Friday, April 29, 2022

such good feet

I am grateful to those who are keepers of the groove. The babies and the grandmas who hang on to it and help us remember when we forget that any kind of dancing is better than no dancing at all.
~Lynda Barry

Hi folks! Happy Poetry Friday!

Last chance to sign up for the Summer Poem Swap! Drop me a line or leave a message in the comments. Not sure whether I've shared this before, but here is "Lines Written for Gene Kelly To Dance To" by Carl Sandburg.

Lines Written for Gene Kelly To Dance To
by Carl Sandburg

Spring is when the grass turns green and glad.
Spring is when the new grass comes up and says, "Hey, hey! Hey, hey!"
Be dizzy now and turn your head upside down and see how
the world looks upside down.
Be dizzy now and turn a cartwheel, and see the good earth
through a cartwheel.

Tell your feet the alphabet.
Tell your feet the multiplication table.
Tell your feet where to go, and, and watch ‘em go and come back.

Can you dance a question mark?
Can you dance an exclamation point?
Can you dance a couple of commas?
And bring it to a finish with a period?

Can you dance like the wind is pushing you?
Can you dance like you are pushing the wind?
Can you dance with slow wooden heels
and then change to bright and singing silver heels?
Such nice feet, such good feet.


Here's Gene Kelly, 1943:


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

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The 2022 Progressive Poem

The Progressive Poem is here today. I thought about carrying forward with maps, but we began "where they were going, there were no maps," so I thought maybe not. This year's poem seems more beautiful than narrative to me... I don't have a good grasp of what is happening or where it is going. It seems more like a mood. With only two days left to wrap things up, I was led to today's line, which is a little confused but okay with that.


Where they were going, there were no maps.

Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today.

Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!

We have to go back. I forgot something.

But it’s spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful,

so we’ll whistle and dance and set off on our way.

Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination.

Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget –

it is on our journeys that discoveries are made.

And then it was time for singing.

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky?

Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren’t the only ones singing.

Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let’s smell the dawn
and taste the moonlight, we’ll watch it all spread out before us.

The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree,
tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound.

Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountains,

Green growing all around, and the cool splash of the fountain.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,

a bright, secret, quiet place, and rather sad;

and they stepped out into the middle of it.

Their minds’ libraries and lightning bugs led them on.

The darkwood sings, the elderhist blooms, the sky lightens; listen and you will find your way home.

The night sky would soon be painted, stars gleaming overhead, a beautiful wild curtain closing on the day.

Mud and dusk, nettles and sky – time to cycle home in the dark.
There are no wrong roads to anywhere
lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove.

Standing at the fence of the cottage,
I hear the new note in the voices of the birds.

I pray to the birds because I believe they will carry the message of my heart upward.

I make up a song that goes on singing all by itself

Surfing rivers of wind way up high . . . calling zeep, zeep, zeep in the sky,

blinking back the wee wonder of footprints, mouse holes, and underground maps.

It was all so wonderful and so magical that sometimes I got a little confused by my adventures.

1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin
2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
5. inspired by "[in Just-]" by E. E. Cummings
6. "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada
8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
9. inspired by Disney songs "A Whole New World" from Aladdin and "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas
10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor
11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron
13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer
14. adapted from a line in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
16. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis
17. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
18. Kate DiCamillo's The Beatryce Prophecy
19. The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith
20. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
21. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
22. "Dance Me to the End of Love" by Leonard Cohen
23. adapted from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
24. A quote from Terry Tempest Williams in Birdology by Sy Montgomery
25. adapted from "When I Was a Bird" by Katherine Mansfield
26. Warbler Wave by April Pulley Sayre with Jeff Sayre
27. a quote from the poem, "Reading in the Dark" from the book, "Please Bury Me In the library" by J. Patrick Lewis.
28. The Ship That Flew by Hilda Lewis

1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagal at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Kristin Saleri

Posting something early for Art Thursday since I'll be posting my line in the Progressive Poem tomorrow. I enjoyed this video introduction to Kristin Saleri's work:

Also, check out Paul Smith's work on Michelle's blog. He inspires me deeply.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Picks me up, puts me down

Is this how it is?
Is this how it's always been?
To exist in the face of suffering and death
And somehow still keep singing?

Okay, about this song by Florence and the Machine. 1) I keep listening to it 2) Bill Nighy is great (you might know him from Pirates of the Caribbean?) 3) This video was recorded in Kyiv, Ukraine last November 4) It says some interesting things about anxiety 5) It's visually striking (the gray with orange! the Ukrainian traditional art background) 6) Bill Nighy really is great.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

We are the changes

Once there were parking lots
Now it's a peaceful oasis
~The Talking Heads

Two poems for Poetry Friday. I started out wanting to find something for Earth Day, and the closest I found was the song above. I am not feeling so great, to be honest, so I'm just going to lie down a bit. Hope you enjoy the poems!

by Frederick Smock

The day lengthens,
the old earth tips its hat
to the moon.

The changeful moon
goes through many phases,
even in a single night,

read the rest here


The Cure
by Albert Huffstickler

We think we get over things.
We don’t get over things.
Or say, we get over the measles
but not a broken heart.
We need to make that distinction.
The things that become part of our experience
never become less a part of our experience.
How can I say it?
The way to “get over” a life is to die.
Short of that, you move with it,
let the pain be pain,

read the rest here


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

La Mère-Terre

Whether you have feet, wings, fins, or roots, we are all in it together.
~Winona LaDuke

In honor of the upcoming Earth Day, Mother Earth for Art Thursday:

Mother Earth-The Legend of Aataentsic
photo by Dennis Jarvis

Mother Earth-The Legend of Aataentsic
photo by John Martinez Pavliga

Mother Earth
Sculpture by Wagner Nándor
Photo by Kiss Sándor

Monday, April 18, 2022

well, I should have...*

Get up from that piano. You hurtin' its feelings.
~Jelly Roll Morton

Hoo boy! I Can't Play Piano, part 1 by H.Jon Benjamin for Music Monday:

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Incantation for vanishing

What poetry enables us to do is to savor, to taste the words that will sustain us, in contrast with that sense of the meaningless that confronts us every day.
~Martín Espada

Excerpts of poems by Martín Espada today! I don't have permission to share them in their entirety, so follow the links to read the rest.

The Republic of Poetry
by Martín Espada
for Chile

...In the republic of poetry,
poets read to the baboons
at the zoo, and all the primates,
poets and baboons alike, scream for joy.

read the rest here


The Poet in the Box
by Martín Espada
for Brandon

We have a problem with Brandon,
the assistant warden said.
He's a poet.

At the juvenile detention center
demonic poetry fired Brandon's fist
into the forehead of another inmate.
Metaphor, that cackling spirit, drove him to flip
another boy's cafeteria tray onto the floor.
The staccato chorus rhyming in his head
told him to spit and curse
at enemies bigger by a hundred pounds.

read the rest here


Be sure to catch the ending of this one:

The Soldiers in the Garden
by Martín Espada
Isla Negra, Chile, September 1973

After the coup,
the soldiers appeared
in Neruda's garden one night,
raising lanterns to interrogate the trees,
cursing at the rocks that tripped them.
From the bedroom window
they could have been
the conquistadores of drowned galleons,
back from the sea to finish
plundering the coast.

read the rest here


A bunch of people have signed up for the Summer Poem Swap -- thank you! If you want to and haven't yet, you can read about it here.

Last chance to register for the art supply giveaway on Jone's blog!

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

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Summer Poem Swap!

Exchange is creation.
~Muriel Rukeyser

Time to sign up for the Summer Poem Swap 2022!

Want to give someone a poem and receive one in return? Want to give two, three, four, or five? The number is up to you! The swaps take place two weeks apart:
Swap #1: June 11-25
Swap #2: June 25-July 9
Swap #3: July 9-23
Swap #4: July 23-Aug 6
Swap #5: Aug 6-20
You are welcome to mail them early, e.g. if you know you will be gone during Swap #4, you can mail #4 at the same time that you mail #3. You could write all your poems before the summer starts, if you want to. You could sign up for only the very last swap and wait until August 19th to write the poem. It's up to you.

The deadline to sign up is April 30th, so send me your name, mailing address (or email address if you would rather receive the poems over email), and anything else I should know. I will send out swap match-ups in early May. THANK YOU TO MICHELLE KOGAN FOR THE LOGO ARTWORK!!

One more Muriel Rukeyser quote!

If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Violet Bell

The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
~Henry David Thoreau

For Music Monday, "Honey in My Heart" by Violet Bell (Lizzy Ross & Omar Ruiz-Lopez):

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Caterpillars, crabs, and eggs

I don't know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.
~E. B. White

Have you heard of The Caterpillar, an Irish art and literature magazine for children that awards annual poetry (and short story) prizes? The deadline for this year's Caterpillar Prize has just passed, but maybe we can try to remember to catch it next year. Follow this link to hear the wonderful 2021 winner: Herman the Hermit Crab by Christine McBeth.

Herman the Hermit Crab was serious, but not all winning poems are. Here's 2017's:

by Janet Turner

Auntie Aggie liked an eggie
for her breakfast every day.
Auntie Aggie bought ten chickens,
fed them well so they would lay.

Soon these happy, healthy hens
were laying eggs by nines and tens
and Auntie Aggie began to munch
even more eggs for her lunch.

Although she wasn’t getting thinner
she started eating eggs for dinner.
Then, and this surely wasn’t right,
she drank an eggnog every night.

Auntie Aggie’s nose grew beaky
and her feet grew clawed and freaky.
Both her legs grew short and thin
and feathers grew upon her chin...

read the rest here


IMPERFECT II's own Laura Mucha also won The Caterpillar Prize (2016)!

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

Monet's Water Lilies

It took me a long time to understand my water lilies...I planted them for pleasure, and grew them without thinking of painting them...And then, all of a sudden, I had the revelation of the enchantment of my pond. I took up my palette.
~Claude Monet

I can't help but still be thinking about perspective since IMPERFECT II just came out. Here we have Impressionism-founder Claude Monet: in addition to expanding other people's perspectives on what art could be, as you can see from the above quote, Monet's own perspective also changed. He went from not thinking that his water lilies were a suitable subject for art to painting them over and over. Here are a few:

The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool, Giverny, 1899
by Claude Monet

Water lilies, 1906
by Claude Monet

Water lilies
by Claude Monet

Monday, April 4, 2022

King Taj

These songs were made for lovers
Lovers and lovers and lovers and lovers and lovers
And lovers and lovers and lovers, And lovers and lovers
~Henry Saint Clair Fredericks (Taj Mahal)

Love the sweet guitar playing and the general ambiance of this Taj Mahal performance:

Okay, one more song. This one came on next and I couldn't leave, even though I had things to do: