December 30, 2014

December 28, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I still have the occasional dream about not getting to class on time (if I get there at all) and I graduated from high school many decades ago! Pre-holiday anxiety dreams involve Christmas shopping, but now I'm free for another 12 months! Happy New Year!

December 26, 2014

Poetry Friday--"What Is It About a Cat"


Christmas is over. Hopefully the bits and pieces of paper and ribbon and tape have all been thrown out. Sometimes, though, the remnants of Christmas are found days later, in rather unusual places.

What Is It About A Cat

And Christmas ribbon?
She pounces upon it
like it is a living being
ripe for tormenting.

She chases it across
floors, under tables,
and paws it into dark
recesses. There, the

battered, hapless ribbon
is slobbered into pliability.
The cat, smugly victorious,
swallows. One, long,

spaghetti slurp--gone!
And then...the ribbon
fortuitously reappears at
the tail-end of Christmas.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

A mighty long build-up to a pun! If you live with cats, you will recognize the scenario. Every wrapped present be-ribboned with curling ribbon, has to be secured within a bag so that no cat is tempted. The taunting curls are more than a cat can stand and the lead-up to gift-giving is an ongoing fight between human, cat, and ribbon. I wrote the poem back in 2010--the battle continues...

I'm an easily distracted person, so, sometimes I can find myself lost for hours on Pinterest. I came across a board that is devoted to curling ribbon. I kid you not! If you're interested, click here.

Have a great New Year's holiday! Next week I'll have my annual haiku postcard (Nengajo) post. My 2015 postcard is a little funky.

Stop by Reading, Teaching, Learning for the last Poetry Friday Round-Up of 2014!

December 23, 2014

Haiku Sticky #285

Every year I swear I'm not going to get caught up in the madness, yet I always do. Then, I get tangled in nostalgia, and that's nearly fatal...However, in another 2 weeks, we'll be back to normal.


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

December 21, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by Jack Delano (1940), courtesy Library of Congress.

December 18, 2014

Poetry Friday--Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice takes place on Sunday, December 21, at 23:03. By Monday, the days will be growing longer once again. Hallelujah!


This poem was sent to me as part of a lovely gift package from my Winter Poem Swap gifter, Irene Latham. The Winter Swap was organized through the generosity of Tabatha Yeatts.

Poem © Irene Latham, all rights reserved. Photo by Matt Katzenberger "Touch the Light."


A lovely evocation of the season! Many thanks, Irene! Mary Lee Hahn sent me "Sensing the Solstice" for the 2012 Winter Swap, she wrote about it here. In 2013 I received a book of Margaret Gibson Simon's seasonal poems titled Illuminate. If you didn't participate in the Winter Swap this year, I hope you will in 2015!

The following is a collection of my solstice poems:

I'm not sure if this was posted/published anywhere. (I'm a lousy record-keeper.) I wrote it in 2010:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Print by Hiroshige courtesy Library of Congress.


Haiku Sticky #128 is from 2011:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


In 2012, at Random Noodling I wrote about the solstice and two poems about Saint Lucy. The following was also written in 2012, shortly after the tragedy in Newtown, CT:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


I guess 2013 was uninspiring--I didn't write a solstice poem last year--but, here's a new one for 2014:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Happy Hanukkah to all who are celebrating it this week! I hope at least one of your gifts is a book of poems! And the same for all who celebrate Christmas next week. Buffy's Blog will be hosting the solstice/holiday poetry extravaganza today!





December 16, 2014

December 14, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by Kaz Andrew. Flu information courtesy CDC.gov.

December 11, 2014

Poetry Friday--A Double Shot of Ekphrasis

I've been participating in Spark challenges for two years now. I'm not sure who introduced me to them, but, I'd sure like to thank her! If you're not familiar with SPARK Art from Writing: Writing from Art, it's a quarterly online project run by Amy Souza, herself a talented poet. Amy describes the project:
During each 10-day project round, participants create a new piece of work using someone else’s art, writing, or music as inspiration. All resulting work is then displayed online, alongside the piece that inspired it.

I didn't work directly with a partner, but asked to be assigned an inspiration piece. I received a poem by Kamika Cooper, which you can read here. What stuck in my mind were broken wings, trash, and a city street. This is my response:

"Everything Is Recyclable!" © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


For today, I thought I'd write a poem to go along with my picture. You're getting a double shot of ekphrasis--art inspired by art inspired by art! Here's my story poem based on the picture above.
A Christmas Card Night

Late night holiday
shoppers head home
as do I.
An uneventful day
not even a shoplifter.
Or maybe a more clever one
than usual.

'Tis the season.

Damn, it's frigid!
--with wind
but clear and bright
with stars...
whole galaxies
of stars.

A Christmas card night
except for the trash
put out in advance
of tomorrow's pick-up.

I turn the corner.

A feather.

Another
whips around my legs.

In an otherwise empty
recycle bin a pair of wings.
A pair of wings!

What creature pinioned?

Whoosh--a gust--
and the wings appear
to be lifting.
Ready to go.

Do I take them?
For what?
Dressing for the window?

Only two more shopping days.

I'm tempted. Sorely tempted.
But it will be one more
piece of display clutter.
Might someone else
use them instead
to fly?

I leave them behind
in this poem and head home
to sleep.

There's no time for dreams
in retail.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Kamika Cooper's poem was also given to another artist to be used as an inspiration piece. You can see the results here.

I would encourage you to join the next Spark challenge, which I assume will come in February. "Like" the Spark Facebook page and click on "get notifications," and you will see when the next challenge comes up.

I also encourage you to visit Paul at These 4 Corners for the Poetry Friday Round-Up!

December 9, 2014

Haiku Sticky #283

I forgot to post a haiku this morning! After the wild weather of today, I've decided a haiku wasn't big enough. Here's today's sticky poem--only 16 hours later than usual:


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

December 7, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, courtesy Library of Congress.

December 4, 2014

Poetry Friday--"Nothing in Moderation"

Cigarette card, ca. 1934-1939, courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery. See below for the back side of the card.

Last Friday I posted a tanka and a video about starling murmuration. In one of the comments, Mary Lee wrote, "And I love it that nasty annoying starlings can make something so movingly beautiful." I replied to her comment with a link to an article from the New York Times, "100 Years of the Starling" by Ted Gup and I also said, "There's an ironic poem here, methinks!" Of course, the wheels started turning and I wrote "Nothing in Moderation," which I'll dedicate to Mary Lee (happy birthday, Mary Lee!):
Nothing in Moderation

"Starlings do nothing
in moderation," the
ornithologist wrote.

Yes, they reproduce
like wildfire. Yes, they
lay waste to fields.

They carry disease &
torment innumerable
air traffic controllers.

But, do not blame
the iridescent bird
for being what it is.

Immoderation in
a lover of the Bard
let them loose here.

Our need to command
the heavens above
made them a hazard.

Humans' desire to
procreate like...like
...well, like starlings,

brought us to a state
where we freely bitch
slap Mother Nature

and, continue to
think we will
get away with it.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
The poem is based completely on the article, but it reflects what I've come to understand--human beings never do anything in moderation if they can "supersize" it. It's the reason the world is in the state it's in--climate change, corporatocracy, American exceptionalism, obesity, etc. I don't know if I should thank, or curse, Mary Lee for making me think of all this stuff!

A little aside here, the name of the author of the starling article sounded familiar to me, and I realized he also wrote, A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression [Penguin, 2010]. I read the book when it first came out and I loved it. It's the story of a man who truly was a "secret Santa" who helped people survive one of America's darkest periods. The book would make for a good discussion group choice.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at Anastasia Suen's Booktalking #kidlit.




December 2, 2014