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



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



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


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

by Julia Kuznetsova

Monday, March 18, 2024


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.

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


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


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


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.


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


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.