July 15, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


in bloom again
...the old fence

July 13, 2018

Poetry Friday--Henry David Thoreau

On July 12, 1817, New England writer, Henry David Thoreau was born. Happy 201st birthday, Henry!

For today I have an original poem written in response to one by Thoreau that appears in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, self-published in 1849. Thoreau subsequently revised the book, but it was not republished until several years after his death in 1862. The poem is found in the chapter, "Wednesday," and is untitled, but in later anthologies it appears as part of a longer poem with the name, "The Fisher's Boy." Here is the untitled poem:
My life is like a stroll upon the beach,
   As near the ocean’s edge as I can go,
My tardy steps its waves sometimes o’erreach,
   Sometimes I stay to let them overflow.

My sole employment 't is, and scrupulous care,
   To place my gains beyond the reach of tides,
Each smoother pebble, and each shell more rare,
   Which ocean kindly to my hand confides.

I have but few companions on the shore,
   They scorn the strand who sail upon the sea,
Yet oft I think the ocean they’ve sailed o’er
   Is deeper known upon the strand to me.

The middle sea contains no crimson dulse,
   Its deeper waves cast up no pearls to view,
Along the shore my hand is on its pulse,
   And I converse with many a shipwrecked crew.

Here's my response:
A Stroll upon the Beach

A vessel broken.
Its innards
of cargo and crew strewn
across the strand.

In the village, word spreads.

It is a grisly sight--
a shipwreck
with bodies battered
and bruised,

soon to be carrion.

Townsfolk with skills
of carpentry,
or, undertaking, are

Man-size boxes readied.

Those who need to
feed their children
efficiently pry nails from
cargo boxes

to spirit goods away.

Before souls of the departed
flee, I'm here
gathering dulse for my larder.
Boxes for my fire.

And, stories for safekeeping.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Thoreau was acquainted with shipwrecks having seen and written about them on Cape Cod and Long Island, NY. He traveled to Long Island in July, 1850, to view the wreck of the Elizabeth in hopes of finding the bodies of writer and editor, Margaret Fuller, and her family. The bodies of neither Fuller nor her husband were found, but that of their young son was recovered.

[Three years ago, Harvard University acquired the notes that Thoreau took at the scene of the shipwreck. I wonder if Thoreau's notes will soon be transcribed and be made available online? I'm curious to see how the actual notes compare to a work of historical fiction, Miss Fuller, by April Bernard, in which the fictional Thoreau finds a cache of Fuller's letters. Miss Fuller was published in 2012. You may be interested in reading it.]

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted today by Sylvia at Poetry for Children.

July 10, 2018

Haiku Sticky #461

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


hot July
chicken under a tree
scratches the shade

July 8, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


summer doldrums
the many finds that will
remain unfound

July 5, 2018

Poetry Friday--"Iconography"

I'm taking a break from cherita today, but not from ekphrasis. The painting below, "Icon Painters," is by a Russian artist, Yelena Polenova. It was created in 1887.

"Icon Painters" by Elena Polenova, courtesy The Athenaeum.



The icon painter leaves the workshop
and returns with a deftly carved
and painted churn. He places it in front.
"I'm blessed with many, talented children."

"So I see," says the student artist who
has come to render the icon master.

"Your eldest son is your apprentice.
Your youngest's little hands fill in.
The strong one grinds your pigments.
Your twin boys prepare the panels."

"Yes, but we need to recognize my
daughter, too," says the icon painter.

"She tends the garden. Sweeps the floors
Mends our aprons. Collects the eggs.
She milks the cow. Churns our butter.
And, cleans my brushes of their color."

"Ah, you honor the Lord with paint and gold,
the Lord honors you with treasure."

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

It is probably completely unrealistic to think such a tribute to a daughter would have happened. But, I can imagine it, which is the advantage of having poetic license! Certainly a businessman would understand the importance of a hardworking work crew.

Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect will be hosting this week's Round-Up.

July 3, 2018

Haiku Sticky #460

A petit poème for today. If, after reading it, you need something a little more hopeful, scroll down the left-hand side of the page until you come to John Lewis's words. He is someone to admire. Lewis went through hell in the civil rights struggle, and, Congress, in 2018, is yet another form of hell he must endure. Still, he remains hopeful.

Yesterday I got an email from Barack Obama's Organizing for Action group. In it, President Obama says, "I believe now more than ever: Cynicism is a choice. And hope is a better choice."

It's really hard not to fall prey to cynicism and despair.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Does despair
have a scent
a taste a sound
a feel a color?
Or is it the
loss of all senses
--of all sense?
We may soon find out.

July 1, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


June 30 march

Americans protest
family separation

one wonders why
human rights need