April 26, 2018

Poetry Friday--Ekphrastic April, Day 27: "Peonies and June Bug"

"Peonies and June Bug" (1871-1872) by Eva Gonzales [1849-1883].

fragrant June

the peonies in bloom
should have been left uncut

within hours petals begin
to fall and the June bug's
dinner grows stale

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Since we're finally moving into warmer weather here, I'm looking forward to the trees, plants, and flowers playing a little catch-up. Before we know it, it will be peony time. And June bug time.

People write poems and songs about the oddest things. The June bug is one of those oddities and appears in a song by the B-52s.

The swimming bug in the video is definitely a carnivore, but the June bugs I'm familiar with are vegetarian.

"June Bug" appears on the album Cosmic Thing, which was released in 1989. I was a children's librarian at the time and one of the story hour families gave me the CD for Christmas. I can honestly say it is the BEST job-related gift I ever received. I played it for years. I can no longer remember the name of the gift-giver, but I'm forever grateful for the gift.

Irene will be sharing the gift of poetry today at the Round-Up being held at Live Your Poem. Irene, too, has been writing ekphrastic poems this month.

Ephrastic April, Day 26: "Girl Posing in a Hat with Tassels"

"Girl Posing in a Hat with Tassels" (circa 1918-1922) by Gwen John [1876-1939].

Sunday services

befitting her situation
she's dressed in black

this week she adds a tassel
oh, how he would have loved
the joke

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I really should read up on Gwen John, the brief Wikipedia biography shows a complex personality who lived an unorthodox life. I guess she's a project for another time...

April 25, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 25: "The Sands of Life"

"The Sands of Life" by Mary Curtis Richardson [1848-1931].

the sand box

mother dreams
of beaches

babe discovers the
principle of gravity
on her own

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 24, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 24: "The Writer"

The lovely painting below was created by a woman who was born in the town in which I work. Mary Bradish Titcomb, born in Windham, NH in 1856, became a teacher in its small country school. She then headed down to the Boston area to teach before moving on to fulfill her destiny as an American impressionist painter*. Titcomb died in 1927 and was buried in Windham.

"The Writer" (circa 1912) by Mary Bradish Titcomb [1856-1927].

we, who cannot travel

force bulbs surrounding
ourselves with fragrance

under a sunny window
we almost believe what we write
to those who are traveling

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

*A sad note: much of Titcomb's work, put into storage, was destroyed in a warehouse fire.

April 23, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 23: "Dolls"

"Dolls" by Jacqueline Marval [1866-1903].

Grandma's guest room

grandkids tasked
with disposing of her junk

the pile
of playthings no one
will touch

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 22, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 22: "Self Portrait with Candles"

"Self Portrait with Candles" (1910) by Lily Delissa Joseph [1863-1940].

in the dark

she whistles
but is no longer afraid

the self-portrait
finished, she realizes she
knows who she is

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 21, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 21: "Teresa Gathering Pansies:

"Teresa Gathering Pansies" by Laura Theresa Alma-Tadem [1852-1909].

the nanny, her arms full

Teresa wanders off
to the patch of pansies

she begs
forgiveness before
beheading each one

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 20, 2018

Poetry Friday--Ekphrastic April, Day 20: "Wash Day--A Back Yard Reminiscence of Brooklyn"

I was first attracted to this painting for its subject matter--hanging laundry. I grew up in a time before dryers became prolific and laundry was hung on a line to dry. I have fond memories of fragrantly fresh, but stiff, towels, and of mothers gossiping over a fence as they attended to their laundry. Secondly, I was stopped in my tracks by this part of the title: "Reminiscence of Brooklyn." Although I wasn't around in 1912, I didn't think Brooklyn, NY would have looked like that!

I found that the artist, Ada Walter Shulz, was from the Mid-West and spent the greater part of her life in Brown County, Indiana. So, a little research led to a Brooklyn, Indiana, in Morgan County. Morgan County shares a corner with Brown County.

"Wash Day--A Back Yard Reminiscence of Brooklyn" (1912) by Ada Walter Shulz [1870-1928].

wash day

can there be anything
more perfect--

warm sun
soft breezes and
a willing helper

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

National Poetry Month delights abound, visit The Opposite of Indifference where Tabatha is rounding up the poetry links for today. And, if you haven't visited yet, head over to the Team Imperfect blog for its book birthday!

April 19, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 19: "Girl with Cat in the Birch Forest"

"Girl with Cat in the Birch Forest" (circa 1905) by Paula Modersohn-Becker [1876-1907].

they do not love me

I will run away
deep into the forest

within the birches
no one is there to holler
if the cream is licked

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 18, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 18: "Self Portrait, the Artist Hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting"

If you have a few minutes, take a look at the portraits of Angelica Kaufmann--what a collection of self-portraits!

"Self Portrait, the Artist Hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting" (1794) by Angelica Kaufmann [1741-1807].

all things being equal

I would choose a life
of music over art

a painting may draw
a tear but a well-struck chord
will tear at my heart

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 17, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 17: "Wildflowers"

"Wildflowers" (1875) by Ellen Robbins [1828–1905].

early October

fading pastel coverlet

heavyweight blankets
aired out readying for
winter sleep

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Ellen Robbins was a friend of Celia Thaxter. She stayed with Thaxter and painted the flowers in Celia's noted garden.

April 16, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 16: "Women Sewing"

"Women Sewing" by Elizabeth Wentworth Roberts [1871-1927].


women gather
to gossip and sew

none speak of sons
who may require their handiwork
in the near future

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 15, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 15: "Windfalls"

"Windfalls" by Sophie Gengembre Anderson [1823-1903].

barely three-years-old

she is given a basket
to hold the windfalls

no one cares if apples
destined for the cider press
come with teeth marks

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 14, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 14: "Violets"

You may have noticed the lack of women artists of color represented in my Ekphrastic April offerings. Sadly, the list of women artists, who, in the past, were recognized for their talents, is small compared to the list of men. Even sadder is the smaller list of African-American women artists. My search was made more difficult by limiting my choice of artists to painters, and, those whose work is in the public domain. I did find Pauline Powell Burns [1872-1912]. "Violets" is reported to be in the National Museum of African American History and Culture collection, but a search at the NMAAHC site came up empty. Still, I found the painting at an art auction site, and, since the work was produced prior to the artist's death in 1912, I'm certain it is in the public domain.

"Violets" by Pauline Powell Burns [1872-1912].

hubbub at the hive

bees understand
nothing of the trade-off

when an artist
divests the garden
of its violets

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 13, 2018

Poetry Friday--Ephrastic April, Day 13: "The Poet's Voice"

It's a special day! The doyen of children's poetry, and Guinness World Record holder, Lee Bennett Hopkins, is having a birthday! I've selected a painting by Alice Bailly, titled, "The Poet's Voice," to help celebrate. Mr. Hopkins is a proponent of ekphrasis as is evident in his recently published anthology, World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you missed his interview on NPR, click here.

Today's ekphrastic cherita is part of the challenge I've set for myself for National Poetry Month. I'm featuring the artwork of women artists, many of whom never received the respect they deserved during their lifetimes. Each piece of art will be paired with a cherita.

"The Poet's Voice" (1923) by Alice Bailly [1872-1938].

the poet's voice

reaches the ears
of the crowd

for some an oracle
for others never getting
beyond the auricle*

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Thanks to Lee for guiding listeners' (and readers') ears (and eyes) to poetry, and for helping shape poets' words so that they survive the passage to brains and hearts. And here's to Poetry Friday participants who share their love of poetry and poets!

To find other birthday treats being served today, visit Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge.

*Auricle = the outer ear

April 12, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 12: "The Witchball"

"The Witchball" (1931) by Mary McCrossan [1865-1934].

home decorating

never one to take
unnecessary chances

she includes a
prayerful angel along
with the witchball

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Witchballs originally were glass floats used in fishing. A connection was made between witches who floated after being cast into a body of water and the fishing floats that did not sink. Later they were thought to protect a home from witches and other evil spirits, and subsequently morphed into decorating accents!

April 11, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 11: "Portrait of Anna Vaughn Hyatt"

"Portrait of Anna Vaughn Hyatt" (1915) by Marion Boyd Allen [1862-1941].

at his knee

the zoologist's daughter
absorbed anatomy

she studied sculpture
and became as close to a god
as a women could be

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Anna Vaughn Hyatt, an accomplished sculptor, became one of the highest paid women in the United States in the early twentieth century.

April 10, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 10: "Goats"

Even if you don't like goats, I think you'll admit the piece is invitingly spring-like.

"Goats" (1934) by Dorothy Adamson [1894-1934]. The only biographical information I was able to find stated that she was an animal painter who specialized in hunting dogs.

hobby farmer

goat cheese not
as popular as expected

his new sign:
Poison Ivy Control

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Climate change has allowed poison ivy to move further north. It is now everywhere in New England and can result in nasty rashes. A few years ago I discovered that goats eat poison ivy, and, that farmers rent out goats! Great idea. And, in case you're worried about the "poison" crossing over into goats milk (and cheese), rest assured it does not!

April 9, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 9: "The Piano"

"The Piano" (1888) by Berthe Morisot [1841-1895].

afternoon practice

the torture
of being the page-turner

her feet move
to a different tune
...as the sun fades

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 8, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 8: "Fish Street, Shrewsbury"

"Fish Street, Shrewsbury" by Louise Rayner [1832-1924].

a walk down Fish Street

her delight in
a stuffy nose

rotting fish
horses and male sweat
today held at bay

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 7, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 7: "Abstract Study"

Today's cherita is a throw-back to the mid-2000s when I was marching in peace rallies (or Iraq War protests). Ringing the Boston Common were police, with helmets and billy clubs (also known as batons--tools of compliance). Overhead flew helicopters. It was an effin' peace rally! Today's painting by Mainie Jellett, "Abstract Study," called to mind those billy clubs at the ready. Thank goodness last month's March for Our Lives was a bit less intimidating!

"Abstract Study" (1922) by Mainie Jellett [1897-1944].

on the common

protesters sing,
carry signs

heavily armed police
ready to protect against
messages of peace

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 6, 2018

Poetry Friday--Ekphrastic April, Day 6: "Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge"

Brenda Harsham was the first to suggest a work to use in my NPM Ekphrastic April project--a cherita a day inspired by a painting.

Brenda recommended "Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge" by Mary Cassatt. If you're not familiar with Mary Cassatt [1844-1926], please take the time to read up on her, she was one of America's best interpreters of the lives of women.

"Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge" (1879) by Mary Cassatt.

according to Mother

a redhead should never
be seen dressed all in red

I wear a touch
in the most strategic places
--Mother did not raise a fool

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Khan Academy has a 5-minute video on the painting by Cassett, and, viewing it you will get a brief idea of the artist, the subject, and Paris in the late 1800s.

National Poetry Month is in full swing and today's Poetry Friday offerings are being rounded up by Amy at The Poem Farm.

April 5, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 5: "The Open Door"

"The Open Door" (circa 1913) by Helen Galloway McNicoll [1879-1915].

long winter

spring finally
arrives in a rush

every pore
of her body absorbs
the April light

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 4, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 4: "Bubbles"

"Bubbles" by Helen Allingham [1848-1926).

soapy water and a pipe

the oldest child says,
"bubbles are spherical rainbows"

suddenly all
Gran's pot of gold stories
subject to debate

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 3, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 3: "Young Woman With a Blue Fan"

Vera Rockline's early work was heavily influenced by the cubist school, she later took up a style all her own. Sadly, Vera passed away at age 38.

"Young Woman With a Blue Fan" (1919) by Vera Rockline [1896-1934].

Vera paints...

cubists' influence
on this young artist

still, she feels the pull
toward lightness--her edges
will be sanded smooth

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 2, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 2: "A Cat"

Artist Henriette Ronner-Knip painted cats and dogs almost exclusively! An obcessive love of pets is not just a late 20th-early 21st century phenonmenon!

"A Cat" (1892) by Henriette Ronner-Knip [1821-1909].

she observes

her legs neatly tucked

--but always
mindful of signs foretelling

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 1, 2018

Ekphrastic April, Day 1: "Easter"

If you're looking for Happy Haiga Day!, it's on hiatus for the month of April. April is National Poetry Month and I'm celebrating by daily posting a work of art by a woman along with a cherita inspired by that particular work. The cherita may describe the scene, the artist, the style or medium, or simply be a thought/feeling that was engendered by viewing the work.

I'll be celebrating Easter, today, with the work of Swedish artist, Jenny Nyström [1854-1946], who made a name for herself during the heyday of illustrated postcards.

"Easter" by Jenny Nyström.

next to the leftover ham

an opened package
of marshmallow Peeps

we refrigerate
them now in this age
of germaphobia

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

March 31, 2018

Ekphrastic April

To celebrate National Poetry Month 2018, April 1 through April 30. It all begins tomorrow!

"Portrait of a Poetress Crowned With a Laurel Wreath" by Rosalba Carreira.

Ekphrastic is a term that simply means art about art--a painting inspired by a novel, a dance inspired a song, a poem written after viewing a piece of sculpture, etc. I'm challenging myself to writing a cherita for paintings by women artists, most of whom are unknown or long forgotten.

What is a cherita? It is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas. The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines and tells a story.

Cherita is both singular and plural. They are not titled, although the first line may appear to be a title. To learn more, visit the cherita: home of the cherita.

March 30, 2018

Poetry Friday--Child Verse: Poems Grave & Gay

I think, perhaps, spring will be sticking around from this point on. The earlier part of March was a horror show with its multiple nor'easters, but the past few days have seen a bit of sunshine and warmth. To celebrate the change in the weather, Easter, and the start of National Poetry Month, I'm resurrecting some little ditties from Child Verse: Poems Grave & Gay by John B. Tabb, first published in 1899.

Many of the poems were published in the children's magazines that flourished at the time, titles such as St. Nicholas and the Youth's Companion. The poems could easily be enjoyed by today's children. I'm particularly fond of the punning!

Here are a few that I hope will brighten your day:


A LITTLE yellow Bird above,
A little yellow Flower below;
The little Bird can sing the love
That Bird and Blossom know;
The Blossom has no song nor wing,
But breathes the love he cannot sing.


DO you remember, little cloud,
This morning when you lay—
A mist along the river—what
The waters had to say?

And how the many-coloured flowers
That on the margin grew,
All promised when the day was done
To leave their tints to you?


BICYCLES! Tricycles! Nay, to shun laughter,
Try cycles first, and buy cycles after;
For surely the buyer deserves but the worst
Who would buy cycles, failing to try cycles first.


'TWIXT Handkerchief and Nose
A difference arose;
And a tradition goes
That they settled it by blows.


SAID a Snake to a Frog with a wrinkled skin,
"As I notice, dear, that your dress is thin,
And a rain is coming, I'll take you in."


WHEN Georgie would not go to bed,
If some one asked him why,
"What is the use?" he gravely said,
"You know I cannot lie."

Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week!

March 27, 2018

Haiku Sticky #451

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Easter hyacinth
the slow turning from
pastel green to purple

March 25, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

I hope you marched yesterday to end gun violence, or if you didn't, I hope you at least got to hear some of the speeches of the high school students who undertook the goal of changing the culture of the gun in America. We are not a people that puts ownership of instruments of death above lives. We're not. It is imperative that we vote in November to rid our congress of those who think NRA money is worth selling out Americans, and, their own souls. Still, at the march I attended in Portsmouth, NH, the old dog that walked up to everyone and accepted hugs joyfully, spoke to me the loudest.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


March 24th march

so many signs
so many demands

look to the dogs
in the crowd to carry
the one true message

March 23, 2018

Poetry Friday--Ekphrastic Cherita

I'm looking forward to National Poetry Month coming up. In the past I've celebrated with "Ekphrastic Mondays" during April. This year I've decided to try for 30 days of ekphrasis (art about art) and I'm planning on writing cherita*. I'm asking for your help in selecting art for me to be inspired by. If you have a favorite work of art by a female artist, please send me the artist's name and the work, or simply send a link [dianemayrATdianemayrDOTcom]. I only ask that the work be within the public domain to avoid problems with copyright and permissions. I can't guarantee that I will use each suggestion, but I'll give it a shot!

Here's an example of an ekphrastic cherita. The painting is "Kinsale buoy" by Patty Gulledge and is used with permission. It was posted to the 6th Annual February Daily Poetry Project by Linda Mitchell and I wrote the cherita to go with it.

seagull watches

old fisherman's fingers
in motion

mending the nets
that haven't existed
for fifty years

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Be sure to stop by Laura's Writing the World for Kids where you'll find dozens of poetry links for today!

*Cherita: a three-stanza poem that tells a story. The first stanza has one line that sets the scene, the second stanza has two lines, the third has three lines. To learn more, visit the cherita.

March 20, 2018

Haiku Sticky #450

Happy Spring!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


spring equinox
...if only the ground wasn't
covered in snow

March 18, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


late winter storm

wanting to go home
...wanting to wait

the conditions
of the heart weighed against
those of the weather

March 16, 2018

Poetry Friday--Haibun

Over the course of the six weeks of the 6th Annual February Daily Poetry Project (it includes the warm-up of the week before and the cool-down of the week after February), I found myself writing in a variety of forms--from haiku to cherita to limericks to a form new to me, the "Skinny." I also wrote three haibun. A haibun is a prose piece combined with haiku. Here are two, the third, "The Stuff(ing) of Angelic Bears," can be found on Donna Smith's blog from last week.

"The Tall White Sun" (1917) by Charles Burchfield. Photo taken by Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Whitney Museum of American Art.
The King's Pines

In the 1500s the British explored the seas by way of multi-masted sailing ships built with native pines.  The forests of the British Isles were stripped, and only centuries' time could replenish shipbuilders' supplies.  Exploration led to exploitation of the natural resources of other lands.  And thus, the colonies of New Hampshire and Maine, with their massive old growth Eastern White Pines, were destined to suffer economic, political, and ecological consequences.  The King's men came to the region to mark trees, selected for British masts, with three hatchet cuts known as the "King's Broad Arrow."  The citizens of New England had to work around the King's Pines, and, be subject to fines and punishment if they harvested any of them.  In 1734 a group of New Hampshire citizens fought back in what was, at the time, called, "The Mast Tree Riot."

child's plastic boat
on an artificial pond
...fog continues

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The second haibun was inspired by a work titled, "Moon Song," by batik artist, Lisa Telling Kattenbraker.

© Lisa Telling Kattenbraker.

On a Full Moon Night

It was after the war and their families never prospered during those postwar boom years.  They were the poorest of river rats amongst the small city's river rats--the best friends, though, that a boy could have.

On warm, full moon nights, two or three of them would head down to the bay carrying a bushel basket between them.  A home-made-net-on-a-broomstick sat on each one's shoulder.  They waded into the shallows where hard-shell crabs scurried through the eel grass.  They believed the full moon had powers to draw the creatures to the surface.  But, in truth, the light from the moon simply made their mossy-green, flattened bodies more visible.

The boys would scoop crabs from the water and toss them into the basket.  They were divided equally at the end of the night.  At home his mother waited with a pot of boiling water at the ready. 

On a handful of nights each year he would eat like a king.

That was long ago, and far away...

Sometimes, though, on full moon nights he'll take the big boat's dinghy and drift through the shallows.

corporate dinner
king crab legs for the taking
he takes chicken

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

If you're looking for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, you'll find Linda's hosting at Teacher Dance.

March 13, 2018

Haiku Sticky #449

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


"Spring ahead!"
extra hour of daylight
to watch the snow fall

March 11, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

Another nor'easter may or may not hit us Monday-Tuesday (forecasters can't pin it down at this point). This past week's winter storm was named Quinn, the storm of the week before was Riley.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by NASA (RAMMB Slider).


long range forecast

nor'easters come
one on top of the other

is existence at risk
now that our names have
been given to storms?

March 9, 2018

Poetry Friday--"Exodus 22:22-23"

Linda Baie of Teacher Dance owns a pencil drawing that had belonged to her grandfather. It is signed by L. D. Wight and is from the early part of the 20th century. The drawing was used as a writing prompt. Linda has given permission for the picture to be posted and I've included it in the illustration for my poem titled "Exodus 22:22-23."

The title is a biblical verse:
Exodus 22
22 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.
23 If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry,

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


Exodus 22:22-23

I was born and raised
in the neighborhood
of 48th St. and First Ave.

Guttersnipe some
called me--but I
was no delicate bird.

When Mama died, and
Papa was worse than dead,
I was herded onto a train.

By all accounts, a fatherless child.

Claimed at the first stop
I learned a full mouth
of teeth would be what

"They" found most
appealing. "They" are
the folks I live with.

By live I mean work.
By work I mean all day,
every day, except Sunday.

On Sunday, I am a child of God.

I would be saved through
work and prayer. I was honest
at work, but, at prayer...

Still, the food is good.
There is always enough.
And I have two new teeth!

Lord knows, I have no reason to cry.

Iowa Public Television has a series of short videos taken from their documentary, "The West by Orphan Train." The following is one example:

Learn more about the film and the orphan trains, visit http://westbyorphantrain.com/.

Please visit Michelle at Today's Little Ditty for the Round-Up of this week's poetry links.

March 6, 2018

Haiku Sticky #448

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


early March
snow boots & flipflops
side by side

March 4, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

Another cherita from the 6th Annual February Daily Poetry Project.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Original image from Wanderings and Excursions in North Wales by Roscoe Thomas (1836).


castle ruins

princes long gone,
tourists climb the steps

at night the agile
wood mice keep house
as they have always done

March 1, 2018

Poetry Friday--"Cathedral Tour Guide"

I was a participant in Laura Shovan's "6th Annual February Daily Poetry Project" and wrote a poem on each of the 28 days of February (and the last seven days of January). I've been illustrating some that are not dependent on the original work of art that acted as a prompt. I may be sharing one or two more on future Poetry Fridays.

This is a persona poem, which is defined by The Poetry Archive's glossary, "A persona, from the Latin for mask, is a character taken on by a poet to speak in a first-person poem."

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Cathedral Tour Guide

The busload of tourists
gone I sit and breathe
alone, but not lonely.

Those who visit now
are not looking to learn
the history of the window.

We watch the change in
the quality of its colors
as the sun melts away.

Red, now saint's blood.
Not blue, but caelestis.
Yellow? Inferno, of course.

We sit--outer and inner
selves primed to accept
the pending darkness.

Note: caelestis is the Latin root of the word, celestial.

The guide is a product of my imagination and the cathedral is not a particular one. I did think of the "window" as a circular rose window. In reading about windows, I found that a rose window is also known as a "Catherine window," after the 4th century martyr, St. Catherine of Alexandria. (I added a statue of St. Catherine to the illustration.)

This led to a look into Catherine. Here's a quick summary of her story: originally a pagan, at age 14, Catherine had a vision of the Madonna and Child and became an ardent Christian. She had a run-in with emperor Maxentius, a pagan, who tried a number of ways to "persuade" her to renounce her faith. He used torture, starvation, and when that failed, he proposed marriage! Not surprisingly, she refused. He didn't like her response and ordered her executed on a breaking wheel. A breaking wheel was used to crush the bones of the person being executed. Contrary to what it was supposed to do to Catherine, the wheel itself was broken. (The breaking wheel became known as a "Catherine wheel.") Catherine was finally executed by beheading, she was 18. Believe me, her story is much more complex and mystical then my retelling!

Renée at No Water River will be posting this week's Round-Up, please stop by!

February 27, 2018

Haiku Sticky #447

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


the only green
this February day
in the cat's eye

February 25, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

From the ongoing 6th Annual February Daily Poetry Project. The illustration screamed for a limerick, and so, I listened...

Limerick © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Illustration © John Herzog, used with permission.


There once was a 'gator named Nathan
who eschewed the state of brumation.
He skied and he skated--
and was truly elated--
to became an Olympic sensation.

February 23, 2018

Poetry Friday--Haiku Routine (and Rant)

[Please note: much of today's post has been stated here before, so if you're tired of a crazy, librarian-poet's ranting, you may want to skip this.]

In the morning, after feeding the cat and making coffee, I sit down and check the daily haiku posted at Mann Library's Daily Haiku hosted by Cornell University, Haiku in English hosted by The Mainichi, Japan's National Daily newspaper, and The Haiku Foundation (the daily haiku appears at the top of the page as part of the banner).

The Mainichi's haiku editor is Dhugal Lindsay, and he has selected the "Best of 2017" haiku that appeared throughout the year. The best are collected, with comments, in 68 pages, and presented as a PDF that you can download and read at your leisure. Lindsay has written the introduction. If you think haiku is just a three-line poem where syllable count is its most important feature, you need to read it.

Nowhere in the introduction does it mention three lines of 5-7-5.

Read through the haiku and you'd be hard-pressed to find one close to 17 syllables total. There are no in-your-face lessons taught by the haiku. No rhymes. No one tells you what conclusions to draw (except, on occasion, in the editor's commentary).

It is my hope that one day soon, a children's book editor comes across this "Best of 2017" introduction and takes it to heart. I would happily support any number of recent children's books that are subtitled, "Haiku about..., if only the subtitles were rewritten as, "Short poems about..." Right now, I read these books, gather what information the poet is trying to tell me about the world of naked mole rats or some other curriculum-related topic, and then shake my head at lost opportunities for a young reader to appreciate haiku.

Okay, rant over! I can't end without a haiku, now can I? Here's an ekphrastic one:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Sleeping Cat" by Jacques-Émile Blanche.


a closer look...
the old cat's chest
slowly rises

Elizabeth Steinglass is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up. Liz is one of those people who understands haiku, and, she is now an award-winning haiku poet! Click here. Congratulations, Liz!

February 20, 2018

Oh, No! What Happened to the Haiku Sticky?

Well, I got tied up, so I'll have to skip a week. However, I'll post a little satirical piece that I wrote in response to the Viking statue below.

Photo courtesy Scott Rhoades.

30-Second Commercial on Norwegian TV at 3:00 AM

Alve Gokstad here!

Ladies! You've heard the claims--

A certain VIP (Very Impotent Person)
is offering you the opportunity to
emigrate to the Land of the Free.

I'm here to tell you nothing
is free in the Land of the Free
if someone can make a buck.

As for the Home of the Brave--
it's smoke and mirrors with
a sad-looking nuclear football.

No smoke here in Norway!
Real fire! No deflated balls--
broadswords & hard shields!

So, let Norway light your fire!
Remember: Vi elsker deg! *
Norway--no horny in our horns!

* We love you!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

February 18, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

I needed something a little less dreary for today (in both image and spirit), so I paired this 2012 poem with a late summer photo.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

A Walk on the Beach

Work of moon
and tides more
years than I can
imagine found
between my toes.

February 16, 2018

Poetry Friday--"The Fortune Teller"

I'm taking part in Laura Shovan's February daily challenge to write an ekphrastic poem (art about art). This one, which I wrote on February 2, is able to stand on its own without the original work of art that inspired it. For today, I have illustrated it with pages taken from old books.

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


The Fortune Teller

The fortune teller
took my hand
spread it palm up
to trace its lines.

My lines my life.

“You have embarked
on a journey,” she said,
“the road I see
ahead is circuitous.”

She looked up.

“Do you do nothing
directly?” She asked.

I pondered for a bit...

“No,” I whispered softly.
“I'm a poet.”

“Ah,” she said. “That
explains the slant
to the pavement.”

Jone is hosting the Round-Up at Check It Out!

February 13, 2018

Haiku Sticky #446

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


tree full of crows
each with its own

February 11, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

A poem that was written in response to a painting. It can stand alone without the original inspiration piece and so I have illustrated it for today.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


En plein air was not
a phrase she would have
heard, but instinctually
she knew the galaxies of blue
required painting from life.

She waited through fall,
and winter, for April to
arrive so that the blues
could flow through her fingers
and be confined to canvas.