October 19, 2018

Poetry Friday--A Visit to the Currier

The Currier Museum of Art, in Manchester, NH is a gem of a museum. It is small, but it has grown considerably in the past two decades. One of the reasons I like it is because it is do-able in an afternoon, unlike the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which, with it size, and its crowds, I find to be overwhelming.

Last Saturday I attended a symposium that opened the current exhibit, "Myth and Faith in Renaissance Florence: The Sculpture of Giovan Angelo Montorsoli and His Circle." The exhibit is built around Montosoli's "John the Baptist," a terracotta statue of the saint.

I'll share a few more photos I took at the museum--indoors and out, and, ekphrastic cherita to go along with two of them.

Outside, despite the rain, it was colorful due to "The Blue Trees."
The Currier Museum of Art commissioned artist Konstantin Dimopoulos to create an environmental community art installation, The Blue Trees. With the help of community volunteers, artist Konstantin Dimopoulos temporarily transformed nearly 100 trees at the Currier and in nearby Manchester parks by coloring them with an environmentally safe pigment in a beautiful shade of blue. The Blue Trees installation helps to promote awareness of global deforestation, while enlivening the city with this dynamic community-wide art work. The Blue Trees will slowly return to their natural color over several months.
By time I left the museum, the sun had come out and I was able to snap these:

Cherita © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Dancers" by Fernando Botero.


weekend away

inhibitions forgotten
she danced barefoot

it was as if the earth
had sucked the blues
right out her soles

Another featured exhibit is "Ethan Murrow: Hauling."

"Woman Seated in a Chair" by Pablo Picasso and "Spindrift" by Andrew Wyeth:

Now here's a practical piece of art: "Nude Looking Back" by Dan Dailey. It's just a wee bit large for my bedside table, but I wouldn't turn it down if someone offered it to me!

Cherita © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


pile of books to be read

all the scary ones
remain at the bottom

she'll readily admit
that her funky art piece
is really a nightlight

I will probably revisit the Currier soon. I'm looking forward to being inspired!

Please stop by Friendly Fair Tales where Brenda is hosting today's Round-Up.

October 16, 2018

Haiku Sticky #475

Not a haiku! The elections are three weeks from today. We HAVE TO turn out and vote if we ever hope to see our country restored to sanity. We need to change this culture of ignorance and white male privilege. VOTE!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Blue Wave

Imagine a wave
of informed voters.
The power of justice
and equality and fact.
Unstoppable. Imagine.

October 14, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

An illustrated poem for today. "Praying Hands" is a sketch by Albrecht Dürer (1508) and is frequently used in religious organizations' marketing efforts.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


After October 6, 2018

She opens the post office box--
an insurance bill and a mass mailing
from a foreign mission proffering
spiritual enrollment. For a small fee,
coming her way, will be masses, novenas,
a full year's worth of spiritual ejaculations.
More orgasmic intercessions of men?
No thanks
, she thinks, we have Congress.

October 11, 2018

Poetry Friday--Library Discards

For those interested in poetry, one of the best places to discover poets and anthologies is, of course, at a public library. But, I'm sure most librarians will tell you that the poetry section is one of the least used sections in the building.

Libraries have morphed into community centers as opposed to lending libraries and this change has made it imperative that libraries present themselves as attractive. The practice of deaccessioning, a.k.a. weeding--updating the collection by removing books--has become more important. As a public librarian, it is my least favorite thing to do.

If a book of poetry looks old, and, worst of all, if it looks perfectly fine, but no one borrows it, then it goes. Shelf space is valuable--so out with the old, in with the new. We are a consumer society and the new and shiny is what we look for.

With any luck, your public library's discards are put on an ongoing sale table or end up at an annual book sale. Here's where you'll find some wonderful volumes of poetry waiting for you to scoop up and take home--sometimes for pennies.

It is also possible that libraries will sell or give their weeded books and donations to used book stores--real or virtual, and here, too, you'll find poetry winners for little money. I prefer the words inside to the physical form of a book, so I've purchased many used library copies with all their identifying stamps, book pockets, and plastic covers. An old library book may have a story of its own to tell you if you want to take the time to find it!
tucked in the book
receipt from a hotel
I've not visited

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

An old library discard I return to periodically is The Sparrow Bush: Rhymes by Elizabeth Coatsworth with wood engravings by Stefan Martin (© 1966). I snagged it from the "discards-heading-to-the-trash" pile!

Here's a poem from that volume:


Mud in the road and wind in my hair,
Mud in the road and I don't care,
Snow in the shadows, but the fields are all
And a big black crow is cawing.

Pussy willows close to the bough,
Catkins swinging and greening now,
Chickens feeling perky and kicking up a
And a big black crow is cawing.

Sap buckets hanging on our sugar maple tree,
Wild things stirring where no one can see,
I'm waiting for what's going to happen to
And a big black crow is cawing.

Laura at Writing the World for Kids is this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up hostess. Stop by, you'll be glad you did!

October 9, 2018

Haiku Sticky #474

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


bit by bit
maple leaves cover the ground
...a new rose opens

October 7, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

An octaiku for today.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Image courtesy NYPL Digital Collections.


sweeping maple's
red leaves before realizing
the act
is pure prayer

October 5, 2018

Poetry Friday--Happy Octopus Month!

Earlier this week Poetry Friday regular, Irene Latham, published a new book titled Love, Agnes: Postcards from an Octopus. On her blog, Irene declared October to be Octopus month and she solicited octopus poems and art from her readers. I sent Irene an illustrated cherita, which may make an appearance at Live Your Poem sometime soon.

I found that writing an octopus poem was fun, so I wrote two more!

Last Friday, Margaret at Reflections on the Teche celebrated the publication of Irene's new book by having her students write octopus poems. One student, Madison, even created a new form, the Octaiku. Madison explains:
"An Octopus form, or, as I like to call it, a Octaiku (A combination of Octopus and Haiku.) The form is 2, 4, 8, 2, 4 because 2 and 4 can go evenly into 8."
I tried my hand at an Octaiku and here is the result:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Original image from The World Book: Organized Knowledge in Story and Picture (1917).


she dwells
in the deep this
creature of agility and
of disguises

I took the liberty of disguising my octopus in rather funky camouflage!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Original image from "Guide leaflet" (1901) of the American Museum of Natural History (1917).


Deep Sea Plural

Our language is a puzzle,
this I can't deny.
Is more than one cephalopod
octopuses or octopi?

I'm a big fan of a book by Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. In it, she tells us the plural of octopus is octopuses, and that's good enough for me. My online Merriam-Webster, though, lists octopuses as well as octopi AND octopodes.

Head over to The Opposite of Indifference where Tabatha is holding the Round-Up today.

October 2, 2018

Haiku Sticky #473

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


late September
...bearing witness to
all their stories

September 30, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

If you have a vacation planned during the week of a SCOTUS nominee hearing, cancel your plans. Guaranteed the weather will be lousy and you'll be easily swept up in judiciary committee proceedings. After your holiday is over, you'll be more stressed than you were when you left work.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Adirondack chairs
without occupants
...senate hearings

September 28, 2018

Poetry Friday--Busman's Holiday

On September 15, I attended the 4th annual New Hampshire Poetry Festival. The first three years it was held in downtown Manchester, this year it moved to New England College in Henniker. During the lunch break I took a walk in the picturesque little town. In typical "busman's holiday" form, I visited the local public library. (For those who don't know, I've been a public librarian in NH for 32 years.)

The Tucker Free Library, built in 1903, has typical classical lines. A look inside, though, was breathtaking. The well-preserved architectural details, and displays of town history, had me snapping photos with my iPhone. The woman at the front desk (whose name I neglected to get) answered my questions patiently, for which I am grateful.

Here are more photos, two of which I've enhanced with cherita. Enjoy!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


aware of her friends
who are miles away

totally unaware
that at any time
the sky could fall

Even the screen doors are a delight!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


sun-kissed Saturday afternoon

ponders the lack of readers

the children's librarian
sighs and counts the minutes
'til closing

The cherita above was written as if I were sitting in the children's room--it is no reflection on the young woman who worked in the children's room that day.

The happily retired Jone is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up at Deowriter.

September 25, 2018

Haiku Sticky #472

A cherita squeezed onto a sticky!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


finally vacation

sunscreen packed
flipflops pail and shovel
check check check

clouds roll in
weather reports studied
Monopoly check

September 23, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

I love taking pictures of architectural details and writing poems to go along with them. The ceiling in this haiga is found at the Tucker Free Library in Henniker, NH. Come back on Friday when I'll have more library photos.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


look up!

intricately designed
old ceiling of tin

how was it made?
elves with hammers are
not beyond imagining

There is a brief description on Wikipedia of how old tin ceiling were made, but it sounds so inherently dangerous that I'd prefer to think of tap-tap-tapping elves!
Sheets of tin were stamped one at a time using rope drop hammers and cast iron molds. Using this method of production, metal was sandwiched between two interlocking tools. The top tool, or "ram," was lifted up by a rope or chain, then dropped down onto the bottom die, smashing into the metal that was underneath and permanently embedding intricate patterns into the tin.

September 21, 2018

Poetry Friday--"In the Wood"

Two weeks ago was the conclusion to Spark #38. This round, I didn't take part as an "artist." It was requested that I fill a role as "writer"--not too much of a stretch!

For an inspiration piece, I sent my Spark partner a short poem from my files, and he sent me a photo of a 3-dimensional piece he created titled, "Galileo" as my inspiration (see it here).

Immediately, upon viewing "Galileo," I thought of shelf fungi and that's what I began with. If you aren't familiar with shelf fungi (also called shelf mushrooms or brackets), here are a few photos from my files, all taken in NH or MA.

I had a fourth one that I've used for this post. I combined it with my response to "Galileo," a poem titled "In the Wood," simply because illustrating poems is my favorite thing to do!

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


In the Wood

Diseased and dying
it leans southward
ruffled with brackets
laced with molds.

What was once vitally
green now has a
vividly colorful life
of another kind.

Hollows hold newly
birthed chipmunks.
Bats beneath loosened
bark roost by day.

Processes of propagation
and elimination
attract multitudes
of creatures to this oak.

continuously consume.
Jack o' lantern
mushrooms illume by night.

Finally, wee fairy folk
move in to provide
make-believe for those
who eschew reality.

I think perhaps the six stanzas are a bit much and I should have confined myself to shelf fungi and fairies. I will probably rewrite it as a haiku or cherita!

Erin at The Water's Edge is playing Round-Up hostess this week. Do stop by!

September 18, 2018

Haiku Sticky #471

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


today the air
has a new taste to it

September 16, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.



sultry heat and trees
persistently green

a false sense of time
suspended 'til overhead
the honking of geese

September 14, 2018

Poetry Friday--I Am From Project

Several Poetry Friday bloggers have mentioned the "I Am From Project" in posts over the past few months. Read the origin of the project here, and find George Ella Lyon's inspirational poem, "Where I'm From<" here.

I've seen poems by several P.F. peeps on the Project's "Poems" page. (There's also a Facebook page here.)

My recent contribution to the Project is an illustrated cherita.

It is only a single aspect of where I'm from, but, it's an important one--my immigrant roots. I may have taken some liberty with the neighborhood, since I don't know for certain that any of my Polish grandparents lived in tenements, but, the laundry-hung-across-alleys memories are real!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo courtesy Library of Congress, circa 1900-1910, Detroit Publishing Co.


I am from

laundry lines crisscrossing
New York's tenement alleys

starched shirts gotchies skirts
babushkas pants all in a tangle
of mamas' apron strings

A bit of explanation: gotchies are underpants. When I was a child, in my grandmother's home, we called them "gitchie-gotchies." A babushka is a head scarf that ties under the chin.

Here's a poem from a P. F. post in 2014 that also touches on where I'm from:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Apples and Pears" by Carl Eduard Schuch courtesy The Athenaeum, cropped to fit the poem.


Apple Pie

Her baking repertoire was
limited and rarely used,
but her apple pie was
memorable for its simplicity.

Sour apples sliced, with
only a hint of sugar and
cinnamon to coat them
made a pie unlike others'.

Did her pie turn me away
from the gaggingly sweet
or did it merely validate
the acerbic already in me?

Was it more basic--a genetic
predisposition to disdain
sugar since we had come
from Polish peasant stock?

Sweet was never freely
available, nor ever expected
to be a part of our lives, so
we came to love the sour.

I hope you all will take part in the I Am From Project, and I look forward to seeing your contributions!

Amy is hosting the Round-Up at The Poem Farm where she has a bumper crop of poetry waiting to be picked!

September 11, 2018

Haiku Sticky #470

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


17 years we've learned
nothing but fear

September 9, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


political fundraiser

a monarch butterfly
feeds in the sunlit garden

we, though, have become
comfortable standing
in the shade

September 7, 2018

Poetry Friday--Movie Recommendation

Last weekend I watched the documentary, RBG, which has just been released on DVD. I LOVED it and recommend it highly. I wish everyone, especially teens, would watch it. It is most of all a love story, and then a story of tenacity and clarity of thought. The way Ruth Bader Ginsburg was able to compartmentalize her life, is nothing short of amazing. [CNN is airing it on September 9, click here.]

Ginsburg was able to have a long and enduring friendship with the late justice Antonin Scalia despite their ideological differences. It is something I find difficult to do myself. If I learned anything from RBG it is that if you can find an interest in common, one that has significance to both parties, than a relationship can be built. Here's a short CBS Evening News piece from 2016:

I want to share a portion of a poem by Paul Zimmer titled, "Dog Music." It might seem a bit strange, but I find it fitting:
Dog Music

Amongst dogs are listeners and singers.
My big dog sang with me so purely,
puckering her ruffled lips into an O,
beginning with small, swallowing sounds
like Coltrane musing, then rising to power
and resonance, gulping air to continue—
her passion and sense of flawless form—
singing not with me, but for the art of dogs.
We joined in many fine songs—"Stardust,"
"Naima," "The Trout," "My Rosary," "Perdido."
She was a great master and died young,
leaving me with unrelieved grief,
her talents known to only a few.

Now I have a small dog who does not sing,
but listens with discernment, requiring
skill and spirit in my falsetto voice.
I sing her name and words of love
andante, con brio, vivace, adagio.
Sometimes she is so moved she turns
to place a paw across her snout,
closes her eyes, sighing like a girl
I held and danced with years ago.

Read the rest here.

Carol will be hosting the Round-Up this week at Beyond Literacy Link. Please stop by!

September 4, 2018

Haiku Sticky #469

I know it's just the day after Labor Day, but late September will be here in a flash. I've already heard geese flying in the night, and as days grow shorter, I'll be hearing it often. There is a sadness to the sound at night, don't you think?

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


late September...
a wedge pushes through
the night

September 2, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Labor Day sales

standing eight hours
at the checkout

hot dogs ice cream
and three-legged races
pepper her daydreams

August 30, 2018

Poetry Friday--Memento Mori

Memento Mori is translated from the Latin as "remember death."

Remember that you, too, will die. Remember that death is part of the circle of life. Remember those people death has taken from you.

It is not, as one may hasten to conclude, a depressing topic for short form poetry!

There is an interesting discussion about death haiku, which you can find at Charlotte Digregorio's blog where she has an interview with Robert Epstein. Epstein's new book is Checkout Time is Soon. It is a follow-up to Checkout Time is Noon. None of the sample haiku included with the post strike me as depressing. In fact, the one that begins "packing..." is quite funny! (Read more about Epstein and death poems here.)

I write about death all the time, although, if I write haiku, its brevity can lead to interpretations other than death. It all depends upon the reader and his or her own life experience. Here's an example from 2015:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


words not needed
the tempo of her rocking
delivers the news

I'm also fond of haunting (pun intended) graveyards. Visiting a well-kept cemetery is like spending time in a little-used park--peaceful and a great place to wander. I enjoy reading about the lives summarized on gravestones, and speculating about the true stories. Here are two graveyard poems from my files:

From 2017:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


a dusting of snow changes
one's perspective

From 2014:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


followed by
a swarm of
I read the dates
on the headstones
one after another

I find it interesting that when I wrote this, four years ago, I had never heard of the cherita form. I have since adopted the cherita as my form of choice. This poem, with a minimum of tweaking, could easily be a cherita! (If you're unfamiliar with the form, you'll find a definition on the right-hand side of the page near the top.)

The following I wrote recently. I used a photo I had taken in 2008 at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, MA. I was doing research at the time for a subject in Women of the Bay State, Mary Eliza Mahoney. Mahoney was a child of freed slaves, was the first black woman in the U. S. to receive professional nurses training (graduated in 1879). She was buried in Woodlawn and I took photos of her monument for possible use in the book. While there, I took a gazillion photos of other markers and things that I found interesting. I've been using them as inspiration ever since.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


old graveyard

the littlest souls
with little markers

a marble lamb
remembrance of a child
too young for a name

Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge is hosting the Round-Up this week. Be sure to stop by!

August 28, 2018

Haiku Sticky #468

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


morning walk:
orange butterfly
against a blue sky
no summer jewel
unaccounted for

August 26, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


my mind's eye
can't match the clarity of
this summer day

August 23, 2018

Poetry Friday--Surprise! A Goose.

Two weeks ago I issued a poetry challenge. Using an image of an animal from the Library of Congress photo collection as inspiration, participants were asked to write a poem. Today is the unveiling of the virtual gallery titled, "Surprise! A Goose."

The poems are divided into three sections, "Feathered," "Furred," and "Feared." I know it's perpetuating a stereotype, but reptiles and insects do have a long-standing reputation, and, the alliteration was too good to ignore. Creatures of the sea, too, would be in the "Feared" section--just think sharks, electric eels, and stingrays--pretty scary!

Thank you to all the Poetry Friday peeps who helped make this exhibit a reality!


Kay McGriff sent a cherita (she also used the same image for a haiku, seen here):

© Kay Jernigan McGriff, all rights reserved. "Chickens. 1" L. Prang & Co..

It's no surprise that Donna Smith, who lives in Maine, found a seagull photo to be inspiring:

© Donna J. T. Smith, all rights reserved. "Aboard a trawler. Selecting fish and cutting off heads. Only mackerel, whiting and occasional flounder or halibut are kept. Thrown from trough into ice-filled hold. Fish heads and non-marketable fish are thrown into sea above which hundreds of seagulls wait hungrily. Provincetown, Massachusetts" by Edwin Rosskam (1937).

Michelle Kogan picked a beautiful American night heron:

© Michelle Kogan, all rights reserved. "American night heron" Edgar Alexander Mearns (1887)..

Here's one of mine:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Trochilidae. - Kolibris" by Ernest Haeckel (1904).

Carol Varsalona, who like Donna Smith, lives near the ocean, also found a seagull picture to inspire her. She explains what she did:
I paired a 1907 stereopticon card from LOC...with a current photo of a seagull on Long Island's south shore. I was going to try a cherita but that will have to wait. I digitized the two to give the image a feel for what a stereopticon card looks like but with a twist (Then and Now).

© Carol Varsalona, all rights reserved. "Santa Catalina Island in the Pacific - Seagulls at rest in foreground" (1907)..


Tabatha Yeatts sent a delightful poem based upon the story of the first aerial flight. I've included her explanatory matter.

"Vincent Lunardi, Esqr., his dog & his cat" (1784)..
Here's some info from Wikipedia to go with the illo:

There was a flying craze in France and Scotland with James Tytler, Scotland's first aeronaut and the first Briton to fly, but even so and after a year since the invention of the balloon, the English were still skeptical, and so George Biggin and 'Vincent' Lunardi, "The Daredevil Aeronaut", together decided to demonstrate a hydrogen balloon flight at the Artillery Ground of the Honourable Artillery Company in London on 15 September 1784. His balloon was later exhibited at the Pantheon in Oxford Street.

However, because the 200,000 strong crowd (which included eminent statesmen and the Prince of Wales) had grown very impatient, the young Italian had to take off without his friend Biggin, and with a bag that was not completely inflated, but he was accompanied by a dog, a cat and a caged pigeon. The flight from the Artillery Ground travelled in a northerly direction towards Hertfordshire, with Lunardi making a stop in Welham Green, where the cat was set free as it seemed airsick, before eventually bringing the balloon to rest in Standon Green End. The road junction in Welham Green near to the site Lunardi made his first stop is called Balloon Corner to this day to commemorate the landing.


In carriages, on boats --I'd travelled before --
the marks of my claws could be seen on table legs
far and wide, but what could prepare me for riding
in the air? Your stomach moves when you are at
sea and I might have flung some half-digested
trout back where it came from, but when your
whiskers flick a sky-lofted wind, you're like a bit
of fur with no meat, a feather let loose from its
bird. The fierce and fearsome shaking in my
innards only stopped when I was paws in
the dirt, nose to the grass. A cat likes to
know where

© Tabatha Yeatts-Lonske, all rights reserved.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "A red fox prowls for voles, hidden beneath the snow, in Yellowstone National Park in the western U.S. state of Wyoming" by Carol M. Highsmith (1874).


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Bee Motel sign, Route 2, Havre, Montana" by John Margolies (1987).

Margaret Simon had a goose poem with its Library of Congress inspiration photo on her blog last Friday and today, she is playing Round-Up host at Reflections on the Teche. She awaits your visit!