Thursday, December 29, 2022


Look within. Within is the fountain of the good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.
~Marcus Aurelius

Happy Poetry Friday!

Many Poetry Friday friends pick OLW (One Little Word) as a touchstone or inspiration for their year. I don't usually pick a word (although "flexibility" has picked me a couple of times). This year, though, I picked "generosity." I wanted to learn the hard lessons about generosity. I found it a bit perplexing. The easy stuff is easy, but digging up some generosity in disagreeable situations is indeed hard. Recently, I started thinking about generosity of opinion.

I tend to have a surprising amount of Candor and I have a lot of opinions related to taste (it seems like anyone who has been an editor has to do a lot of choosing according to their tastes.) What I'd really like is to not be generous with sharing my opinion. It feels generous NOT to share it.

I'm talking myself in circles, so here's Andrea Cohen's Gift Economy to get you thinking another way about generosity (and also as a possible mentor poem):

Gift Economy
by Andrea Cohen

I give you a gift card for a store that doesn’t accept gift cards.

The store is in another galaxy.

I give you a paper airplane and a paper ticket for the plane.

I let you fly the plane.

I give you the manifest which says this is a cargo plane filled with horses.

I tell you the horses don’t think of themselves as cargo.

I give you sugar cubes for the horses, and apples.

They’re gifts you can look at in the horses’ mouths.

I give you a flight plan and a lighter with which to ignite it.

You give me the flash fire that begs an encore.

I give you me going up in smoke.


Reverie has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Thanks, Patricia!

* A special shout-out to Michelle Kogan for her generosity! I didn't participate in the Holiday Poem Swap this year because we had an odd number, but I was the lucky recipient of a wonderful gift from Michelle.

The Guennol Lioness

Looking at the face of the lioness, it should be clear that this carving was the result of close observation and that five thousand years ago, close observation of a big cat meant either victory or death.
~George Rodart

The Guennol Lioness, an Elamite figure believed to have been created circa 3000–2800 B.C., thought to have been created at approximately the same time as the first known use of the wheel, the development of cuneiform writing, and the emergence of the first cities. [Wikipedia]

Monday, December 26, 2022

Wilderness and bees

Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees!
"Hide from your neigbours as much as you please,
But all that has happened, to us you must tell,
Or else we will give you no honey to sell!"
~The Bee-Boys Song, Rudyard Kipling

For Music Monday, two songs. First, The Wilderness Yet (Rosie Hodgson, Rowan Piggott, and Philippe Barnes) performs Wild Northeaster:

Second, The Bee-Boy's Song, Rosie Hodgson (with Rowan Piggott):

Thursday, December 22, 2022

The year's threshold

For years I wanted to be older, and now I am.
~Margaret Atwood

Happy Poetry Friday! A winter solstice poem today by Margaret Atwood, who has written many more poems that people usually suspect! Hope y'all are able to keep warm (if you're in my vicinity or one of the other cold spots). Sending love to you all, wherever you are.

by Margaret Atwood

This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar.
Taking hands like children
lost in a six-dimensional
forest, we step across.
The walls of the house fold themselves down,
and the house turns
itself inside out, as a tulip does
in its last full-blown moment, and our candle
flares up and goes out, and the only common
sense that remains to us is touch,
as it will be, later, some other
century, when we will seem to each other
even less what we were.
But that trick is just to hold on
through all appearances; and so we do,
and yes, I know it’s you;
and that is what we will come to, sooner
or later, when it’s even darker
than It is now, when the snow is colder,
when it’s darkest and coldest
and candles are no longer any use to us
and the visibility is zero: Yes.
It’s still you. It’s still you.


by Mary Oliver

In winter
    all the singing is in
       the tops of the trees
          where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
       among the branches.
          Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
    but he's restless—
       he has an idea,
          and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake
       But his big, round music, after all,
          is too breathy to last...

read the rest here


Live Your Poem has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Irene!

Glad you've been good

Mari Lwyd, Lwyd Mari
A sacred thing through the night they carry.
Betrayed are the living, betrayed the dead
All are confused by a horse's head.
~Vernon Watkins

When I was reading about The Monsters of Christmas it was clear that back in the day, people thought naughty kids didn't just get coal in their stockings, haha! I feel like this little boy's sister knew he had it coming:

A 1900s greeting card reading 'Greetings from Krampus!'
Unknown author - Historie čertů Krampus Uploaded by Kohelet

Krampusz (1907)
Unknown author

A different, but still scary, look for Krampus:

Wooden mask of the Carinthian "Bartl or Krampus" a horrible man with beard in Austria, EU
photo by Naturpuur

Time for the Mari Lwyd, the Welsh horse skull creature. Welsh journalist Jude Rogers says, "There's something timelessly terrifying about her." Kind of like scary carolling, "The Mari Lwyd party would approach a house and sing a song in which they requested admittance. The inhabitants of the house would then offer excuses for why the team could not enter. The party would sing a second verse, and the debate between the two sides – known as the pwnco (a form of musical battle similar to flyting) – would continue until the house's inhabitants ran out of ideas, at which time they were obliged to allow the party entry and to provide them with ale and food." [Wikipedia]

Mari Lwyd
by Rhŷn Williams

The Yule Goat doesn't usually seem scary, but "Old Christmas" is creeping me out in this one:

'Old Christmas', riding a yule goat
1836 illustration by Robert Seymour
from "The Book of Christmas" by Thomas Kibble Hervey

We'll finish off with a beautiful Yule Goat:

by John Bauer (1912)

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Wonders to find

Where I actually grew up was just completely removed from anything resembling a town or a city...What that granted me was a lot of isolation and when you are bored you tend to work really hard on your interests.
~J.D. McPherson

As I have mentioned other years, I 💖 Christmas music. I can't cope with Mariah Carey's song any more, must have heard it too much last year, but I really enjoy the lesser-known stuff! Today's song is by J.D. McPherson:

Bonus song! "Written in 1916 by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovich and titled “Shchedryk,” the song tells the tale of a swallow flying into a household to proclaim the plentiful year that the family will have. The song's title is derived from the Ukrainian word “shchedryj,” which means “bountiful.” Eileen:

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Tell me your tale

St. Dymphna is honored as the patron saint of anxiety, stress, mental disorders, depression, and other neurological disorders. She is also invoked as the patron saint of runaways and survivors of incest and sexual assault. Her name means “poetess.”

Hi y'all! I just deactivated my Twitter account because, as much as I loved it, I just couldn't stand the owner. I'm on Mastodon now and would be happy to follow you if you're there (I'm "caorann" which means "rowan tree" in Gàidhlig.)

A while back, I posted a poem (Subjective Units of Distress Scale 1-10) that featured the Irish saint Dymphna. I hadn't heard of St Dymphna until then, but I was intrigued. This brave girl with flowers, a sword, and a book is the patron saint of mental health. What can I say, I'm a fan. I bought a Dymphna ornament, and one of our dogs mangled it before she made it onto the tree. Since the original Dymphna was beheaded, that seemed fairly par for the course, but I couldn't let that be the end of her story. I ordered a new one and she is safely ensconced on the tree. Here she is, intact:

For Music Monday, Nightingale by Norah Jones:

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Compasses in our hands

We are asleep with compasses in our hands.
~W. S. Merwin

For Poetry Friday, two poems by W.S. Merwin:


If you could take the day by the hand
even now and say Come Father
calling it by your own name
it might rise in its blindness with all
its knuckles and curtains
and open the eyes it was born with


If we are separated I will
try to wait for you
on your side of things

your side of the wall and the water
and of the light moving at its own speed
even on leaves that we have seen
I will wait on one side

while a side is there


Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Karen!


The ice was not only broken; it was shivered into a million fragments.
~ P G Wodehouse

For Art Thursday, hoarfrost: "When frost forms as minute ice crystals covering the ground, we just call it all frost. But sometimes the frost grains grow larger and are called hoarfrost crystals...Hoar frost is named after its hair-like appearance." (

Szron na siatce
photo by Mariusz

Ice crystals on a barbed wire in Hausdülmen, Dülmen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Dietmar Rabich

Казахстан, Кокшетау
Брещук Сергей Евгеньевич

Winter Frost

Veere in de winter

The views of Twigen
Dominicus Johannes Bergsma

Hoar Frost Details

Monday, December 12, 2022

The Large Notebook

There are many composers in today's world, everyone wants to be heard and noticed.
~Alexander Litvinovsky

For Music Monday, Belarusian conductor Alexander Litvinovsky's Le Grand Cahier (Suite for String Orchestra), Nos études, performed by the Metamorphose String Orchestra conducted by Pavel Lyubomudrov.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Quiet mystery

Art is for healing ourselves, and everybody needs their own personal art to heal up their problems.
~Linda Ronstadt

For Poetry Friday, a poem by Linnea Nelson:

Healing the Pasture
by Linnea Nelson

On our friends’ sheep farm, you pull the half-birthed

sac from a petrified ewe, jostling the slippery form and begging

C’mon little one, wake up, c’mon, c’mon. It lies

motionless, blue, in a mess of blood and amniotic membrane

and there is an impossible stretch of abject moment

during which we acknowledge the newborn is dead. As you

cease your coaxing and compressions,

it splutters, breathes, bleats to the mother

who calls back, and the lamb lives.

When a pasture is left

alone—not required to grow anything—it is said...

read the rest here


More Art 4 All has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Michelle! info for high school teachers and others

Frau Holle

The Nordic Frau Holle (believed to originally be called Hulda) is a deity that predates the Norse pantheon. She is associated with Winter, Yule season, and snowfall is said to be Frau Holle shaking out her feather mattress.

For Art Thursday, Mother Hulda a.k.a. Frau Holle.

Frau Holle (ca. 1939), Johann-Mithlinger-Siedlung
photo by Buchhändler

Frau Holle, Landschaftsvorlage: das Lahntal
Otto Ubbelohde - "Kinder- und Hausmärchen der Brüder Grimm" First published 1907-1909 by Leipziger Turm-Verlag

Festkalender von Hans Thoma

Berlin series for social welfare 1967, fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm, Mother Hulda
scanned by NobbiP

Berlin series for social welfare 1967, fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm, Mother Hulda
scanned by NobbiP

Frau Holle Denkmal im im Frau Holle Park in Hessisch Lichtenau
photo by Kroll Markus

Hölzerne Statue von Viktor Donhauser am Frau-Holle-Teich auf dem Hohen Meißner
photo by Markus Goebel

Monday, December 5, 2022

Know That You Are Loved

I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved.
~George Eliot

For Music Monday, Know That You Are Loved by Cleo Sol:

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Bright fish

Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.
~Dorothy Day

Happy Poetry Friday! Hope you are enjoying all the poetry to be found.

by John McCullough

It’s true: there is a light at the centre of my body.

If I could, I would lift aside a curtain of this flesh

and demonstrate, but for now it is my private neon.

It is closest to the air at certain moments,

like when buttercups repair a morning’s jagged edge.

Other times, a flock of days descends

and my soul flickers, goes to ground.

Without light, I’m all membrane; each part

becomes a gate. I pour across each margin

and nothing has enough hands to catch me,

my teeth knocking so fast I daren’t hold any piece

of myself near in case I start a banquet.

I’m only eased by accident. On the drenched path,

I pick up snails and transport them to safer earth

then feel a stirring. I watch as rain streams

from lopped-back elms, my face teeming with water

and―hello stranger―my soul glides to my surface

like it, too, belongs there; like a bright fish rising to feed.


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


Light in Nature creates the movement of colors.
~Robert Delaunay

Hi y'all! Many things are competing for my attention this morning. Making a post for Art Thursday, of course, plus today is the first day for the advent calendar of jellies and I want to bake something to put jelly on. The dogs want to be fed and taken outside (did that) and the crows wanted breakfast (did that). I fixed myself some coffee, so I guess now I can post. (Ugh, the crows came back for second breakfast but I'm pretending not to hear...)

Light is our focal point today, but first, here's an advent calendar to color by "World of Moose":

Cabins at Night
by Svend Svendsen

Glowing Nocturne
by Svend Svendsen

Man Reading by Lamplight
by Georg Kersting