It's the first of the year which means it's time for the Nengajo--New Year's haiku postcard exchange. (To learn more about the Nengajo, click on the label on the right hand side of the page.) We're entering the Year of the Monkey. The Monkey, as Wikipedia states,
...possesses such character traits as curiosity, mischievousness, and cleverness. Forever playful, Monkeys are the masters of practical jokes. Even though their intentions are always good, this desire to be a prankster has a tendency to create ill will and hurt feelings.
Although they are inherently intellectual and creative, Monkeys at times have trouble exhibiting these qualities. When that happens, they appear to others to be confused. But nothing could be further from the truth as Monkeys thrive on being challenged. Monkeys prefer urban life to rural, and their favorite pastime is people-watching.
It took me a long time before starting on this year's postcard because I had no idea what I would write for a haiku. I had no direct experience with monkeys to draw from. However, the minute I found the illustration of the painter monkey I knew I had found my inspiration. The illustration is from a French picture book published in 1740 by Christophe Huet, Singeries, ou differentes actions de la vie humaine representées par des singes. Translation: Antics, or various human activities represented by monkeys.
I manipulated the illustration by adding a hint of color in the background and bright colors to the palette. (Have you seen the film Mr. Turner? This illustration reminds me of it. Turner painted and his father mixed colors for him. It was an interesting film--how's that for a wishy-washy assessment?)
The word "first" is symbolic of the new year. These symbolic words that stand in for a season are known as kigo. I imagined this little artist up at the crack of dawn on New Year's Day ready to paint his dreams for the coming year.
Participation in the Nengajo has fallen off in the past few years. This year only 16 signed up. In past years there have been dozens. So, if you would like one of my postcards, I'd be happy to send you one while supplies last. Email your name and address to me.
Mary Lee, keeper of the master Poetry Friday Round-Up schedule, is hosting the first Round-Up of 2016 at A Year of Reading!
I wish you peace, happiness, and a year of creativity!
I'm sharing this particular poem because it has something for everyone--believer or nonbeliever. See if you agree.
The Shepherd Who Stayed
by Theodosia Garrison
There are in Paradise
Souls neither great nor wise,
Yet souls who wear no less
The crown of faithfulness.
My master bade me watch the flock by night;
My duty was to stay. I do not know
What thing my comrades saw in that great light,
I did not heed the words that bade them go,
I know not were they maddened or afraid;
I only know I stayed.
The hillside seemed on fire; I felt the sweep
Of wings above my head; I ran to see
If any danger threatened these my sheep.
What though I found them folded quietly,
What though my brother wept and plucked my sleeve,
They were not mine to leave.
Thieves in the wood and wolves upon the hill,
My duty was to stay. Strange though it be,
I had no thought to hold my mates, no will
To bid them wait and keep the watch with me.
I had not heard that summons they obeyed;
I only know I stayed.
Perchance they will return upon the dawn
With word of Bethlehem and why they went.
I only know that watching here alone,
I know a strange content.
I have not failed that trust upon me laid;
I ask no more--I stayed.
Theodosia Pickering Garrison (a.k.a. Mrs. Frederic Faulks) was born in 1874 and died in October 1944. Wikipedia, which I thought covered everyone and everything under the sun, does not have a page on Theodosia! A little digging revealed that she published short stories in magazines such as Munsey's Magazine, The Puritan: A Journal for Gentlewomen, and Scribner's in the 1890s under her maiden name, Theodosia Pickering, and then gained some fame as a poet in the early part of the 20th century under the name Theodosia Garrison. Open Library has several books of Garrison's poems available online. With a little time, I would research her further, but alas, not during this busy holiday time!
I imagine our Poetry Friday Round-Up host will be having a slow day due to the holiday. Please don't leave Irene feeling all alone--visit her at Live Your Poem.
I wrote this back in July and have been holding onto it until the time was right! It's one of the Sketchbook Project angel poems. It could just as easily have been a descriptive paragraph, there's really nothing all that poetic about it except for the division into stanzas, still, it was was fun to write and illustrate. Consider it my gift to you, and, I'll consider your indulgence a gift to me.
If you're here for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, this is the place to be! Add your link to the comments below.
Okay, here we go...The first Round-Up comment arrived at 9:09 PM from cbhanek. You'll find a cute Christmas eve acrostic and a Christmas blessing. I'm sure there will be a lot of Christmas poetry shared on the Round-Up this week.
Sally is with us from the land down under. I can never keep it straight, is it the next day already in Australia? Check out Sally's original anticipatory poem, "Too Many Sleeps."
Jama's post will have you craving honey sweetness, but may also stir up memories--some that you might not wish to deal with--by way of a poem from Barbara Crooker.
Laura Salas has a rhyming acrostic, "Things to Do in Science Class," to share with us. The poem is one of eight that Laura has in The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for Kids!
Robyn Hood Black is featuring ME today! We were swap partners in the Winter Swap set up by Tabatha Yeatts.
Tara is bemoaning the lack of snow in NJ. I can't say that I agree, but I do agree that she has an excellent poet to share with us today--Patricia Fargnoli!
Bridget at Wee Words has a little ditty about magazines that makes you wonder what exactly it is that they're selling!
Laura shares her Winter Swap poem collage from Irene Latham, and, a poem from her new book which is poised to make it's official appearance! All the best, Laura!
Visit Matt, my fellow New Hampster, for a sweet little poem titled, "What the Snow Clouds Know." (And by "sweet" I don't mean syrupy, but what my son means when he says, "Sweeeet.")
At Beyond Literacy Link, Carol is teasing us with promises of her upcoming Autumn's Palette Gallery. Don't miss it when she publishes it (maybe next week, Carol?)--it is a inviting mix of pictures, poems, and music.
Our poet friend, Jone, had surgery yesterday, so let's all send her healing thoughts. She managed to prepare a pre-op post on her experience with the Spark challenge. She shares the inspiration art she received and the poem she wrote in response.
Violet Nesdoly introduced me to a new voice--Carolyn Arends, a singer songwriter. Take a listen to "The Sound" and see if she doesn't impress you, too!
Teacher Dance has a haiku by Linda, which, with only six words, proves that "less is more."
It is hard to lose a loved one during the holiday season--all the memories. Kathryn a.k.a. Katswhiskers takes her memories, and her grandmother's recipe, and mixes them together to make a pikelet poem.
The lady who sets up the poem swaps for the lucky participants, Tabatha Yeatts, shares the poem and gift she received from her swap partner, Liz.
(Tabatha neglected to say that she gave the participants the option of using the Monet painting as a poem-starter. I attempted to use it, but my poem went off in a direction not so pleasant. I may post it in the future, but first I have to pull it back from the pit of darkness!)
A Year of Reading has turned into a year of writing haiku for Mary Lee, and she's done an admirable job! We get to be spectators at the game of haiku tag that Mary Lee has for us today.
Myra's back at Gathering Books to bring us Carol Ann Duffy's poem, "Who Loves You." Here's a teaser: "Every day people fall from the clouds, dead." Whoa! Now you've got to go check it out!
A poem by Billy Collins, "While Eating a Pear," may be found at Reading to the Core. Catherine's sure picked a thought-provoking humdinger for today--imagine a world of things without names.
Donna, too, is sharing her swap poem and gift. You'll find it at Mainely Write. The swapsters have outdone themselves this time round!
Dori's choice for today is one section of a poem called "Seventeens" by Amit Majmudar. Be sure to click on the link to the complete poem!
Irene is working her magic by celebrating kindness for 12 days. Today she has a quotation from Kahlil Gibran, and also a poem, in two languages from Julie Paschkis.
Katie has compiled a list of 2015 poetry books for kids at The Logonauts. I'm a second round judge for the Cybils Award for Poetry, so I'm sure to be seeing many of this titles up close!
Okay, here are two lines that I love: "Blossoms of babies/Blinking their stories." What pictures they bring to mind! They're from the poem, "Handfuls," featured today by Little Willow at Bildungsroman.
If you've read the swap poem at Tabatha's blog, you'll enjoy comparing it to another poem inspired by Monet's poem. Liz Steinglass has it here, as well as an explanation of how Tabatha's gift poem evolved.
The Miss Rumphius Effect has a Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem, "I Am Waiting" originally published in 1958, but so well representative of the thoughts of many today!
Janet Squires looks at one of the dozens of books of poetry and art by Douglas Florian, Poetrees. His work is always unexpected.
Poetry For Children is full of poems and recommendations from Sylvia (and Janet). Today the featured poem is "Christmas Tree" by Joseph Bruchac.
Julie Larios shares a little poem by John Clare that is alive with winter birds. I delight in the joyful noises birds make despite winter weather.
Keri's recommending one of her work-related videos this week. It's a food-related parody of "The Night Before Christmas." Look for the elf who most looks like a script writer--that's Keri!
Karen Edmisten has a houseful of writers! She celebrates them by posting Richard Wilbur's much-loved poem, "The Writer."
Well, it's now after 1:00 PM and I've been at this since 7:00 AM, so...It's time for lunch, and a quick run to Christmas Tree shop for some gift bags I forgot to buy earlier. I hope there are some left that don't depict Spongebob or that are full of barely-glued-on glitter. I'll be back later to catch the stragglers. Please, if you noticed a link that doesn't work, or some boy-are-you-dumb errors, let me know!
I noticed Heidi from My Juicy Little Universe hasn't made an appearance, so I'm taking the liberty of adding her link. She has the words to "Deck the Halls" and a video of a madrigal version.
Here's a version that I like for its majestic cold-weather vibe:
Last, but not least, Amy at The Poem Farm treats us to a crunchy cookie treat! Angels are finding their way on many a blog this week! Some just happen to be edible.
For Thanksgiving, I spent two days in Jersey City. As a surburban dweller, Jersey City and Manhattan struck me as diverse, growing, and beautiful. Yet, the cities are also horrifyingly ugly in the contrasts between rich and poor, new and old, and, need I say it--barely sane and insane drivers.
I wrote a poem that at one point had four stanzas. I rewrote and trimmed it down to the thirteen lines you see here. I may have cut a bit too much? Perhaps I will rework it again. I'm not sure I've said what I wanted to say.
I won't even pretend I understand how this works (despite the explanation in the article where I found this video), but I think it might be fun to write poems to float in a pond or pool. The terser the better!
Some thoughts: could the plastic words be anchored in some way to have the poem, as written, become part of the water? Could the plastic words be left to float untethered with the possibility that whole new poems could form? What would a buildup of algae do to the shadows? Poems could also be printed on artificial lily pads and anchored the way real waterlilies are. Makes me wish I had a pool of water to play with.
I checked through my files and found these water poems:
a dragonfly alights
for a second
I used to visit relatives, who had a home on a lake, and I'd float on the water in an inner tube for hours. Dragonflies would often visit.
a brief respite
A tanka rather than a haiku. I'm not quite sure what I meant when I wrote it, but I think it may have been a picture challenge. There was probably a prey animal drinking at a watering hole.
three Canada geese
head for water
scudding clouds canoeist paddles faster
swan dips its neck into
And here are haiga I found:
Head over to Buffy's Blog where there's poetry galore being linked at the Round-Up.