Monday, January 30, 2023

Bassoon friends

When the road looks rough ahead
And you're miles and miles
From your nice warm bed
You just remember what your old pal said...
~Randy Newman

For Music Monday, You've Got a Friend in Me performed by the Breaking Winds Bassoon Quartet ("We are serious about fun music!"):

Thursday, January 26, 2023

the sound of praise and names of love

Annie Lighthart grew up in a house full of books and teachers. Since there were too many books to dust, to be continually reading was considered a contribution to keeping the house clean.

For Poetry Friday, two poets whose work I have shared before. Time for more!

The Hundred Names of Love
by Annie Lighthart

The children have gone to bed.
We are so tired we could fold ourselves neatly
behind our eyes and sleep mid-word, sleep standing
warm among the creatures in the barn, lean together
and sleep, forgetting each other completely in the velvet,
the forgiveness of that sleep.

Then the one small cry:
one strike of the match-head of sound:
one child’s voice:

read the rest here


The Sound of It
by Annie Lighthart

Just a piano playing plainly, not even for long,
and yet I suddenly think of fields of timothy
and how a cow and I once studied each other over a fence
while the car ticked and cooled behind me.
When I turned around I was surprised that it had not
sprouted tall grass from its hood, I had been gone
so long. Time passes in crooked ways in some tales,

read the rest here



by Kelli Russell Agodon

Find me wild about stir-fry, about red velvet
sofas and the people who sleep inside books
and dream about commas. We are flooded
with forgetfulness, with fallen plum blossoms
misspelling our names on the driveway. Praise
our too many expectations, how we overestimate

read the rest here


Bookseed Studio has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jan!

Ohara Koson

The bird-and-flower motif started appearing in Japanese art around the Muromachi period during the 14th century, and developed its own distinct style. It also entered ukiyo-e woodblock printing, where it was known as kachō-e (花鳥絵).

For Art Thursday, prints by kachō-e artist Ohara Koson (1877-1945). My main focus was on animals and the moon, but I couldn't resist adding a couple of flower prints.

Goose at full moon
Ohara Koson

Crow at full moon
Ohara Koson

Rabbit at full moon
Ohara Koson

Geese at full moon
Ohara Koson

Green heron at full moon
Ohara Koson

Blue Irises
Ohara Koson

Chrysanthemums and Running Water
Ohara Koson

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Martinez Zogo

Although Cameroon has one of the richest media landscapes in Africa, it is one of the continent's most dangerous countries for journalists, who operate in a hostile and precarious environment.
~Reporters without Borders

Sometimes it feels like the world is more like an Avengers movie than we realize, minus the superheroes. Martinez Zogo was a journalist in Cameroon who was covering government corruption when he realized that his life was in danger. Zogo tried to get to the police for protection, but he was kidnapped first. Sadly, his body was found five days later. Where is the justice for Martinez Zogo?

Monday, January 23, 2023

Sibyl of the Rhine

I gave a lecture once where I played 14 different recordings of Hildegard, and the audience assumed they were all separate pieces. But they were really the same composition, in wildly different performances.
~Honey Meconi

For Music Monday, Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179):

Another quote about Hildegard of Bingen from Honey Meconi:
One the things I love about her is that she was 42 before she started writing anything down. In a sense, I think of her as the patron saint of “late bloomers.”

...Hildegard was also someone who didn’t accept her place in the world. She wrote her books, and created a new language, and, in a male-dominated church, she went on preaching tours at a time when women were not supposed to preach, especially in public.

One more thing that isn't music...YouTube suggested that I watch this and I was impressed. Rajiv Surendra:

Thursday, January 19, 2023


Here is Light; it's too hot to touch
but don't remove your fingers.
~Nadya Agafonova

Poems this week from INVASION: Ukrainian Poems about the War, edited by Tony Kitt, translated from Ukrainian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky. Nadya Agafonova, the poet who wrote the above quote, was killed by a Russian rocket.

The Journey
by Anatoly Dnistroviy

I'm no Odysseus
my disturbed wanderings are confined to my room
and sirens don't sing to us nightly
only alarms to which we no longer respond
neither kids
nor cats
but a long journey awaits us all--
a journey to find our homes
in the darkness of doubt
and my home summons me
like a ray of light


by Sophia Lenartovych

the tree cuts the lantern light in two
paving a radiant track towards my feet
the train will arrive in a few minutes
but I still don't know where I am going
mother bade farewell to me and said:
home is where somebody's waiting for you
so I'm now travelling on a toy train
that moves along the bright rails towards her


by Julia Musakovska

such awkward, terrible poems
soaked with rage,

no beauty in them,
no aesthetics;
metaphors withered and scattered
deprived of blooming

metaphors buried
on playgrounds
under hastily made

in unnatural poses
across the thresholds,
strewn with dust

cooking food over an open fire
in attempt to survive

metaphors dying of dehydration
under the rubble

shot in a car
under a makeshift
white flag

lying on the footpath
with motley backpacks on their backs

next to their
executed pets

forgive me, but such poems
are all we have for you today,
ladies and gentlemen,

dear estimable spectators
in the theatre of war

Yale professor Timothy Snyder says:
There is nothing problematic or awkward about the poem itself. It is elegant and powerful. It reminds us how metaphors work. The awkwardness and the frightfulness resides not in the poem, but in us. The poem helps us own this. What are we supposed to do, we the spectators of the theater of war?

...The way to relieve the sense of awkwardness is to do something to help. In this horrible war of atrocity, the Ukrainians have made this easy for us. This is not a conflict where it is unclear whom to help or how. Both the Ukrainian state and Ukrainian civil society are highly functional, which means that it is quite simple to do something more than spectate.

If you want to help Ukrainians stay warm despite the Russian campaign to take down their entire power grid with missiles and drones, make a (tax-deductible) donation to Razom. If you want to support Ukrainian aims through President Zelens’kyi’s own platform, United 24, you can do so here...If you want to support Ukrainians who are at work in the arts, sciences, and in journalism to document this war, make a (tax-deductible) contribution to Documenting Ukraine.


Marcie Flinchum Atkins has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Marcie!


Red is the great clarifier bright and revealing. I can't imagine becoming bored with red. It would be like becoming bored with the person you love.
~Diana Vreeland

Black and Red for Art Thursday.

Mary Magdalene writing
by Master of the Female Half-Lengths a.k.a. Master of the Vienna Concert
Dutch-Southern Netherlandish painter, 1530-1540

Black Swan, Melbourne
photo by Buiobuione

Fleetwood Hesketh, 1769
by Joseph Wright of Derby

Tyria jacobaeae
by Svdmolen

Portrait of May Sartoris, c. 1860
Frederic Leighton

Flowers of Eucalyptus caesia subsp. magna
by Nick Pitsas, CSIRO

Portrait of Corvina Hezenbroek van Hofdijck
Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt and workshop (1566–1641)

Monday, January 16, 2023

gonna write words, oh, so sweet

I sing to the god with the three pronged rod
And the whiskers wild and free
That I've got a man with a beard and tan
And a passion for the sea
~Connie Converse, Father Neptune

Kind of a rabbit hole for Music Monday. First I looked up Connie Converse, a singer/songwriter whose music Ariana introduced me to:

She has a mysterious story, and you can find multiple documentaries about her.

Then I found a video of The Ladles singing one of Connie Converse's songs, Father Neptune:

I found another Ladles song:

That led me to hearing the original by Fats Waller, which felt a bit slow at this point (lo siento, Mr. Waller), so I found this fun one by Martha Davis & Spouse with Perry Como:

Thursday, January 12, 2023

a metal cube the size of a suitcase

I could recognize a Kirby poem on the page across a room, just as I could recognize one of Emily Dickinson’s.
~Billy Collins

Happy Poetry Friday! I've got poems by David Kirby today. He says, "A lot of my poems are braids I make of found materials; my contribution is to figure out what the different parts have in common and then unite them tonally." By "found materials," he means stories he's picked up along the way.

by David Kirby

In Baton Rouge, there was a DJ on the soul station who was
always urging his listeners to “take it on home to Jerome.”

No one knew who Jerome was. And nobody cared. So it
didn’t matter. I was, what, ten, twelve? I didn’t have anything

to take home to anyone. Parents and teachers told us that all
we needed to do in this world were three things: be happy,

read the rest here


by David Kirby

Student’s so tired she’s weepy. I just got off a double shift,
she says, and I tell her not to worry, that we’ve all had
terrible jobs but things turn out okay, and then I tell her

about my worst job ever, which was building roads
in Claiborne Parish that summer, the sun itself hot enough,
the tar puddling around our boots like lava leaked

from Dante’s hell. Jules LeBlanc and I bunked together
and drove back to Baton Rouge on the weekends
to do laundry and eat our mothers’ cooking,

but on our last day before we went off to college,
we stopped at a roadhouse and emptied can after can
of Busch beer, the white mountains of the logo

holding out their snowy promise. Somehow...

read the rest here


by David Kirby

When you tell me that a woman is visiting the grave
of her college friend and she’s trying not to get irritated
at the man in the red truck who keeps walking back and forth
and dropping tools as he listens to a pro football
game on the truck radio, which is much too loud, I start
to feel as though I know where this story is going,
so I say Stop, you’re going to make me cry.
How sad the world is. When young men died in the mud
of Flanders, the headmaster called their brothers out
of the classroom one by one, but when the older brothers
began to die by the hundreds every day, they simply handed
the child a note as he did his lessons, and of course the boy
wouldn’t cry in front of the others, though at night
the halls were filled with the sound of schoolboys sobbing
for the dead, young men only slightly older than themselves.
Yet the world’s beauty breaks our hearts as well:
the old cowboy is riding along and looks down...

read the rest here


Chicken Spaghetti has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Susan!

Paper lanterns

No, my friend, darkness is not everywhere, for here and there I find faces illuminated from within; paper lanterns among the dark trees.
~Carole Borges

More light for Art Thursday!

Paper Lantern
Robert Anders

Taipei Lantern Festival
photo by vicjuan

Hanseong Baekje's Dream - Lantern Exhibit, South Korea
photo by travel oriented

Paper lanterns in the snow, Castle Gardens, Arcen, Netherlands

Lantern horses in Chinese Garden
Jiaqian AirplaneFan

Monday, January 9, 2023

Igor Levit

Levit used the COVID-19 hiatus to live-stream concerts from his Berlin home on 52 consecutive nights... In 2020, Levit also earned the title of Musical America’s “Artist of the Year.”

When Igor Levit plays piano, his fingers really look like they are "playing," as in "being playful." For Music Monday, German-Russian pianist Igor Levit:

Thursday, January 5, 2023

The serenity of a capybara

Like its relative the guinea pig, the capybara does not have the capacity to synthesize vitamin C, and capybaras not supplemented with vitamin C in captivity have been reported to develop gum disease as a sign of scurvy.

Hi y'all! I was reading poems, trying to decide what to share today, when I ran across a poem that stopped me in my tracks. It describes one of the most despicable, unjust acts I have ever heard of. I am absolutely floored. I think you should read it, but maybe today isn't a good day for that so here's the link. Read it when you can.

For something completely different, here's a poem about capybaras. I heard recently that it is traditional in Japan for them to take winter solstice baths with yuzu fruit. (I also tried my first yuzu fruit recently. Reminded me of gooseberries and grapefruit.)

god, grant me the serenity of a capybara
by Adrienne Crezo

in an annual yuzu hot bath, a zoo's solstice onsen
for these too-short days, too-soon orion looming

overhead. let me stand in steaming mineral soup
orbited by floating citrus and snow and awash in love

from those who believe i am enough as i arrived: wet-
eyed, wanting, heat-seeking, sleepy. give me that good

hot vapor and a pair of hands to feed me fruit, comb
my hair, tell me i'm so sweet the oranges came to bathe...

read the rest here


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

Street Lamps

To give you an idea of the size of the Earth, I will tell you that before the invention of electricity it was necessary to maintain, over the whole of six continents, a veritable army of 462, 511 lamplighters for the street lamps.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I may be packing up the Christmas lights, but we're still keeping the darkness at bay for Art Thursday.

Erik Werenskiold

Die Augustusbrücke zu Dresden im Schnee
Gotthardt Kuehl

Market Square of Warsaw by night
Józef Pankiewicz -

The Coast at Drøbak in December
Edvard Diriks

New Lamp Old Wall

La Place des Vosges sous la neige
Raphaël Toussaint

Obra que integra o acervo do Museu Paulista da USP
Coleção José Wasth Rodrigues

Monday, January 2, 2023

Misfortune, be afraid of me

We have our own suns in our hearts
And the whole world is illuminated by this
~Viktoria Leléka

For Music Monday, Ukrainian band Leléka: