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":