Thursday, September 21, 2023

Words to keep you company, voices that keep singing

Ordinary riches can be stolen from a man. Real riches cannot. In the treasury-house of your soul, there are infinitely precious things, that may not be taken from you.
~Oscar Wilde

Happy Poetry Friday! Poems about the extraordinariness of ordinariness today.

Tin Bucket
by Jenny George

The world is not simple.
Anyone will tell you.
But have you ever washed a person’s hair
over a tin bucket,
gently twisting the rope of it
to wring the water out?
At the end of everything,
dancers just use air as their material.
A voice keeps singing even
without an instrument.
You make your fingers into a comb.


by Tabatha Yeatts

In my daughter's dorm room
while she brings boxes out to the car,
I survey the walls:

           posters, album covers, 
                banners, event flyers,  
             paper butterflies, receipts, 
                 postcards, dried flowers,
            stickers, love notes,
               programs, flags, birthday cards

I pull the tape off the back of each one,
four sticky corners, 
slide them to safety
in case they are for a scrapbook
or a new room,

and notice, among the hundreds
of memorabilia, 
a postcard she made herself:

orange slices 
dangling in mid-air
with the words
I love you
I'm glad I exist–

lines from a poem 
she saw every day in April,
7th grade,
when I led arts programs in her school
and verses lined the hallways.

This poem, which became 
her favorite
and came with her here,

ferries words that will go with her
to her next room
and the next,
wherever that is.


Beyond Literacy Link has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

Poem history: my poem was written during the Summer Poem Swap and given to Sarah Grace Tuttle.

Stage illusions

Magic is an art form where you lie and tell people you are lying.

For Art Thursday, illustrations from Magic: Stage Illusions and Scientific Diversions (1897), compiled and edited by Albert A. Hopkins. Thank you to the Public Domain Review for spotlighting these and drawing my attention!

The Invisible Woman

Illusion produced by a ride in the swing

The Apparition

"Aimee" the human fly

Position occupied by the sword blade in the body

Man in a bottle

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Landing softly at your feet

Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one's hand.
~Ezra Pound

I wanted to use today's poem as a mentor poem but I struggled. Couldn't pick a topic, couldn't dig deep enough to come up with something I liked. Rooney's descriptions are so perfect. I probably need to try again outside.

Six Facts About Light
By Rachel Rooney from My Life as a Goldfish and other poems

At dawn, she climbs over the horizon
to slink between the curtains
and rest her head on your pillow.

You might meet her in a forest gap
growing foxgloves,
or waiting at the exit of a long, concrete tunnel.

Her gaze could scorch your drawings,
set light to the hay,
blind inquisitive eyes...

read the rest here


Imagine the Possibilities has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Rose!

Addendum! I have been getting Dracula Daily, which I am enjoying very much. In fact, I didn't receive one today and I'm like, "What's going on?? Why won't they tell me??" You'll have to wait until May if you want to try it from the beginning.
In January, I'll be starting War and Peace, a chapter a day with Simon Haisell. I heard about that from Kortney Garrison. If anybody else wants to join me, I'd love company!


When a gourd is hollowed out it becomes empty and is of great use to the world because of its emptiness.
~Dorothy Gilman

Happy Art Thursday! It's autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, which is a good time to take a look at gourds. Gourds include the edible kind like pumpkins, squash, and melons and the inedible kind which are used for decoration, vessels, etc. (Cucumbers also count as an edible gourd, which I'm still ? about.)

Catching a Catfish with a Gourd
Utagawa Kunisada

Seated Old Man about to Drink from a Gourd, c. 1763
Francesco Londonio

Courge (white–flowered gourd) from La Plante et ses Applications ornementales (1896)
illustrated by Maurice Pillard Verneuil. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

John Francis Leathers, the owner, in apron touching the stem of a large gourd
Lithograph made by: Thomas Picken Printed by: Day & Co

Mills' seed catalogue, 1900

Lagenaria siceraria
gourd-lamps-calabarte-8b 4

Monday, September 11, 2023

A Grand Opera

I produce music as an apple tree produces apples.
~Camille Saint-Saëns

Returning to Camille Saint-Saëns' Bacchanale from the opera Samson and Delilah. (I shared this composition in 2014, when Elena was playing it with her youth orchestra.) This satisfying performance is by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra:

Thursday, September 7, 2023

A fresh quarry

I started singing because I come from Wales.
~Bryn Terfel

Happy Poetry Friday! I have another poem in translation today. This one was originally written in Welsh. I just love what she does with the word "stone." (BTW, a "stonechat" is "a small Old World songbird of the thrush family, having bold markings and a call like two stones being knocked together.")

by Menna Elfyn
translated by Joseph P. Clancy

The doorstep of your existence
is the morning’s clean slate,

a stone on my soul’s roof-hurdle,
a single necessary step
by love’s wall. Simple, stable.

I’ve never understood why people hunt
for crystal, or a lump of gold,
or a diamond. I’m simply

grateful for the stones at hand...

read the rest here


Below we have Welsh actor Michael Sheen performing Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. This YouTube comment is a wonderfully accurate description of Sheen: "The words come alive because of his moment-upon-moment discovery of the thing breathing-and-speaking, and shares with us the spontaneous delight and joy of that discovery."


The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Amy!

Stained Glass Ships

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky;
and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
~John Masefield

For Art Thursday, stained glass ships. I love The Viking Ship by Edward Burne-Jones. According to Wikipedia:
In the studio of Morris and Co. Burne-Jones worked as a designer of a wide range of crafts, including ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries, and mosaics. Among his most significant and lasting designs are those for stained glass windows, the production of which was a revived craft during the 19th century. His designs are still to be found in churches across the UK, with examples in the US and Australia.

The Viking Ship
by Edward Burne-Jones
photo by Ad Meskens

Stained glass window
Catholic parish church of St. Nicholas in Kuechenheim, execution: Glasmalrei Oidtmann in Linnich, 1910
photo by Reinhardhauke

Parish Church of Saint Apollinare
photo by Lisa Veronesi

Stained glass window depicting a galley, Palais Jacques-Cœur in Bourges
photo by GFreihalter

Stained glass window in the Passy cemetery in Paris, grave: unnamed
photo by GFreihalter

Monday, September 4, 2023

Letters Live

I don't know how to write love letters.
~Frida Kahlo

It's not music this Monday, but Letters Live. Have you seen The Durrells in Corfu? Here, Tom Hiddleston reads a letter from the youngest Durrell to his future wife:

These both made me laugh:

Thursday, August 31, 2023

The lucky koi

We can speak without voice to the trees and the clouds and the waves of the sea. Without words they respond through the rustling of leaves and the moving of clouds and the murmuring of the sea.
~Paul Tillich

Hi folks, happy Poetry Friday! September 1st is also Elena's birthday! The picture above is one she made of her great-grandmother, who passed away in 2013 when Elena was 11.

Today's poem is by Marjorie Saiser:

For My Daughter
by Marjorie Saiser

When they laid you on my belly
and cut the cord
and wrapped you and gave you
to my arms, I looked into the face
I already loved. The cheekbones,
the nose, the deep place
the eyes opened to. I thought
then this is the one I must teach,
must shape and nurture.
I was sure I should. How was I
to know you would become
the one to show me
how kindness walks in the world?
Some days the daughter
is the mother,
is the hand that reaches
out over the pond, sprinkling
nourishment on the water.
Some days I am the lucky koi,
rising from below, opening
the circle of my mouth to take it in.


Addendum: Elena made the portrait using ink and rubbing alcohol on Yupo heavyweight paper.

Bonus: Elyse Myers talking about loving yourself.

Pleasures from the Page has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Ramona!

Autumnal Kawase

There is a part of me that will forever want to be walking under autumn leaves, carrying a briefcase containing the works of Shakespeare and Yeats and a portable chess set.
~Roger Ebert

For Art Thursday, welcoming autumn with woodblock prints by Hasui Kawase:

Autumn in Oirase
by Hasui Kawase

The Garden in Autumn
by Hasui Kawase

Monday, August 28, 2023

Everything I need to know

Who, being loved, is poor?
~Oscar Wilde

For Music Monday, "Precious Love" by James Morrison:

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Fixing pianos

Poetry isn't a profession, it's a way of life. It's an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.
~Mary Oliver

Happy Poetry Friday! Hope you've been having a nice week. Today, I'm going to share a poem by Edgar Kunz and info about The 70 Poet Challenge. First, a thoughtful article Edgar wrote: Unspendable Currency: Edgar Kunz on Making Ends Meet As a Poet. And now, Edgar's poem:

by Edgar Kunz

I held him together
as long as I could, she says.

He stopped working,
stopped coming upstairs.

He was like tissue paper
coming apart in water.

Like smoke in my hands.
It had nothing to do

with you, baby. You left
when you had to.

I met a woman once
who worked on pianos.

Said it was a hard job.
The tools, the leverage.

The required ear. I love it,
she said, but it’s brutal.

The second I step away
it’s already falling out of tune.


If the Sealey Challenge got you in a challenge-y mood or if you missed the Sealey Challenge and you are looking for one, here you go:
To celebrate the National Poetry Library's 70th birthday they are inviting you to discover 70 poems by 70 poets from the last 70 years that are ‘new’ to you.

How does it work?

In the London Literature Festival 2023 (19-29 October) the challenge will begin. Everyone can pick up a free booklet, or download from the NPL website, and start their search for their 70 new poets.

There is also space to write your own poem of 70 lines and send it to the library.

Everyone taking part can send their completed booklet, detailing their 70 poets, to the National Poetry Library. They will organise an event in London Literature Festival 2024 of poets who featured highly in the completed lists and one person taking part in the writing challenge of a new 70 line poem will be invited to perform the poem at the event.


TeacherDance has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Linda!


I have a little brown cocoon of an idea that may possibly expand into a magnificent moth of fulfilment.
~Lucy Maud Montgomery

A couple of years ago, I found a Pandora sphinx moth (deceased) and it was so cool-looking that it made me more interested in moths. When I was a kid, butterflies were the focus of our attention and moths were mostly discussed vis a vis sweater-eating. Moths are "hipper" now, in that they are part of some aesthetics. I'm so glad we're taking more of an interest in them because wow!

Luna Moth
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

Dryocampa rubicunda – Rosy Maple Moth
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

Attacus atlas
Alias 0591 from the Netherlands

The black-bodied peppered moth
Chiswick Chap

Bella Moth oOn rattlebox blossom (Crotalaria sp.)
Bob Peterson

Acherontia atropos
Didier Descouens

Antheraea polyphemus
Stephen Lody Photography

Monday, August 21, 2023

Only these wishes

Although better known as a singer-songwriter and guitarist, [Diesel] is also competent on bass guitar, drums, percussion and keyboards.

For Music Monday, Diesel with "Come To Me."

Some interesting info from Wikipedia about why Mark Lizotte is known as Diesel: came about as the result of a casual joke concerning the band's bass player, John Dalzell. "John had one kid and another on the way," Mark explains. "A friend of ours used to refer to them as 'Johnny Diesel and his little injectors'; I thought it was funny. Then I got a call from the woman from the [Perth] venue where we were playing one night a week... 'You're starting to draw a few people,' she said. 'I'm going to put an ad in the paper, does this nameless band have a name?' I told her we were 'Johnny Diesel and the Injectors'. It was just a joke. I wanted it to appear in the newspaper to amuse John Dalzell but the name stuck. When we got to Sydney, our Management said, 'Everyone will think you're Johnny Diesel. Are you going to go along with it?' I wasn't going to be stuck-in-the-mud, so I said, yeah.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Songs called maps

A different language is a different vision of life.
~Federico Fellini

Happy Poetry Friday! I recently bought the anthology Poems from the Edge of Extinction: An Anthology of Poetry in Endangered Languages.

The scoop:
Each poem appears in its original form, alongside an English translation, and is accompanied by a commentary about the language, the poet and the poem - in a vibrant celebration of life, diversity, language, and the enduring power of poetry.

One language is falling silent every two weeks. Half of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world today will be lost by the end of this century. With the loss of these languages, we also lose the unique poetic traditions of their speakers and writers.

Languages included in the book: Assyrian; Belarusian; Chimiini; Irish Gaelic; Maori; Navajo; Patua; Rotuman; Saami; Scottish Gaelic; Welsh; Yiddish; Zoque...
A poem by Diné poet Laura Tohe:

Map Songs of the Sandhill Cranes
by Laura Tohe

in Mexico
they laid open the maps again
written for them in the 2nd world
in blue light spoken with blue voices
they learned songs that would guide them through all the worlds to come
songs they placed in the spiral of their throats and called them maps
in the blue world they danced with Wind
who liked these feathered beings
so Wind molded and formed their bodies
and taught them to ride on its breath
when the fights and quarrels broke the blue world apart
the cranes gathered their songs and dances and maps
and flew towards the stars...

read the rest here (scroll down to "Featured Poems")


I also read a poem by Albanian poet Luljeta Lleshanaku. That poem is not available online, but here is another juicy one by Ms. Lleshanaku called "Acupuncture." I'm intrigued by her concept that "The universe functions as a single body." Her poem made me think about climate crisis, and the interconnectedness of us all.

By Luljeta Lleshanaku
Translated by Ani Gjika

Among the personal objects inside a 2100-year-old Chinese tomb,
archaeologists found nine acupuncture needles,
four gold and five silver.
Long before knowing why,
ancient doctors knew that pain
must be fought with pain.

It’s quite simple: an array of needles pricking your arm
for a properly functioning heart and lungs.
Needles in the feet to ease insomnia and stress.
Needles between your eyes to fight infertility.
A little pain here,
and the effect is felt elsewhere
Once, a group of explorers set out to plant a flag on the South Pole,
a needle at the heel of the globe, in the middle of nowhere.
But before the mission was completed
a new world war had begun.
The impact of the needle was felt in the world’s brain...

read the rest here


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

Endangered Language resources


The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The meteors are called the Perseids because they appear from the general direction of the constellation Perseus....The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it travels on its 133-year orbit.

For Art Thursday, The Perseids. They can be seen between mid-July and the beginning of September, with the peak this year being August 13th. They are primarily visible in the Northern Hemisphere, but are still enjoyable elsewhere when you have photos like these:

Perseid meteor shower above the chapel of St. Urban in Slavkov near Brno. A composition consisting of 45 images.

In this 30 second exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky during the annual Perseid meteor shower, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Spruce Knob, West Virginia.
Bill Ingalls

Taken during the Perseids 2017 meteor shower
Dheera Venkatraman from San Francisco - Borrego Springs, CA

Meteor occasional, photographed during the maximum of the Perseid swarm
Jacek Halicki

Monday, August 14, 2023

In Her Name

Time cannot devour what we will not
allow to be forgotten
~Anoushka Shankar

For Music Monday, sitar player Anoushka Shankar:

P.S. Anoushka's half-sister is Norah Jones.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Sings inside us

In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.
~Lee Iacocca

Happy Poetry Friday! Thank you for coming to the round-up!

Hope you're having a nice week. I tried something new yesterday -- making crème brûlée. It was a larger undertaking than I expected, haha. Couldn't get the sugar crust to work but the custard was great.

Today's poem is a fun one by Geoffrey Brock:

Prof of Profs
By Geoffrey Brock

For Allison Hogge, in memory of Brian Wilkie

I was a math major—fond of all things rational.
It was the first day of my first poetry class.
The prof, with the air of a priest at Latin mass,
told us that we could “make great poetry personal,”

could own it, since poetry we memorize sings
inside us always. By way of illustration
he began reciting Shelley with real passion,
but stopped at “Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”—

read the rest here (you don't want to miss the ending!)


(If you're on Instagram, let me know so I can follow you.)


So it could well be that Platybelodon wandered around Miocene Asia, Africa, and North America, scything vegetation like some sort of peasant, only without all the pesky class struggles.
~Matt Simon

For Art Thursday, an "absurd creature": the Platybelodon. Since they are extinct, every drawing of them is an artist's rendering from skeletons that have been found. Much appreciation for paleoartists!

Platybelodon grangeri of Miocene at Inner Mongolia Museum (内蒙古博物院), in Hohhot, China. Found in Tongguer, Sonid Left Banner, Xilingol league
photo by Popolon

Monday, August 7, 2023

Worn by the weather

Your spirit sings
Though your lips never part
Singing only to me
The thief of your heart
~Bono, Friday, & Seezer

For Music Monday, Sinéad O'Connor. Have you seen In the Name of the Father? I saw it in a movie theater, many years ago, and when this song played, I was incredibly moved.

Another favorite:

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Secondhand Joy

Because poetry tends to be this smaller container, where it attempts to contain the mystery of our lives, it’s the perfect vehicle for capturing a moment, holding it close to yourself, then sharing it with other people.
-James Crews

Greetings, all! I had a nice time in New Hampshire (for those of you who know NH, we were in Durham, Hebron, Bristol, and Portsmouth). For Poetry Friday, an amazing concept courtesy James Crews, who has created anthologies about kindness and hope:

When I asked myself, Who would leave their joy on the table? I pictured workaholics, people who neglect their personal relationships in favor of chasing money or power. Or someone who is too preoccupied to notice sunsets, someone who doesn't stop to smell the roses. (An anti-poet?)

Mary Lee at Another Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!

I found it! A previous post about empathetic joy.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Webb's First Anniversary

Webb is a General Observatory, meaning that competitively selected proposals from around the world are used to develop the observing plans. These proposals are judged by a peer review system, in which teams of independent scientists rank the observing proposals according to scientific merit, and the highest ranked proposals are selected.
Webb FAQ

For Art Thursday, celebrating the Webb Space Telescope's first year of exploring the universe and information gathering:

Rho Ophiuchi

Orion Bar

Cassiopeia A

WR 124

Chamaeleon I Molecular Cloud