Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guess what I did this weekend.

After enjoying the wonderful posts on The Virtual Advent Tour, I was inspired. So many of the contributors shared great projects and I wanted to do them all. That's an impossibility; but I chose one to start.

I don't have my own photos of the project, but I made a calendar journal. Here's a LINK to the directions I used for the project, and one of their photos. I know I started a bit late, but it's a revolving calendar - no beginning, no end. So - no problem.

I made a few changes of my own to the project.

I used pretty patterned papers, you know, scrapbooking papers, instead of post cards. I chose the colors to give the feeling of the seasons change as the months move on.

I didn't have a box to use, but I had an empty cereal box that I turned into a box to fit. And I covered it with some pretty rice papers.

It sits nicely in my secretary, handy for me to update daily, and I smile when I look at it because it reminds me of the great book bloggers I visit. It is also a project that will become more precious as time passes. As I fill in each year's note it becomes a time capsule.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Love's Philosophy

- Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
kiss imprint of lipsNothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle -
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea -
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.


Coming Into Eighty - May Sarton

When I found this book I had already read Recovering, one of Ms Sarton's journals, and the Selected Poems of May Sarton. I'm truly sorry that I never had the chance to meet this wonderfully talented poet.

Many of her chosen topics resonate deeply with me, and this particular volume touches on my own thoughts as I age.
  
Here's one of my favorites:


The Teacher

I used to think
Pain was the great teacher
But after two years
Of trying to learn
Its lessons
I am hoping my teacher
Will go away
She bores me almost to death,
She is so repetitive.

The pain I meant
Is the pain of seperation
The end of a love.
That lesson is never learned
and is never boring.
Only a kind of winter.
Memory is merciless.


Modern Haiku - Volume 43.3 

I enjoy poetry journals. This one is a wonderful anthology of haiku, senyru, haibun, and essays on poetry.

Here's a haiku by Carlos Colon.

Facebook
poetry post
the pain
of no likes


Acorn #29  

This was another enjoyable little read, kind of like running your hands through a bowel of beautiful little gems. This journal includes only haiku, but that is more than enough.

A sample, by Billie Wilson:

thunderheads forming
I add a bit of fine print
to my morning prayer

Monday, January 28, 2013

KiltMonday!

Because let's face it, Mondays are hard rough difficult. 


BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.



   

These three books were for the New Year's Resolution Reading Challenge, the goal of which was to underpin our resolutions with community and practical support. I chose the Committed level, with 3 books.

My original post with my stated goals is HERE.


Create Your Incredible Year - Leonie Dawson  

1). Wrote my goals down. 2). Broke them into the steps needed to achieve them. and ... 3). Put it all up on my office door. I can mark off things as I complete them and periodically assess my progress. I already knew how to do this, but Leonie Dawson gave me a fun and uplifting way to do it. (And she emails me regularly.)
 

The Poet's Market - Robert Lee Brewer, Ed.

Normally this isn't a read and review type of book for me. However, this time I'm using it not just for the markets themselves, but for the practical information.

(I got a good deal on last year's model. Oh, just a hint. I f you use an older version, be sure to double check such things as contact person, etc . . . )
I've gleaned many useful things from the articles, from general publishing information to specifics on submissions, and have picked out many markets that deal with plebes like myself (marking them with little green flags). Since the majority of my poetry these days is Haiku, I'm going to start with markets friendly to that style.

So, I have . . . 1). Found appropriate markets for my writing. 2). (Begun sending for) sample issues / subscriptions. (This costs $ and so is an ongoing process) 3). Downloaded submission guidelines. 4). Identified appropriate pieces of work

How to Publish Your Poetry - Helene Ciaravino    

This book takes the basics broached in Poet's Market and goes much more in depth. It anticipates and answers many questions. It also gives sage advice and many examples.

That all helps in the confidence department.

By this time next year I may be published again or I may not. But it will not be because I didn't try.



I'm so happy to have found this challenge. It already feels good just to have identified my goals and taken the first steps toward their realization. Here's to resolutions kept!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

"My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world."

This was originally published in the summer of 2009, but I missed it. I continue to be proud that I call home to the same country as this man. He's regularly referred to as one of our worst presidents, but he has shown repeatedly that he is a more ethical and empathetic human being than just about any leader we've had before or since - political or religious. (Oops! I got political again.)

Here are a few excerpts, but I definitely recommend reading it in full.




Losing my religion for equality
(Original Date July 15, 2009)
  - Jimmy Carter

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practicing Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

. . . 
 
The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.

. . .

The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.


Some Grammar Rules to Keep in Mind . . .




Friday, January 25, 2013

Conversations With Poetry . . . Or Between Poets . . . Or Poems . . .


Have you ever read poems written in response to other poems or poets?

The first two that I think of are, Christopher Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, and Sir Walter Raleigh's The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd.

You remember. Marlowe's speaker is like, "Aw, come on. You know you wanna. It'd be so great." - for six stanzas.

Then Raleigh's speaker is like, "Uh. Not." - for her own six stanzas.

Now, that's an exchange about as old as dirt.

But did you know that Raleigh wasn't the only poet to take up the pen in response to Marlowe? I know of seven (that's 7!) other poems which carry the conversation forward! Some answer Marlowe directly while others carry on the discussion among themselves.

old fashioned drawing of a pink roseI actually only knew about five of them, but then I found this wonderful little anthology, Conversation Pieces: poems that talk to other poems. It's packed full of lyric poets addressing "someone not in the room," and other poets giving a voice to that silent someone (1). It also contains a brief preface by Billy Collins.

John Donne gives us The Bait, where we see the woman as the bait and all the men as fishes drawn to her; or Jesus as the "fisher of men." Those silly metaphysical poets and their conceits . . .

Various other poets responding to Marlowe include: C. Day Lewis, William Carlos Williams, Ogden Nash, W.D. Snodgrass, Douglas Crase, And Greg Delanty. I've managed a link to most of them, but let me offer the original, the inspiration right here:


The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
- Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.


(1) Conversation Pieces: poems that talk to other poems. (P.18)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I love this one, but it hurts.


Mirror
- Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
What ever you see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful---
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meet President Obama's Inaugural Poet, Richard Blanco . . .

Richard Blanco shakes hands with President Obama at the 2013 inauguration



On his website:





And read the inaugural poem:
  
One Today

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On The Day of President Obama's Second Inauguration, Jean Ann Esselink Thought of the Other Guy . . .


That’s Why We’re Not Inaugurating You 

– An Ode To Mitt Romney
On this day of celebration when Barack Obama takes the oath of office,
 I offer to Mitt Romney, who must be having a very bad day – a little salt in the wound. 

You pursued a cutthroat game plan,
In your brutal Primary fight.
Wherever your opponent stood,
You scurried to his right.
You thought you’d shake the Etch- a-Sketch,
And start again anew.
And that’s why we’re not inaugurating you.

When a soldier in Afghanistan,
Asked if you had your say,
Would you reinstate Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?
And told you he was gay.
You stood there without speaking,
When the crowd began to boo.
And that’s why we’re not inaugurating you.

You didn’t speak when Sandra Fluke,
Was called a “slut” by Rush.
You were silent when your party,
Tried to take our votes from us.
You said nothing when Todd Akin,
Claimed that not all rapes are true.
And that’s why we’re not inaugurating you.

When asked if you would sign,
A woman’s Right to Choose away,
You’d answer women only cared,
How much was in their pay.
You made Ann your link to women,
When she never had a clue.
And that’s why we’re not inaugurating you.



Monday, January 21, 2013

“The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice”

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Excerpts from:
(Sorry, I tried to cut it down further, but there was so much that  . . .  And the emphasis is all mine.)



President Barack Obama

c/o
(full text)



“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

. . .

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias.

No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

. . .

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

. . .

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

. . .

Kilt Monday!

Because let's face it, Mondays are hard rough difficult. 


Please, Let Us Keep His Dream Alive. There Are So Many Ways . . .


About Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service from the Corporation for National & Community Service.

"January 21, 2013 will mark the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. This milestone is a perfect opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community."



If you are looking for a way to join in the Day of Service, click here:

              Find a Project


Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Shoes

- Charles Simic

Shoes, secret face of my inner life:
Two gaping toothless mouths,
Two partly decomposed animal skins
Smelling of mice-nests.

My brother and sister who died at birth
Continuing their existence in you,
Guiding my life
Toward their incomprehensible innocence.

What use are books to me
When in you it is possible to read
red Dansko professional clogsThe Gospel of my life on earth
And still beyond, of things to come?

I want to proclaim the religion
I have devised for your perfect humility
And the strange church I am building
With you as the altar.

Ascetic and maternal, you endure:
Kin to oxen, to Saints, to condemned men,
With your mute patience, forming
The only true likeness of myself.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Dog Ate My New Poetry Anthology!


Well . . . two dogs actually.

My son and his two Blue Tick Coon Hound puppies are staying with us, and I fear the dogs took Mark Strand's Eating Poetry a bit too literally. I didn't even know they'd read it.

At any rate, my Acorn #29 is now confetti.









 
By the way, that isn't my son in the picture.
He's taller.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Kilt Monday!

Because let's face it, Mondays are hard rough difficult. 


BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.


Cat Coming Home - Shirley Rousseau Murphy      

Suspense, excitement, loyalty, new friends, and the promise of a bright new year! What more could you ask?

My Bennie can open just about any door, locked or not, but he can't hit his litter box regularly. And while napping in the center of the (large) kitchen table he fell off, more than once. I have a hard time imagining him solving crimes.

I guess, like us, different cats have different callings.


Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair - Pablo Neruda   

While I've read many poems written by Pablo Neruda over the years, never have I curled up in my reading chair with a collection. 
*fans air*  

This small book is loaded with passion - love, lust, loss. 

There is nothing soothing about this collection. In fact, evocative is a word I might use. 

It was hard to choose just one poem to share, but here goes . . .


The morning is full

The morning is full of storm
in the heart of summer.

The clouds travel like white handkerchiefs of goodbye,
the wind, traveling, waving them in its hands.

The numberless heart of the wind
beating above our loving silence.

Orchestral and divine, resounding among the trees
like a language full of wars and songs.

Wind that bears off the dead leaves with a quick raid
and deflects the pulsing arrows of the birds.

Wind that topples her in a wave without spray
and substance without weight, and leaning fires.

Her mass of kisses breaks and sinks,
assailed in the door of the summer's wind.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Quote of the Day

closeup of a bee on a leaf


When one tugs at a single thing in nature,

he finds it attached to the rest of the world.




Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Management of Poems

   - Dori Appel
 

depressed looking woman with home made crown hanging off her head
Sometimes you need to outsmart them --
when they lapse into a silent sulk
or become too reasonable or
get puffed up with their cleverness.
Occasionally, they imagine they've
arrived through divine inspiration
and sashay through the house
embarrassing everyone, or they go on
a jag with the family albums,
lamenting dead hamsters they never
got to say goodbye to, pissing and
moaning their old regrets. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Identity Crisis

- F. D. Reeve (Superman's dad)

He was urged to prepare for success: "You never can tell,
he was told over and over; "others have made it;
one dare not presume to predict. You never can tell.

Who’s Who in America lists the order of cats
in hunting, fishing, bird-watching, farming,
domestic service--the dictionary order of cats

who have made it. Those not in the book are beyond the pale.
Not to succeed in you chosen profession is unthinkable.
Either you make it or--you’re beyond the pale.

Do you understand?"
"No," he shakes his head.
"Are you ready to forage for freedom?"
"No," he adds,
"I mean, why is a cat always shaking his head?

Because he’s thinking: who am I? I am not
only one-ninth of myself. I always am
all of the selves I have been and will be but am not."

"The normal cat," I tell him, "soon adjusts
to others and to changing circumstances;
he makes his way the way he soon adjusts."
black cat looking off into the distance
"I can’t," he says, "perhaps because I’m blue,
big-footed, lop-eared, socially awkward, impotent,
and I drink too much, whether because I’m blue

or because I like it, who knows. I want to escape
at five o’clock into an untouchable world
where the top is the bottom and everyone wants to escape

from the middle, everyone, every day. I mean,
I have visions of two green eyes rising
out of the ocean, blinking, knowing what I mean."

"Never mind the picture, repeat after me
the self’s creed. What he tells you you
tells me and I repeats. Now, after me:

I love myself, I wish I would live well.
Your gift of love breaks through my self-defeat.
All prizes are blue. No cat admits defeat.
The next time that he lives he will live well."


from: The Return of the Blue Cat Copyright 2005 F. D. Reeve.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Octave Above Thunder

- Carol Muske-Dukes


... reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience.

--T. S. Eliot,
"What the Thunder Said"




1
She began as we huddled, six of us,
in the cellar, raising her voice above
those towering syllables...

Never mind she cried when storm candles
flickered, glass shattered upstairs.
Reciting as if on horseback,
she whipped the meter,

trampling rhyme, reining in the reins
of the air with her left hand as she
stood, the washing machine behind her
stunned on its haunches, not spinning.

She spun the lines around each other,
her gaze fixed. I knew she'd silenced
a cacophony of distractions in her head,
to summon what she owned, rote-bright:

Of man's first disobedience,
  and the fruit...
  of the flower in a crannied wall
  and one clear call...


for the child who'd risen before school assemblies:
eerie Dakota rumble that rolled yet never brought
rain breaking over the podium. Her voice rose,
an octave above thunder:

When I consider how my light is spent--
I thought of her light, poured willy-nilly.
in this dark world and wide: half-blind, blind,
a widening distraction Getting and spending
 we lay waste our powers
...Different poem, a trick!

Her eyes singled me out as the wind slowed.
Then, reflective, I'd rather be / a Pagan
 sucked in a creed outworn / than a dullard
  with nothing by heart.


It was midsummer, Minnesota. In the sky,
the Blind Poet blew sideways, his cape spilling
rain. They also serve! she sang, hailing
closure

as I stopped hearing her. I did not want to
stand and wait. I loathed nothing so much
as the forbearance now in her voice,
insisting that Beauty was at hand,

but not credible. I considered
how we twisted into ourselves to live.
When the storm stopped, I sat still,
listening.

Here were the words of the Blind Poet--
crumpled like wash for the line, to be
dried, pressed flat. Upstairs, someone called
my name. What sense would it ever

make to them, the unread world, the getters and spenders,
if they could not hear what I heard,
not feel what I felt
nothing ruined poetry, a voice revived it,
extremity.


from: An Octave Above Thunder: New and Selected Poems. Copyright 1997.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Where's the Poet

- John Keats

photo of squirrel and small bird looking in red mug in the snow
Where's the Poet? show him! show him,
Muses nine! that I may know him.
'Tis the man who with a man
Is an equal, be he King,
Or poorest of the beggar-clan
Or any other wonderous thing
A man may be 'twixt ape and Plato;
'Tis the man who with a bird,
Wren or Eagle, finds his way to
All its instincts; he hath heard
The Lion's roaring, and can tell
What his horny throat expresseth,
And to him the Tiger's yell
Come articulate and presseth
Or his ear like mother-tongue.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Kilt Monday!

Because let's face it, Mondays are hard rough difficult. 


Is Everyone Still Following Through on Their Resolutions? Here's a Little Encouragement . . .


The video that was supposed to be here has been removed by it's owner.

*sighs*


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Let's Talk About Christina Rossetti

Many people know her better than I. Who am I kidding? Everyone knows her better than I. We studied her at Jr. College. We studied her at University. But in all honesty, I don't know her very well at all. I was resistant and kind of shut down when we studied her.

You see, all my professors had the same perspective. They fawned over her religious verse, her lyrical piety. Me? Not so much. The only poem of hers I ever really knew was - surprise! surprise! - Goblin Market.

As you might imagine, this month's prompt left me a bit cold. How could possibly I write about a poet I didn't even like? What to do? What to do?

What I did was pick up my anthology, settle in with a cup of tea, and read Christina Rossetti. Surprise! I found some things I liked. In fact, I found quite a lot I liked. I recognized a sensitivity and connection to nature that I'd overlooked before, an obvious love of language, and a broad emotional range I had completely missed.

It's amazing how much state of mind can affect our interpretations. I didn't expect to see anything I liked before, so I didn't.  But when I opened my mind her gifts seemed to multiply. I'm still not enamored with all her writing, but I found much to enjoy. And even those pieces that fail to thrill me still have much to teach me.

I've chosen three poems that I enjoyed, to share with you. The images are fairly simple, but with each succeeding poem the underlying themes are more complex.

If it hadn't been for the Poetry Project I would never have given Christina Rossetti a second chance, and I'm very grateful that I did.


Clouds

White sheep, white sheep,
On a blue hill,
When the wind stops,
You all stand still.
When the wind blows,
You walk away slow.
White sheep, white sheep,
Where do you go?

gull flying in front of clouds along the beach

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.


A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Daniel Boone

wood cut of Daniel Boone in the forest
- Stephen Vincent Benét





When Daniel Boone goes by, at night,
The phantom deer arise
And all lost, wild America
Is burning in their eyes.



 

Copyright 1933.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Haiku Ambulance

 - Richard Brautigan

dachshund made from green pepper




A piece of green pepper
     fell
off the wooden salad bowl:
     so what?









from: The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster. Copyright 1989.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

. . . and Another


wisteria covered woden porch with yellow and red tulips in front



Exhausted, I sought
a country inn, but found
wisteria in bloom

- Matsuo Basho





Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter . . . in Verse



winter rain -
in one room
yesterday, today passes


sleeping alone
awakened
by the frosty night . . .


putting up my hair
no more -
my hands in the kotatsu

                                       - Chiyo-ni


                             Photo Source.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Bit of Art for the New Year . . .


Michelangelo's 
"Pull My Finger"




May the new year be filled with love, security, and happiness - for you and yours.

   red balloons holding 2013 
Auld Lang Syne
- Robert Burns




Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wandered mony a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught

For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.