November 29, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

Despite the dog, this one is clearly a senryu! Photo taken in Jersey City, NJ. I love, love, love the old buildings there.

November 26, 2015

Poetry Friday--"The Better Angels of Our Nature"

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! From this point on, it's the holiday whirlwind!

It was with a bit of panic that I realized that I also better get going on my Sketchbook Project 2016. Last year I had written all my poems within a few months, but still, I waited until the last moment to assemble the book. Of course, everything that could happen to make the completion of the project difficult, happened. This year I set myself an additional goal--to add a touch of art to the book rather than simply photocopying the poems and photographs I used.

Now, I'm not sure how I'm going to incorporate the art. Simply spiffing up the book's pages with color? Doing collage? What materials should I use? Feathers (it is an angel book, afterall)? Watercolors? So many things to think about and I haven't even written enough poems yet! Perhaps I should include some angel quotations. That would take care of the problem of having to write more poems! Maybe I should go through my old files and see if there are angel poems that would work. I remembered this one. A little too political? A little irrelevant in 2015? What do you think?
The Better Angels of Our Nature
January 19, 2009


They're coming in--
wings outspread
flapping, flapping
fluttering
fluttering
slowing themselves,
gently
touching down,
making us aware
as they land
that they are only
here in recognition
of a new us.

After eight
long years,
our chest
and shoulder muscles
have been strengthened.
Our hearts beat
at unnatural rates.
We can feel
the lift as we allow
the angels to take us
under their wings
to teach us, again,
how to fly.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The poem was written the day before the inauguration of President Obama. Looking back, now that it's 2015, I see we haven't yet gotten airborne. I think that's a result of obstructionism, fear-mongering, and, extreme hatred. And, that, my friends, is all I will say about that!

Forget the mall, Carol's Corner is the place to be today! She'll have plenty of poetry links, and all they cost, is a little of your time!

1901 Soap company premium, courtesy Library of Congress.

November 24, 2015

November 22, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

It's getting colder!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

November 19, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Thinking of Thanksgiving"

When Matt Forrest issued a second "Poetry...Cubed!" challenge I seriously considered writing a poem with all three of the photographed items included. However, the poem took over after I started with bittersweet and it wouldn't allow me to add in a woodstove and a New England Patriot.

The whole thing morphed into a pre-Thanksgiving harangue! Funny how that happens.

Click on the image to enlarge. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

This postcard, though not given a date, was identified as being from the Whitney Valentine Company of Worcester, MA. It is probably from the early 1900s and seems to indicate that bittersweet was already a well-known symbol at the time of its printing. [For those interested in postcards, here's a post I found on Mr. Whitney.]

Postcard courtesy NY Public Library Digital Collections.

Few people realize that the variety that is seen almost everywhere here in the northeast, is Oriental bittersweet and is extremely invasive. People clip stems of the berries to use in their homes and on their front doors and inadvertently assist in its spread. Here's a photo I took, which demonstrates the stranglehold the vines can have once they become established. The host tree, year by year, is squeezed to death.

The python of the botanic world!

There is also the problem of American bittersweet becoming hybridized by the Oriental bittersweet. Thus, it seems American bittersweet is losing the battle for survival.

Matt Forrest, you've forced me to write an American tale of horror!

This pre-Thanksgiving Poetry Friday the Round-Up will be held at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Have a great Thanksgiving Day!

November 17, 2015

Haiku Sticky #332


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. This was my free format entry for the October Shiki kukai, topic: spark. It earned a 3rd place with 17 votes. The haiku is based upon a childhood memory when leaf-burning was a yearly happening. We put potatoes in the fire and later ate charcoal blackened baked potatoes for a snack. I was also put in mind of stories of depression era hobos who stole potatoes to cook over a fire.

November 15, 2015

November 13, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Just Because"

Over at Michelle's My Little Ditty, she is running a monthly poetry challenge. November's was posed by children's book editor Rebecca M. Davis. Ms. Davis suggested writing a poem of kindness.

I decided to concentrate on the little acts that make all the difference in our daily lives. I turned to haiku and wanted to cover a year's worth of kindnesses. Twelve, however, would be a bit much, so I narrowed it down to six--every other month starting in February. Michelle posted the sequence on Thursday, and I illustrated it for today:

Click on the image to enlarge. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Now, you may ask yourself, how is smiling through a kids' concert a kindness? This, was drawn from a past experience (30 years ago?)when my son "learned" the recorder in elementary school. His class then performed for their families and friends. All I remember was having to hide my face in my daughter's back (she was on my lap) during "Hot Cross Buns." It was a series of squeaks and squawks that absolutely cracked me up. I bless the grandparents who managed to maintain a pleasant smile.

Wee Words for Wee Ones will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week. Do stop by!

November 10, 2015

November 8, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Tomorrow, writer, Irene Latham is celebrating her 10th anniversary as a blogger at Live Your Poem... Bloggers will be posting on a theme close to Irene's heart, WILD, and she will be rounding up the links during the day so that everyone can "go wild." I can't wait to read all the approaches bloggers have taken. Congratulations to Irene on a decade of posts!

About the illustrated poem above. The photo was taken in September in Ogunquit, ME. Originally, I was thinking of writing a haiku and came up with a few. Here's one:

periwinkle trail
...wild adventures begin
without our knowing

The photo shows the determination of the snail. There's a haiku by Issa on the idea that can't be beat:

little snail
inch by inch, climb
Mount Fuji!

Translated by David G. Lanoue.

Rather than compete with the master, I wrote a small poem that incorporated both Issa's idea and the one that I tried to get across with my haiku. I took the determination idea and worked the wild in. Determination will only take you so far when faced with elements out of your direct control, for example, the weather, the tides, or a kid with a plastic pail. When one gives up thought of control, who knows what adventures will ensue?

A rather Dickinsonesque poem, don't you think?

Update: it is now 9:00 pm, and Irene's wild link-up has begun! Check it out!

November 6, 2015

Poetry Friday--The African Burying Ground

Several years ago, in digging up a Portsmouth, New Hampshire street for a public works project, workers uncovered human remains. The location was identified as a slave burying ground from the 1700s. Work halted and what followed was an effort to remember, honor, and to re-bury those whose final resting spot had been disturbed. To learn more, visit the African Burying Ground Memorial Park website. The brass and granite memorial at the park was designed by artist Jerome Meadows from Savannah, Georgia.

Photo by Michael Venditozzi.

On October 23, a special poetry/dance/shadow play performance took place in a small theater in Portsmouth. This multi-disciplinary effort was the brain-child of Mr. Meadows, who also produced similar performances in Savannah as part of the "Blank Page Poetry" series. Portmouth's performance was titled, "Words & Shadows: Truths that Arise Remembered."

The poetry was solicited by the Portsmouth Poet Laureate, Kate Leigh. Local poets were instructed that if their poems were selected, they would be expected to participate in the performance by reciting their work and incorporating some choreographed movements. The selected poems included one by a six-year-old first grader, who, as the program informed us, "wrote his poem one morning at the African Burying Ground."

The video below begins with the shorter performance that took place outdoors at the African Burying Ground Memorial Park the day before the theater production. The street noise is very distracting, so please skip ahead to 3:20 for the theater performance. To see the young poet, go to 31:40. It's not the best recording, but it will give you an idea of what was involved in this tribute to the slaves from the "Live free or die" state of New Hampshire.



I did not submit a poem for the "Blank Page Poetry" project, but I did write one.
Bacteria
The African Burying Ground, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Here beneath
The pavement
The soil
The remnants of shroud
And coffin
We did our work.

We consumed your flesh, your bones.
We reduced you to nutrient form
So that you would live on.

Not as free man or slave.
Not as white or black.
Not as rich or poor.
Not as theist or atheist.
Not as man or woman.
Not as old or young.

Not as anything but energy.
Heat.
Light.
Power.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Visit Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat. for today's Round-Up of poetry links.

November 3, 2015

November 1, 2015