April 19, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 19: "Girl and Leshy"


"Girl and Leshy" (1899) by Maria Yakunchikova [1870-1902].

sent into the woods to
gather mushrooms and berries

tales of the old folks
race through her head...
wait...was that the wind?

oh, the poor child


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

A leshy is a wood spirit from Russian folklore. This work is a tapestry, approximately 9' X 12'! I imagine the wood spirit is pretty menacing at those dimensions!


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 18, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 18: "Eagle Head, Manchester, Massachusetts"

Linda Baie suggested this painting to me. Manchester, Massachusetts is now officially known as Manchester-by-the-Sea, a rather more lovely name. Eagle Head is near "Singing Beach," see video below.


"Eagle Head, Manchester, Massachusetts (High Tide)" (1870) by Winslow Homer [1836–1910].

Manchester-by-the-Sea

increasingly fanciful theories
in a discussion of musical sands

followed by grins and whoops
from bare-legged friends
dodging waves with abandon


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.




A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 17, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 17: "Woman and Child on a Balcony"


"Woman and Child on a Balcony" (1871-1872) by Berthe Morisot [1841-1895].

the road below

always a surprise what
the child focuses on

today, the gendarme--
her perplexity at how
he got so small


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 16, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 16: "Spring Sale at Bendel's"

Today's work, by Florine Stettheimer, is a riot of color and theatricality, and it comes as no surprise that the artist did design work for the theater.

Stettheimer was fortunate to have come from wealth. She was able to live without having to sell her work, and upon her death, her art was gifted to museums.


"Spring Sale at Bendel's" (1921) by Florine Stettheimer [1871-1944].

it is easy to be a critic
when you have wealth
and fame to back you up

they take you half-seriously

to be taken whole-seriously
you would have to be a man


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I was surprised to find this in the Wikipedia article on Florine Stettheimer: "By the 1930s, she was second to Georgia O'Keeffe as the best-known woman artist in New York." Who knew? I had never come across her before.

Bendel's, the store in the painting, was a New York City landmark. Henri Bendel was established in 1895, and lasted until its closure in January of 2019--just a few months ago!


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 15, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 15: "The Birthday Party"

Today was supposed to feature a work by a woman artist, however, it is my daughter's birthday and I don't think there's a more joyous birthday painting than this one by William Merritt Chase. The next two days will feature women and then we'll be back on schedule.


"The Birthday Party" (also known as Helen Velasquez Chase) (circa 1902) by William Merritt Chase [1849-1916].

ribbons and wrappings
tossed in the fire, only the
brown paper hat remains

my birthday party

over for this year--never mind--
in 12 months I'll have another


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 14, 2019

Ephrastic April 2019, Day 14: "La Notte"

Augusto Giacometti was a Swiss artist I hadn't come across before. I love what I've seen of his work and will look for more. I think his epitaph says it all: Qui riposa il maestro dei colori--"Here lies the master of color." (To see a vivid example, click here for "Eruption of Aetna.")


"La Notte" (1903) by Augusto Giacometti [1887-1947].

with hopes of seeing
the northern lights

I climbed to the top

and when I saw them, words
wouldn't come--I was left
with only my tears


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

La notte is the night in Italian. The banner on the woman reads ogni vivente loda il signore, which translates as "every living thing praises the lord."


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 13, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 13: "Cat Hiding in a Laundry Pile"

Millions of Cats is one of my all-time-favorite picture books. I remember it from my childhood and these lines will always be accessible to my aging brain: "Hundreds of cats, Thousands of cats, Millions and billions and trillions of cats." Today I have a pen and ink sketch by Millions of Cats author/illustrator, Wanda Gág.


"Cat Hiding in a Laundry Pile" (date unknown) by Wanda Gág [1893-1946].

clean laundry

the smell of wind and
sun in oft-washed fabric

the sharpness of fresh folds
too tempting to a cat who
lives to distract her owner


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The artist uses an abundance of curves--it provides a comfy feeling in the viewer, don't you think?


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 12, 2019

Ephrastic April 2019, Day 12: "Midnight Mass"

We're a long way from midnight mass on Christmas eve!

Can't you feel the warmth of the light coming from the church? It pulls your attention to the white horse and the red sled in this the otherwise cold, winter night scene from Canadian artist, Clarence Gagnon.


"Midnight Mass" (circa 1929-1933) by Clarence Gagnon [1881-1942].

midnight mass

snuffling horses and
shuffling walkers head to church

all candles lit, every newly
gifted sweater worn on this
coziest of cold nights


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 11, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 11: "Interior"


"Interior" (date unknown) by Georgette Agutte [1867-1922].

opposites attract

maybe not so much attract
as complement

each in our own sphere
our circles intersect--
in that spot we find peace


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Georgette Agutte, the artist, was married to Marcel Sembat, a journalist and a Socialist politician who served in the National Assembly of France from 1893 until his death. Twelve hours after he died, Agutte took her own life.



A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 10, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 10: "Three Breton Women in the Forest"

Today is National Siblings Day and so I have a poem about three women whom I imagined to be sisters.


"Three Breton Women in the Forest" (1894-1895) by Georges Lacombe [1868-1916].

on a Sunday

for an hour three sisters
meet in the woods

away from husbands,
children, meals, laundry...
serenity trumps even gossip


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Gossip now has negative connotations of cattiness, and is an activity most often attributed to women. Interestingly, the word gossip has the same root as sibling.
In Old English, a sibling was a relative, with sib an adjective and noun for '(one) related by blood or descent'. (That sib also shows up in gossip, from godsibb, 'godparent'; in Middle English this was used for 'a close friend', especially 'a person with whom one gossips', hence its evolution into 'idle talk' centuries later.)

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 9, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 9: "A Market Square with Sheep Auction"


"A Market Square with Sheep Auction" (1919) by Winifred Knights [1899–1947].

1919 visionary

the market square
soon to disappear

she paints in sepia
as if to mark the scene
as already vintage


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.



A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 8, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 8: "Anna Pavlova as a Bacchante"


"Anna Pavlova as a Bacchante" (1910) by Sir John Lavery [1856-1941].

music is a spark
muscles are combustibles

talent is the oxygen
that controls the burn
--heat and light result

dancer on fire!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 7, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 7: "Beer Garden"

Did you know that today is National Beer Day? It is!


"Beer Garden" (1907) by Marianne von Werefkin [1860-1938].

at the Biergarten

the sky aglow with
April's setting sun

all and sundry lift a glass
to summer days ahead,
Gemütlichkeit, and beer


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Head off to your local brew pub and enjoy a beer for me.


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 6, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 6: "Fashion Shop"

Today's artist belonged to the Fauvist movement. Wikipedia defines it thusly:
Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for "the wild beasts"), a group of early twentieth-century modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism.


"Fashion Shop" (1914) by August Macke [1887-1914].

living in the city

no bemoaning the absence
of the natural world

women and their
accoutrements all the color
that is needed


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Sadly, Macke, died in France, during the early months of World War I.


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 5, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 5: "Julie Le Brun with a Mirror"

Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun specialized in portraits and was a favorite of Marie-Antoinette. Vigée-Lebrun, painted several dozen portraits of the Queen and her family. She acquired a good deal of fame as a painter at a time when a successful female artist was a rarity.


"Julie Le Brun with a Mirror" (1787) by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun [1755-1842].

trick of the trade

an artist has many tools
aside from symbolism

a pool of water
a polished mirror can
tell a greater story


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 4, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 4: "Young Woman with a Water Pitcher"

Today's painting was suggested by my friend, Linda Baie:


"Young Woman with a Water Pitcher" (circa 1662) by Johannes Vermeer [1632–1675].

April morning

open the window
today there is sun

its blessed warmth
tempered by the reality
exposed by its light


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 3, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 3: "The Umbrella"


"The Umbrella" (1883) by Marie Bashkirtseff [1858-1884].

April showers

I refuse to believe we
will have flowers this year

this rain is the same
as it was last month
--soul chilling


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The artist died a year after painting "The Umbrella." She was only 25 years old and had developed tuberculosis, more commonly known at the time as "consumption." Adding to the tragedy of a career cut short is the fact that the Nazis destroyed many of Bashkirtseff's works during World War II.


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 2, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 2: "Woman and Cab"


"Woman and Cab" (1889) by Lesser Ury [1861-1931].

let's turn the cab away

it's only a gentle rain
and I have my umbrella

the streets are beautiful
tonight and you and I have
much left to say


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Come back tomorrow for another view of the rain!


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

April 1, 2019

Ekphrastic April 2019, Day 1: "Dream Book"

Welcome to Day 1 of the 2019 edition of Ekphrastic April. Come back each day during April for art accompanied by an original cherita inspired by the work.


"Dream Book" (1901) by Alice Pike Barney [1857-1931].

dream book

restricted to hearth
and home

we spend our time
interpreting the only world
in which we roam free


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Dream interpretation has existed as long as there have been dreamers. In the late 1800s and early 1900s guides to dreams and their meanings were popular. Here is the title page from a book published in 1871:


And a sample page:


Update: Jama Rattigan has graciously collected other National Poetry Month 2019 goings-on. Click here and go have some fun!


A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.




March 31, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!

This one I wrote, but decided against using, in the recent Spark 40 challenge in which I partnered with Janet Buell.


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

"You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."

1 Kings 17:4

a believer, or a fool

trusts that a raven
would feed him

not many of us would
travel great distances
without packing snacks

March 29, 2019

National Poetry Month 2019


National Poetry Month is an annual celebration of poetry that takes place in April each year. And that means the 2019 celebration begins Monday! I will celebrate with Ekphrastic April again this year. For each day of the month I will post a work of art accompanied by a cherita* inspired by the particular work. This year I will be featuring artists of both sexes. (All the work is in the public domain to avoid issues of copyright.)

Tabatha Yeatts has gathered a collection of free reproducible poems for use in classrooms, libraries, etc. I am honored to have a small poem included. Read more about it here. Or find the PDF here.

You'll find many bloggers posting a month of poems or poetry. Michelle H. Barnes at Today's Little Ditty will feature Classroom Connections, which "will showcase recent poetry books—eclectic collections, lyrical picture books, and engaging verse novels—and how they can be used as mentor texts in the classroom."

Join in the fun of this poetry-filled month ahead!


*A cherita is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas that tells a "story." The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines. A cherita terbalik is a cherita with the order of the stanzas rearranged.

March 26, 2019

Haiku Sticky #496


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

long anticipated

the report does not
assuage our angst

two years gone by
two years to go
it cannot end well

March 24, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!

Another cherita eliminated from my Spark response piece to Janet Buell's "Ravens in Snow."


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

the power of poetry

who can hear "raven"
without hearing Poe?

forevermore
the avian victim of
well-crafted words

March 19, 2019

Haiku Sticky #495


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

spiderlings scatter...
the casual housekeeper
changes her mind

March 17, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!

The photo was taken last weekend (March 10) and today is the last Sunday of winter. Let spring begin!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

late winter snow
fist-size snowflakes present
no challenge to spring



March 12, 2019

Haiku Sticky #494


© Diane Mayr

Text:

rain after
the sleet after the snow...
almost, almost spring

March 10, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

late snow
not enough to upset
waking denizens

March 5, 2019

Haiku Sticky #493


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

waiting on the lamb
to make an appearance
...March snow

March 3, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!

My friend Janet Buell and I were partners in the 40th Spark challenge, which wrapped up on Friday. Janet took on the artist role, while I was the writer. You can see the inspiration piece Janet sent to me, "Ravens in Snow," and my response to it, here. The poem I sent to Janet, and her response to it can be found here.

I wrote a number of different poems over the ten days of the challenge and picked three to submit as my response. The following is a haiku that I didn't use. I paired it with a Japanese print from the late 1800s. The print is one of my all time favorite works of art! (I took the liberty of adding the iridescence.) You can find it here. I have several other cherita poems that didn't make the cut for the response, but which I will use for Happy Haiga Days in the future.


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

raven in snow
iridescence refashioned
by the sun

February 26, 2019

Haiku Sticky #492

Somehow I missed last week!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

Monday morning
coffee from Sunday
reheated

February 24, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

tracks of stone:

the dinosaurs' mother
was not one to scold

so, her children
all walked through
the mud

February 17, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

between snows
the improbability
of lace

February 12, 2019

Haiku Sticky #491


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

forecast: sleet
the only sunshine today
in my glass of juice

February 10, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

what is missed
by watching one's feet
--ice storm

February 5, 2019

Haiku Sticky #490


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

toddler grandson
practices counting
grandma's liver spots

February 3, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

snow day...
waiting for the plow guy
to show up

January 29, 2019

Haiku Sticky #489


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

always at her waist
almost always forgotten
step counter

January 27, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

throwing light on
deepening cracks
in the veneer

day after day

watching it all
come unglued

January 22, 2019

Haiku Sticky #488


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

snow day...
remembered milk
forgot marshmallows

January 20, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!

Yesterday I participated in the 2019 (the third annual) Women's March, in Boston, MA. I'd say it was a great success! As always, some of the signs were a real hoot!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

women's march...
air temps in the 20's
on fire within

January 15, 2019

Haiku Sticky #487


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

January night
wrapped in layers
missing the moon

January 13, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!


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

Text:

she prefers the back
of an envelope to a vastness
of white

that single empty page
in her journal

a hill too steep to climb

January 8, 2019

Haiku Sticky #486


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

the time after
a dusting of snow
before tracks vanish

January 6, 2019

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Print courtesy The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Text:

Sixteen Varieties of Gooseberry
by George Brookshaw, 1812

It's only been a decade since
I bought my first avocado.

I still find it hard to imagine
how it once hung on a tree.

Never seen one gooseberry--not
even at the super-supermarket.

Mr. Brookshaw where did
you manage to find sixteen?

January 4, 2019

Poetry Friday--A Whole Lotta Nothin'

It's 2019 and I'm looking forward to some kind of change. The last year basically rung me out and left me in a heap. I even missed two weeks of Poetry Friday in December--something I don't think I've done since I started this blog nearly ten years ago. As far as writing is concerned--I've been going through the paces, but I don't have much of anything from the last three months of the year. I wasn't even tempted to participate in #haikuforhope. I thank those who had enough hope stored away to share.

So, what about going forward? I'm seriously considering bowing out of Poetry Fridays since I contribute little to all those who take the time to read and comment. I'll probably make a decision in the near future. I'm also planning on retiring within the next six months, so I've got a lot of chaos to look forward to.

For today I had a whole lotta nothin'. So, I hit the files to see what I wrote over the past decade during the first week of January. It will have to do...

A small poem written January 1, 2010:
How Lovely

Cat sleeps
and sleeps and sleeps
and sleeps, not knowing,
or caring, that time
is passing.

Cat wakes
to str-e-t-c-hhh,
drink, eat, excrete
play, groom, prowl.
Then back

she goes
to circle round and round
until finally tucking
her head into her
chest, she closes

her eyes.
Cat sleeps and sleeps
and sleeps. How
lovely to be
a cat.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

In January 2, 2011 I wrote this senryu:
online calendar
gone is the satisfaction
of discarding a year

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Just so you know, I was never able to adjust to online calendars. Paper's fine for me. (I may have gone a bit overboard though, next to my computer, in 2018, I had three small calendars! I discarded 2018 three times!)

This next one was puzzle to me when I found it, because I had no idea what inspired it. Then I came across a post about the The OEDILF. My limerick was written January 1, 2012:
A charta, also known as a patch,
is paper to which drugs are attached.
Then attached to you
And kept out of view
Your ailment is simply dispatched.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

On January 3, 2013, I wrote a tanka:
cat on the sill
nuthatch upside down
through the glass
that separates their
simultaneous complaints

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

For many years I participated in the 15 Words of Less challenges on Laura Salas' page and this one came on January 2, 2014. I have no idea what the photo was that we used that day to inspire this poem:
With God on Their Side

They embraced the myth,
approached the native
species sword in hand
and declared themselves
dragon-slayers.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

January 4, 2015, Margaret Simon posted on Facebook about resurrection ferns. I was totally unfamiliar with the fern, so I looked it up and then wrote this:


Text:

Resurrection Fern

The live oak
living up to
its name
provides
resurrection
& life--
through air
not bread,
water
not wine,
and it does
it in less
than a day.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

It must have rained on January 6, 2016:
pop-up storm
the gurgle of rain
through a rusted grate

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

And on January 1, 2017, the sun was shining brightly:


Text:

January 1
a songbird hedge alive
in the sun

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

And yet another weather-related haiku for January 4, 2018:
quick moving storm
chicken barley soup
fogs the panes

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Actually, my mood has improved considerably after reading through some of my older stuff. I hope your mood has been improved, too!

Sylvia is hosting the first Round-Up of 2019! Stop by Poetry for Children where the New Year's party continues.

January 1, 2019

Haiku Sticky #485

Happy 2019! Tomorrow I'll go back to work and will find I've forgotten all my log-ins and passwords. More than two days off and they all fly away...


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Text:

holidays past...
back at work my brain
still on vacation