March 31, 2013

March 29, 2013

Poetry Friday--Easter Senryu

Easter is coming up on Sunday. For those of you who believe, I wish you a joyous celebration. For those of you who don't believe, my wish for you is the same as the wish for myself--dark chocolate and a marshmallow chick.

The following is presented as a commentary on human nature, so, you'll find this labeled as a senryu.


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Postcard courtesy riptheskull.

Hop over to the poetry celebration being held today at A Year of Reading. Have a great weekend!

March 26, 2013

Haiku Sticky #194

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I attended a Peace Conference on Saturday, a combined project of NH Peace Action and Rivier University. I enjoyed a little sanity in the discourse about violence after months of viewing the comments of internet trolls. I was beginning to lose hope about the future of our country.

The only thing that bothered me about the conference was the poor attendance by young people. I think that the few who did attend, were only there because it was part of a class requirement. Sad, but, the haiku above was a result.

I want to leave you with this quote from the keynote speaker, John Dear: "We claim the imagination for peace."

March 24, 2013

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Some topics we haiku people visit over and over again. See Haiku Sticky #181.

March 22, 2013

Poetry Friday--Ear Candy

I took this photo from a distance, in poor lighting, so it's not good.
I was, however, able to crop most of the audience heads out of the picture!

Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of attending "POEMJAZZ: A Conversation and Performance" by Robert Pinsky and three jazz musicians.

Pinsky performed several poems accompanied by music. Most fittingly, two poems were about musical instruments--one a green piano!

He also included a poem by Ben Jonson, a poet and playwright who was a contemporary of William Shakespeare. Someone who lived long before the development of jazz! Pinsky introduced the Jonson poem by telling us that Jonson was like a musician in his use of words, and that his poetry was "ear candy." I neglected to make note of the title of the poem Pinsky performed, but in looking for it afterwards, I found that it may have been "His Excuse for Loving," which Pinsky also performed as part of this Valentine's Day production at Boston University:



In browsing some of the Jonson poems posted online, I came across this one, which I like for its brevity, and for the point it makes about simplicity and beauty:
The Noble Nature
by Ben Jonson

      It is not growing like a tree
      In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
          A lily of a day
          Is fairer far in May,
      Although it fall and die that night—
      It was the plant and flower of Light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.

Here's a short introduction to Jonson from the Kennedy Center:



You gotta go to GottaBook where Gregory is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up for this week.

March 19, 2013

March 17, 2013

Happy Haiga Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Sláinte!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photochrom print, between 1890 and 1900. Photo of flax processing, between 1918 and 1921. Both courtesy Library of Congress.

March 15, 2013

Poetry Friday--"The Lepracaun Or Fairy Shoemaker"

Sunday is St. Patrick's Day, so today I'm going to start the celebration with a poem about a leprechaun, which I found in two anthologies of tales, Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, edited by William Butler Yeats, and The Irish Fairy Book edited by Alfred Perceval Graves. (The illustration is from the latter book).

The Lepracaun Or Fairy Shoemaker
by William Allingham

I.

Little Cowboy, what have you heard,
   Up on the lonely rath's green mound?
Only the plaintive yellow bird
   Sighing in sultry fields around,
Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee!--
Only the grasshopper and the bee?--
      "Tip tap, rip-rap,
      Tick-a-tack-too!
   Scarlet leather, sewn together,
      This will make a shoe.
   Left, right, pull it tight;
      Summer days are warm;
   Underground in winter,
      Laughing at the storm!"
Lay your ear close to the hill.
Do you not catch the tiny clamour,
Busy click of an elfin hammer,
Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill
      As he merrily plies his trade?
        He's a span
        And a quarter in height.
Get him in sight, hold him tight,
        And you're a made
          Man!

II.

You watch your cattle the summer day,
Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay;
   How would you like to roll in your carriage,
   Look for a duchess's daughter in marriage?
Seize the Shoemaker--then you may!
      "Big boots a-hunting,
      Sandals in the hall,
   White for a wedding-feast,
      Pink for a ball.
   This way, that way,
      So we make a shoe;
   Getting rich every stitch,
      Tick-tack-too!"
Nine-and-ninety treasure-crocks
This keen miser-fairy hath,
Hid in mountains, woods, and rocks,
Ruin and round-tow'r, cave and rath,
   And where the cormorants build;
        From times of old Guarded by him;
        Each of them fill'd
        Full to the brim
          With gold!

III.

I caught him at work one day, myself,
   In the castle-ditch, where foxglove grows,--
A wrinkled, wizen'd, and bearded Elf,
   Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,
   Silver buckles to his hose,
   Leather apron—shoe in his lap--
        "Rip-rap, tip-tap,
        Tick-tack-too!
      (A grasshopper on my cap!
        Away the moth flew!)
      Buskins for a fairy prince,
        Brogues for his son,--
      Pay me well, pay me well,
        When the job is done!"
The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt.
I stared at him; he stared at me;
"Servant, Sir!" "Humph!" says he,
   And pull'd a snuff-box out.
He took a long pinch, look'd better pleased,
   The queer little Lepracaun;
Offer'd the box with a whimsical grace,--
Pouf! he flung the dust in my face,
      And, while I sneezed,
          Was gone!

Yeats provided a little explanation of leprechauns:
"The name Lepracaun," Mr. Douglas Hyde writes to me, "is from the Irish leith brog--i.e., the One-shoemaker, since he is generally seen working at a single shoe. It is spelt in Irish leith bhrogan, or leith phrogan, and is in some places pronounced Luchryman, as O'Kearney writes it in that very rare book, the Feis Tigh Chonain."

The Lepracaun, Cluricaun, and Far Darrig. Are these one spirit in different moods and shapes? Hardly two Irish writers are agreed. In many things these three fairies, if three, resemble each other. They are withered, old, and solitary, in every way unlike the sociable spirits of the first sections. They dress with all unfairy homeliness, and are, indeed, most sluttish, slouching, jeering, mischievous phantoms. They are the great practical jokers among the good people.

The Lepracaun makes shoes continually, and has grown very rich. Many treasure-crocks, buried of old in war-time, has he now for his own. In the early part of this century, according to Croker, in a newspaper office in Tipperary, they used to show a little shoe forgotten by a Lepracaun.
So now you know.

Head over to Check It Out for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Have fun this weekend, and a word of warning--don't drink the green beer--the dye may not agree with you! You're better off with a Guinness, Smithwick's, Murphy's, or Kilkenny!

March 12, 2013

Haiku Sticky #192


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Originally appeared on Laura Salas's 15 Words or Less challenge, March 7, 2013.

March 10, 2013

March 8, 2013

Poetry Friday--Haiku Stuff

Infographics are highly visual ways of presenting concepts. I came across one at TweetspeakPoetry that explains haiku, and, it does it quite well!


[Note: if you haven't visited the Tweetspeak site, you should! Lots of fun poetry information is shared there. And, I'd also recommend exploring Visual.ly, or their Pinterest board, especially if you're a teacher. The combination of words and graphics makes for an excellent teaching tool.]

A kukai is a haiku contest whereby a kigo (see above infographic), or a topic, is assigned. Participants write and submit a haiku which fulfills the assignment. The haiku are gathered and sent to all the poets who submitted a haiku. The poets then judge the haiku and award 0, 1, 2, or 3 points. Each judge has a total of six points to distribute amongst all the poems and is prohibited from scoring his/her own entry. The points are added up for each haiku, and the poet who has written the haiku that received the most points is the winner.

Poet Gillena Cox runs the Caribbean Kigo Kukai (CKK). Recently, she listed the first, second, and third place winners from the contests she had run between April 2009 and September 2011. One hundred poems total.

I had a haiku in the group, and I ended up in a tie with three other poets! The four of us each had a haiku that scored 6 points! You can read all the haiku here. Here's mine:
distant thunder...
the brush of cat fur
against my legs
There are several online kukai being run. Gillena conveniently lists them on the right-hand side of the CKK page. (Thanks, Gillena!)

You may have noticed that my haiku doesn't fit the 5-7-5 syllable arrangement you were taught in school. Contemporary English language haiku is generally written in less than 17 syllables. If you want to understand why, there's a good explanation at the National Haiku Writing Month site.

Did you know that there are sites that feature daily haiku? Several in fact. Here's a few: DailyHaiku, Mann Library’s Daily Haiku, The Mainichi: Haiku in English, The Haiku Foundation's Per Diem: Daily Haiku (found on the right-hand side), and tinywords: haiku & other small poems. For haiga (illustrated haiku) fans, there is DailyHaiga.

I think it would be good to stop here, otherwise I might start on the Facebook haiku sites. Any more links and this post might explode!

Make sure to visit My Juicy Little Universe for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.


March 5, 2013

Haiku Sticky #191

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. In case you haven't heard this "tale of woe," here's the story.

March 3, 2013

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

On this day in 1913, thousands of women, and their supporters, marched for women's suffrage in Washington, D.C. There was also a lot of opposition to the marchers, and mistreatment of the marchers led to Senate hearings.

It would be seven more years before women were granted the right to vote by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

The Des Moines News front page story was typical of the coverage of the event. They stated that the crowd was seven thousand strong, and they engaged in a little all-American boasting, "Demonstration Most Elaborate in World's History of Suffrage."



The photo of suffragists and the crowd courtesy Library of Congress.

March 1, 2013

Poetry Friday--"Observations of Manuel's Cat"

It's time for another ekphrastic poem, this one was inspired by a painting by Goya, "Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga." It was also a result of a poem I posted on my library blog, Kurious Kitty, a few weeks ago. The poem, by David Graham, is "The Dogs in Dutch Paintings." Since that post I'd become conscious of the preponderance of dogs in Dutch and other paintings. I thought a cat might feel slighted.

Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Observations of Manuel's Cat

On our palacio walls you'll see canvases depicting
Our Lord--his birth, his miracles, his last meal.
Glorious scenes of contest, crusade, or victory.
The Conde's exalted ancestors, and all his familia.

In these framed monstrosities you'll also see dogs.
Canines! But rarely a feline, and do you know why?

Because cats have better things to do than to sit
around looking droll and mildly interested in directions
issued by a fool waving a brush, while dogs, need only
the promise of that stick, tossed, to keep them contented.

Buenos días, Mr. Goya! Is that a cage? Are...those...birds?
Me? Sit for you? Oh, Mr. Goya! Como una gran artista...

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
If you click on the image it should open in a larger format. You'll better be able to see the rapt attention on the eyes of three cats, especially the calico. The black cat is barely visible.

This week's Round-Up is being held at The Drift Record. I hope we see a few cats there!