Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wow! Twenty-Four Years.

It's hard to remember a time
when you weren't here with me.
A Ditty
- Sir Philip Sidney

My true-love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one to the other given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driven:
   My true-love hath my heart, and I have his.

His heart in me keeps him and me in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides:
He loves my heart, for once it was his own,
I cherish his because in me it bides:
   My true-love hath my heart, and I have his.

Book Reviews. Sort Of.

New poetry journals came in the mail last week! These are like candy; I want to wolf them down in one sitting, but I make myself slow down and savor them slowly.

srpr (spoon river poetry review), 2013 Issue 38.1
"[E]veryday we encounter worlds that reveal, affirm, provoke and disrupt the sensations we experience as home."
I liked the poems in this issue. I wish we could have been more than friends. But I stood at the doorway, an outsider looking in. Perhaps another time.

modern HAIKU, Summer 2013 Volume 44.2

Poetry, essays, awards & contests, artwork ... I enjoyed the essays, discussing William Carlos Williams and Octavio Paz respectively, and their relationships to haiku. The poetry itself was engaging.

Oh! Check out Haiku Elvis.
remote control
I accidently try
to mute my wife

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Farmer's Market - La Fleur Esta Bonita!

Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

Yes. I'm what you might call "sub-lingual" in two languages (besides English, that is). A combination of French lessons in grade school & Spanish in college (with a little Latin thrown in) left me ... Well ... my Spanish teacher was tremendously amused. He said that since I had mastered the Spanish words and nailed the conjugation (in French) I'd earned an 'A' in the class. Would you call that Sprench or Franish?

UPDATE from last week:

My Sweety bought a new garden basket for me. The old one was just too small to carry my daily haul!

Here's the basket . . .
. . . and here's what's in it today.

UPDATE #2: Oh! The kumquat has been covered in bees savoring its tiny white flowers. That bodes well for a bountiful harvest this fall.

UPDATE #3: We had a small crisis this week with our crepe myrtle, which was mature when we moved in over twenty years ago. Full bloom coupled with a rare spring rain bowed some of the branches dangerously. It was very strange looking as the canopy was completely open in the center. I had to do some judicious pruning to save one of the branches. I will have to do a bit more later on, and I really don't want to trim this beautiful tree any more than I absolutely have to.

The Garden

My heart shall be thy garden. Come, my own,
   Into thy garden; thine be happy hours
   Among my fairest thoughts, my tallest flowers,
From root to crowning petal thine alone.

Thine is the place from where the seeds are sown
   Up to the sky enclosed, with all its showers.
   But ah, the birds, the birds! Who shall build bowers
To keep these thine? O friend, the birds have flown.

For as these come and go, and quit our pine
   To follow the sweet season, or, new-comers,
      Sing one song only from our alder-trees,

My heart has thoughts, which, though thine eyes hold mine,
   Flit to the silent world and other summers,
      With wings that dip beyond the silver seas.

Flowers, anyone?

This is the view of one of my beds from the house. The community mail box is just beyond the fence and you can see the sidewalk. There used to be an ugly three foot high fence across the front of our property, but we got rid of it. I prefer an open, friendly, neighborly front yard.

This was originally a lavender bed with three huge, beautiful 'jagged' lavender bushes, but a mishap with the neighbor's sprinkler system killed them. Both the the bees and I went into mourning - but life goes on.

You'll notice the stump in the back of the picture. It is a remnant of the old shade trees and will soon be a bird bath.

Here is the view of that same bed from the street. The small flowers at the front were just planted so they haven't had a chance to fill in.

Look! You can see our baby navel orange tree in the background.

The two huge bushes are rust colored mums. When I planted them last fall they were just scrawny little plants. And since I'd always thought chrysanthemums to be fall bloomers, I was thoroughly surprised to find them blooming this spring. When in full bloom they will (hopefully) be two rust colored mounds about three feet across.

I tucked two little white mums at the outside edge of the arc, sale table finds. If they survive, they'll be quite lovely next year. Along the sidewalk I just planted two colors of African daisies. They'll eventually fill in and cover all the bare spaces.

I started tucking daffodil bulbs into my beds last year, and spring was beautiful. I plan to tuck a few more in this bed this fall. I wish I had pictures to show you, but I lost years worth of pictures with a hard drive crash this year.

At the heart of this little bed is what I've always referred to as a parking lot iris, a fortnight lily (not even close), also a young plant.

Front and center is a pack of Sedum, tucked into an old truck wheel (my husband's contribution).

My garden nurtures me, and if I'm really being honest, at times it is what keeps me moving. As many of you can attest, living with chronic pain can take a tole, and there are low times. But when I walk out into my garden it embraces me. A study out of The Netherlands even says that gardening is an excellent way of fighting stress and improving mental health.

I follow the cycle of the lady bugs, watch the antics of the hummingbirds and the squirrels, and observe the growth of the tiny praying mantis into the lion of my garden. Happy worms and industrious spiders do their jobs and an increasing number of birds serenade from their stages in the trees. Hard working bees, the backbone of any successful garden, go about their business, signaling their approval by the flowers and fruit left in their wake.

Tea and poetry in my garden rocker are a lovely reward for the efforts I make, large or small, successful or not. Peace, as any gardener can attest, is to be found in the garden.

Party in the Bronx!

My new goal is to feature one poet each month. I made this decision just a few days ago, and as it is already the end of June, the pressure was on. 

If you happen to be in New York today stop in and check it out: 

As part of the 2013 PSA National Series, Yet Do I Marvel: Black Iconic Poets of the 20th Century, and on the occasion of the publication by Library of America of Countee Cullen: Collected Poems, the Poetry Society of America has teamed with the Woodlawn Conservancy to pay tribute to this iconic black poet. Steps away from Cullen's own burial site, Collected editor Major Jackson and poets Rowan Ricardo Phillips and Robin Coste Lewis will read poems in tribute to Cullen; With musical performances by the stunning mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran joined by guitarist Brandon Ross.
(The picture I chose isn't a great one quality wise, but it has the best and most beautiful smile of all the available choices.)

After being eclipsed for many years after his death by the work of of other Harlem Renaissance writers, like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen's beautiful work is experiencing a resurgence.

Poet, anthologist, novelist, translator, children's writer, playwright, and mystery man, he was born March 30, 1903 ... somewhere. (There are conflicting stories about his birthplace that he chose never to clear up.) He was adopted by the Reverend Frederick A. and Carolyn Belle (Mitchell) Cullen. ... probably. Again, the story is murky.

He was close to his adopted father, a Christian minister, and there is some evidence that he was homosexual, ... but again, nothing is certain. His marriage to Yolande Du Bois, was disastrous and ended quickly, and he remarried a year later. Rumor has it that he was in love with a young man named Harold Jackman.

Cullen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from NYU, and earned a masters degree in English and French from Harvard. He wrote noteworthy, even significant work in a number of genres, won many literary prizes, and was one of the most popular black literary figures of his generation - Harlem Renaissance.

Cullen was shaped by both his exposure to black ideas and yearnings, and his mostly white formal education and it heavily influenced his creative work. His work was in the vein of Keats and Shelly with a nod to A. E. Houseman, and he believed that art could transcended race and be used as a vehicle to minimize the distance between black and white peoples.

Yet Do I Marvel
I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind,
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,   
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus
Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare   
If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
To struggle up a never-ending stair.   
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune   
To catechism by a mind too strewn   
With petty cares to slightly understand   
What awful brain compels His awful hand.   
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:   
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

from: Color. Copyright 1925. 

To Certain Critics
Then call me traitor if you must,   
Shout treason and default!
Say I betray a sacred trust
Aching beyond this vault.
I’ll bear your censure as your praise,   
For never shall the clan
Confine my singing to its ways
Beyond the ways of man.

No racial option narrows grief,
Pain is no patriot,
And sorrow plaits her dismal leaf   
For all as lief as not.
With blind sheep groping every hill,   
Searching an oriflamme,
How shall the shepherd heart then thrill   
To only the darker lamb?

A Brown Girl Dead

With two white roses on her breasts,
   White candles at head and feet,   
Dark Madonna of the grave she rests;
   Lord Death has found her sweet.

Her mother pawned her wedding ring   
   To lay her out in white;
She’d be so proud she’d dance and sing   
   To see herself tonight.

from: My Soul's High Song: The Collected Writings of Countee Cullen. Copyright 1991.

He has quite a Bibliography:

Countee Cullen Painting Poetry collections: Color, Copper Sun, Harlem Wine, The Ballad of the Brown Girl, The Black Christ and Other Poems

Prose: One way to heaven, Any Human to Another, The Medea and Some Other Poems, On These I Stand: An Anthology of the Best Poems of Countee Cullen, My Soul's High Song: The Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Countee Cullen: Collected Poems, One Way to Heaven, The Lost Zoo, My Lives and How I Lost Them

Drama: St. Louis Woman

Beautiful painting by Warren Goodson.

Sources: here, here, & here.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Imagine if You Could Lose Your Life Just by Walking in to Your Place of Work . . .

. . . and No One Cared.

This should be a National Holiday:

and this: Mine Disasters through 2012, should be
                                                      REQUIRED READING!

REMEMBER .  .  .

Johnstown Miner's Memorial Museum 

The story that sparked this post here & here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Write a Woman's Poem

- Emma Phillips

Write a woman's poem
in blood, tears and sweat,
dedicate it to your cat or
all the men you've met.

Write a woman's poem
in a room of your own,
plaster it across four walls
of any place you've known.

Write a woman's poem
juggle pen, career or child
serve it with sugar and spice
or plant it in the wild.

Write a woman's poem
from a woman's point of view
perform it with the words of men
who will not censor you.

from: Not a Muse: The inner Lives of Women.
Painting source.

Rife With Symbology!

                             CRIS SHAW   

Madonna of the Particle 
 Chris Shaw, 2013

I’m not sure exactly where my fas­ci­na­tion with Madon­nas was born, but I’ve loved Icons of all kinds for a very long time.

As an artist I’m intrigued with the the way icons present their ideas – an eas­ily under­stood, blunt cen­tral image jux­ta­posed with deep sym­bol­ism and cryp­tic geo­met­ric foun­da­tions. Icons also have a rea­son for exist­ing, they are con­vey­ers of information.

The mod­ern icons I cre­ate also con­vey infor­ma­tion, it could be a sci­en­tific con­cept, a polit­i­cal state­ment, or a pop-culture ref­er­ence. Regard­less, each icon has a story and a rea­son for existing.

In this body of work I use the Madonna as the vehi­cle to lit­er­ally carry the ideas I’ve cho­sen to por­tray. The titles are straight for­ward. How­ever, under­ly­ing and obfus­cated by the image is a rigid geo­met­ric base, over which the Madonna icon is con­structed. The geom­e­try within this base is a rid­dle to deci­pher as are many of the sym­bols within.  . . .

The “Madonna of the Par­ti­cle” and the “Madonna of Dark Mat­ter” both con­cern the recently dis­cov­ered Higgs-Boson par­ti­cle. The geo­met­ric base used within each image con­tains nat­ural ratios and curves that ref­er­ence the sub-atomic par­ti­cle col­li­sions which led to the “God Particle’s” discovery.  . . .

Each paint­ing com­mu­ni­cates its secrets in var­i­ous ways.

Madonna of the Dark Matter
 Chris Shaw, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dive Into Poetry Challenge 2013

I've been meaning to sign up for this challenge forever. I don't why I haven't until . . . Ooo shiny!

Dive Into Poetry Challenge 2013

Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit is my hero. She is successfully bringing more poetry reading out into the blogosphere, via both her blog and the Dive Into Poetry Challenge 2013. She also offers several ways of participating, ensuring that even novice poetry readers can succeed. You can:
  • Read and review up to 2 books of poetry throughout 2013 and leave the full link to each review in Mr. Linky.
  • Participate in at least 3 Virtual Poetry Circles throughout the year.
  • Sign up to feature poetry on your blog for April’s National Poetry Month as part of Savvy Verse & Wit’s Blog Tour.
  • Feature one poet per month on your own blog.
  • Or some combination of the above.
I've been a poetry lover for a long time, but I have no doubt that even If you are picking up your first book of poetry you can complete this challenge successfully.
Here are my choices: 
Read and review up to 2 books of poetry throughout 2013 and leave the full link to each review in Mr. Linky.

I am not a book reviewer. I would describe myself as more of a literary scrapbooker. I post the things that move and speak to me, and have only recently begun talking about them. Also, my reviews tend toward simple impressions rather than actual reviews, but I offer them for whatever they're worth.

1. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair - Pablo Neruda  
2. Conversation Pieces: poems that talk to other poems - Kurt Brown, ed.
3. Coming Into Eighty - May Sarton
4. Modern Haiku Volume 43.3
5. Acorn #29
6. The Moon is Always Female - Marge Piercy 
7. The Book of American Negro Poetry - James Weldon Johnson  
8. The trouble With Poetry - Billy Collins   
9. Ariel - Sylvia Plath   
10. Haiku: This other World - Richard Wright 
11. The Dream Keeper and Other Poems - Langston Hughes
12. Ardor: Poems of Life - Janine Canan
13. The Woman Who Fell from the Sky - Joy Harjo
14. The Ring and the Book - Robert Browning
15. An Introduction to Haiku: An anthology of Poems and Poets - ed. Harold G. Henderson
16. Not a Muse: The inner Lives of Women - ed. Kate Rogers, Viki Holmes
17. Tracing the Tradition: An Anthology of Poetry by Women - ed. Linda Hall
18. Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection - ed. Michael Rosen, illus. Paul Howard
19. Poems of Rumi (audiobook) - Jalaluddin Rumi   
(audiobook) - Jalaluddin Rumi
Poems of Rumi (audiobook) - Jalaluddin Rumi
Poems of Rumi (audiobook) - Jalaluddin Rumi
20. The Knopf National Poetry Month(TM) catalog Collection (audiobook) - Various    

Participate in at least 3 Virtual Poetry Circles throughout the year.

Like I said earlier, while reading and loving poetry is a long time habit, discussing it online is a fairly new experience. I shall attempt to overcome my natural reticence (Why are you laughing?) and participate in the Virtual Poetry Circles. (Should I bring cookies? What is the etiquette on that?)

1. 208th - The Swing, Robert Louis Stevenson.
2. 210th - Epitaph for a Romantic Woman, Louise Bogan.
3. 224th - Last Lines - Anne Bronte.
Sign up to feature poetry on your blog for April’s National Poetry Month as part of Savvy Verse & Wit’s Blog Tour.

Since I am signing up late this one is not an option, even though I posted a poem every day during National Poetry Month. (I did, honest!)

Feature one poet per month on your own blog.

This is actually something that I have wanted to do for a long time. Perhaps the incentive that comes with this challenge will help me get myself in gear. One can only hope!

June - Countee Cullen  
July - Louise Erdrich  
August - Lucille Clifton
September - E. E. Cummings  
November - Wislawa Szymborska  

Or some combination of the above.

I realize that I've bitten off quite a bit with this challenge. During the summer it will probably be fairly easy, but once school starts it will become a real challenge. But hey, that's what it's called, isn't it.

. . . And Now for Something Completely Different . . .

side view of John Cleese doing the silly walk

from John Cleese,                                                             

                         by way of Brain Pickings.

The 5 factors that you can arrange to make your lives more creative:

  1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
  2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
  3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision.) 
  4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
  5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)

This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If just you keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so .   .  .  rough, hard, difficult.

That Explains A Lot!

Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty- five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams,
 "The Salmon of Doubt"

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Book Reviews. Sort Of.

Break the Bipolar Cycle - Elizabeth Brondolo & Xavier Amador   

I thought that after so many years I knew pretty much all I needed to know about Bipolar disorder, and new books I've read have mostly been rehashes of old information.

This book, however, had some surprises in it. I guess there have been a few new developments in the last few centuries.

The Tao of Bipolar - C. Alexander Simpkins & Annellen Simpkins  

The perspective of this book was a bit different than the usual, and I really like it. The meditations are helpful, and I anticipate returning to it again.

the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls

- E. E. Cummings

the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
(also, with the church's protestant blessings
daughters,unscented shapeless spirited)
they believe in Christ and Longfellow, both dead,
are invariably interested in so many things—
at the present writing one still finds
delighted fingers knitting for the is it Poles?
perhaps. While permanent faces coyly bandy
scandal of Mrs. N and Professor D
.... the Cambridge ladies do not care, above
Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
sky lavender and cornerless, the
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Farmer's Market - Fruitses

Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

UPDATE from last week:

Fifteen jars of sweet pickles have taken up residence in my refrigerator, and two large jars of cherry liquor are now lounging in the kitchen window.  

Now for a bit of verse. The free giveaway on today's tour is The Island by Vita Sackville West, a gardener herself.

She walks among the loveliness she made.
Between the apple-blossom and the water —
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.
This is an island all with flowers inlaid,
A square of grassy pavement tessellated:
Flowers in their order blowing as she bade,
And in their company by her created.
The waving grasses freckle sun with the shade.
The wind-blown waters round the kingcups ripple.
Colour on colour chequered and arrayed,
Shadow on light in variable stipple.
Her regiments at her command parade,
Foot-soldier primrose in his rank comes trooping,
Then wind-flowers in a scarlet loose brigade,
Fritillary with the dusky orchis grouping.
They are the Cosacks, dim in ambuscade,
Scarfed in their purple like a foreign stranger,
Piratical, and apt for stealthy raid,
Wherever’s mystery or doubtful danger.
Iris salutes her with his broad green blade,
And marches by with proud imperial pennant,
And tulips in a flying cavalcade
Follow valerian for their lieutenant.
The Lords-and-Ladies dressed for masquerade
In green silk domino discreetly hooded,
Hurry towards the nut-trees’ colonnade,
Philandering where privacy’s well wooded;
They’re the civilians of this camp by blossom tented,
With woodbine clambering the balustrade,
And all by briar roses battlemented.
There, in the sunlit grasses green as jade,
She walks; she sees her squadrons at attention,
And, laughing at her flowery escapade,
Stretches her hands towards her dear invention.

Our property used to be bordered on the west by a line of mature trees. They were a motley mixture of nothing spectacular, but they gave us wonderful shade and protected our house from the harsh California sun. (They also made our swamp cooler work better - and cheaper.) A combination of factors led to their loss a few years ago, and with them went our shade. Swamp coolers don't work very well at all in the relentless sun.

After a couple fallow years, we were finally ready to replant. But what to plant? Much discussion and many discarded ideas later, we decided on fruit trees. Hubby always wanted a navel orange tree, so that was a no-brainer. From there we just decided to grow the fruits we liked to eat. Some trees are self-pollinating and others need a buddy to fruit, but we were on our way.

Two plums, two nectarines, a pomegranate, a kumquat, and an Asian pear came next. Our final two fruit trees were inspired by a trip to the local farmer's market. We tasted a fruit that we hadn't even heard of - pluots, and that set off a mad scramble to find two trees (at a price we could afford).  Ten fruit trees made up my little orchard, and the new project was underway.

My reading led us to expect a wait of four or five years for fruit. Surprise! We have pomegranates and oranges getting ready for a late fall harvest this year, and we ate our first plum just a few days ago. 


A half century of eating and loving plums in no way prepared me for plucking one off of my own tree and biting into it.

.  .  .  The tender flesh, yielding to slight pressure from my teeth,  bursting into a shower on my tongue, with sweet juices running in rivulets down my chin . . .

Excuse me.  .  .  .  I need a moment alone.  .  .  .

Okay . . . I'm back. 
Sorry about that. I got a little carried away, but I'll try not to let it happen again. 

When I was watering yesterday, I noticed that the kumquat tree was covered in tiny white flowers. If everything goes well, kumquats will join the pomegranates and oranges this winter. 

My orchard is still just ten scrawny trees spread out over the yard, five in front and five in back, but they seem to be happy little trees.

This isn't a very good picture, but it includes four of them. On the right, just barely visible, is the Damson plum I rescued half dead from a clearance sale. It's only two feet tall, but it has lots of new, green growth. To the left of that is my Santa Rosa plum, the one responsible for the beautiful fruit above. Next, comes the pomegranate, and after that, the kumquat. The trees in the back have not fruited yet, but if this year is any indication, .  .  .

I'll need to find some good recipes soon!

Past. And Future?

Photo: Bruce Hood.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Whatever it is . .

sign says can't I'm booked

I Have Started To Say

- Philip Larkin

I have started to say
"A quarter of a century"
Or "thirty years back"
About my own life.

It makes me breathless
It's like falling and recovering
In huge gesturing loops
Through an empty sky.

All that's left to happen
Is some deaths (my own included).
Their order, and their manner,
Remain to be learnt.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Quote of the Day

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. 
That goes for all of us, but especially those who by their rank have a leadership role.

 Australian Army, that is.

I Have Mixed Emotions About This . . . After All, They're . . . Books.

Justin Rowe is an artist and paper sculptor from Cambridge,
 who works as an academic bookseller.

         from: Days Fall Like Leaves

~ Five Gold Rings ~

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We all Have Them Occasionally.

picture of scruffy rabbit says bad hare day

Dirge without Music

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Letter of the Day

close up of a hand holding a fountain pen and writing in script on parchment

Hey Poets.

I was in LA last month for music work, and I think I found something you dropped:

The public. 

Why Poetry Can't Find It's Public, is a thoughtful comparison of the appeal of pop music and that of poetry. It may resonate with those of us who sometimes struggle with the appreciation and understanding of poetry.
In Poetry Land there’s a myth that art is tainted by popularity: the more eyes see it, the more corrupt it becomes. Said myth is outdated and nonsensical, but survives because it’s a nice stunt double for artistic integrity.

It’s also great for cognitive dissonance: if no one’s reading poetry, it helps to think we never wanted them to. AND it justifies our laziness in connecting with non-poets. Hooray!  . . .
What can we learn from pop music? Here’s a start:

1. Pop Music Loves the Public.  . . .
2. No Pop Music Is an Island.  . . .
3. Pop Music Trusts Itself.  . . .
4. Pop Music Waits for No (Wo)Man.5. Pop Music Works Its Ass Off.  . . .
6. Pop Music Assumes It Has Something to Offer.  . . .
7. Pop Music Innovates. (Beyond Music.)  . . .

Tasha Golden makes interesting observations and asks some good questions. It's worth reading, and then perhaps you can add your questions to the list . . . or answer those already posited . . .

We also have to stop cowering before the silly myth that going public will destroy us. Reaching out is not artistic heresy. And there’s certainly no artistic virtue in keeping poetry academic, spineless, or relegated to a readership of one another while we climb ladders to tenure.

And finally, we have to ask—patiently—the questions we’ve long feared:
  • How can my poetry get read? (Apart from journals only my peers see?)
  • How might my poems be inserted into existing public conversations?
  • Given the stories, messages, or truths my poetry communicates, where might it help, be relevant?
  • With what artists, studies, organizations, ideas, thinktanks, publications could it partner? How?
  • With what art forms?
  • What poetry am I disdaining/avoiding, that might actually shed light on my craft’s potential role(s)?

from: Privacy? Nevermore!

                                                                                A nod to Poe courtesy of Digital Cuttlefish.
Once upon a conversation, I received a revelation—
Just a tiny aberration in the phone line could be heard
It was near too faint for hearing, all too quickly disappearing,
And it surely had me fearing they had listened to my word
But of course, there is no reason to be snooping for my word
Such a notion is absurd!

With the conversation ending, and my paranoia pending—
Was some listening ear attending? Had a wiretap occurred?
My suspicions were implying what I’d rather be denying;
That the government was spying, and the lines had all been blurred
There had formerly been limits, but those lines have all been blurred—
Ah, but surely that’s absurd!

green colored black and white photo of man with headphones next to man talking on phone
.  .  .


Monday, June 17, 2013

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so .   .  .  rough, hard, difficult.

Saturday Farmer's Market - Never Enough

I finally crawled out of my cave and what did I find? Life goes on without me!

I stopped by to visit Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on, and look what I found: Saturday Farmer's Market. I just loved looking at the other beautiful gardens; they are so creative and wonderful.
 I hope no one minds my inviting myself along.
 I know. I know. I'm late. It took two weeks for me to get my camera to cooperate with me, but I'm cautiously optimistic that we've finally forged a working compromise.

First, a garden poem:
                     (You had to expect that, right?)
from: Angel of Duluth
- Madelon Sprengnether

I lied a little. There are things I don’t want to tell you. How lonely I am today and sick at heart. How the rain falls steadily and cold on a garden grown greener, more lush and even less tame. I haven’t done much, I confess, to contain it. The grapevine, as usual, threatens everything in its path, while the raspberry canes, aggressive and abundant, are clearly out of control. I’m afraid the wildflowers have taken over, being after all the most hardy and tolerant of shade and neglect. This year the violets and lilies of the valley are rampant, while the phlox are about to emit their shocking pink perfume. Oh, my dear, had you been here this spring, you would have seen how the bleeding hearts are thriving.

Copyright 2006.

My garden plans have had to be scaled back this year for physical reasons. I've always had more ideas than time, money, or energy, but it's gotten worse over the past few years. My big veggie garden has been whittled down to just a few favorites. And as for flowers, If it can't survive a bit of neglect you won't find it here. You might say my garden is in a state of transformation these days.

I am trying to be Zen about the whole thing and to accept my limitations. Can you think of a better place to cultivate Zen than a garden?

I think I have enough cucumbers now to make the first batch of Refrigerator Sweet Pickles. They're so easy to make, and when the cukes come out of my garden I get to pretend I'm some kind of Earth Mother. (Or is that Earth Grandmother?)

I don't remember where my recipe came from, but if you're interested here it is:

4 to 5 lbs. cucumbers
1/2 C canning or pickling salt
5 C sugar
5 C cider vinegar
1 T turmeric
1 T mustard seed
1 T celery

Wash & slice the cucumbers to about 1/8 in. rounds. Soak for 3 hours in a large bowl or enamel pot in a cold brine of salt an just enough water to cover the slices. Add ice cubes as needed to keep the brine cold. After 3 hours, drain and pack the slices into jars.

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a stainless steel or enamel sauce pan. Boil far about 1 minute. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes and fill each jar, leaving about 1/2 in. at the top. Screw lids firmly onto the jars and let them cool. Store the jars in the refrigerator. They will be ready in 2 weeks.

Notes: Do not use aluminum bowls or pans. These pickles will keep up to a year in the refrigerator (if they last that long).

The tomatoes hardly ever make it into the house, especially the cherries. My family calls them 'garden candy,' and they really do live up to the name.

I actually had fifteen 'volunteer' tomato plants this year. I was stopping strangers who walked by to ask if they wanted one (or more).

My husband's favorite, the jalapenos, are doing well and so are this year's experiment: cayenne peppers.

I'm planning to dry & grind them. 

Morning waterings are a delight for the senses. Keep your aromatherapy, I have my herb garden. I grow rosemary, chamomile, feverfew, lemon balm, chives, Vietnamese cilantro, lemon & regular garden sage, oregano, basil, and I was recently given a new little bay laurel. I'm also looking in to other possible additions. I just had my first big harvest of the year, so the plants all look a bit scruffy.

I also have four kinds of mint and two culinary lavenders. I grow the lavender mostly because the bees adore it, and the smell when I water, is heavenly. The Lavender is going crazy right now, and the bees are extremely happy. I never realized that there were so many different kinds of bees! Unfortunately, I underestimated the vigor of my plants, and now I need to transplant the whole lot so they have enough room. It will double the size of the bed. Actually, when I'm done there will be two beds instead of the one.  . . .  Then there are the fruit trees!

My husband laughs because I'm up at dawn every day to tend to the 'farm chores.' I can no longer work in the sun, so I need to get my work done early. I actually enjoy the cool, quiet mornings, with birdsong as the soundtrack to my work.

Once I get started I can talk about my garden forever. (Just ask my family & friends.) It's my hobby & my therapy.