Saturday, April 30, 2016

It's A Garden Party! - Happy & Hardy

This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and was then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

If anyone would like to share their own gardening adventures with me - large or small, inside or out - I would love to see them.
Just leave a link to your post in the comments.

Not much new is happening in the garden this week. We had more rain, everything is growing well (whether we want it to or not), and there is always more work to do.

Here we have happy Poppies and Agave. If you look closely you can see pups under the Agave. I'll have to move them this summer so they have room to spread out.

Of course, the Roses are still doing well. I wish I could get a good picture of the whole lot together. They are exceptional this year.

(Yes, I know I don't have any Saguaro, but I couldn't find poetry about Agave.)

To the Saguaro Cactus Tree in the Desert Rain
- James Wright

I had no idea the elf owl
Crept into you in the secret
Of night.

I have torn myself out of many bitter places
In America, that seemed

Tall and green-rooted in mid-noon.
I wish I were the spare shadow
Of the roadrunner, I wish I were
The honest lover of the diamondback
And the tear the tarantula weeps.
I had no idea you were so tall
And blond in moonlight.
I got thirsty in the factories,
And I hated the brutal dry suns there,
So I quit.

You were the shadow
Of a hallway
In me.

I have never gone through that door,
But the elf owl’s face
Is inside me.

You are not one of the gods.
Your green arms lower and gather me.
I am an elf owl’s shadow, a secret
Member of your family.

from: Above the River: The Complete Poems. Copyright 1992.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Translation Is An Art, Not A Science

I found many translations of this next prose poem. A number were mechanical, serviceable, but carried no feeling. The best I found was by Beth Archer in A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry, edited by Czeslaw Milosz.

La Grenouille
- Francis Ponge
Lorsque la pluie en courtes aiguillettes rebondit aux prés saturés, une naine amphibie, une Ophélie manchote, grosse à peine comme le poing, jaillit parfois sous les pas du poète et se jette au prochain étang.

Laissons fuir la nerveuse. Elle a de jolies jambes. Tout son corps est ganté de peau imperméable. A peine viande ses muscles longs sont d’une élégance ni chair ni poisson. Mais pour quitter les doigts la vertu du fluide s’allie chez elle aux efforts du vivant. Goitreuse, elle halète… Et ce cœur qui bat gros, ces paupières ridées, cette bouche hagarde m’apitoyent à la lâcher.

The Frog
- Francis Ponge

When little matchsticks of rain bounce off drenched fields, an amphibian dwarf, a maimed Ophelia, barely the size of a fist, sometimes hops under the poet's feet and flings herself into the next pond.

Let the nervous little thing run away. She has lovely legs. Her whole body is sheathed in waterproof skin. Hardly meat, her long muscles have an elegance neither fish nor foul. But to escape one's fingers, the virtue of fluidity joins forces with her struggle for life. Goiterous, she starts panting . . . And that pounding heart, those wrinkled eyelids, that drooping mouth, move me to let her go.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

We Call It A Grain of Sand

 - Wislawa Szymborska

We call it a grain of sand,
but it calls itself neither grain nor sand.
It does just fine, without a name,
whether general, particular,
permanent, passing,
incorrect, or apt.

Our glance, our touch means nothing to it.
It doesn’t feel itself seen and touched.
And that it fell on the windowsill
is only our experience, not its.
For it, it is not different from falling on anything else
with no assurance that it has finished falling
or that it is falling still.

The window has a wonderful view of a lake,
but the view doesn’t view itself.
It exists in this world
colorless, shapeless,
soundless, odorless, and painless.

The lake’s floor exists floorlessly,
and its shore exists shorelessly.
Its water feels itself neither wet nor dry
and its waves to themselves are neither singular nor plural.
They splash deaf to their own noise
on pebbles neither large nor small.

And all this beneath a sky by nature skyless
in which the sun sets without setting at all
and hides without hiding behind an unminding cloud.
The wind ruffles it, its only reason being
that it blows.

A second passes.
A second second.
A third.
But they’re three seconds only for us.

Time has passed like courier with urgent news.
But that’s just our simile.
The character is inverted, his haste is make believe,
his news inhuman.

from: Polish Poetry of the Last Two Decades of Communist Rule. Copyright 1991.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kilt Monday!

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

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Now That We Have Tasted Hope

  - Khaled Mattawa, 1964

Now that we have come out of hiding,
Why would we live again in the tombs we’d made out of our

And the sundered bodies that we’ve reassembled
With prayers and consolations,
What would their torn parts be, other than flesh?

Now that we have tasted hope
And dressed each other’s wounds with the legends of our
Would we not prefer to close our mouths forever shut
On the wine that swilled inside them?

Having dreamed the same dream,
Having found the water behind a thousand mirages,
Why would we hide from the sun again
Or fear the night sky after we’ve reached the ends of
Live in death again after all the life our dead have given

Listen to me Zow’ya, Beida, Ajdabya, Tobruk, Nalut,
Listen to me Derna, Musrata, Benghazi, Zintan,
Listen to me houses, alleys, courtyards, and streets that
     throng my veins,
Some day soon, in your freed light, in the shade of your
     proud trees,
Your excavated heroes will return to their thrones in your
     martyrs’ squares,
Lovers will hold each other’s hands.

I need not look far to imagine the nerves dying,
Rejecting the life that blood sends them.
I need not look deep into my past to seek a thousand
         hopeless vistas.
But now that I have tasted hope
I have fallen into the embrace of my own rugged

How long were my ancient days?
I no longer care to count.
I no longer care to measure.
How bitter was the bread of bitterness?
I no longer care to recall.

Now that we have tasted hope, this hard-earned crust,
We would sooner die than seek any other taste to life,
Any other way of being human.

from: Beloit Poetry Journal, Split This Rock Edition. Copyright 2012.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

It's A Garden Party! - April Showers!

This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and was then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

If anyone would like to share their own gardening adventures with me - large or small, inside or out - I would love to see them.
Just leave a link to your post in the comments.

We've had a lot of rain this winter, and this is the result. . .

This is a beautiful blue Iris that my son bought for me several years ago. 

It is the only one I own that has a scent. 
In fact, before this one I didn't even know that any of them had a scent.

My Coopertina Ninebark is in full bloom.


If you look closely you will see a small herd of Pink Flamingos grazing under the Crepe Myrtle tree.

California Poppies!
They are 'popping' up everywhere.

Come Slowly—Eden
- Emily Dickinson

Come slowly—Eden
Lips unused to Thee—
Bashful—sip thy Jessamines
As the fainting Bee—

Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums—
Counts his nectars—
Enters—and is lost in Balms.


My Easter Lilly is now about two and a half feet tall.

And now for the Roses!
 The bushes have just exploded with blooms. The little row of bushes looks like a solid hedge now.

Most of the bushes are white because white flowers shine into the dusk and beyond, but I have two large yellow bushes. Yellow flowers are my favorite. They are so happy.

This bush is so full of flowers that it has collapsed, but it hasn't slowed any.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Snow

 - Reginald Gibbons

       Something needs to be done—like dragging a big black plastic sack through the upstairs rooms, emptying into it each waste basket, the trash of three lives for a week or so. I am careful and slow about it, so that this little chore will banish the big ones. But I leave the bag lying on the floor and I go into my daughter’s bedroom, into the north morning light from her windows, and while this minute she is at school counting or spelling a first useful word I sit down on her unmade bed and I look out the windows at nothing for a while, the unmoving buildings—houses and a church—in the cold street.

       Across it a dark young man is coming slowly down the white sidewalk with a snowshovel over his shoulder. He’s wearing a light coat, there’s a plastic showercap under his dirty navy blue knit hat, and at a house where the walk hasn’t been cleared he climbs the steps and rings the doorbell and stands waiting, squinting sideways at the wind. Then he half wakes and he says a few words I can’t hear to the storm door that doesn’t open, and he nods his head with the kindly farewell that is a habit he wears as disguise, and he goes back down the steps and on to the next house. All of this in pantomime, the way I see it through windows closed against winter and the faint sounds of winter.

       My daughter’s cross-eyed piggy bank is also staring out blankly, and in its belly are four dollar bills that came one at a time from her grandmother and which tomorrow she will pull out of the corked mouthhole. (It’s not like the piggy banks you have to fill before you empty them because to empty them you have to smash them.) Tomorrow she will buy a perfect piece of small furniture for her warm well-lit dollhouse where no one is tired or weak and the wind can’t get in.

       Sitting on her bed, looking out, I didn’t see a bundled-up lame child out of school and even turned out of the house for a while, or a blind woman with burns or a sick bald veteran—people who might have walked past stoop-shouldered with what’s happened and will keep happening to them. So much limping is not from physical pain—the pain is gone now, but the leg’s still crooked. The piggy bank and I see only the able young man whose straight back nobody needs.

       When he finally gets past where I can see him, it feels as if a kind of music has stopped, and it’s more completely quiet than it was, an emptiness more than a stillness, and I get up from the rumpled bed and I smooth the covers, slowly and carefully, and I look around the room for something to pick up or straighten, and I take a wadded dollar bill from my pocket and put it into the pig and I walk out.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pin-Ups. Me-Ow!

Rachel Aslett

{Tumbler}           {Website}

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

He Would Never Use One Word Where None Would Do

- Philip Levine
If you said “Nice day,” he would look up
at the three clouds riding overhead,
nod at each, and go back to doing what-
ever he was doing or not doing.
If you asked for a smoke or a light,
he’d hand you whatever he found
in his pockets: a jackknife, a hankie —
usually unsoiled — a dollar bill,
a subway token. Once he gave me
half the sandwich he was eating
at the little outdoor restaurant
on La Guardia Place. I remember
a single sparrow was perched on the back
of his chair, and when he held out
a piece of bread on his open palm,
the bird snatched it up and went back to
its place without even a thank you,
one hard eye staring at my bad eye
as though I were next. That was in May
of ’97, spring had come late,
but the sun warmed both of us for hours
while silence prevailed, if you can call
the blaring of taxi horns and the trucks
fighting for parking and the kids on skates
streaming past silence. My friend Frankie
was such a comfort to me that year,
the year of the crisis. He would turn
up his great dark head just going gray
until his eyes met mine, and that was all
I needed to go on talking nonsense
as he sat patiently waiting me out,
the bird staring over his shoulder.
“Silence is silver,” my Zaydee had said,
getting it wrong and right, just as he said
“Water is thicker than blood,” thinking
this made him a real American.
Frankie was already American,
being half German, half Indian.
Fact is, silence is the perfect water:
unlike rain it falls from no clouds
to wash our minds, to ease our tired eyes,
to give heart to the thin blades of grass
fighting through the concrete for even air
dirtied by our endless stream of words.

from: The Atlantic Monthly, Copyright 1999.

Of Modern Poetry

 - Wallace Stevens
The poem of the mind in the act of finding   
What will suffice. It has not always had   
To find: the scene was set; it repeated what   
Was in the script.
                               Then the theatre was changed   
To something else. Its past was a souvenir.

It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.   
It has to face the men of the time and to meet   
The women of the time. It has to think about war   
And it has to find what will suffice. It has   
To construct a new stage. It has to be on that stage   
And, like an insatiable actor, slowly and
With meditation, speak words that in the ear,   
In the delicatest ear of the mind, repeat,
Exactly, that which it wants to hear, at the sound   
Of which, an invisible audience listens,
Not to the play, but to itself, expressed
In an emotion as of two people, as of two   
Emotions becoming one. The actor is
A metaphysician in the dark, twanging
An instrument, twanging a wiry string that gives   
Sounds passing through sudden rightnesses, wholly   
Containing the mind, below which it cannot descend,   
Beyond which it has no will to rise.
                                                      It must
Be the finding of a satisfaction, and may
Be of a man skating, a woman dancing, a woman   
Combing. The poem of the act of the mind.

from: The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Copyright 1990.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Kilt Monday!

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

Sunday, April 17, 2016


Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.

Since publication of this poem the author has requested that their name is not attributed to it. Copyright University of Warwick.

Friday, April 15, 2016

One Art

 - Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

from: The Complete Poems 1926-1979. Copyright 1983.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Steady Hands & A Keen Eye

These beautiful designs are cut from a single piece of paper.

Check out more from
(click on his name}

If you are interested in buying one (or more) of these beautiful pieces, stop on by {Etsy}.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Quote of the Day

It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.
 - Henry James

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Kilt Monday!

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

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Wow! Just Wow!

(née Curtis Santiago)

Dejeuner Sur Lherbe, 2013

Frolic, 2013

Nubian Origin Story According to Artist, 2014

Saturday, April 9, 2016

It's A Garden Party! - Roses

This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

Last week I promised you Roses, and here they are:

White Florabunda
(I have four of these bushes.
They were my first bush roses and are still the most robust.)

Yellow Florabunda

Coat of Many Colors

Yellow Grandiflora

White Grandiflora

Peach non-specific hybrid
(Yes. That's what the tag said.)

 If you look closely, you can see the bush is loaded with buds.

One Perfect Rose
 - Dorothy Parker

A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet -
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Time Does Not Bring Relief; You All Have Lied

 - Edna St. Vincent Millay
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied   
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!   
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;   
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,   
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;   
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.   
There are a hundred places where I fear   
To go,—so with his memory they brim.   
And entering with relief some quiet place   
Where never fell his foot or shone his face   
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”   
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

Source: Twentieth-Century American Poetry, Copyright 2004.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Speaking of Sculptors . . .


I guess you could say that he's a real rock star.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Quote of the Day

We are freer than we think.
                                                                                            - Michel Foucault

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


 - Dorianne Laux
The heart shifts shape of its own accord—
from bird to ax, from pinwheel
to budded branch. It rolls over in the chest,
a brown bear groggy with winter, skips
like a child at the fair, stopping in the shade
of the fireworks booth, the fat lady's tent,
the corn dog stand. Or the heart
is an empty room where the ghosts of the dead
wait, paging through magazines, licking
their skinless thumbs. One gets up, walks
through a door into a maze of hallways.
Behind one door a roomful of orchids,
behind another, the smell of burned toast.
The rooms go on and on: sewing room
with its squeaky treadle, its bright needles,
room full of file cabinets and torn curtains,
room buzzing with a thousand black flies.
Or the heart closes its doors, becomes smoke,
a wispy lie, curls like a worm and forgets
its life, burrows into the fleshy dirt.
Heart makes a wrong turn.
Heart locked in its gate of thorns.
Heart with its hands folded in its lap.
Heart a blue skiff parting the silk of the lake.
It does what it wants, takes what it needs, eats
when it's hungry, sleeps when the soul shuts down.
Bored, it watches movies deep into the night,
stands by the window counting the streetlamps
squinting out one by one.
Heart with its hundred mouths open.
Heart with its hundred eyes closed.
Harmonica heart, heart of tinsel,
heart of cement, broken teeth, redwood fence.
Heart of bricks and boards, books stacked
in devoted rows, their dusty spines
unreadable. Heart
with its hands full.
Hieroglyph heart, etched deep with history's lists,
things to do. Near-sighted heart. Club-footed heart.
Hard-headed heart. Heart of gold, coal.
Bad juju heart, singing the low down blues.
Choir boy heart. Heart in a frumpy robe.
Heart with its feet up reading the scores.
Homeless heart, dozing, its back against the Dumpster.
Cop-on-the-beat heart with its black billy club,
banging on the lid.

from: Smoke. Copyright 2000.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Kilt Monday!

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

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Here There Be Monsters!

Check out Sculptor
the mythical sea monsters from old maps she brings to life.

"Ziphius et Orca depicts two sea monsters. Ziphius, the larger of the two, is a monster found on many medieval maps. It was believed that the creature's knife-like dorsal fin could slice though ships (the name Ziphius means sword). Orca is a whale sea monster; it's often depicted with a snouted or beaked face that spouts water from a mouth or blowhole."

Saturday, April 2, 2016

It's A Garden Party! - Life Abundant!

This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

Last week was ... Well, Things didn't work out as planned. I've been sick for several weeks now and just not on top of my game. That coupled with Easter left me ...

The weather here has been beautiful. We've had some rain and all the wild things are happy right now. I took lots of garden pictures; we had the grandkids over to color eggs and I took a ton of pictures; then I started to upload them to the computer and there was nothing. It took a whole day to figure out that the card went bad. All my beautiful pictures were gone.

This is the only Easter picture I have for this year. 
The eggs are wooden ones we made with my daughter years ago
and paper mache ones that we made with her kids last year.

We put a different card in and the camera is working now, so here we go.

My African Violet is blooming in the Conservatory. Yay! Back in the old country I had a massive collection of them with some of them always blooming. This is the first one I was able to even keep alive here.

This is my Easter Lily.

It is usually late for Easter, but this year it's really late.

Right now it's about a foot high.

My guess is that Claude McKay wouldn't be writing about this one.

The Easter Flower
 - Claude McKay

Far from this foreign Easter damp and chilly
My soul steals to a pear-shaped plot of ground,
Where gleamed the lilac-tinted Easter lily
Soft-scented in the air for yards around;

Alone, without a hint of guardian leaf!
Just like a fragile bell of silver rime,
It burst the tomb for freedom sweet and brief
In the young pregnant year at Eastertime;

And many thought it was a sacred sign,
And some called it the resurrection flower;
And I, a pagan, worshiped at its shrine,
Yielding my heart unto its perfumed power.


Let me tell you a story about this year's California Poppies

The entire side of the yard with the fruit trees was covered in poppy plants after the winter rains, and I expected an exceptional display. Then I got sick and didn't even look outside for two weeks.

When I did look outside, I received quite a shock. Instead of a field of poppies, my front yard was waist high in fox tails. They came up through the Poppies and covered everything. It looks like a field of wheat.

This is my front yard. I'm sure the neighbors are real happy.

There is a lot of blooming going on in this wilderness though.



One Japanese Iris under the little Japanese Maple


And then there are the Roses that never stopped blooming all winter. 
The bushes are tall and full of buds . . . but I think I'll save them for next time.