Featuring cherita!

November 29, 2013

Poetry Friday--15 Words Or Less

Last Friday night I traveled down to Boston to meet up with some bloggers--virtual friends, whom I had never met, or hadn't seen in years. The Hynes Convention Center was the location of the 2013 NCTE convention, and thus, teachers, writers, and bloggers were all gathered in one place, less than an hour away from me.

Me, Linda Baie, and Laura Purdie Salas.

Linda Baie and Tara Smith.

I also met and talked with Janet Fagal and David L. Harrison and his wife, Sandy. (Sandy and I spoke for a time about the changes in adult reading--don't get me started...)

Laura and I discussed her weekly 15 Words Or Less challenges, and of how I've integrated them into my Thursday morning routine (feed cats, make coffee, 15 WOL, feed me, go to work).

When I got home from Boston, I was curious as to how faithful a participant I have been, so I checked back through my poetry folder and found that for 2013, I couldn't find poems for March 28 and August 29. I plan on finishing out the year on schedule. If, you consider I missed two Thursdays this year, and about the same over the past six years that Laura has been running the challenges, that still makes close to 300 short little poems that I have Laura to thank for!

Forgive me for being self-indulgent, but I'm going to share one 15 WOL poem from each month of 2013. Most of these, I think, can be read without the original photo prompt that Laura supplied.
January 17 (Don't bother to count! I counted two-year-old as one word, and by that measure, I'm one word under!)


Guard watches,
"One mississippi, two..."

"My two-year-old could do that."

Guard chuckles...
"Five seconds."

February 21

second-hand shop...
in the pocket of a black coat
a theater ticket

March 14

yellow crocuses...
little girl warning a cat
to be good

April 11

Fountain Drink

a little

May 9

Pencil Wranglers

Round 'em poets!
There's a load of words
waitin' to be saddled.

June 6

under the blossoms
the twitch of a nose

July 25

Paint Chart Blues

188 blues
yet none of them
comes close to
matching her

August 8

Just After Midnight
April 15, 1912

"Yes, Ma’am.
God bless you."
She watches
the boat lowered,
tasting at last,
her freedom.

September 12

Call the National Enquirer!

On the verge
of burnt
the visage
on my toast
grows. Jesus?
Is that you?

October 10

Upon Receiving an Invitation to the Mermaid’s Wedding

One has to wonder
at the logistics
of that first night
of wedded bliss.

November 7


The month poised
between tepid and cold
color and its absence
life and certain death.

All poems © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
Carol's Corner is where all the kids will be hanging out today doin' some pencil wranglin'!

November 26, 2013

November 24, 2013

Happy Haiga Day!

An illustrated poem for today, based on what I heard on Friday, or perhaps I only thought I heard it.

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

November 22, 2013

Poetry Friday--"Dear Mr. Ferris"

Three years ago, on The Write Sisters blog, I did a post about the women on the Mayflower. I'm bringing it up again because few people realize that most of the women didn't survive the first winter in Plymouth and that only four adult women remained to do the cooking and serving for the feast we celebrate as the first Thanksgiving.

"The First Thanksgiving, 1621" by Jean-Leon Gerome Ferris [circa 1915], courtesy The Athenaeum.

The artist who painted the above, Jean-Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930), created many works portraying pivotal moments in American history such as "Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776," "Betsy Ross, 1777," and "Let Us Have Peace" (Lee's surrender to Grant).

My poem for today was informed by my learning about the Mayflower women and in response to "The First Thanksgiving, 1621." I'm dedicating it to my friend, Andrea Murphy, a descendant of one of the Mayflower women, Mary Chilton. Andrea, too, is trying to bring forth the truth about the first Thanksgiving. Her audience, however, is preschoolers.
Dear Mr. Ferris:

Re: your painting titled
"The First Thanksgiving, 1621"

We, the women of Plymouth
were not glowing with health.
Nor, were we given to smiling.
Yet, you portray us as robust,
clean, and gracious hostesses.

Rather, viscera from all manner
of wild creatures stained our dress.
Our scarred hands were burned,
swollen, cracked and bleeding.
We silently wept with pain, fatigue.

We cooked and served as was
our lot, while the stink of bear-
greased savages filled our noses
making us gag. Our own men, too,
had a noxious stink about them--fear.

Some may have given thanks
that day, but it was not the women.
Therefore, we write to urge you to
take up brush and palette once more.
Do not give us beauty, give us truth.

The four who had the misfortune not to
have perished in the year of our Lord, 1621

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Welcome back to Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat. who will be hosting the Round-Up this week.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

November 19, 2013

Haiku Sticky #228

A tanka.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I'm sorry to say that I no longer have the type of faith Lincoln exhibited in the speech he delivered 150 years ago today. If you'd like a less morose post on the Gettysburg Address, visit Kurious Kitty.

November 17, 2013

Happy Haiga Day!

Continuing with the tanka form.

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by John Collier, courtesy Library of Congress.

November 15, 2013

Poetry Friday--"Mr. Klimt's Garden"

"Garden Path with Chickens" by Gustav Klimt (1916), courtesy the Klimt Museum.

Mr. Klimt's Garden

Hens like little soldiers patrol
its path always on the lookout
for a weevil to swallow whole.

Or a snake. Chuck, chuck,
chuck, chuck.
They strut plucking
at weeds between the daisies.

They look up at the towering
hollyhocks, ignorant to the fact
that spores of rust are in the wind.

One day soon the gardener
will tear out the infected plants
and the hens will be soup.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I saw the image above on Facebook and it struck my fancy, so I looked for it online and found this in the Klimt Museum's description:
As with all the paintings that were stored in Schloss Immendorf in Lower Austria during World War II, also this painting burst into flames set by the German Forces.
I love the way it was translated: "this painting burst into flames." However, this is not a matter for whimsy. It's heartbreaking that the work was destroyed. I hadn't heard of Schloss Immendorf, so I looked that up, too and found an interesting article from The Guardian about the Klimt paintings in the fire.

I wrote the poem on the same day I heard about the stash of looted paintings that had been discovered in Munich. If you missed that news, read about it in this article, also from The Guardian.

There's a film coming out soon, called The Monuments Men, which is based on the book of the same name, by Robert M. Edsel, about the recovery of art stolen during World War II. The Monuments Men Foundation continues the work begun nearly 70 years ago!

The lovely Ms. Rattigan is doing the Round-Up today at Jama's Alphabet Soup, where there's always something to savor.

November 12, 2013

November 10, 2013

Happy Haiga Day!

Click on the image to enlarge it for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Postcard courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery.

November 8, 2013

Poetry Friday--Yee Ha! The Round-Up is Here!

Welcome to Poetry Friday!

Let me tell you why I like to volunteer to host the Round-Up: most Fridays I have to rush off to be at work by nine. Usually, I have time to read a few posts before I go, but, I don't often comment since that takes longer. On my turn to host the Round-Up, I take the day off from work. I read every linked post, and I make sure to comment. I ask your forgiveness for the rest of the year during which I'm reading, but not commenting much.

Yesterday I posted a short poem to warm us up, and for today, I have a tanka.

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

I guess I was having one of my "Berenstain Bears moments" when I put this haiga together! (If you don't know what a "Berenstain Bears moment" is, it's when you let the desire to hammer home a lesson overcome you.)

So, here are my blog links for today, followed by all yours!

At the Kurious Kitty, where I swore I wasn't going to bother with a post today, I succumbed to a little beauty of a poem by Joyce Sidman.

My Poetry Friday quote at KK's Kwotes is by Marilyn Monroe! I think it's not really a "dumb blonde" statement if you stop and think about it for a while. Let me know what you think.

First out of the gate is Keri at Keri Recommends! She's introducing many of us to the New York Times archive of the "Writers on Writing" column. It looks to be a treasure trove!

At Crackles of Speech Steven has a snapping turtle poem--original and quite punny!

Margaret writes to us from Louisiana and at Reflections on the Teche we're introduced to the Louisiana poet laureate, Ava Leavell Haymon, through a video and two poems. Margaret is anticipating Haymon's visit to New Iberia next week. I wish I lived a little closer! (1,667 miles is just a bit too far!)

Cathy reminds us that art can be fun with an original poem inspired by the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Massachusetts. Check out "Latex Lava" and the accompanying photo at bildebok.

Jama's Alphabet Soup has a review of Yes! We Are Latinos by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy. The book provides a look, through poetry and the fabulous illustrations of David Diaz, at the Latino immigrant experience.

Laura Salas and Kurious Kitty are on the same wave-length this week. We both have poems from Joyce Sidman's book, What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings. She chose "Sleep Charm" to share with us today. Read and listen to it here.

Robyn Hood Black is starting a new series called "We Haiku Here," in which we are introduced to haiku poets from the very active Southeast Chapter of The Haiku Society of America. She starts off with Curtis Dunlap.

At Today's Little Ditty Michelle looks at Joni Mitchell, poet and musician. What's your favorite Joni Mitchell song? Here's one of mine:

April at Teaching Authors has an original poem that poses the question, "are you a Plotter or a Pantser?" Intriqued? Go check it out. We'll be here when you get back. Also, Teaching Authors is gearing up for their annual Two Weeks of Thanks-Giving! April has the details.

Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme's Matt, has a sonnet he wrote in college back in 1988, "Thoughts of the Falconer." He was definitely paying attention in class!

The ubiquitous Charles Ghigna has a poem about dogs at Father Goose--"The Ubiquitous Barking Dogs." And, at Bald Ego he has "Fish Dreams," a sad little poem that starts like this, "August slipped in through the window/and slept heavy in my bed." How lovely is that?

Lucky Linda at TeacherDance is a Cybils poetry award judge this year. The two years I was judged were great--one doesn't often get to have in-depth discussions of poetry. Today, she's sharing one of the Cybils nominees, Cat Talk by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest. My alter-ego, Kurious Kitty, should be ashamed of herself for not having ordered this yet for the library!

Violet Nesdoly is taking part in a poem-a-day challenge and shares one of her poems with us, "The Custodian." She has started off the month with a bang already!

Amy's Poem Farm is full of crows and children's poems today, and also her own little poem. She also blew me away with this, "When we can look at children for all they are and can be, sometimes the boxes that exist in the world of education can be terrifyingly confining." (I think Amy is pushing back at the sides of those boxes, don't you?)

Jone looks at November with a shadorma at Check It Out. Don't know what a shadorma is? It's a six-line poem, and if you read Jone's poem, I'll bet you'll figure out what else is involved in writing one! (Think syllables.)

At the Opposite of Indifference, Tabatha celebrates The Baby's Opera by Walter Crane. The illustrations are just delicious! And the poems are true to the book's subtitle, "old rhymes with new dresses." Tabatha pulls out a few of the lesser-known nursery rhymes to share.

Mary Lee, has discovered the wonder hidden within the cinquain form. She has a lovely sequence at A Year of Reading, which was inspired by student art.

"A Flake in Fall" is an original poem by Betsy at I Think in Poems. I just heard that we may be getting some snow here in NH later in the weekend. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I'm not ready!

Tara @ A Teaching Life shows us the fun involved in recycling--from buildings made of plastic bottles, to poetry! How can we not recycle?

Heidi is challenging herself with MyPoPerDayMo. She share three days' worth of poems today at My Juicy Little Universe. And don't forget to read her back posts for the first days' poems.

Ruth is another who is taking on the daily poem challenge. Today, however, she's sharing a poem by a blogging friend, Jessica Stock, called "thinking about Thoreau at the end of the sixth birthday party." I think you will like it, too, I sure do, especially the opening lines! Read it at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town.

As much as I like rounding up the P.F. links, there are some drawbacks--like drinking too much coffee! I'm on my third cup already (and they're not little wimpy 6 oz. cups). I'd better switch to seltzer soon or I'll be looking like Sylvester.

Karen Edmisten shares Ellen Bass's poem "After a Daughter's Wedding." My own daughter got married in late August and I'm still in shock, so this poem resonates with me!

Check out Jeannine's post "Nudging Up the Volume Control" at Views from a Window Seat. She ponders some questions of concern such as this: "Can I make a poem like a painting that provokes a gasp at a glance, yet still reveal more for those who linger?"

At Gathering Books Fats has Kenn Nesbitt's "My Brother's Not a Werewolf." It's the last poem in the Gathering Books' series "Monsters, Beasts, and Chimeras: Spooks and Spectres."

If you're ready for words that dance, head over to see Elizabeth Steinglass where she has an original fall poem called "The Maple." Images such as "She shimmied like she was on fire," will put a big grin on your face!

Little Willow at Bildungsroman shares a W.S. Merwin poem. I also found that my old friend Mortimer is still hopping around! I think he's got the Energizer Bunny beat!

Speaking of rabbits, have you seen Nick Bruel's response to an Amazon review? I'll try to post a link, but Facebook, where I shared it originally, won't let me into my page! "Sorry, but this page didn't load properly. Please try again." I've been trying for the past half-hour! WTF! Found it!

Renee at No Water River received a lovely gift this week from the two Julies--Julie Larios and Julie Paschkis. She shared "Trolls" and a specially inscribed title page. To say I'm green with envy is an understatement!

Lucky Lorie Ann Grover is just back from Greece and we get a vicarious thrill through her photo and poem, "Santorini Sunset." You'll find it at On Point.

On the other hand, poor Anastasia at Poet! Poet! is not so lucky. Fortunately we don't get the computer problems, just the poem, "Wait!" that tells us about it!

Catherine shares a poem by Marie Howe called "Hurry." You can hurry to Reading to the Core to read it, but let's not hurry too much or someone will get hurt!

Tricia is back! She's suggesting that everyone subscribe to Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry weekly email. I second that! There are some really great short poems showing up in my inbox! Tricia can be found at The Miss Rumphius Effect where she's also sharing one of the poems she received in Mr. Kooser's mailings.

Poetry for Kids Joy has an original poem, "My Sippy Cup," obviously for a young audience! (Or the dog that is usually the beneficiary of anything edible/drinkable that is flung from a highchair.)

Mrs. Bennett shares an awesome lesson in which students experience loss in a thoughtful, yet harmless way. I was so impressed by the use of a list of favorite things! At Used Books in Class, Mrs. Bennett also shows a video of Elizabeth Bishop's brilliant "One Art."

It's almost time to shut down for the night. If I haven't commented at your blog yet rest assured I will do so tomorrow morning. If you haven't left a link, you can do it at any time, I will post it. I Promise.

November 7, 2013

Ready for the Round-Up?

For those of you who have to be out and about early tomorrow, you can add your Poetry Friday links starting now.

Here's a little poem to get us going:
A "Duh" Forty Years in the Making

I don't know what
made me think of
this yesterday, but
I remembered when a
nun told me, "You look
good in black & white."
How pleased I was
that she saw me as
enchanting as the black
& white dress I often
wore made me feel.
Here's where the "duh"
comes in--it took me 40
years to realize that
maybe she had been
trying to recruit me.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Let the Poetry Friday Round-Up begin!

November 5, 2013

Haiku Sticky #226

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Last Friday the wind was crazy, and so was Skippy who tried to catch all the leaves that blew against the window. It's not easy being an indoor cat.

November 3, 2013

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Ballerina With a Black Cat" by Pierre Carrier-Belleuse, courtesy The Athenaeum.

November 1, 2013

Poetry Friday--"The Last Greeting of Autumn"

"Last Greeting of Autumn" by Bertha Wegmann, courtesy The Athenaeum.

One of my favorite online sites is The Athenaeum, which has over 100,000 works of art for you to browse. I found the painting above, which is perfect for today. It's by Bertha Wegmann, a Danish woman who lived 1847 to 1926. Here's a short video of Wegmann's work; it also includes a photo of her at the end.

My poem for today is inspired by Wegmann's painting and informed by my having lived in New Hampshire for 37 years:
The Last Greeting of Autumn

In the transitory days of October
she combs the verges of her
stone walls like a wayward crow.
She picks Goldenrod, blue tufted
Chicory, red berries of Purple
Nightshade, Sumac the color
of cinnabar, and, Daisy Fleabane.
She takes her time, only cutting
herbage barely touched by the
increasingly cold crisping winds.
For interest she selects tall,
feathery, Indian grass, the wide
leaves of Fox Grape, and lacy
Wild Carrot. Her neighbor's Catalpa
yields a handful of twisting pods.

She places these remnants of two
seasons, in a vase, near the door.
Unlike the crow, she takes no
nourishment from her gleanings--
unless you consider the pleasure
it gives her as days grow shorter.
The arrangement grows brown and
slowly fades in the moistureless
heat from aging radiators. Still,
it will remain for months--through
times when all colors but gray
and white have disappeared from
the world outside. It will be there
to greet the next equinox and then,
undoubtedly, will end up as compost.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The Round-Up today is being held at TeacherDance, and next Friday it will be right here! See you then!