two million people from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania took to the streets and clasped hands forming a chain of people that extended about 670 kilometers.

* Celebrating 30 years of Ukrainian independence with Ukrainian literature
* 10 artworks capturing 30 years of restored Estonian independence
* 9 books, films, and pieces of music that helped shaped independent Ukraine

Monday, August 23, 2021

Wellbeing resources

I am not a teacher, but an awakener.
~Robert Frost

Mast Cell Action has some free printable well-being resources for families and adults that could be helpful as we start the school year.

I love the Wellbeing Bucket.
What fills your bucket?
(Consider: what you do well, what you enjoy, who/what supports you)

What puts holes in your bucket?
(Write down: negative thoughts or people, worries, unhelpful behaviours)

What plugs the holes?
(List: what makes you feel better?)

Another cool one is the Ball of Wool:

* Label each different coloured string as an intrusive thought or worry.
* Jumble them up into a ball.
* Talk about how it feels to look at them all jumbled up (e.g. confusing, overwhelming, hard to see or know where to start).
* Start pulling them apart makes and notice if this makes them feel easier to see and appear more manageable.
* Reflect on this with the participant.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Ribs and Parkour

Parkour teaches you to be sure of what you are able to do.
~David Belle

A little video about how I injured my ribs...I kid! I wasn't doing parkour, but I was getting from one thing to another and fell. I posted last week that "I would be better in a day or two," but that turned out to be overly optimistic.

This morning, I told my husband a ranking of the things that are most painful to do, and there were a bunch of things tied for 2, 3, and 4, but the number 1 spot went to...hiccups. I am socially distancing from carbonated beverages until my chest is feeling better.

(I don't like to complain but I did think it might affect when we send out messages about IMPERFECT II, so I wanted to let y'all know about this hitch in my giddyup.)

Happy to report that none of these guys seemed worse for wear from this challenge:

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Summer Swap Fun

I like to think that Henry James said his classic line, “A writer is someone on whom nothing is lost,” while looking for his glasses, and that they were on top of his head.
~Anne Lamott

Feeling grateful for the Poetry Friday crew today! I love the enthusiasm and generosity that Poetry Fridayers approach everything, including the Summer Poem Swap. I received beautiful swaps from Jone, Margaret, Becky, Carol V., and Mary Lee.

Mary Lee made me a haiku deck of cards with my own quotes on them! Such a fun idea! Here's a (very meta) haiku about my blog made of lines from my blog:
my one indulgence
driven by a mad impulse
you can find it here

I mentioned that I played Dungeons & Dragons for the first time this summer, and Carol V. made a poem about it!

As I told Becky, I am a sucker for poems about grandparents:

Margaret hit the nail on the head: "Because we all need more poetry in our lives"

Jone wrote responses to the poems she was sent...for example, mine, Janice's, and Mary Iphigene's. I love that!


The Apples in my Orchard has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol L.!

Goose for a free Belarus!

At one point my favorite teacher left Belarus, and I switched to a drawing class. From that moment on, I've been creating paintings. And now it's as important for me as breathing or eating.
~ Anton Rodionov
Anton Rodionov is a Belarusian painter who lives and works in Minsk. He used to restore paintings for the National Art Museum of Belarus, then worked as an artist-designer at the Belarusian Hi-Tech Park. Presently, he works in his own Anton Rodionov’s Creative Studio.
Check out Anton Rodionov's art on Behance, including Goose for a free Belarus! from Birds with People

Bird Singing

Spring in the Heart (featuring the artist's wife)

City of My Dreams

Read an article about Anton in the Belarusian Contemporary Art Magazine Chrysalis Mag.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Learning the lesson (again)

"Actual reality is the only place where actual joy is to be found. If joy is delayed until a preferred future comes about, we set ourselves up for despair. But if there is hope in THIS day. Joy in THIS reality. This life. This body. This heart, then certainly we can prevail."

This quote led me to an article by Nadia Bolz-Weber, who describes herself as "Foul-mouthed for a preacher, grammatically challenged for a bestselling author, surprisingly hopeful for a cynic." Read the rest of her article containing the above quote, which was inspired by living through the pandemic but pertains to lots of situations, here.

One more quote from it:
...The “Stockdale Paradox” is the ability to hold two opposing but equally true things at once:

You must have faith that you will prevail in the end

And at the same time you must confront the brutal facts of your current reality.

On another topic, but also the same topic: Sending love, as always, to Haiti

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

the world doles out beauty to the in-love and the heartbroken alike

Hi y'all!

I am off somewhere, but here is an excerpt from a blog post by Mari Andrew, talking about her time as a hospital chaplain: "It’s Unfair and It Doesn’t Make Sense":
The way our culture of offering is set up, the whole-hearted feel like they have something of worth to say to the broken-hearted, the denizens of the healthy think they know more than the sick. Around those who are in pain, people suddenly assume the role of expert: “I suggest feeling your feelings. Be grateful for the good in your life.” Why do the perfectly-fine presume they have tools for the suffering? My supervisor reminded me, “The patients are your teachers. You don’t know more than they do. Other way around.”

It was so hard not to offer anything. I’ve been through enough that I know I shouldn’t try to find a bright side, or explain away the pain, or say “I know how you feel,” but it was extremely uncomfortable to sit with someone my age who was dying, or with the family member of someone who just got very bad news. I was in the position of helping them, and I thought that help meant I had to offer something. I had to leave them with a nugget, a mantra, something brilliant to soothe and uplift them.

But it doesn’t work that way.

read the whole thing here

Hat tip goes to Ariana.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Postcard Poems

I love that works of art are printed so that anyone can buy them. The variety of what they put on little postcards astounds me.
~Leonard Lauder

Happy Poetry Friday, y'all! Popping in quickly to share a collaborative effort:

* the lines are from Jeanne Griggs' delightful new book
* I pulled them from their respective poems and made a found poem
* Elena took the photos

As always, you're helping out by being here. Thanks!

In the mailbox, I received
the first sight of palmettos,
live chipmunks from the garden,
a cold Ohio lake telling stories
with people running in and out,
books under the bed,
supplies for a lonely winter.

Postcard Poems
by Jeanne Griggs


A(nother) Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Bits and bobs

Life is a great sunrise.
~Vladimir Labokov

Hi y'all! What have you been up to? I've been vacationing and working on IMPERFECT II and making Emily Dickinson cards.


Lunchtime view

I like this photo and used it for my phone wallpaper. (The others didn't think it was as aesthetic as I did. What about you?)

I wanted to see how Emily Dickinson insight ("oracle") cards would turn out so I had a sample made. (I have it in my head to start an Etsy shop someday, mostly with printable games, but maybe some physical stuff like this, too.)

We were three or four minutes into Suite Judy Blue Eyes when we missed our exit (after we were already longing to get out of the car). It felt hard to be grumpy while listening to this, though. Your mileage may vary.

That's all for now! Hope you have a good week!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Summer Break

Summer just opens the door and lets you out.
~Deb Caletti

Hi folks!

I am taking a wee summer blog break...somewhere between one and three weeks. In the meantime, congrats to the Bucks, good luck to the USWNT, and here are a couple of videos:

OK, this too:

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Free Printable Infinity Breath Sheet

Inhale, then exhale. That’s how you’ll get through it.

Hi folks! I made an Infinity Breath sheet that could be used in the classroom or elsewhere to practice taking calming breaths.
You can find it here.

Monday, July 19, 2021

All That You Dream

You just follow the rule
Keep your eyes on the road that's ahead of you
~Paul Barrère and Bill Payne

For Music Monday, a song that popped into my head the other day. Little Feat (and a version with Linda Ronstadt):

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Ready the dimples

Her poetry is the diary or autobiography...of an acute psychologist, a wonderful rhetorician, and one of the most individual writers who ever lived, one of those best able to express experience at its most nearly absolute.
~Randall Jarrell, on Emily Dickinson

While working on a set of Emily Dickinson cards (like the Basho ones), I ran across these poems. A little optimism with a dash of romance and a splash of nature-love. Just the ticket!

by Emily Dickinson

When night is almost done,
And sunrise grows so near
That we can touch the spaces,
It 's time to smooth the hair

And get the dimples ready,
And wonder we could care
For that old faded midnight
That frightened but an hour.


The Outlet
by Emily Dickinson

My river runs to thee :
Blue sea, wilt welcome me ?

My river waits reply.
Oh sea, look graciously !

I'll fetch thee brooks
From spotted nooks, —

Say, sea, take me !


A Service of Song
by Emily Dickinson

Some keep the Sabbath going to church ;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.

Some keep the Sabbath in surplice ;
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.

God preaches, — a noted clergyman, —
And the sermon in never long ;
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I'm going all along !


Nix the Comfort Zone has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Molly!

Day of Solidarity

We all act as hinges- fortuitous links between other people.
~Penelope Lively

For Art Thursday, decorative hinges in Belarus. Aren't they striking?

July 16, 2020, is a special day for women’s solidarity in Belarus. On this day, Maria Kalesnikava, Veronika Tsepkalo, and I made a decision in 15 minutes to join our forces and unite our presidential campaign headquarters.
~Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is the leader of Belarusian democratic forces who beat the autocratic president Aliaksandr Lukashenka in a presidential election on August 9th, 2020, according to independent observers. She stepped into the race after her husband was arrested for his presidential aspirations. Lukashenka publically dismissed her as a “housewife,” сlaiming that a woman can't become president. Tsikhanouskaya united Belarusian democratic forces together with two other leaders – Maria Kalesnikava and Veranika Tsapkala.
Ways Tsikhanouskaya suggests to commemorate the day:
* Write letters to political prisoners in Belarus.
* Write a tweet/social media post or take a video in support of Belarusian women with the hashtag #StandWithBelarus and/or tag Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (Twitter: @Tsihanouskaya).
* Support Belarusians by donating to funds helping political prisoners and their families, such as BySol, A Country to Live In, #BY_help.

Monday, July 12, 2021

The night is good

[Evellyn's TOTEM project] seeks to open doors to new sounds and to research new horizons...inviting a deep connection between those who sing and those who listen.

For Music Monday, Lakota Lullaby • Alexia Evellyn (Autoria Desconhecida) with Claudia Dantas:

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Moving like a secret

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.
~Stacia Tauscher

Poet Jim Harrison says "Time...can tip us upside down" and I think poetry can do that, too. Sending out a thank you to all of you who tip me upside down on a regular basis!

Seven in the Woods
by Jim Harrison

Am I as old as I am?
Maybe not. Time is a mystery
that can tip us upside down.
Yesterday I was seven in the woods,
a bandage covering my blind eye,
in a bedroll Mother made me
so I could sleep out in the woods...

read the rest here


butterfly who moves like a yawn
Teddy Roosevelt Island

Transitory Mitzvah
by Sarah Matthes

In the subway car, a mystery of proximity: a yawn
passing from mouth to mouth,
across a line of seated strangers,
in perfect order. I watched it moving

like a secret through a row of children,
washing toward me as each person opened
their lips to swallow it up
and then, in unbroken revolution,
give it away....

read the rest here


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

Agurbash, Shlegel, and Silivonchik

This is the endless story of human relationships with the world, of the harmony and joy of life in all its forms.
~Anna Silivonchik's artist statement

For Art Thursday, two Belarusian artists who I don't have permission to share so I will just have to send you to see them elsewhere. They are colorful, romantic, surreal so I hope you follow the links:

* Elena Shlegel *

* Anna Silivonchik *


Belarusian singer Angelica Agurbash has been placed on Lukashenko's "wanted list" for criticising his illegitimate government. She is currently in Russia, but his administration has asked for her to be deported to Belarus.

If you're on Twitter, you can keep up with Belarus current events by following journalist Hanna Liubakova.

Thursday, July 1, 2021


Story is that light we turn on for ourselves.
~Michelle Auerbach

Hi y'all! I am short on time this week, but have you seen Anthony Wilson's Lifesaving Poems Project? He was inspired to start keeping track of "lifechanging poems" by a remark of Seamus Heaney's.

I spent time with a few of Wilson's picks, but would like to read them all.

Be Kind
by Michael Blumenthal

Not merely because Henry James said
there were but four rules of life—
be kind be kind be kind be kind—but
because it’s good for the soul, and,
what’s more, for others, it may be
that kindness is our best audition
for a worthier world, and, despite...

read the rest here


On the same page, Wilson shares Praise the Rain by Joy Harjo and Try to Praise the Mutilated World by Adam Zagajewski. He says to start with Harjo:

Praise the Rain
by Joy Harjo

Praise the rain; the seagull dive
The curl of plant, the raven talk—
Praise the hurt, the house slack
The stand of trees, the dignity—
Praise the dark, the moon cradle
The sky fall, the bear sleep—

read the rest (and the second poem)


Laura Shovan has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Laura!

The Square of Changes

The back and forth between residents and the authorities has placed the expansive courtyard in the spotlight. Belarusian musicians have shown up to entertain large nighttime crowds from a first-floor balcony, with the makeshift stage and the rest of the high-rise building lit up in red and white, the colors of the opposition.
~Raman Vasiukovich

Happy Art Thursday! Still waiting for Belarus to be free. This week, we have a mural. It was painted in honor of two djs who were put in jail for ten days for playing a protest song at a government rally in August 2020 (I'll include the song below).

The government keeps painting over the mural and the residents of what is now known as the "Square of Changes" keep painting it back.

The song they played is a Soviet-era protest song by Viktor Tsoi called "Changes." Be sure to have the closed captions on.

"Kino" Performed Their Song "Changes" At Concert In Minsk (Viktor Tsoi's son was the producer)

Monday, June 28, 2021

Old Favorites

Old music is the same as new music - it's just a different way of delivering it.
~Jeff Lynne

Dash asked an interesting question the other day: "Who is your favorite performer from before you were born?"

My first thought was Sam Cooke:

I got a little confused about whether or not performers with hits from before you were born count. I'll throw in a pre-Tabatha song by Aretha Franklin:

Who are your favorites?

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Blue scorpions and calm oceans

I often wished that more people understood the invisible side of things.
~Jennifer Starzec

Happy Poetry Friday! Two poems today. The first one could make a good mentor poem. What doesn't know about you?

What Pain Doesn't Know About Me
by Gail Martin

How I visualize him as a rooster. How I nickname him Sparky.

My rabbit-heart. How it looks motionless in the bank of clover
but secretly continues to nibble.

I can tell time underwater. I sing hymns there.

He’s not pocketed my vanity...

read the rest here


The T'ai Chi of Putting a Sleeping Child to Bed
by Alexandra Lytton Regalado

In the lull of evening, your son nested in your arms
becomes heavier and with a sigh his body
sloughs off its weight like an anchor into deep sleep,
until his small breath is the only thing that exists.

And as you move the slow dance through the dim hall
to his bedroom and bow down to deliver his sleeping form,
arms parting, each muscle defining its arc and release—
you remember the feeling of childhood...

read the rest here


A Word Edgewise has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Linda!

The Two Rivers

I view the collapse of the Soviet Union as a disaster that entailed and still brings about negative consequences around the world. We got nothing good from this break-up.
~Alexander Lukashenko, dictator of Belarus

Time for Art Thursday! A painting by a Belarus-born artist Peter Blume. I love this painting and wish I could make it much bigger. You can click to embiggen.

The Two Rivers (1943)
Peter Blume

Belarus regime turns on artists and journalists
Freedom House's freedom score for Belarus

Free Belarus items on Etsy:
* Crocheted cat bed in the Free Belarus flag colors
* Flag colors friendship bracelets
* Flag t-shirt
* Knight t-shirt
* Country/flag cross stitch pattern
* Knight patch

Monday, June 21, 2021

2 Lost Girls

The internet is just a world passing notes around a classroom.
~Jon Stewart

Hat tip to Ariana for both of these. One is for relaxing and one is for laughing (and illustrating Jon Stewart's quote). Watch whichever you need right now!

Rising Appalachia:


The post title comes from the name of the first song and the fact that the person who thinks her horse weighs 15,000 pounds also seems pretty lost.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Humming-Bird

Quick as a hummingbird...she darts so eagerly, swiftly, sweetly dipping into the flowers of my heart.
~James Oppenheim

I know my wildlife photography friends can do this in their sleep, but I was thrilled to get these shots (with my phone) when I visited Ariana in St Louis! Many hummingbirds come to her feeder each day and I was able to get some of them used to me.

The hummingbird poems I'm sharing today rhyme...I like the lift and litheness of these poems, very appropriate when talking about these fairy-like birds.

The Humming-Bird
by Richard Burton

Is it a monster bee,
Or is it a midget bird,
Or yet an air-born mystery
That now yon marigold has stirred,
And now on vocal wing
To a neighbor bloom is whirred,
In an aery ecstasy, in a passion of pilfering?


The first stanza of To a Humming-Bird
by John Vance Cheney

Voyager on golden air,
Type of all that's fleet and fair,
Incarnate gem,
Live diadem
Bird-beam of the summer day, —
Whither on your sunny way?


The Humming-Bird
by Jones Very

Like thoughts that flit across the mind,
Leaving no lasting trace behind,
The humming-bird darts to and fro,
Comes, vanishes before we know.


I've been reading Nature's Best Hope by Douglas Tallamy and have been utterly fascinated by it.

Buffy Silverman is the Poetry Friday host. Thanks, Buffy!

Reminder! Don't forget to turn in your IMPERFECT II submissions by June 30th!

One last thing! This week, Jone is sharing the poem I wrote her for the Summer Poem Swap: A blessing for those who cultivate words