Featuring cherita!

November 30, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

Tomorrow it's December! The month will whiz by!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Calendar poster courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery.

November 27, 2014

Poetry Friday--Murmuration

darkens to dusk
a murmuration
of starlings
tears me up

The tanka's eleven words, are not adequate to describe my reaction to the phenomenon taking place in the above video. A flock of starlings is called a "murmuration." I've seen one in person. It was while I was driving down the highway (495 near Lawrence, MA). I only wish I had had the wherewithal to pull over. The murmuration I witnessed was not half the size of the one in the clip, but it was enough. If you'd like to see more, go to YouTube and use "starling murmuration" as your search term. (I chose the above video on the basis of its beautiful accompanying music.) To learn more about the science behind the seemingly choreographed flight, click here.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. There's plenty of poetry for dessert--just stop by Carol's Corner!

Tanka © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

November 25, 2014

November 23, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I guess those who do not encounter frost may not realize that it makes the stuff underfoot extra "crunchy"!

November 21, 2014

Poetry Friday--"O World of Toms"

In preparation for the big feast next Thursday, here's an odd little poem by Robert Francis:
O World of Toms

O world of Toms--tomfools, Tom Peppers,
Dark Peeping Toms and Tom-the-Pipers,
Tom Paines, Tom Joneses, Tom Aquinases,
Undoubting Toms and Doubting Thomases,
Tomboys, Tom Thumbs, Tom-Dick-and-Harries,
Tom Collinses and Tom-and-Jerries,
Tom Wolfes, Tom Jeffersons, Tom Hardies,
Tom cods, tomcats, tomtits, tom-turkeys--
O hospitable world! And still they come
In every shape and shade of Tom.

I'll bet nine out of ten holiday gatherings will have at least one Tom beside a tom-turkey at its table!

By the way, "O World of Toms" has been set to music as part of Fort Juniper Songs. I would have embedded the video, but I couldn't understand a word! A cute poem drowning in the music. However, if you insist on giving it a listen, click here.

Becky at Tapestry of Words will be hosting a cornucopia of poetry!

November 18, 2014

November 16, 2014

Haiga Day

In memory of Joseph H. Mayr 1926-2014. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

November 14, 2014

Poetry Friday--Autumn

Autumn seems to linger. It's not that I want to hurry winter, I'm simply tired of autumn. I don't like it. Scram! Go already!

I'm going to wrap up autumn in a neat little haiku sequence for today, and then, not another word about leaves until it's spring leaf-unfurling time.

Click on the image to enlarge. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Painting by Adolf Kaufmann, courtesy The Athenaeum.

Last week a new haiku and art journal, Muttering Thunder, released its first issue. It's online and can be downloaded for free! For those of you who may not be familiar with the names of haiku poets, take note of the ones featured in Muttering Thunder, they're the cream of the crop! And, if you're still trying to wrap your head around non-5-7-5 haiku, be prepared for the monostich--a haiku in one line! The monostich has grown in popularity over the last few years and is something to be aware of when talking about contemporary English language haiku. By all means, if you're interested in writing haiku, please read the essay by Robert Spiess, "Specific Objects in Haiku," which appears nears the end. After reading it, and looking at the haiku in my sequence, I may have missed an opportunity for specificity! There is always something to be learned about writing haiku.

Another haiku poet, Keri Collins Lewis of Keri Recommends is rounding up the poetry this week from the state of Mississippi! Autumn in Mississippi must be vastly different from what it is in New Hampshire!

November 12, 2014


I own an iPhone. And, I think that makes me complicit in the death of a young Chinese poet. I urge you to read the report that appeared in the Washington Post earlier this week. And, then, perhaps, contemplate how our American craving for stuff has ramifications beyond ourselves: "Youth stooped at machines die before their time." Sad, sad, sad.

November 11, 2014

November 9, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

Since I posted a tea haiga last week, coffee demanded equal time! And, being that I've been in a state of despair since the elections, this non-haiku poem demanded to be written.

Click on the image to enlarge for easier viewing. Graphics from a number of public domain sources. Poem and haiga © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

November 6, 2014

Poetry Friday--This Is the Place!

Welcome! The Poetry Friday Round-Up is taking place here. I hope you're ready for some poetry, 'cause there's a lot of it being shared around the blogosphere today.

Sadly, with the winds we've had this week, the trees have been stripped nearly bare. But, it is November, afterall, and the sky shows seem to be making up for the loss of color in the trees. Here's a poem called "November Skies" that is fitting for this first week of November. The photo was taken by me on Tuesday around 4:30. My phone wasn't able to capture the full effect of the orange sky, but it captured enough.

November Skies
by John Freeman

Than these November skies
Is no sky lovelier. The clouds are deep;
Into their grey the subtle spies
Of colour creep,
Changing that high austerity to delight,
Till ev'n the leaden interfolds are bright.
And, where the cloud breaks, faint far azure peers
Ere a thin flushing cloud again
Shuts up that loveliness, or shares.
The huge great clouds move slowly, gently, as
Reluctant the quick sun should shine in vain,
Holding in bright caprice their rain.
And when of colours none,
Not rose, nor amber, nor the scarce late green,
Is truly seen, --
In all the myriad grey,
In silver height and dusky deep, remain
The loveliest,
Faint purple flushes of the unvanquished sun.

Leave a link to your P.F. post in the comments below. I'll be rounding them all up, with commentary, throughout the day.

I'll start with Kurious Kitty, who's taking the day off from the library, but, she did manage to leave a short book review of JoAnn Macken's Read, Recite, and Write Free Verse Poems. Kurious Kitty celebrated 8 years of blogging on November 6!

First out of the gate is Carmela from TeachingAuthors. If you're a writer, you're going to love the fact that she's giving away another copy of the 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market. She also shares a Thanku, which, if you haven't come across them before, is a haiku of thankfulness. Nice idea, isn't it?

Michelle at Today's Little Ditty, has an interview with Bob Raczka whose book of Christmas poems was just released. (Our children's librarian waved the book in front of me yesterday and ran off with it, so I only got a cursory glance. The illustrations have a nice European look to them--not at all cartoony. I look forward to seeing the whole thing!)

At Author Amok Laura shares part one of her lesson for teaching onomatopoeia, and she illustrates the concept with student poems. Good job!

Jama's Alphabet Soup shows us what peace around the world can be like through a poem by James Rumford. If you, or someone you know, is able to translate into another language, your help is required in a worthy poetry project!

Tara's choice of poems for today, "A Crown of Autumn Leaves" by Annie Finch, is a thing of beauty! Find it at A Teaching Life.

Linda at Teacher Dance also has a leafy poem, this one by Elsie N. Brady. Fall is almost over, so we need to enjoy the color while we can!

Gift-giving season is coming, so Robyn Hood Black has given us a gift of 3 haiku, and, she's hoping we'll do some gift shopping at her etsy store! It's worth a look, there are some fine literary gifts awaiting!

Madelyn Rosenberg has made it hard for me to continue with the Round-Up, she waylaid me with the Kinks and I'm now listening to YouTube clips! You'll have to visit her page to see how she gets from "The Importance of Picture Books" to the Kinks.

Bridget wins the best title award for this week! Her original poem is titled, "From Orange to Black, the Decomposition of Jack." She also explains how art inspires! Stop by Wee Words for Wee Ones.

Tabatha Yeatts brings us the poetry of Appalachia. The short video clip is quite moving, so don't skip it! Also, Tabatha reminds us of today's deadline to sign up for the Winter Poem Swap. (I'm signed up, are you?)

Joy Acey, at Poetry for Kids, explains and demonstrates the use of anaphora in poetry with her poem, "My Dog." (Silly me, I always thought an anaphora was a type of Greek pottery. I had to look it up and found that the vessel is called amphora. Duh.)

Lucky Mary Lee will be attending the upcoming NCTE conference in Washington, D.C. There seems to be a lot of Poetry Friday representatives attending. I'm envious. I'm not, however, envious of Mary Lee's encounter with a "Shadow."

Margaret will also be attending NCTE, but she will be there to also accept the Donald H. Graves Award.

Today, at Reflections on the Teche, Margaret is sharing an exercise she did with her students that resulted in this from a student poem, "Be a warrior./Ride on your unicorn." How great is that?

My Juicy Little Universe
shows us today that Walt Whitman is not just for adults! Normally that's hard to believe, but "The World Below the Brine" proves otherwise. It also goes to show that school science doesn't have to be restricted to textbooks and a lab!

Irene Latham at Live Your Poem is telling how she actually LIVES poems and asks for titles of children's poetry to include in her list. (I'll have to go back later and read all your suggestions.)

At Merely Day by Day, Cathy has an original poem about the recent time change. It's called "The Gift of an Hour," and it raises some interesting questions about how we spend our time.

Matt Forrest Esenwine exacts "Revenge" (or does he?) in a poem he wrote for David L. Harrison's Word of the Month challenge for October. The challenge word was "spree." [Note, November's word is "brew."]

Ruth has a killer of a poem at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town. That's all I'll say except...Go. Read. It!

Time for a little shameless self-promotion! If you live in the Portsmouth, NH area, please support the Seacoast Rep. They are staging Run, Turkey, Run! The Musical next weekend, and the one after that. I wrote Run, Turkey, Run! the book. :-)

Becky Shillington spread poetry amongst 5th graders last week, which she obviously enjoyed greatly. This week she is sharing a poem by a poet who before today was completely unknown to me and whom I've encountered twice within the past 4 hours! How about that?

Joyce's Musings include a ekphrastic haiku and the work of Maine artist, Bernard Langlais. Langlais' work is seen in many locations in southern Maine, and being that it's kinda in my neighborhood (New England--it's a rather big neighborhood), I'm sorry to say I've never encountered his work before Joyce's post!

Over at The Logonauts we learn that mindfulness is a concept that third graders can understand. Who woulda thunk it? And meditation is a concept I still haven't been able to wrap my mind around. Thanks Katie for showing us a way to explain both concepts--with poetry.

Another book of Emily Dickinson poetry? You might ask that, but the one Sheri Doyle highlights today, My Letter to the World and Other Poems written by Emily Dickinson and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, looks fresh with its pictures and layout. I'm definitely going to seek it out!

I recently updated my library's website with some information about November being Native American Heritage Month, and now Jan at Book seed studio has posted a list of children's books in an "Appreciation" of Native Americans and giving thanks! Thanks, Jan!

[By the way, the Library of Congress houses the Edward S. Curtis Collection of photographs, which you really need to see!]

In the Kingdom of Ice is a book that I've been waiting to listen to on audio, so I'm further intrigued to learn that the title of the book is taken from the first line of a poem, "The Sinking of the Jeannette." Dori Reads pointed it out and includes the poem, as well as a limerick from the same poet. (The limerick is quite funny and deserves a kudo to the translator who took it from German to English!)

Bildungsroman shares a poem by Mary Oliver, "Next Time." [Did you know that the New York Times stated that Mary Oliver is "far and away, this country's best-selling poet."]

Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink has taken on the Zeno and a public discussion of "The Homework Deception," combining the two into an illustrated poem. Well done, Carol!

Tricia posts a Robert Frost poem today at the Miss Rumphius Effect that makes me feel cold and lonely. How does "Acquainted With the Night" make you feel?

At Mainely Write Donna shares the first snow poem of this winter season (at least for me), and promises more to come as she assembles a book.

Karen Edmisten
has a poem, "An Autumn Reverie," by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. It is full of sadness and loss, but also of faith. Karen will be appearing with EWTN host Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle in a segment on miscarriage, tonight at 6:30 Eastern.

Kelly's been accompanying a future student on college tours. She wrote about it at Writing and Ruminating.

Ramona went to visit her niece's 4th grade classroom and found some very poetry-receptive students! She also reminisced about her 4th grade teacher, which got me thinking about my teacher in 4th grade, and will probably get you thinking about yours!

I received two more comments this morning (Saturday), but I was out all day and didn't see them until 7:30 at night. Sorry, Ladies. Please stop by the better-late-than-never blogs of my friends Jone and Julie!

Jone writes about a subject I have definite opinions about--haiku. She already knows mine, but please weigh in on how you think haiku should be taught to kids. Actually, I've changed my mind slightly over the past few years. Where once I thought it's great to teach haiku to elementary kids, I'm more of opinion now that kids below 6th grade just don't get the "essence of a moment," so go ahead and teach them the 5-7-5. (Okay, I've really invited the rotten tomatoes!)

At The Drift Record, Julie has something I loved, loved, loved--a music video with an exuberant woman in a polka-dotted shirt, topped by a polka-dotted Mickey Mouse apron, singing her heart out! You MUST watch. There's no way you won't be smiling by the end!

November 4, 2014

Haiku Sticky #278

I submitted this to the October Shiki Kukai, the theme was "moonless night." © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

November 2, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

Brass Bell is a monthly theme-related journal of haiku. November's theme is tea. I never got around to submitting a haiku, but I borrowed the theme to create this haiga.

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Teacup illustration courtesy The Graphics Fairy.