January 30, 2011

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

Originally published in Sketchbook: A Journal for Eastern & Western Short Forms July/August 31, 2010 Volume 5, Issue 4

The photo was taken by me at the Big E in September 2008. The butter sculpture is by Jim Victor.

I need a little buttery sunshine today!

January 28, 2011

Poetry Friday--Oatmeal Challenge

Stephen Dobyns begins his poem, "Oatmeal Deluxe," like this:
This morning, because the snow swirled deep
around my house, I made oatmeal for breakfast.
In the rest of the poem, the oatmeal is sculpted into a woman, and the poem ultimately deals with the subject of love, or the lack of it.

I first came upon a poem about breakfast cereal when I found Galway Kinnell's "Oatmeal." And then, not too long ago, I found a response to that poem by Martin Steingesser, also called "Oatmeal."

What is it about poets and oatmeal? Have you come across an oatmeal poem? Have you written an oatmeal poem?

I looked through my own cache of poems and found nothing on oatmeal, but, I did have a haiku that mentions another breakfast cereal:
easter...
cap'n crunch french toast
at the local cafe

That left me a challenge to write a poem about oatmeal. Could I do it? I could certainly try...
The Dishwasher's Lament

I worked hard.

My jets are exhausted
scrubbing your bowl clean.
But, really, oatmeal again?
Must you consume it every
cold and snowy day?
I expected more of you--
have you become the clichéd
porridge-eating poet? Do me a
favor, prove me wrong.

The next time the sun
splashes its rose across
fresh swirled snow, grab
your well-scrubbed bowl,
fill it with figurative
oats. Splash it with
metaphorical milk. And
please, I beg of you, use
a throw-away spoon.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

How about you? Will you write about oatmeal?

After a hardy breakfast, head over to Wild Rose Reader and enjoy the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

January 25, 2011

January 23, 2011

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

January 21, 2011

Poetry Friday--St. Agnes

Painting by Domenichino (1620)

Last night was the Eve of St. Agnes.

Stanza VI from the 42-stanza poem, "The Eve of St. Agnes" by John Keats, explains the significance of the night
VI.

They told her how, upon St. Agnes’ Eve,
Young virgins might have visions of delight,
And soft adorings from their loves receive
Upon the honey’d middle of the night,
If ceremonies due they did aright;
As, supperless to bed they must retire,
And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.
Imagine sending a young girl to bed with promises of dreaming about her one true love--what maiden wouldn't want to go to bed?

So, who is Agnes? Agnes is the patron saint of virgins. Poor Agnes, a mere girl of 12 years, refused to take part in a unwanted marriage since she had already sworn herself to Christ.

Here's the scoop from A History of the Holy Virginity and Blessed Martyrdom of St. Agnes by Honyel Gough Rosedale (1902):
One day, as she was coming from school through the streets of Rome, the son of the chief magistrate met with her; and, casting his eyes upon her countenance fell in love with the maiden. Not knowing who she was, he got his parents to find out, and to ask her in marriage for him. This they did, and at the same time sent her a great many love-tokens, and promised still more. Some most brilliant ornaments the young man bought himself, such as charm the fancies of young girls: but all were thrust aside by the Blessed Agnes, as if they had been so much dross. It was no part of her study, indeed, to please by beauty of body. But she could not but shrink from the thought of being displeasing to her Lord by any uncomeliness of soul, brought on by her own unfaithfulness to Him.
After much effort on the part of the magistrate's son and his family, Agnes still refused to marry the boy. For her refusal, Agnes was put to death on January 21, just a week short of her birthday on January 28.

Here's my take on Agnes:
Happy Birthday, Aggie!

Twelve years old, just the age
when adolescence begins and
an interest in toys wavers,
eclipsed by a yen for the divine.

Aggie refuses to submit to
the tyranny of hormones
disrupting her dreams and
turning her body against her.

Concerned adults try to mollify
Aggie with baubles. Promises
are made that estrogen dominance
can't begin to reconcile.

Aggie will only refuse! No
trinkets! No! No amity, no
capitulation. Just stubbornness.
Unholy, impure, stubbornness!

Aggie's got a brand new toy.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved
This week Tara at A Teaching Life is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

January 18, 2011

January 17, 2011

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King

I found this video of ten MLK quotes by way of an AlterNet article:



Let's all strive for a day of peace! Hopefully justice will follow.

January 16, 2011

January 14, 2011

Poetry Friday--Letters Between Poets Project

Other than purchasing poetry books and attending readings, you never really get a chance to put your money where your mouth is, when it comes to poetry. Now, the opportunity awaits you to support an interesting poetry project, "Letters Between Poets."

In his formative years as a poet, Wes McNair was mentored by Donald Hall. Now, McNair has proposed putting their correspondence online "so students and teachers can read them and learn what it’s like to develop as a poet." McNair sees the correspondence as a way to "give encouragement and guidance to other beginning poets and writers trying to find their way."

"Letters Between Poets" requires a modest amount of funding, $7,100, for its technical aspects. The push is on to raise the money, and if you visit the site over a period of a few days, you can see the total inching its way towards the goal. The fundraising comes to a close on the last day of January, so every dollar is important.

New Hampshire citizens are lucky to have these two poets within driving distance. I have seen both speak on more than one occasion and regard it as a gift. (I wrote about one such occasion back in 2008, click here.)

I'm sure you're all familiar with Donald Hall--he was a U.S. Poet Laureate five years ago, but, you may not be familiar with Wes McNair. If that is the case, then let me introduce you:
Small Towns are Passing
by Wesley McNair

Small towns are passing
into the rear-view
mirrors of our cars.
The white houses
are moving away,
wrapping trees
around themselves,
and stores are taking
their gas pumps
down the street
backwards. Just like that
whole families picnicking
on their lawns tilt
over the hill,
and kids on bikes
ride toward us
off the horizon,
leaving no trace
of where they have gone.
Signs turn back and start
after them. Packs of mailboxes,
like dogs, chase them
around corner after corner.

from Lovers of the Lost (David R. Godine, 2010)
You can listen to the poet reading "Small Towns are Passing" by clicking here.

Join Laura Salas for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

January 11, 2011

Haiku Sticky #79


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

I hope the echoes will be heard. We need to stop and consider what we've become.

January 9, 2011

Happy Haiga Day!

A tanka for today. I found this little grave(?) last summer alongside a community building's parking lot. It was so delightful I grabbed my camera to preserve it. I then wrote a tanka to go with it.


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

January 7, 2011

Poetry Friday--Forcing Hyacinth Bulbs

Last week I started forcing a hyacinth bulb on my kitchen windowsill. Almost within hours its roots began to sprout and a touch of green began to show at the top. I think this bulb was ready and waiting for me!

Here's a very old poem by Saadi that says what I would like to say about the hyacinth today.
Hyacinths to Feed Thy Soul

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone
      to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
Saadi is the pen name of the Persian poet Muslih-ud-Din Mushrif ibn-Abdullah Shirazi. Poetry is obviously good for one's health since Saadi lived from 1184 to 1283 (or 1291--the date is uncertain), which would have made him 99 (or 107) when he died!

With any luck, in another few weeks the bulb will bloom a lovely bright pink and flood the kitchen with a gorgeous spring scent. (And then the extra heavy flower head will probably cause the delicate stem to snap--beauty does not come without a price!)

If you'd like to force your own hyacinth bulbs, there's information here to get you started.

Although traditional, you don't really need a hyacinth glass to grow bulbs, my bulb was started in a pottery vase made by my son, Jesse. Hyacinth glasses are not as common as they were in the past. Old ones have become rather collectible. To learn more about the glasses, this site has more information, and photos, than you'll ever need.

What better reason to grow hyacinths than to inspire a poem? Here's a resulting tanka:
the view through
the kitchen window
january's grey
skies eclipsed by
a forced hyacinth

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved
I'll finish with a quote from Carl Sandburg: "Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits." Ponder that for a while, then visit Irene at Live. Love. Explore! for this week's Round-Up of poetry postings.

January 6, 2011

January 4, 2011

January 2, 2011