Thursday, December 28, 2023


It's good as an artist to always remember to see things in a new, weird way.
~Tim Burton

Happy Poetry Friday! I've been wondering about picking a word for 2024. I liked "generosity" for 2022, and I kind of missed having one in 2023. But I'm not sure what my word should be. Maybe "new"? I was thinking about "new" poems and found this one:

“The New Love”
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I thought my heart was death chilled,
I thought its fires were cold;
But the new love, the new love,
It warmeth like the old.

I thought its rooms were shadowed
With the gloom of endless night;
But the new love, the new love,
It fills them full of light.

I thought the chambers empty,
And proclaimed it unto men;
But the new love, the new love,
It peoples them again.

I thought its halls were silent,
And hushed the whole day long;
But the new love, the new love,
It fills them full of song.


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

By the light of the moon

Your silvery beams will bring love's dreams
~Edward Madden

One of my Christmas presents was moon-related, which made me think about sharing moon-images for Art Thursday. Of course, I have already many times! But here we are, with some moonbeams.

Bleiglasfenster in der Stiftskirche Saint-Quiriace in Provins

Mountainous Landscape by Moonlight 1871
Albert Bierstadt

Storm-Tossed Frigate
Thomas Chambers

Fischerfamilie am nächtlichen Lagerfeuer mit aufgewühltem Meer, 1778
Jacob Philipp Hackert

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

A bit of comfort

Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a wintry fireside; candles at four o'clock, warm hearthrugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies to the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without.
~Thomas De Quincey

Sorry I dropped out of sight for a bit! Had a delightful holiday. I adore my family members but that's not true for everyone, so I'm sharing something hospice nurse and author Nurse Hadley says below. You don't need anybody's permission, but it can be nice to get it.

Monday, December 18, 2023

This Winter's Night

We have the opportunity to pause and invite our best self to return with the light. We mirror the land- just as it must rest in order to provide the following year, we must rest in order to keep showing up well in our lives.
~Mary Morgaine Squire

Songs by Mothertongue for keeping warm:

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Peace is a bird

What shines through all this darkness shines through us, setting every shattered thing into a new constellation
~Jan Richardson

Happy Poetry Friday! Today I've got poems about coming home again and the shortest day.

After a Long Absence, I Return
by Constance Brewer

I pass a flock of red winged blackbirds.
They startle, rise and fall like breath,
arrow away across an open field,
disappear into fine river mist.

Alone in a shrouded world,
hills rise from thinning fog.
After so long away, the road is new.
I trust the GPS, drive to our old house,
an approaching specter in the fog.

read the rest here


by Barbara Crooker

These are dark times. Rumors of war
rise like smoke in the east. Drought
widens its misery. In the west, glittering towers
collapse in a pillar of ash and dust. Peace,
a small white bird, flies off in the clouds.

read the rest here


Janice Scully has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Janice!

Jorde's Party

Our cheeks are nice and rosy
and comfy cozy are we
~Sleigh Ride, Mitchell Parish

Park your sleigh and come on in! For Art Thursday, Lars Jorde's Christmas Party:

Monday, December 11, 2023

Light your white candles

[Saint Lucia is the patron of the blind.] She is also the patron saint of authors, cutlers, glaziers, laborers, martyrs, peasants, saddlers, salesmen, stained glass workers, and of Perugia, Italy.

For Music Monday, we have Saint Lucia's Day/Night songs. Jonna Jinton:

About Saint Lucia's Day:

It commemorates the martyr Lucia of Syracuse, who, as legend has it, brought food to Christians hiding in Roman catacombs, lighting her way with a candlelit wreath on her head.

The 13 December was the historic Julian calendar’s shortest day, and according to Swedish folklore, the long night was dangerous, with dark spirits out in force. Staying awake was paramount, and eating helped – another connection to the small feast associated with today’s Lucia celebration.
~Visit Sweden

A Lucia concert, held at the Unesco World Heritage Site of Grimeton Radio Station, will be shown as a live event on Facebook on 13 December 2023 at 5:00 pm (CET).

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Everything flowers

Nobody would write poetry if the world seemed perfect.
~Galway Kinnell

Happy Poetry Friday! Today's poems are ones I found when I looked up "poems about hope." "It Was the Animals" made me feel like I'd just watched an awardwinning movie. What mastery these poets have!

Saint Francis and the Sow
by Galway Kinnell

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis...

read the rest here


It Was the Animals
by Natalie Diaz

Today my brother brought over a piece of the ark
wrapped in a white plastic grocery bag.

He set the bag on my dining table, unknotted it,
peeled it away, revealing a foot-long fracture of wood.
He took a step back and gestured toward it
with his arms and open palms — 

                It’s the ark, he said.
                You mean Noah’s ark? I asked.
                What other ark is there? he answered.

                Read the inscription, he told me,
                it tells what’s going to happen at the end.
                What end? I wanted to know.
                He laughed, What do you mean, “what end”?
                The end end.

Then he lifted it out. The plastic bag rattled.
His fingers were silkened by pipe blisters.
He held the jagged piece of wood so gently.
I had forgotten my brother could be gentle...

read the rest here


A Center
by Ha Jin

You must hold your quiet center,
where you do what only you can do.
If others call you a maniac or a fool,
just let them wag their tongues.
If some praise your perseverance,
don't feel too happy about it—

read the rest here


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

Gävle Goat

The last sheaf of grain bundled in the harvest was credited with magical properties as the spirit of the harvest and saved for the Yule celebrations, called among other things Yule goat (Julbocken).

More interesting info from Wikipedia: "During the 19th century the Yule goat's role all over Scandinavia shifted towards becoming the Christmas gift-bringer, with one of the men in the family dressing up as the Yule goat."

We've got the Yule goat today, in particular the Gävle Goat in Gävle, Sweden. The Gävle Goat kicks off the Advent season and has a 50/50 chance of surviving the season intact, due to an arson problem they have had over the years. (In 2001, the goat was burned down by an American who stated in court that "he was no 'goat burner,' and believed that he was taking part in a completely legal goat-burning tradition.") If you want to keep an eye on the Goat, they have a live cam here. (The pixels are to give people walking around privacy.)

I bring you the Gävle Goat!

Snowy Gävle goat
photo by Tony Nordin

A scale model of the burning Gävle goat in Miniature Kingdom in Kungsör, Sweden
photo by Sinikka Halme

And here's a Yule goat by Jenny Nyström:

Monday, December 4, 2023

Driftin' in the desert wind

Asked for a single word to describe this new era of her life, [Abby] Anderson chose "freedom." "It was made possible by leaving my old beliefs — not just a church, not just a label," she said. "It was about breaking up with the story I had been telling myself [about pleasing everybody]."
~Callie Ahlgrim

Happy Music Monday! I'm sure I'm circling around to holiday music, but for now, here's a talented singer with a song she wrote for her mother. (My guess is that her mama is the baby in the song.)

Abby Anderson:

One more: Bad Posture

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Read this book

Love! Love! Love! that is the soul of genius.
~Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin

Happy Poetry Friday! This time of year, I am very present-centric. I have a homemade gift for my parents that feels impossible to finish, but I am hoping to enlist help (from Ben). I've been thinking about presents, giving thanks, thinking about giving. Which brings us to today's poem by Alberto Ríos. I shared it five years ago, but you don't mind, do you?

When Giving Is All We Have
by Alberto Ríos

              One river gives
              Its journey to the next.

We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.

We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.

We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—

Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.

Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,

read the rest here


Anastasia Suen has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Anastasia!


A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
~William Shakespeare

Black Forest Pine Cone Man
photo by bebatut
I was fascinated by this costume, so I looked it up. The translation feature on the page, which is in German, is still in a very BETA stage:
Black Forest pine cones

A fool's industry from Freiburg im Breisgau, which was founded in 1955, is a tanned fian cone. The theme was the pine cones, the product of the local conifers, and created a skin with mask that represents this symbol. The pants of the pine cones are made of green felt spots, for which jackets were chosen brown brick-shaped plastic plates, which are intended to represent the individual scales of a pine cone. The wooden masks of the pine cone show a men's face with red cheeks and thick eyebrows. The feet of the fools are in homely stew finches. As a noise tool, the fools wear small cow and goat bells around their necks. The fool singing Black Forest pine cone is a member of the Breisgauer Narrenzuft.
Another pine cone man photo, this one by James Steakley:
A few other carnival photos by James Steakley:

One last close up, photo by bebatut:

Monday, November 27, 2023


Eivør grew up in Syðrugøta, a tiny village at the top of the [Faroe] island chain, facing the North Atlantic. With a population of around 400, community gatherings were a key part of her early life. People would often get together to share stories and play traditional folk music.
~Rob Hughes

Happy Music Monday!

Chris Hirst:


Monday, November 20, 2023

east side

I love that I don't have to call you on the daily
'Cause in the end we're gonna be just fine
~Lyn Lapid

Doing my Music Monday post on time this week! A song Lyn Lapid wrote for her high school friends, "east side":

Thursday, November 16, 2023


The Leonids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel–Tuttle, which are also known for their spectacular meteor storms that occur about every 33 years. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo: the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky.

Happy Poetry Friday! From what I hear, the Leonid meteor shower will peak on November 17-18, although it will keep going until the beginning of December. For info about watching, click here.

Depiction of 1833 Leonids
The engraving is by Adolf Vollmy based upon an original painting by the Swiss artist Karl Jauslin, that is in turn based on a first-person account of the 1833 storm by a minister, Joseph Harvey Waggoner

Meteor Shower
by Clint Smith

I read somewhere that meteor showers
are almost always named after

the constellations from which
they originate. It’s funny, I think,

how even the universe is telling us
that we can never get too far

from the place that created us.
How there is always a streak of our past...

read the rest here


A lesson plan for Smith's poem from the Moving Writers site.

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


Never lose a chance of saying a kind word. As Collingwood never saw a vacant place in his estate but he took an acorn out of his pocket and planted it, so deal with your compliments through life. An acorn costs nothing, but it may spread into a prodigious timber.
~William Makepeace Thackeray

In my area, oaks have been dropping acorns abundantly (it's a "mast year"). For Art Thursday, the tiny acorn.

Acorns, Archeological Museum, Italy
photo by Sailko

Trim in pattern of oak leaves and acorns

Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Germany
photo by Carole Raddato

Tree Fruits
by Conny Siemsen
photo by Janericloebe

California Scrub-Jay with acorn
Becky Matsubara

Coat of arms of the Friis of Landvig family
Anders Thiset

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) at a park in Wroclaw
Klearchos Kapoutsis

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The Water

Please help me build a small boat
One that'll ride on the flow
Where the river runs deep and the larger fish creep
I'm glad of what keeps me afloat
~The Water

Whoops! I am late for Music Monday. Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling with "The Water":

(I recognized Johnny Flynn from Emma).

Thursday, November 9, 2023

No such thing as strangers

We got used to the surprises until there were none left
and we had to breed them in captivity
~Robert Wood Lynn

Happy Poetry Friday! I'm sharing a poem by Robert Wood Lynn. He's from my neck of the woods (and wrote About the Phones partially about my hometown-- a poem that I love/breaks my heart into wee pieces). But today's poem is On Wednesday They Came on the News.

On Wednesday They Came on the News
by Robert Lynn

to finally admit that the planet is burning up.
All the ice has broken and as a result
there are no such things as strangers anymore.
Or polar bears, but that’s not the point.
All the ice has broken and now there are
no strangers. Now there is no such thing as
polite silence in an elevator. Now you say hello
to every single person on the street as you
swim past. Sure, this means we are all going
to die—that was always going to happen—
but more importantly there is no ice left to break.
The planet has doffed its polar caps to us
like a gentleman in a silent movie and suddenly
we do the same to everyone that gets on the bus,
only louder, and tell them our favorite jokes,

read the rest here


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


Of course there are many ways we can reuse something. We can dye it. We can cut it. We can change the buttons. Those are other ways to make it alive.
~Issey Miyake

For Art Thursday, the Japanese art of shibori.

Japan; Kosode; Costumes
Metropolitan Museum of Art

The tied cloth of Arimatsu Shibori's "Tegumoshibori" and the finished product after dyeing
Soseki's Cat

Tōkaidō gojūsan tsui, Narumi
Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1865)

Arimatsu Shibori Festival 2019
Asturio Cantabrio

Monday, November 6, 2023

Can She Excuse My Wrongs

Science fiction writer Philip K. Dick referred to Dowland in many of his works, including the novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974), even using the pseudonym "Jack Dowland" once.

Versions of a song by Renaissance songwriter and lute virtuoso John Dowland (1563-1624):


Vivid Consort and David Bergmüller:

Farya Faraji:

Thursday, November 2, 2023

A fire always burning somewhere out there

The bad do not win—not finally,
No matter how loud they are.

We simply would not be here
If that were so.

You are made, fundamentally, from the good.
~Alberto Rios

Happy Poetry Friday! I am posting this Alberto Ríos poem on Nov. 2nd.

November 2: Día de los muertos
by Alberto Ríos


It is not simply the Day of the Dead—loud, and parties.
More quietly, it is the day of my dead. The day of your dead.

These days, the neon of it all, the big-teeth, laughing skulls,
The posed calacas and Catrinas and happy dead people doing funny things—

It’s all in good humor, and sometimes I can’t help myself: I laugh out loud, too.
But I miss my father. My grandmother has been gone

Almost so long I can’t grab hold of her voice with my ears anymore,
Not easily. My mother-in-law, she’s still here, still in things packed

In boxes, her laughter on videotape, and in conversations.
Our dog died several years ago and I try to say his name

Whenever I leave the house—You take care of this house now,
I say to him, the way I always have, the way he knows.

I grew up with the trips to the cemetery and pan de muerto,
The prayers and the favorite foods, the carne asada, the beer.

But that was in the small town where my memory still lives.

Today, I’m in the big city, and that small town feels far away...

read the rest here


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

The quote at the top is from A House Called Tomorrow. Read the rest of the poem (and see classroom activities) here.


The word Zaduszki originating from Dzień Zaduszny, can be roughly translated into English as "the day of prayers for the souls."

November 2nd is Zaduszki, All Souls Day. Here's what I read in Wikipedia:
The ritual of Zaduszki began with caring for the cemeteries: people tidied the graves of their relatives, decorated them with flowers, lit the candles; a collective prayer for the dead was organized, and concluded with having the priest bless the graves with prayers and holy water. Homeowners in Eastern Poland prepared to meet the dead by cleaning and preparing the house for the visit; covering the floor with sand, leaving the door or window open, moving a bench closer to the hearth. And on this bench, a dish of water, a comb, and a towel were placed, so that the souls could wash themselves and comb their hair.

Women would traditionally bake special bread for souls on the Zaduszki holiday. The bread was brought to the cemetery and given to the poor, children, clerics, or simply left on the graves in a similar vein to modern-day 'trick-or-treating'. Families have traditionally tried to give out as much as possible (in some places, they baked and gave out up to 200–300 buns of bread), believing that this would help to bring in wealth and prosperity.

Zaduszki ("All Souls Day")
Photo from the Polish cemetery of Osobowice in Wroclaw
Klearchos Kapoutsis from Santorini, Greece

Grandfathers' Eve (Dziady) in Belarus
Stanisław Bagieński

Zaduszki, one day after the All Saints Day when graves are lit up
Polish cemetery of Osobowice in Wroclaw.
Klearchos Kapoutsis

Dutch nun visiting a graveyard at All Souls' Day
The Netherlands, november 1955.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023


aubade -
a song or poem greeting the dawn...In French it means "dawn serenade," and that is the meaning that English-speakers originally fell in love with.

Happy November! Nate Marshall reads "aubade for the whole hood":

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Lessons from the Bride

The Bride of Frankenstein is one of six monsters featured in the 1998 pinball machine Monster Bash by Williams. The objective of the game is to form a band with classic Universal monsters. Every monster has their own game mode which you have to start to have them added as a band member, the Bride is the singer in the band.

Happy Poetry Friday! After looking around for a "Bride of Frankenstein" poem, I decided I'd better write one myself. Such an interesting tale she has -- in the original book, she is never finished. The doctor is afraid that his desire to appease the monster may lead "a race of devils."

However, she IS brought to life in the 1935 movie, and in many movies, TV shows, and cartoons thereafter. Dr. Frankenstein worried about her spawning generations of "monsters," but she did it anyway.

Lessons from the Bride
by Tabatha Yeatts

Even if you're feeling a little
rough around the edges,
a bit unrefined,
you can rise from the Surgical Table of Life,

reject your past,
scream at your suitors,
and escape your beginnings.

Even if they nearly pulled the plug on you
for fear of the misfits you might create,

you can deliver
as many new selves
as you can envision.

No castle can hold you,
you are your own thunderstorm.


I was looking up the thunderstorm/lightning/electricity element of the story and I found this poster: "More fearful than the monster himself!" they say.

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

Memento Mori

In the world of the living, one must live.
~Silvia Moreno-Garcia

For the last spooky Art Thursday, memento mori-- reminders that life is short, and death comes for everyone, even fancy people. (I think of Shelley's "Ozymandias" as a poetic memento mori.)

Epitaph for Johann Nepomuk Joseph Freiherr von Zech auf Neuhofen (1732-1757)
created by Ignaz Günther
photo by Steve Collis

Small Death, Austria, 1500s
attributed to Hans Leinberger

Memento mori, c. 1894
by Ernst Platz

Death Comes to the Banquet Table - Memento Mori
Giovanni Martinelli

Memento Mori on an early 16th century rosary, carved ivory; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Photo of a Memento mori ring on display at Norwich Castle Museum
photo by Geni

Life and Death