Featuring cherita!

April 29, 2014

April 28, 2014

Ekphrastic Monday Poem #4

Today is the last Monday of National Poetry Month, and the last ekphrastic poem for April. Thanks for stopping by to read poems inspired by visual art!

I wasn't able to find anything about Kinder und Hund ("Children and Dog"), other than it was painted by Paul Klee and dated 1920. Klee, of German-Swiss descent, wasn't in Paris in 1920, but I took the liberty of setting the family there and of giving the children names, and of course, naming the dog. (I think he looks like a Sandro, don't you?)

You can click on the image to enlarge it, or, the text is below.

It would have been easier
to go to the photo studio
near the Galeries Lafayette,
but, no, no, Mama insisted
on a formal, painted,
family portrait. Oncle knew
someone who knew an artist...

Papa, rarely gets what he
wants--he wanted a boy.
He got four girls. The last
he named Georgette, as if
that would make a difference.
And now, Mama, toujours,
toujours, elle a mal à la tête.

Mr. Klee has his work cut out
for him painting the girls.
Suzanne is fourteen. Need
I say more? Look at her: hip
thrust sideways, arms crossed
barely holding in her spite.
Forever rolling her eyes!

Justine, heroine. Always
with her nose in a book.
Always her head in the clouds.
And, Mon Dieu, save us all
from Adélie. "Moi, moi, moi!"
Am I the only one capable of
keeping this family in line?

Stand up straight now and woof!
© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Painting by Paul Klee (1920), courtesy The Athenaeum.

April 27, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

Another in the occasional Hogarth School series. No need to explain this one!

Poem © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Artwork courtesy Hogarth Country Day School.

April 25, 2014

Poetry Friday--A Sign of Spring

Last Saturday, the Swan Boats of Boston's Public Garden opened for the 2014 season. The boats are a classic Boston tourist stop and have been in operation since 1877.

I'm sure you are all familiar with Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings and the role the swan boats have in Mr. and Mrs. Mallard deciding to take up residence in the Public Garden. McCloskey's book is how I first learned of the swan boats.

I read the news of the 2014 opening and this poem demanded to be written! Please note: this poem is not for a Make Way for Ducklings intended audience!

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Early 1900s photo courtesy Library of Congress.

This week, Tabatha Yeatts is hosting the Round-Up at The Opposite of Indifference. You don't want to miss it!

April 22, 2014

April 21, 2014

Ekphrastic Monday Poem #3

After I finished the first two Ekphrastic Monday poems, I realized they were both about pets, so I decided to maintain the thematic tie.

Click on the image to enlarge. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "A Funny Parrot" by Philip B. Hahs (1880), courtesy The Athenaeum.

I didn't set out to make the little boy so mean-spirited, but, one so young, who works for a pittance, can't be expected to be always gracious with his thoughts.

April 20, 2014

April 18, 2014

Poetry Friday--Imaginary Places and Beings

I accepted Tabatha Yeatts' NPM call for poems about imaginary places and put the following illustrated poem together, which she posted last Friday:

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading.

I knew I had another poem about imaginary place and creatures, so I looked through my files to find this next poem, written in May 2009 as part of Laura Salas' 15 Words weekly challenge. I added part of an illustrated map to enhance it. The map is known as the "Carta Marina," and can be viewed in its unaltered state, here.

The following, from December 2009, was created in response to A Miss Rumphius Effect Monday Poetry Stretch, the topic being "poetic beastiary."
"The echeneis is a small fish that is often found on rocks. It has the ability to slow the passage of ships by clinging to their hulls." Pliny the Elder, Natural History


The rocks are barely
visible beneath the waves,
yet, I know they are there.
I half hope the echeneis will

rise up, make contact, cling
to me, restrain me, stop
me from touching the
edge of the world. Fish,

or no fish, I know what
awaits at the end. Sail
on, sail on. It's too late
now, to turn back.

I used "Sail on, sail on" in both this and the first poem above--you know you're growing stale when you steal from yourself! However, I didn't even remember writing "Echeneis" until browsing my files, which was weeks after I had written "Máel Dúin."

Before going off to hide some eggs, hop on over to Robyn Hood Black's Life on the Deckle Edge for this week's Round-Up.

Poems © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 16, 2014

This Is What It's All About...

To those of you who think that poetry is of no interest to kids, or who think that poetry doesn't have a future in our society, think again!

I have participated in judging NH Public Television's annual writing competition (formerly Reading Rainbow, now PBS Kids) for more years than I care to admit. In that time I've come across some talented young writers and illustrators (see an earlier post here). I don't remember ever coming across a book that has impressed me as much as the book of poetry created by a NH third grader, Jishnu Pablo D., for this year's competition. The book is titled A Humble Book of Poems (with a little seasoning). I recommend you read the poems, look at the illustrations, then come back and tell me what you think. I think it's outstanding!

NHPTV link

Happy National Poetry Month, and thank you Susan Adams of NH Public Television, for allowing me to be a part of this fabulous program. Poetry is alive and well in New Hampshire, and Jishnu Pablo D. is a name to remember!

April 15, 2014

April 14, 2014

Ekphrastic Monday Poem #2

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Painting by Childe Hassam courtesy The Athenaeum.

The painting, "The Goldfish Window" by Childe Hassam, is in the collection of Manchester New Hampshire's Currier Museum of Art. It was painted in 1916, a short time before World War I, and at the time when a woman was still dependent upon the goodwill of a father or a husband. Although the woman in the painting appears to be at peace with her surroundings, I have imagined her as being not quite at peace with her position in the social structure.

April 11, 2014

Poetry Friday--I've Got the World on a String

I'm featuring two poems today about puppets, and, marionettes--puppet worlds on a string! The first I sent to Joy Acey as part of Tabatha Yeatts' poem swap in the summer of 2012.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

This second one is new. I woke up on Saturday and said to myself, "What should I work on today?" And, out of the blue myself answered, "Puppets!" Okay! Who am I to argue with myself? Looking for pictures online, I found a photo at Wikimedia of a Punch and Judy show, taken more than 100 years ago. I remembered seeing a Punch and Judy show in Lowell, MA and all the bashing made me uncomfortable, yet, the verbal humor made me laugh. What a strange, unsettling experience!

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

My illustrator friend, Patrick Girouard, told me, "Puppets are cool." He posted a great illustration of a marionette on Facebook last Sunday, which I thought was pretty freaky (the coincidence, not the illustration). Check it out here. If anyone knows why puppets have been lurking in the subconscious this past week, please let me know!

Okay, back to poetry: this has been a busy NPM week for me! On Monday I posted the first of this month's Ekphrastic Monday poems, and, I contributed a guest post about "root poems" at Laura Shovan's Author Amok. On Wednesday I added a line to the 2014 Progressive Poem! And today, I have a poem featured at Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference.

More poetry celebrations are taking place today and they're being rounded up in Florida by Michelle at Today's Little Ditty.

Unbeknownst to you, this whole post is being used as an excuse for slipping in a favorite song!

[Note: if you ever get the opportunity to see Michael Buble perform live, take it. He puts on a fabulous show (and I've got pictures to prove it). Don't be fooled by the television special he appeared in at Christmas. It was so bad, I had to turn it off half-way through. Buble's manager should have been fired for agreeing to let him take part in a mish-mosh of half-songs and cheesy skits.]

April 10, 2014

Poetry--It's Everywhere!

Christine Heaton, at Hollis Brookline High School Library in NH, put together a slideshow for NPM. It's lovely and shows us that we might find poetry in unexpected places!

In the past I've posted about poetry found on subways and sidewalks. Let us know the places where you've seen poetry.

April 9, 2014

The 2014 Progressive Poem, Day 9

This is my third year participating in the National Poetry Month Progressive Poem. The project is the brainchild of Irene Latham of Live Your Poem who keeps us all progressing nicely! Learn more here.

I'm following fellow New Hampshire writer, Matt Forest. And tomorrow, Tabatha Yeatts will be adding the 10th line. You can see the complete schedule below and on the right-hand side of this page.

We've contemplated and considered. We've bolstered our courage, and girded our wings. Time to get this adventure on the road!

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;
Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?
Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?
Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.

But, hold it! Let's get practical! What's needed before I go?

Okay, Tabatha, you're up! You can continue to rhyme or you can trumpet like an elephant--it's all up to you!

1 Charles at Poetry Time
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Donna at Mainely Write
4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
5 Carrie at Story Patch
6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
7 Pat at Writer on a Horse
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
9 Diane--that's me! at Random Noodling
10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
11 Linda at Write Time
12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
13 Janet at Live Your Poem
14 Deborah at Show--Not Tell
15 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy
16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Julie at The Drift Record
20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
21 Renee at No Water River
22 Laura at Author Amok
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books
27 Kate at Live Your Poem
28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose
29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
30 Tara at A Teaching Life

April 8, 2014

April 7, 2014

Ekphrastic Monday Poem #1

Last year, for National Poetry Month, I posted an ekphrastic poem each Monday in April. I decided to celebrate with ekphrasis again this year. Next year, I'll be able to call April's Ekphrastic Mondays an annual event!

I'm going to start with a delightful painting by the Austrian artist, Adolf Humborg (1847 - 1921). It is titled "Feline Companion," and being a huge, cat lover, it spoke to me of the light that a feline friend can bring into one's life.

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

April 6, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The image, a photo by James W. Rosenthal, courtesy Library of Congress, has been edited by me.

April 4, 2014

Poetry Friday--Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Photo by Jonny Valiant courtesy RealSimple.com

I was considering making soup and I decided to write a poem about one that has been on my mind--shrimp and corn chowder. (Don't ask why, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I guess I was hungry?)

So, how to start? The best way to begin is by assembling a list of ingredients.


unsalted butter
celery, thinly sliced
onions or scallions, chopped
carrots, diced
potatoes, diced
corn, cut from the cob
bay leaves
salt and pepper
all-purpose flour
shrimp, peeled and deveined

I wrote an extremely clichéd poem about traveling to the ends of the earth to gather ingredients and then eating out. Lucky you, I had enough sense to realize how bad it was! Instead, I wrote a series of loosely related haiku that I've gathered under the title, "Shrimp and Corn Chowder."

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

in the cellar
a sprouted onion
to marvel over

chorus of "eews"
she pulls the vein
from a shrimp

her back turned
we snag pieces of
raw potato

measurement optional:
she was never afraid
of adding too much

3 x 5 cards
who knows what went

chipped soup bowl
--in those days no art
in presentation

the silk
on the tip of my tongue
shrimp and corn chowder

more than the smell of shrimp

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

This is the first week of National Poetry Month! Expect good things all month long. Begin by visiting with Amy at The Poem Farm where she is hosting the Round-Up.

And don't forget to come back for Ekphrastic Monday when I'll have the first in a series of epkrastic poems in celebration of National Poetry Month.

April 1, 2014

Haiku Sticky #247

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Come back on Friday when I'll have a bunch of soup-related haiku!