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.)


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


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’
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."

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,
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.

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!


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

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.)

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.


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

Bonus poem: For Rita with Love by Pat Ingoldsby


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.

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


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


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.

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

Monday, February 5, 2024

Aliah Sheffield

The responses I get either make me laugh or make me cry. Some people say, Is she being sarcastic, or is she calling out for help? It’s a little bit of both.
~Aliah Sheffield

For Music Monday, Aliah Sheffield. She has an album called These Songs Are for Anyone Sick of Earth, which has some pretty dark stuff on it but her voice is so angelic that it is pleasant regardless (e.g. I Don't Like People). When she sings, "I don’t want folks running up all my bills/The first comes and that’s when they run for the hills," you know she's singing from experience.

An upbeat one:

Some of Your People (ain't really your people)

Thursday, February 1, 2024


Lillie D. Chaffin was born February 1, 1925 to Kenis and Fairybelle Dorton at Varney, Kentucky. Growing up during the Depression, at a time when most children did not attend first grade until the age of six, if at all, Lillie insisted on starting at age four.
~Gayle Compton

Happy Poetry Friday, y'all! Appalachian poet Lillie Chaffin sounds like a real firecracker. You can read more about her and more of her poems here.

Old-Timer to Grandchild
by Lillie D. Chaffin

And so our kinfolks let themselves
be sweet-talked into believing
that things would be the same.
They let some Philadelphia lawyers
tell them they could sell the yoke
and keep the egg, and with that few cents
they built a room onto the house
or somesuch. And now the yoke owners
are claiming their gold, and squashing
the shell and letting it fall howsumever
it falls. Let folks talk about our
backward ways. I like it. If forward's
what's been coming in right here lately,
I'd go into backup if I could. Back up
to the little creeks with fish in them,
the trees with birds, the caves
with animals, the air clean and smelling
of hay and apples. If forward's now,
then I feel sorrow for the ones who'll
never know. But you will remember
a little bit. You tell them birds
do fly low before a storm.

From Mucked 1977


A(nother) Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!


A wolf will still be a wolf even if he hasn’t eaten your sheep.
~ Manchuria Proverb

For Art Thursday, wolves!

Interesting wolf/dog info from NBC:
Domestic dogs come in more sizes than any other mammal species on Earth. This is a result of human preference and selective breeding — but this wide range of sizes is foundationally possible because of a newly discovered genetic mutation. This mutation corresponds to small body size and it emerged in wolves before they were domesticated.

Wolf in a Rocky landscape, circa 1650
Frans Snyders

Winter Wolf in the Snow
Felix Bracquemond

Two Wolves
Franz Marc

Saint Clare Rescuing a Child Mauled by a Wolf
Giovanni di Paolo

Little Red Riding Hood
Gustave Dore

Illustration in The fairy tales of Charles Perrault
Harry Clarke, 1889-1931, illustrator