Thursday, April 11, 2024

Changelings

The reason for abducting the human child varies as well: to reinforce the fairy stock, for love of their beauty, or to pay the Devil.
~Austin Harvey


Happy Poetry Friday! For National Poetry Month, I am writing poems inspired by short stories. To be honest, it's an even more compelling project than I anticipated! It's got its challenges, for sure, but the stories are so interesting and they send me in all kinds of directions.


Today's poem was inspired by Irish folktale "The Changeling," collected by Lady Wilde (Oscar Wilde's mother). In it, a woman sees two people (a man of undetermined age and an old woman) come into her cottage late at night. They warm themselves by the fire and then approach her baby in his cradle, whereupon she faints.

When she comes to, she sends her husband to deal with them. He chases them out, and then lights a candle. When they look at the baby's cradle, they see their baby has been swapped for an unattractive (but cheerful) baby. They are weeping and wailing about it when a young woman comes in and asks what the problem is.

The husband tells her the story and she looks at the baby and laughs, because she is a fairy and it is the child who was stolen from her that very evening. She says that she would rather have her own ugly baby than any mortal child, so she takes him and tells the couple how to get their child back.

They need to go to the old fort on the hill (during a full moon, naturally) and burn some sheafs of corn, threatening to burn down the fort. The fairies can't deal with fire and will give the baby back. The fairy advises that, for his safety, they tie a nail from a horseshoe around the baby's neck after they get him back.

The husband goes to the old fort and follows the fairy's directions, which work. The last advice the husband is given is to draw a circle of fire with a hot coal around the baby's cradle when he gets home. (Fairies really can't stand fire, but the first fairies who stole the baby did seem to warm themselves by it. Maybe they just can't cross it?)

Anyway, the husband goes home, the fairy's fort is still standing, and they live peacefully from then on. "The man would allow no hand to move a stone or harm a tree, and the fairies still dance there on the rath, when the moon is full, to the music of the fairy pipes, and no one hinders them."

My poem:

Changeling

Fairies walk like the tinkle of wind chimes,
their wings guiding them through the world
like a hand on the back of a dancer,

so no human would expect a fairy's baby to be ugly,
not that the humans had given a moment's thought
to the fairy babies, far away under the hill,
when humans had their own concerns
and their own baby, so new and pink and tight and perfect,
sleeping quiet as a hiding hare,

silent, even when the strangers entered the cabin,
brazen as you please, and sat by the fire.
Once, twice, three times, the baby's desperate mother
tried to send them away, but magic weighed her down
like a blanket, left her flush with angry sleep.

By the time she had come to herself,
her husband was chasing the crone away
and some other baby had his hairy knuckles
wrapped around the top of the wooden crib.

When he gave them a startling grin and held his arms up,
they screamed and sobbed, only too relieved to give him
to his mother-fairy when she came knocking.

If the exchange had gone differently,
if fairy babies were more sleek than unsightly,
would they have cocked their heads
and marveled that their baby was more beautiful
than they remembered,
bewildered,
but pleased?

****************

I wrote my poem thinking about how the fairy mother, who loved her child, would have appreciated them taking good care of her son while they had him but would they have if she hadn't shown up? (And the flipside of that: Would they have wanted to keep the fairy baby if it had been handsome?)

I read this sad article after writing my poem. Not sure how it would have affected me if I had read it beforehand.

Jone Rush MacCulloch has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jone!

Valkyries

Valkyries, ride over the battlefield
I'm dying and glad to bleed
Because I know today I will take my place with the heroes
In Valhalla of old
~Richard Wagner


Happy Art Thursday! Have you watched the Marvel movies with valkyries in them? I did, but I can't remember what they said about what valkyries are/do. From what I've just read, in Norse mythology valkyries escort the battle-dead to Valhalla (Odin's realm) or Fólkvangr (Freyja's realm). The goddess Freyja seems like the original valkyrie, which means "one who chooses the slain." Some sites say that valkyries choose which slain soldiers to bring to Odin or Freyja and others say they choose who will die in a battle, which seems like a bigger deal to me. Valhalla is the realm that we hear about, so valkyries are often portrayed bringing fallen soldiers to Valhalla.

A valkyrie speaks with a raven (1862)
woodcut engraved by Joseph Swain from art by Frederick Sandys

Valkyries carrying the battle-dead to Valhöll
Johannes Gehrts (1855–1921)

The Rhinegold and the Valkryie
Arthur Rackham

Ride of the Valkyries:


Monday, April 8, 2024

A little spark

Take a little spark
From a battery
Electricity
And put me back together
~Nothing but Thieves


For Music Monday, Hozier with "Eat Your Young" and Nothing but Thieves with "Broken Machine."

Hozier's song comes from an album he wrote during the pandemic when he was thinking about Dante's Inferno. Hozier:
[Dante's Inferno] is a poem about a person who's wandering through this sort of underworld space, and in each Circle [of Hell], they meet with a new person who shares their grievance, their pain, their experience. That was something I allowed myself to play with a little bit — that each song starts with my voice, but it allows into itself and the license to just let the song grow to where it needs to be.





Thursday, April 4, 2024

Federigo's Falcon

There is too little courtship in the world.
~Vernon Lee


Happy National Poetry Month! I am delighted to be celebrating poetry with you. My project this year features poems inspired by short stories.


The inspiration for today's poem was "Federigo's Falcon" by Giovanni Boccaccio (circa 1353).

In it, a young man named Federigo falls deeply in love with a woman named Monna Giovanna. I can't tell if she was already married or if she married after Federigo tried to win her heart, but he doesn't get anywhere with her even though he tries everything and spends all his money doing it.

Federigo winds up leaving the city, nearly broke, and hanging out on his farm with his falcon. Eventually, Monna Giovanna comes with her son to live on a neighboring farm after her husband dies. Her son is interested in Federigo's falcon and, when he falls ill, asks his mom to see if Federigo will give him the falcon.

Monna Giovanna doesn't want to ask for the falcon but as she thinks it might help her son recover, she goes to visit Federigo. He doesn't know the reason she has come and is thrilled. With no other suitable food to give her, he arranges for his falcon to be cooked for her supper. She discovers after dinner that she isn't going to be able to bring his falcon to her son after all. Her son tragically passes away and Monna goes back to the city.

When her brothers start encouraging her to remarry, she tells them that the only person she would consider marrying is Federigo. She explains, "I would rather have a man who needs money than money that needs a man." What luck for Federigo! He "lived with her happily the rest of his days."


My "Federigo's Falcon" poem:

Federigo on how to woo a woman

If you encounter a woman without whom
the world is an endless eclipse,
offer her everything. If you have four flowers,
offer her five and coax one more to grow.
If you have a carriage, cover the seats
with the softest blankets, hitch it to your
calmest horses. If you have a castle,
circle the moat teaching the alligators
that she is sacrosanct or send them away.
What use is a castle if she cannot enter?
If you have anything, offer it:
your time, your patience, your riches,
your poverty, your surprise, your
last friend.

*******************

Addendum: I'd like to add "Federigo" to the title of my poem. "Federigo's advice about How to woo a woman"? "How to woo a woman according to Federigo"? Suggestions welcome.

Great, thank you, Irene! I changed it to your suggestion. xo

Poems from short stories:
* Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes inspired by "The White Haired Girl" by Gorky
* Her Kind by Anne Sexton, maybe inspired by Hans Christian Anderson (need more info!)
* If I Could Write Like Poe inspired by "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe
* Scheherazade inspired by "The Thousand and One Nights" (various)
* The Man He Killed by Thomas Hardy inspired by "The Ambuscade" by Stephen Crane
* Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson inspired by Homer's The Odyssey

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


The Mold Gold Cape

With a name like The Hill of the Goblins, one might expect something exciting to be hidden within Bryn yr Ellyllon, near Flintshire, Wales. They’d be right.
When workmen absolutely broke into the ancient burial mound in 1833, they couldn’t believe what they’d found. It turned out the site was a literal treasure trove of ancient artifacts, the most impressive of which was a solid gold artifact known as the Mold Gold Cape.
~Robbie Mitchell


For Art Thursday, a prehistoric gold cape discovered in 1833 in a Mold, Wales burial mound. The cape is small enough that it could have been made for a woman or a teenage boy.

The Mold gold cape. Bronze Age, about 1900-1600 BC/ From Mold, Flintshire, North Wales
photo by David Monniaux





A song about an imagined wearer of the cape...Edie Brickell and Steve Martin:



Monday, April 1, 2024

The floodgates are down

“I’m sure we all know so many incredible bands locally, like artists or musicians or people who are doing incredible things, that don’t get recognised,” [Elizabeth] Stokes says. “And you’re like, ‘Well, they’re really, really good too. So I’m just lucky.’”
~reporter Brodie Lancaster quoting the lead singer of The Beths


For Music Monday, New Zealand band The Beths:




Thursday, March 28, 2024

Clutching, sacred things

Women may be the one group that grows more radical with age.
~Gloria Steinem


Happy Poetry Friday! Three poems today. Topics include: aging, friendship, being yourself, taking care of the natural world. "Trust a Woman with Many Jars" seems like it could make a good mentor poem.


Talking Like This
by Kathryn Hunt
for Andrea

A cold wind blew in gusts that caught
the root-hold of the firs. Clouds fled across the sky
and I felt empty, free of myself, just walking.
The way the trees leaned and circled, tossing
their long branches like a woman whose had
enough might toss away something she loves.
Or a horse might toss its head,
meaning I am dangerous.

A few doors down men were putting up
a wall with their nail guns and saws.
Ladders, bags of sand all over the yard.
How satisfying that must feel, to stand back
at the end of the day and admire a house
you’ve made in the company of others.
To be of practical use, like a frying pan.
Don’t fall off your ladders, I shouted...

read the rest here

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Trust a Woman with Many Jars
by Mackenzie Berry

Who cooks well for only herself—
who makes tomato jam & falls out at the taste of a ground cherry.

Trust a woman who can cast a spell on you but doesn’t.
Who studies carpentry, who can work a saw.

Trust a woman who likes soup. Who can clean a fish.
Who you can weep into & still looks you in the eye.

Who says, Miss Baby...

read the rest here

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**************

Things I Tell Colleen
by Samantha DeFlitch

The Virginia opossum was admitted for severe burns
caused by a third alarm house fire that barely grazed
the surface of the morning news. Carelessness, intention—
the fire’s cause matters zip to the opossum who was
delivered to the rescue center with eleven joeys clinging
to the blistered fur of her back, like a life loaded up with
sick aunts, lunchbox duty, scribbled notes from a brother—
all of us attached to these clutching, sacred things. Fire
is fire to all animals...

read the rest here

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The Miss Rumphius Effect has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Tricia!

Taina Litwak

Like climate change, human news chronicles our impact on our planet.
~Taina Litwak


Last weekend, I went to Artomatic in Washington D.C. It was invigorating and exhausting. So much art! If you, like me, don't have the stamina to check it out all at once, it is a good idea to plan multiple visits. One of the artists who caught my eye was Taina Litwak, who graciously gave me permission to share her work with you. She says:
In January 2020 I began a series of paintings in acrylic and collaged newspaper. I started painting again after 20 years (spent illustrating science) because I felt the need to express my concern more personally about the damage humans are doing to the planet and where our culture is heading.

Ginkgo IV- Climate Change News
Taina Litwak

News Stream III
Taina Litwak

Warblers V - Lost Flocks
Taina Litwak

Monday, March 25, 2024

People's Artist Kolessa

The choral piece “Poisonous Gas” for the male choir, composed by M. Kolessa in the pre-Soviet period (1932). It is based on the verses of his close friend Ivan Krushelnytskyi, whose ruthless execution in 1934, as well as the destruction of the entire Krushelnytskyi family, was profoundly shocking for M. Kolessa.
Performance of the piece during the Soviet period was impossible.
“Poisonous Gas” debuted at the gala concert of the Summer Choral Academy in Lviv in June 2018.
~Choral Society Leontovych


Feasgar math! Good afternoon! For Music Monday, the Lviv Orchestra performing Mykola Kolessa's "Ukrainian Suite" and the Leontovych Choral Society performing Kolessa's "Poisonous Gas." Both are worth hearing all the way through.







Thursday, March 21, 2024

In the deep heart's core

[Yeats] was one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are a part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them.
~T.S. Eliot


Happy Poetry Friday, all! Sharing some photos from last Sunday. We celebrated Irish poet William Butler Yeats during St. Patrick's Day. I couldn't forget the Irish women, so I also brought out a St Brigid's cross and my wee St Dymphna.

We had cream cheese scones with lemon curd, sandwiches (egg salad, cucumber, and chicken), pasta salad, strawberries, brie with black currant preserves, and Irish potato candy.
Paul Thompson graciously recorded Yeats poems for us. Here are "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" and "Where My Books Go" (lesser known, but a favorite of mine).

Where My Books go
by W.B. Yeats

All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken’d or starry bright.



The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.



Do you have a favorite Yeats poem? For many people it might be "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" or "When You Are Old":



***********

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

Addendum: here's an Irish potato candy recipe (I bought them already made).

Julia Kuznetsova

It is in your power, really, to help us bring to justice everyone who started this unprovoked and criminal war. Let's do it. Let the terrorist be held responsible for aggression, and compensate all losses done by this war.
~Volodymyr Zelensky


For Art Thursday, art by Ukrainian artist Julia Kuznetsova. Digital downloads are available for purchase in her Etsy shop (only $5!). I've bought several and printed them as postcards. My daughter Elena also used them as wall decor. Visit her Etsy store here. Slava Ukraini!

Deep Breath
by Julia Kuznetsova


Dandelions
by Julia Kuznetsova


Monday, March 18, 2024

Stradella

One of the most innovative and exciting composers of the 17th century, with hundreds of musical works to his name, Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682) led a rambunctious life encompassing TWO assassination attempts, a fraud, a love story, an abduction… and a lot of brilliant music.
~BBC4


Read more about Stradella's story here, where Frank Cottrell Boyce explains why he wrote a drama about Stradella's life. (Is it a spoiler to say that one of the assassination attempts was successful?)

For Music Monday, works by Alessandro Stradella:







Thursday, March 14, 2024

Pardoned by the lava of chance

E. Hirsch: You’ve said that you average about six poems per year. Why so few?
W. Meredith: I wait until the poems seem to be addressed not to “Occupant” but to “William Meredith.”



Happy Poetry Friday! Our family is doing something different for St Patrick's Day this year...adding a bit of Irish poet W.B. Yeats celebration to it. (BTW, Yeats and Yeatts are not the same, but they do have the same pronunciation.) One of our extended family members is wonderful at reciting poems and has made some videos for us to enjoy. I've planned a tea with scones and truffles and wee sandwiches. Maybe I will share a video next week if I can get permission.

Today's poem is by Pulitzer prizewinner William Meredith, who wrote "The Illiterate" which I shared in 2008 and still think of often. "Accidents of Birth" is one I know I'll also be returning to.

Accidents of Birth
by William Meredith

Je vois les effroyables espaces de l’Univers qui m’enferment, et je me trouve attaché à un coin de cette vaste étendue, sans savoir pourquoi je suis plutôt en ce lieu qu’en un autre, ni pourquoi ce peu de temps qui m’est donné à vivre m’est assigné à ce point plutôt qu'à un autre de toute l’éternité qui m’a précédé, et de toute qui me suit.

—Pascal, Pensées sur la religion


The approach of a man’s life out of the past is history, and the approach of time out of the future is mystery. Their meeting is the present, and it is consciousness, the only time life is alive. The endless wonder of this meeting is what causes the mind, in its inward liberty of a frozen morning, to turn back and question and remember. The world is full of places. Why is it that I am here?

—Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House

Spared by a car or airplane crash or
cured of malignancy, people look
around with new eyes at a newly
praiseworthy world, blinking eyes like these.

For I’ve been brought back again from the...

read the rest here

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{fiction, instead of lies} has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Tanita!

Renoir

One must from time to time attempt things that are beyond one's capacity.
~Pierre-Auguste Renoir


I like support for trying things one is liable to mess up. Thanks, Renoir! Art Thursday:

La Grenouillère
Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Le Pont-Neuf, 1872
Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Self-Portrait, 1876
Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Monday, March 11, 2024

Harmonies

You try to do what you can to bring harmony wherever you go.
~Aaron Neville


For Music Monday, a "Ms. Mojo" video with her list of Top 20 Harmonies:



Can't leave out Boyz II Men. So good!



More harmonies:
Stay by Little Big Town
Go To Sleep You Little Baby by Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, and Alison Krauss
I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons
Save Me The Trouble by Dan and Shay
Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band
What others would you include?

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Not your shoe

The great artists are the ones who dare to entitle to beauty things so natural that when they're seen afterward, people say: Why did I never realize before that this too was beautiful?
~André Gide



Hi y'all! Happy Poetry Friday! My birthday yesterday threw me off a little bit re: my blogging schedule, so I am pulling out things I liked on Instagram. First, Trevor Noah explaining why friends are like horcruxes. Also, here's literacy advocate Oliver Speaks.

Is something making you uncomfortable? Maybe you just need to let it go. Naomi Shihab Nye:

Todd Dillard from Invisible Chorus, in Only Poems:

Addendum: Dillard's How To Live is worth a read.

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Laura Purdie Salas has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Laura!

Reflectogram

The water you touch in a river is the last of that which has passed, and the first of that which is coming. Thus it is with time present.
~Leonardo daVinci


For Art Thursday, an unfinished painting by DaVinci, but the infrared reflectogram version:

The Adoration of the Magi, infrared reflectogram
by Leonardo da Vinci
Preserved in the archives of the Opificio delle pietre dure
photo by Tangopaso


Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Feed my head

Age ain't nothin but a number!
And like a rare wine, you don't get older, you just get better...
Saffire, Middle Aged Blues Boogie



I am late for Music Monday! Today I was thinking about Saffire, the Uppity Blues Women. I remember seeing them play "How Can I Say I Miss You" before they released it on an album. I associate them with laughter and pizza.










Thursday, February 29, 2024

Sparkling potions

According to [Riverside] cemetery, as of 2023, people have been leaving $1.87 in change (the amount of Della's savings at the beginning of "The Gift of the Magi") on Porter's grave for at least 30 years. The cemetery says the money is given to area libraries.
~John Boyle


Happy Poetry Friday! Have you read "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry (a.k.a. William Sydney Porter)? The ending gets me every time. Here's an excerpt of the poem O. Henry- Apothecary by Christopher Morley, who must have been aware that Porter was a licensed pharmacist:

O brave apothecary! You who knew
What dark and acid doses life prefers,
And yet with friendly face resolved to brew
These sparkling potions for your customers—
In each prescription your Physician writ
You poured your rich compassion and your wit!

**********

Last week, I mentioned that my National Poetry Month project this April will be short story-based:

Take a short story (from a magazine, anthology, one you've written, wherever) and...

* write a black-out poem
* a poem for two voices (two of the characters talking)
* a poem about the setting
* a summary
* a poem imagining the inspiration for the story
* a poem that changes the story in some way
* or whatever you want to do!

I thought I'd give you some links to short stories in case anybody would like help getting started:

* 100 Great Short Stories
* 75 SHORT Short Stories
* 50 Feel-Good Short Stories
* On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning by Haruki Murakami
* The Faery Handbag by Kelly Link
* Going Home: A Short Story Inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death.” (Okay, maybe it would be too circular to write a poem inspired by that one.)

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

Road trip?

Experts believe that three different artists illustrated the pages, and three or four scribes copied the text. The medieval monks who created the book hand-painted each of its 680 pages using around 10 different domestic and imported pigments.
~Erin Kelly, about the Book of Kells


I just saw that there is an immersive Book of Kells experience at Trinity College, Dublin. Did you see the VanGogh immersive experience? It reminded me of that.






Folio 34r contains the Chi Rho monogram

Folio 2r contains one of the Eusebian Canons
The Book of Kells

The Book of Kells, (folio 292r), circa 800

Monday, February 26, 2024

#329

At least I have her love
The city, she loves me
Lonely as I am
Together we cry
~Red Hot Chili Peppers


Recently I was looking at Rolling Stone's "500 Best Songs of All Time" (for poetry-related reasons, oddly enough). What's #329, you wonder?
Number 329
Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘Under the Bridge’
1991
Writer(s):Anthony Kiedis, Flea, John Frusciante, Chad Smith

The stark, poignant ballad “Under the Bridge” was a breakthrough hit for the Chili Peppers, shattering their party-boy image. It started as an autobiographical confession from frontman Anthony Kiedis, who counted an experience with some gang members under an actual Los Angeles bridge as a low point of his drug addiction.

I knew the song, but had no idea what it was about. For Music Monday, Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers:



Thursday, February 22, 2024

Open for poetry business

I fell in love with her because I thought she was the first feminist. Second, because she was a philosopher, an artist, a writer, and she was trying through literature to humanize the king and men around her.
~Hanan al-Shaykh on Scheherazade


Happy Poetry Friday! The round-up is here! Thanks for joining me.


I wondered if I use the word "open" (my OLW 2024) a lot when I write poems so I checked and yes, I do! Here's a poem I found from 2013 that I'm not sure I showed anyone? Let me know if you feel like you've seen it before.

Scheherazade comes from The Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights). She marries a king who, to avoid being betrayed, kills his brides the day after their wedding. Scheherazade avoids this dire fate by telling him stories that end with cliffhangers. "The king kept Scheherazade alive day by day, as he eagerly anticipated the conclusion of each previous night's story."

Scheherazade
by Tabatha Yeatts

At the open door
she forces herself to enter his room,
lifting up her anchor
to launch into his turbulent waters.
She expects to ride the caliph's moods
holding on with both hands,
but she staggers,
almost
loses her balance,
until she calms her chills
at the sight of his unkempt beard,
the wild sweat that beads in the nooks of his brow,
and his eyes that land nowhere.

Although
it is she who wraps words around the mast,
and blows the sails full with story,
his pleasure steers the ship.
Only he may scoop out the water
that pools at their feet.

Her guiding star
is visible through clouds,
even present in the rain,
beaming down between
strikes of lightning.

She cups her hands,
fills them with the future,
and lets him drink.

*********

Speaking of characters from stories, I have an idea for my National Poetry Month project! I'm giving early notice in case you want to take part. My project is short story-based:

Take a short story (from a magazine, anthology, one you've written, wherever) and...
* write a black-out poem
* a poem for two voices (two of the characters talking)
* a poem about the setting
* a summary
* a poem imagining the inspiration for the story
* a poem that changes the story in some way

or whatever you want to do!
Email tabatha (at) tabathayeatts (dot) com.
(Addendum: I thought of one I've already written! If I Could Write Like Poe)

*********

Leave your links below!

Drawbridges

I have built a moat around myself, along with ways over that moat so that people can ask questions.
~Tim Berners-Lee


For Art Thursday, I was thinking about art that represented my One Little Word for the year ("Open") and drawbridges came to mind. The castle isn't open without the drawbridge being down. I am fond of door-related art, and this feels like a branch of that.

Castello Veneto
photo by Paolo Monti

Bridge to Castle
photo by Vitold Muratov

The castle of Izadkhast (or Yezd-i-Khast) in Fars Province of Iran
Eugène Flandin

Florence
photo by Paolo Monti

Osijek Water Gate (Croatia)
Roko Poljak

Lastly, here's xkcd with "How to build a Lava Moat":



Monday, February 19, 2024

Nobody feeling you?

You can either be your greatest enemy or greatest friend. You have to believe and love yourself first and foremost. Beautiful things will start falling into place soon after that happens.
~Marc Rebillet


Belatedly posting for Music Monday!

Flamingosis - Feel Yourself [feat. Marc Rebillet]:


Bobby Caldwell:


Saturday, February 17, 2024

What caring looks like

I think health care is more about love than about most other things. If there isn't at the core of this two human beings who have agreed to be in a relationship where one is trying to help relieve the suffering of another, which is love, you can't get to the right answer here.
~Donald Berwick



Yesterday my husband Ben went to a hospital for a procedure. We were under the impression that the staff would be masked up, but it turned out that they weren't. The majority of the masked people there were patients.

I know a cancer survivor who is COVID-cautious and has only had it once -- given to her by an unmasked doctor.

Should people we go to for our health care be making us sick? Why would that seem acceptable, that on the one hand they "care" about our health and on the other hand, they can't be bothered to protect it in the smallest of ways?

When I left the hospital yesterday, I thought to myself that the staff should hope they didn't give Ben COVID because if they did, I am perfectly happy to be a one-woman protest, just me with a sign, trying not to let them get away with it. Today, this article by Nate Bear landed in my in-box...many people are experiencing the same frustration I am.

Nate Bear:
Just this week the partner of Rhod Gilbert, a famous Welsh comedian undergoing treatment for stage 4 cancer, spoke out against the medical malpractice that leads to hospital-acquired covid infections...

How many cancer patients, transplant patients or critically-ill people have been infected in a hospital with the the world’s leading cause of death by infectious disease? How many ended up dead as a result?

We don’t know, since public health either gave up on monitoring or won’t tell us. We have to comb through social media to find out.

I can hardly believe that’s a line I’m writing in 2024...

Hospitals should be places of treatment, safety and comfort, especially for the most vulnerable in society.

They should not be places of danger...

Prior to the pandemic, whenever there were hospital outbreaks of the ‘superbug’ MRSA, or of the bacterium C. difficile, it made the news. Investigations were undertaken. When people died, legal actions were launched. Hospitals were sued. It only took a few hundred cases for the wheels to be set in motion.

This happened because there was an expectation that hospitals were places of safety. There was an expectation that no further harm should come to a person when seeking treatment for illness.

We agreed, culturally, that it was utterly negligent when this happened.

That expectation has died under a mountain of covid propaganda and a desire for normality so powerful that a form of cultural hegemony has arisen: from the political left to the right, covid has been disappeared. A collective vow of silence has been taken.

My mom had spinal surgery recently and has had physical therapists and occupational therapists coming to her house 2-3 times a week. Her therapists are wearing masks without being asked. Much appreciation for health care providers who protect their patients!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Confident in our walls

Every time you read a poem aloud to yourself in the presence of others, you are reading it into yourself and them. Voice helps to carry words farther and deeper than the eye.
~Seamus Heaney


Happy Poetry Friday! I heard a bunch of different people recite Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney and they were all lovely. (If you are considering learning poems by heart, this is a good one to start with.)


Scaffolding
by Seamus Heaney

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.



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Reflections on the Teche has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Margaret!

Bonus poem: For Rita with Love by Pat Ingoldsby

Czachórski

The word “laureate” is derived from the Latin “laureatus,” which means “crowned with a wreath of laurel leaves.“
~Tom, History Hogs


This dreamy painting caught my eye. For Art Thursday, Portrait of a Girl with Laurel Wreath:

Portrait of a Girl with Laurel Wreath, pre 1903
by Władysław Czachorski


Monday, February 12, 2024

Parked on Sophisticated Street

I don't like the act of talking; it makes me slightly light-headed.
~Hugh Laurie


For Valentine's Week Music Monday, Hugh Laurie and Beethoven. Take your pick!

Sophisticated Song


Piano Concerto No.3, Second Movement, ‘Largo’


Thursday, February 8, 2024

Traces everywhere

Jeopardy accompanies us always, and rescue can come in many guises.
~Svetlana Lavochkina, translator


Happy Poetry Friday! What are you up to? I am working on a flash fiction short story (1,000 words or under). Something different for me! That's what comes of being open (my One Little Word for 2024).

Today's poem I Pick up my Footprints is by Ukrainian poet Vasyl Holoborodko and can be found in Words for War: New Poems from Ukraine.



I Pick up my Footprints
by Vasyl Holoborodko

I stoop to pick up my footprints,
somebody seeing me might think
I’m gathering mushrooms,
healing herbs,
or flowers into a bunch,
but no —
I collect my footprints,
my traces everywhere
I walked for many years:
Here are the footprints I left while herding sheep on the steppe.
Here, I took this path to school,
and these are my steps from my route to work.

“I’m gathering my footprints here
so that strangers don’t trample them,”
I tell anyone who’s curious.

(Epiphany:
a footprint is —
a symbol, by definition, of:
“something rooted in the past”)

In my mind, I slip my footprints
between the pages —
now whenever I read a book,
I chance upon an old footprint:
I study it for a long time,
the footprint I left as a child
walking beneath a cherry tree.

All the footprints gathered so far,
an entire footstep herbarium in books —
if I put them all in one row,
their path wouldn’t lead me home.

Translated from the Ukrainian by Svetlana Lavochkina

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

Cupid

Oh, innocent victims of Cupid,
remember this terse little verse:
To let a fool kiss you is stupid.
To let a kiss fool you is worse.
~Yip Harburg


Cute? Mischievous? For Art Thursday, we have Amor/Eros/Cupid/Love.

Cupid
Julius Kronberg

Sleeping Cupid
Francesco Albani

Amor breaking his bow
Jean Ducamps

Time cutting the wings of Love, 1694
Pierre Mignard

Cupid holding a glass ball

Caesar van Everdingen

El Amor dormido, 1630
Erasmus Quellinus (II)
After Peter Paul Rubens