October 29, 2013

October 27, 2013

October 25, 2013

Poetry Friday--A Few Figs from Thistles

Last week I posted a little political poem about a fig. In the comments section Mary Lee mentioned Edna St. Vincent Millay's figs--her P. F. post was about Millay's collection titled A Few Figs from Thistles. The most famous poem from that collection is undoubtedly this one, which made for some lively discussion amongst Mary Lee's commentors:
First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
   It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
   It gives a lovely light!

Being as I'm currently obsessed with political shananigans, I think this ditty is a perfect description of the freshman senator who has recently made a name for himself!

After reading Mary Lee's post, I sought out Millay's collection and I was struck by this poem:


Portrait by a Neighbor

Before she has her floor swept
   Or her dishes done,
Any day you'll find her
   A-sunning in the sun!

It's long after midnight
   Her key's in the lock,
And you never see her chimney smoke
   Till past ten o'clock!

She digs in her garden
   With a shovel and a spoon,
She weeds her lazy lettuce
   By the light of the moon,

She walks up the walk
   Like a woman in a dream,
She forgets she borrowed butter
   And pays you back cream!

Her lawn looks like a meadow,
   And if she mows the place
She leaves the clover standing
   And the Queen Anne's lace!

From A Few Figs from Thistles
Look closely at the title, it's Portrait BY a Neighbor, not OF a Neighbor. So, are we to assume that Millay is the neighbor being written about? If so, then I think Millay is rather proud of being painted as a free spirit. I don't know about you, but this poem fills me with happiness!

Irene is hosting this week's P. F. Round-Up at Live Your Poem. Without a doubt she will have plenty there to add to my happy mood.

Photo by BlueRidgeKitties.

October 22, 2013

Haiku Sticky #224

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I entered this haiku in October's Caribbean Kigo Kukai, and then, in my rush to leave the house on Saturday to drive down to Boston for the Boston Book Festival, I completely forgot to send in my votes. I apologize to Gillena and all the CKK participants.

Imagine "instructions" as part of the second line. The restrictions of the sticky note program, with its inability to allow one to change the font size, often makes it difficult to format the poems. Generally, I don't use the poems that won't fit, but I make exceptions on occasion.

I originally wrote it with "daylight savings" as the final line, but, the assigned kigo was "early darkness." I think it works either way, but the switchover to daylight savings time adds an extra urgency to the search for the instructions!

October 20, 2013

October 18, 2013

Poetry Friday--Our Times

These are truly strange times. Some even say we are in the end times. Last weekend, I heard a story on NPR in which A. J. Jacobs, a editor at Esquire magazine, related stories of physical confrontations by members of Congress. Listen to the story here:



Jacobs told of Henry Clay's being referred to as "like a rotten mackerel in the moonlight." That phrase jumped out at me. Then, mere minutes later, I read about a congresswoman's claim that we are in the end times. [Read the article here.] That idea, and the mackerel quote, tangled themselves in my head. A quick search online revealed that the quote is even more revealing when read in its more complete form, "like a rotten mackerel in the moonlight, he both shines and stinks." Ouch!

Photo by Axel Rouvin.

After many fits and starts, I ended up with this:
In the Moonlight

...the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God’s end times history.

--Michele Bachmann


It is claimed a leaf
sprouts on the fig,
but,

in the darkness
in the moonlight

fruit concealed by
the slick new shoot
remains unseen.

There it may grow
there it may wither

we do not know
until the stench of
rot is indisputable.

So please, trust your
primal animal sense;

periodically stick
your nose in the air
to sniff.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Do any of you write poems in response to political goings-on? I sometimes question why I do, when, in all likelihood, a year from now, this poem will make no sense! Or perhaps it will make perfect sense? I wonder if, when Kipling wrote "Dane-Geld: A.D. 980-1016" 100 years ago, he ever would have imagined its relevancy in 2013?

I'm sure there are plenty of sensible and relevant poems being rounded-up today at Merely Day By Day--be sure to stop by!

October 15, 2013

Haiku Sticky #223


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I'll bet you didn't realize that this haiku is about zoochory! I would say that 99% of my mail is junk. A waste of time (mine), money (the vendor's), and the life of a tree. I now only check my mailbox two or three times a week. In walking to the mailbox in the fall, I always end up covered in hooked seeds. I'm an animal agent of seed dispersal, which is called zoochory.

October 13, 2013

October 11, 2013

Poetry Friday--The Mortimer Minute


Many thanks to poet extraordinaire, Julie Larios, for inviting me to partake in The Mortimer Minute, a Children's Poetry Blog Hop event. The Mortimer Minute was begun in early September by April Halprin Wayland.

I was tagged by Julie, who last week posted a lively exchange with Mortimer the rabbit.

Here are the "rules":

1. Answer three short questions, one of them taken from the previous Mortimer Minute.

2. Invite another blogger (or two or three) to take part on the following week--writers, teachers, or anyone who loves children's poetry is the perfect choice.

3. Link to the previous Mortimer Minute and to your choice for next week.

I've followed #3 and will do #1 next, but, sadly, Mortimer appears to have reached the end of the road here in New Hampshire. I haven't been able to find another blogger who hasn't already been tagged, or who is willing to take on the task of being questioned by a rabbit. (Perhaps it's a problem of rabbit allergies? Or not knowing the language?) If anyone wants to take part next week, please comment below and I'll add your link.  Update:  Donna J. T. Smith of Mainely Write has graciously volunteered to be tagged! Yay, Donna! Check out her beautiful poem for today, "Days of Roses."

By the way, Mortimer speaks English, although he does speak very quietly, so you have to listen carefully. Mortimer told me he is multilingual and he taught me the word for rabbit in several languages: Spanish = conejo; German = Kaninchen; Indonesian = kelinci; Afrikaans = haas; Czech = králík; Swahili = sungura; Hindi = खरगोश. Rabbits are found on every continent except Antarctica! They are not native to Australia, but after they were introduced there by the Europeans in the mid-19th century, they multiplied like...like rabbits!

Here's Mortimer to ask me three short questions:

Mortimer:
Do you have a pet rabbit?

Me:
No, I have two cats. I did, however, have a grandbunny by the name of Miles. Sadly, he moved into that big hutch in the sky. Miles is featured in a haiku I wrote, which you can see here. Here's a photo of Miles in 2009 when he lived in the Bronx (before he moved back to Massachusetts, and then to his final home):

Resting under a non-edible piece of furniture, alongside some pieces of DJ equipment. FYI: Miles was named after Miles Davis.

Mortimer:
He's a fine looking rabbit! Do you have any human grandchildren?

Me:
Yes, I do! A little grandson who will be one at the end of this month. Here's a photo of him saying, "Cool." It's a handy word--it can mean temperature, as in the weather, or, awesomeness, as in "Mortimer, you're one, cool, coney."


Mortimer:
I also asked this of Julie: what children's poem do you wish you had written?

Me:
Last Friday I mentioned "Ducks' Ditty," by Kenneth Grahame. I also wish I could have written this one by Aileen Fisher:
Little Talk

Don't you think it's probable
that beetles, bugs, and bees
talk about a lot of things--
you know, such things as these:

The kind of weather where they live
in jungles tall with grass
and earthquakes in their villages
whenever people pass!

Of course, we'll never know if bugs
talk very much at all,
because our ears are far too big
for talk that is so small.

Mortimer:
Oh, I love it! I know just what she means when she's talking about the jungles and the earthquakes!

Me:
I'm glad you like it. Both "Little Talk" and "Ducks' Ditty" are found in an older (1965) anthology called Piper, Pipe that Song Again: Poems for Boys and Girls, selected by Nancy Larrick.

Mortimer:
Thanks, I'll look for it.

Me:
It's no longer in print, but you should be able to find it from a used book vendor. I looked at AbeBooks the other day, and there were several copies available for less than $4.00, and that included shipping!

Mortimer:
Well, it's time to go! Which way to the highway?

Me:
I-93 is less than a mile from here. Head south if you want Massachusetts, go north if you're headed for Canada! And, if you're looking for the Round-Up, hosted by Laura Salas, click here.

October 8, 2013

Haiku Sticky #222

A senryu for today, for obvious reasons.


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

October 6, 2013

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

My family and I made our annual trek to Springfield, MA for the The Big E. This year the food of choice seemed to be bacon. There were the chocolate-covered bacon slices from past fairs, but added to the menu were baconanas and bacon s'mores. Last-year's fried butter was gone, so I guess fair-goers are eating healthier!

October 4, 2013

Poetry Friday--"Ducks' Ditty"


There aren't many ducks left here in New Hampshire at this time of year. If they're smart, they're all headed south.

To wish them well on their way, here's "Ducks' Ditty" by Kenneth Grahame, from the great children's classic, The Wind in the Willows.
All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all.

Ducks’ tails, drake’s tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight,
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
Where the roach swim--
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!
We like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
Swifts whirl and call--
We are down a-dabbling,
Up tails all.

I can't think of a more musical poem! Have you been following The Mortimer Minute postings that have appeared over the past month? One of the questions that The Mortimer Minute originator, April Halprin Wayland, posed, got me thinking, "What children's poem do you wish you had written?"

I can say that "Ducks' Ditty" is definitely one!


Next week, I'll be participating in The Mortimer Minute. I was tagged by Julie Larios, who is answering questions this week at her blog. Part of the rules for The Mortimer Minute is to tag 1-3 bloggers. I've come up empty-handed. Everyone I've asked has already been tagged or cannot participate. If you'd like to play, please contact me dianemayrATdianemayrDOTcom, and I'll tag you for the fun on October 18.

Visit Dori at Dori Reads, for today's joyous poetry celebration!

October 1, 2013

Haiku Sticky #221

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Saturday, I attended a poetry reading that was organized for 100 Thousand Poets for Change Day. It was a lovely day, so the event was held outdoors, which was really appreciated.

It is rare to go to a poetry/literary event that doesn't have at least one attendee in the de rigueur poet's outfit. For late fall and winter events, a black turtleneck is worn in place of the tee-shirt. For spring or fall, socks are generally any bright color or pattern. No socks are worn in summer, and in winter, black boots are the footwear of choice.