Featuring cherita!

December 29, 2016

Poetry Friday--A Haiku Sequence

These were written in addition to the haiku I wrote for the daily haiku challenge. I came across the art and then imagined myself at a New Year's Eve party at the end of 2016. I decided a series of haiku/senryu would work best. I'm not sure, though, if they could stand alone without the picture.

Click on the image to enlarge. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Where Angels Play" by Louise Abbéma (1878).

At the Close of the Year from Hell

"can we hold off
on that cup of kindness?"
...nary a chuckle

our fulsome wishes
almost believable
New Year's toast

waitress hovers
waiting for a reaction
New Year's Eve

a need
to continuously check
the level of ice

the last night's
first resolution:
never again

Head north a wee bit and you'll arrive at Mainely Write where you'll find the last Round-Up of 2016. Have a safe and happy New Year!

The Last Week of Haiku-a-Day in December

We're winding down to the end of December and the end of a year that will long be remembered (by me at least) as the year from hell (with the major exception of the birth of Owen).

Here are the haiku written within the last week. I will add the last two days of the month's haiku by Saturday.
December 23

Christmas morning
the smell of damp socks on
the radiator

This haiku I wrote to use for my Christmas Day haiga. I actually found this photo by Francis P. Johnson first, then wrote the haiku to fit.

December 24

Christmas eve
always, always, always
something I forgot

December 25

Christmas breakfast
nothing special when one
lives with a cat

December 26

the warmth
of a cat's breath
December dawn

December 27

Christmas over
the end-of-year review
of deaths

December 28

going outside
while I can still hear the birds
...ravings of a twit

December 29

oak brown
all that remains

December 30

her knowledge
of snow limited to white
indoor cat

December 31

my only bling:
dried fruit in my oatmeal
New Year's Eve

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Here's wishing you all a 2017 full of haiku hope and happiness, justice and peace.

December 27, 2016

December 25, 2016

Happy Haiga Day!

Merry Christmas!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by Francis P. Johnson.


Christmas morning
the smell of damp socks on
the radiator

December 22, 2016

Poetry Friday--Now For Something Completely Different

I've been in a blue funk since November 9, without hope of breaking through. So, for this holiday Poetry Friday I've decided to post something from a poet who is not me! Yes, indeed, there are Christmas miracles.

I wrote about Robert Francis back in October and shared two of his bird poems. Since that time, I've borrowed several other small volumes of the work of this New England poet.

Illustration from A Year with the Birds (1917) by Alice Eliza Ball and R. Bruce Horsfall (1917).

Here is another bird poem, from The Orb Weaver: Poems (1960), which is particularly relevant at this time of year:
The Seed Eaters

The seed eaters, the vegetarian birds,
Redpolls, grosbeaks, crossbills, finches, siskins,
Fly south to winter in our north, so making
A sort of Florida of our best blizzards.

Weed seed and seeds of pine cones are their pillage,
Alder and birch catkins, such vegetable
Odds and ends as the winged keys of maple
As well as roadside sumac, red-plus-seeded.

Hi! with a bounce in snowflake flocks come juncos
As if a hand had flipped them and tree sparrows,
Now nip and tuck and playing tag, now squatting
All weather-proofed and feather-fluffed on snow.

Hard fare, full feast, I'll say, deep cold, high spirits.
Here's Christmas to Candlemas on a bunting's budget.
From this old seed eater with his beans, his soybeans,
Cracked corn, cracked wheat, peanuts and split peas, hail!
And from a volume titled The Satirical Rogue on Poetry (1968) comes this little holiday gift:
The Well-made Poem

Spare me, please, the man who speaks, whether
disparagingly or approvingly, of the well-made poem.
Has he never read or heard that poems are not made
but grow--like snowflakes, like flowers, like seashells?
Has he never perceived that a true poem--like a rose,
like a goddess, like a diamond--is not made but born?

Fly over to Buffy's Blog for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up! Happy holidays!

Week 3--Haiku-a-Day in December

Seven more haiku to add to the #haikuforhealing challenge posed by Mary Lee Hahn.
December 16

record lows hurry the switch
to wool socks

December 17

if only it were the snow

December 18

the quiver
of the cat's body--

December 19

there really is an
alternative universe
--vote affirmed

December 20

marathon listening
of Christmas CDs
...still no change

December 21

I put it off again
4 days 'til Christmas

December 22

yankee swap
the complicated exchange
of crap
© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Illustration from Uncle Zeb and His Friends by Edward W. Frentz (1919).

December 20, 2016

December 18, 2016

December 16, 2016

Poetry Friday--"Christmas Carol"

This started out as a sad commentary on what global warming has done to bird populations. It lightened up considerably through various versions, but it still is a bit too didactic.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The photo comes from the Provincial Archives of Alberta. I added the angel wings. (I can't seem to get away from angels!)

Here's the text:

Christmas Carol

All the birds this Christmas season
sing songs to us that beg for reason.

Hear them carol:

Peace ON the Earth.

Peace TO the Earth.

No time is left for teaching the song.
Why weren't you listening all along?

Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference is hosting the Round-Up this week!

December 15, 2016

Week 2--Haiku-a-Day in December

It's the end of the second week, and here are the haiku I've written since last Thursday's post.

December 9

pondering plastic
more wasteful to wash
or toss away?
It's always a question I have, if we're in the middle of a drought is it worth it to use water to clean out a plastic recyclable container or, is it less of an environmental impact to throw it unwashed into the trash? Anyone want to weigh in on this?
December 10

hands around a mug
insufficient warmth
to reach my heart

December 11

competing streetlights
shadows over shadows
the darkness deepens

December 12

Christmas countdown
moon watching added
to my list
(Come back on Sunday for the illustrated version.)
December 13

online friend
what is commonplace for her
I have to google

December 14

old friends
a competition of

December 15

driveway waits
to be shoveled I wait
to be inspired
(Of course, the snow is now frozen into icy ruts, so it will just have to wait until spring!)

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

December 13, 2016

December 11, 2016

Happy Haiga Day!

Here is a haiku from December 2009, which, I find oddly appropriate for 2016. I took an already dark painting by John Twachtman and edited out most of the color.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "An Early Winter" by John Twachtman (circa 1882), courtesy The Athenaeum.

December 8, 2016

Poetry Friday--My November's TLD Challenge, Illustrated

For November, at Michelle Barnes's Today's Little Ditty, a challenge was suggested by editor, Ann Rider. We were asked to write a poem about a place of refuge and solace. The challenge poems are all found here. I have illustrated my contribution, a haiku sequence, with a photo from a nearby woods:

Click on the image to enlarge. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


The Woods: Haiku

spring mud
watching holes I poke
fill with water

I close my eyes
to feel the give of moss

unable not to
shuffle through the leaves
...shall I sing, too?

so unexpected
this effervescent
sound of sleet

Head west to visit fellow librarian, Jone, at Check It Out.

Week 1--Haiku-a-Day in December

Mary Lee Hahn began a month of haiku, in part, to help heal after the results of the presidential election #haikuforhealing. I have taken up her challenge to write a haiku a day during December--so far, so good. I will share a week's worth today, and for the next three Thursdays. (Note: three, and arguably four, are senryu, rather than haiku. Senryu follow the same form as a haiku, but the subject is human nature. Pick out this week's senryu--did you count three or four?)
December 1:

December 1
temperature plummets...
still...the mid-day sun

December 2:

Singapore noodles:
a safe way of feeling

December 3:

leaves now gone
cat sleeps...

The illustrated version, which I also posted this past Sunday:

December 4:

blame the PEOTUS!
the pace at which I eat
salted peanuts

December 5:

giving tree
--the weight of the wishes
on each branch

December 6:

oooo of the wind
always in the background
she knits

December 7:

public library
user requests faux news rag
"your papers too lefty"

December 8:

top of the dead pine
a squirrel's nest

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

December 6, 2016

Haiku Sticky #387

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Oooo of the wind
always in the background
she knits

December 4, 2016

Happy Haiga Day!

This is yesterday's haiku written as part of Mary Lee Hahn's Haiku-a-Day in December challenge. On Thursday, I'll post a full week's worth of challenge haiku.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


leaves now gone
cat sleeps...

December 2, 2016

Poetry Friday--"Clown School"

Soon to be led by a master clown, we all need a few lessons in how to survive.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Vaudeville poster courtesy Library of Congress, edited.

Clown School

I tended to cautiously watch
my feet until the day I looked
up to see there are others
in this ring who fall on their
butts, yet laugh with the crowd.

If there is no difference
in the size of our feet can
it be that the difference is
in their willingness to take
the next step with indifference?

There is only one way to know...

Visit Wee Words for Wee Ones for more poetry in the Round-Up.

November 29, 2016

Haiku Sticky #386

©, Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


lead-up to Christmas
the roads I need to avoid
'til January

November 27, 2016

Happy Haiga Day!

Trying to work my way through the election--still... A poem for today (possibly more hopeful than I feel).

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Grey November" by Bruce Crane, courtesy The Athenaeum.

Late November 2016

Today's wind unpredictable.
In its howl a prescient bitterness.

Buds, promises for the future,
enter a state of dormancy.

Squirrels have buried and birds
have pooped possibility.

Old color now underfoot, new
color exists only in potentiality.

The anticipated mantle of
white will come. With weight.

Nothing is certain, but this: dormant
is not dead and acorns will wait.

November 25, 2016

Poetry Friday--Brussels Sprouts

Last Friday, Michelle Barnes announced the publication of her The Best of Today's Little Ditty anthology. Think Christmas, or any holiday or gift-giving occasion--it would make a great stocking stuffer!

Also with her announcement, Michelle held a "Five for Friday" ditty writing exercise. We were instructed to write a five word poem (plus title) about "the best thing that happened to you this week."

Being that the assignment came so soon after the election, it took a bit of thought to come up with something that I considered a "best thing." (I'd been stewing in doom and gloom.)

Illustration from Mother Earth's Children: The Frolics of the Fruits and Vegetables by Elizabeth Gordon [1914].

After a little thought, I came up with Brussels sprouts. I figured people would think I'm weird, so I did a bit more pondering and remembered my doctor visit where I found I hadn't gained any weight. That was pretty good until I also remembered I hadn't lost any weight either. Still, I thought it was a reasonable thing to write about, and so I did. (Read my twin ditties here.)

You may be thinking, "But what about the Brussels sprouts?" The best thing that happened to me early last week was that I roasted a pan of Brussels sprouts. I had marinated them in olive oil vinaigrette and roasted them at 375 degrees until nicely browned. They were delicious. I thought about them for days after.

I grew up never having been exposed to Brussels sprouts, and when, as a young adult, I was served them, they had been boiled. They were, quite frankly, awful. About eight years ago, a co-worker told me that Brussels sprouts were tasty roasted and I should try them again. I did, and I've been a Brussels sprouts fan ever since. Here's my five word ditty on the subject:
Brussels Sprouts

Lingering smell
belies tongue's delight.
©Diane Mayr.

I checked through my files and found that I've written about Brussels sprouts before!
fifty-nine years old
she cooks brussels sprouts
for the first time
tomorrow perhaps
there'll be roast beef
©Diane Mayr.
The tanka came about as a result of my first success with roasting sprouts. I never did make roast beef. Spending big bucks on a roast beef and then risking overcooking it didn't appeal to me. I no longer have an appetite for roast beef, so I will probably finish my life without ever making one!

Can you write a five word poem about Brussels sprouts? If you're up to the challenge, leave your entry in the comments below. If you're not up for a challenge, do you have a favorite Brussels sprouts poem? Do you know of any Brussels sprouts poem? I'm curious as to how many we can come up with!

Quite a few, as it turns out! There seems to be a Brussels sprouts affinity among Poetry Friday participants!
Brussels Sprouts

curiosity invites wee cabbage crunch
© Linda Baie


bought fresh
from farmers
© Mary Lee Hahn

Brussels Sprouts

approached cautiously
tiny tartness
veggie bonbons
micro cabbages
like dollhouse food
© Brenda Harsham

Brussel Sprouts

finger food
for vegetarians
© Carol

--deliciousness sprouts!
© Margaret Simon
Visit Carol's Corner for the day-after-Thanksgiving (also known as Gluttony Remorse Day) Poetry Friday Round-Up.

November 22, 2016

November 20, 2016

Happy Haiga Day!

Thanks to my friend, Janet, now a resident of Ireland, for the photo!

Photo © Janet Buell, used with permission. Haiku ©, Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Gortlecka crossroads...
this morning redolent
with rascality

November 18, 2016

Poetry Friday--"November 2016"

A few days before November 8, I was full of hope about the presidential election. I was also almost giddy at the idea of finally devoting my time to reading something other than political articles. Then November 9 came and I quickly came to realize that I am obligated to continue with my reading. It's depressing and so exhausting. I'm tempted to leave everything behind, since, the effects of the next four years may not be undone in my lifetime. But, where to go?

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales is waiting for you to stop by for the Round-Up! She also made me aware that screen readers for the visually impaired cannot "read" the text within a jpg, so, I will have to remember from here on in to also include the text.
November 2016

Not even certain she'll
be around after January
she brings home a bag
of mixed hyacinth bulbs.
The decision to plant
need not be made at all.
Bulbs will bloom in a
glass jar on a windowsill
anywhere there is hope.
And, if you're looking for something to do with the kids this weekend, Run, Turkey, Run!: The Musical is being performed at 10 AM Saturday and Sunday at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, NH.

November 15, 2016

November 13, 2016

Happy Haiga Day!

If you haven't been on social media in the last few days, you may have missed the safety pin movement. It seems that a large number of incidents have occurred since November 9 that leave many feeling fearful, so, if you are ever in a situation where you fear for your safety or someone is making you uncomfortable, look around for a person wearing a safety pin. By wearing a safety pin that person has agreed to stand by you or anyone else in need of a friend.

In looking for an image of a safety pin, I also found the ad below. I decided not to use it with the poem because I think it's interesting to read in its entirety. I find it strangely ironic.

November 10, 2016

Poetry Friday--Fun With Similes

Last Friday, Tara Smith, at A Teaching Life, shared an autumn poem, "Toward the Solstice" by Mark Perlberg. The poet wrote:
We raked the leaves into shifting piles on the lawn,
scooped them into deep round baskets
and spilled them in the street against the curb.
When I read these lines I remembered the bushel baskets that were standard in everyone's garage in the 1950s. Some may have known them as peach baskets, but they were used for carrying apples, corn, and all sorts of other things. Where I grew up on Long Island, NY, they were used for clams or crabs. And, of course, for moving raked leaves to the burn pile.

I left a comment on Tara's blog,
"scooped them into deep round baskets" What a forgotten memory the line brought back to me. No black plastic in those days. I can only imagine the poets of today writing about leaves in garbage bags:

scooped them into heavy-duty trash bags
lined them up against the curb
like a wall on the Mexican border
discouraging kids from taking that leap...
Of course, when I wrote the comment last week, the election was still foremost in my mind, but, I also got to thinking about other ways to describe ugly black plastic bags full of leaves and thus embarked on a fun afternoon of similes.

Here are three more:
scooped them into heavy-duty trash bags
lined them up like jelly beans at the curb--
the giant black ones that tasted too strongly
of licorice and no one wanted to eat--

scooped them into trash bags
compacted the leaves thoroughly
then lined them up along the road
like Babci's kiszka in a frying pan

scooped them into heavy-duty trash bags,
knotted their convenient red drawstrings
so they looked like a row of be-ribboned
black cats on a vintage Halloween postcard

The first one is obvious. Does anyone know about the second one? Babci (pronounced Bop-chee) is grandmother in Polish. Kiszka (pronounced keesh-ka) is a Polish blood sausage (something I never would touch, but that my father loved--I shudder to remember the look and smell of it).

Here's a postcard to illustrate the third (but has only one be-ribboned cat):

After four similes, I ran out of ideas. Metaphors didn't seem right at all for plastic trash bags. That's an exercise for another time and another topic. Neither similes nor metaphors appear in my poems, for the most part, I'm a haiku person after all. In haiku a trash bag is a trash bag. Period.
trashbags at the curb
the annual blister
on my palm

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
Jama is the Poetry Friday Round-Up host this week, so I'll meet you at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

November 8, 2016

Haiku Sticky #383

No haiku for today! How about a poetic note?

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

November 6, 2016

November 4, 2016

Poetry Friday--Postcard Exchange

Amy Souza, the originator of the Spark: art from writing: writing from art exchange, also holds a postcard exchange between the Spark challenges.

October was my third time participating. For my postcard, I illustrate a haiku or small poem that I write for each person in my group of exchangees. There were only three people in my group this time so I only needed to create 3 art postcards. In April I used a bird theme, in July I used "endless summer heat." This time I made it even easier on myself by making my theme simply October.

Head over to Writing the World for Kids where Laura is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The tee-shirt in the middle image is found at CafePress.

November 1, 2016

October 28, 2016

Poetry Friday--Consider This the Seed

The only good thing to come from one of this year's presidential candidates is the way he opened up a discussion about sexual harassment and assault. The New York Times ran an article last week, "She Never Spoke of It to Her Husband. Then She Heard the Trump Tape," about how women and men are now speaking up, and out. A problem exists and now is the time to give a boot to the monster hiding under our beds, or in our attics, closets, and basements.

One of the men interviewed for the article said, "A lot of the time you have to have someone push you in that direction or plant the seed to get you talking." So, Poetry Friday readers, consider this the seed. You don't have to reveal your secrets here, I'm not asking for that. Humiliation, even after dozens of years, may still hold you back. I encourage you however, to tell your story on paper (or electronic device of choice). Write a poem and say, "Enough!"

Back in 2011 I had the pleasure of being featured in one of Jama Rattigan's series of "Potluck Poets." I shared a recipe for almond bars, a few haiga, and for some reason (probably because I had looked through my high school yearbook), I included a poem that had been sparked by a memory of what happened to me in high school in the 1960s. Yes, we hang on to some memories for much too long. I told Jama, I could still remember the feel of the hand that grabbed, at a most delicate area of my body, from under the bleachers.

Here's my poem again:

I know I wrote a poem about that
thing that happened back when I
was in high school, you know--
"that thing." I’m sure it happened
to you, too, some comparable
humiliation, violation, embarrassment,
which has stuck with you for more
decades than you’d care to admit.

I’ll find that poem and share
it with you if you’ll share your
poem with me. What, you don’t
have a poem? Oh, I bet it’s there.
Just like a girl in a birthday cake
who waits for the right moment
to jump out and yell "Surprise!"
Think of yourself as the cake.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Here's a short one I wrote for today, since I've left that old memory behind:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Okay, Cupcake, it's up to you to tell your story. And, if you live in the U. S., it is up to you to vote on November 8! Peace and justice shall prevail!

Please visit Linda at Teacher Dance for the weekly Poetry Friday Round-Up.

October 25, 2016

October 23, 2016

October 21, 2016

Poetry Friday--Today's Little Ditty Challenge

Earlier this month, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes featured an interview with and the poetry of Kenn Nesbitt. The challenge issued by Kenn was to
Write a poem for your mother. Write it for your mother and give it to her. It can be any kind of poem you like, as long as it’s especially for her.

This assignment was an impossibility to complete since my mother has been dead for the last 31 years. My mother died at the age of 57, much too early. Unfortunately, I have lived with the idea that my mother would not have died if she had taken care of herself. Why does a woman let herself be diminished by her appetite? I have a few theories in my mother's case--low self-esteem, unfulfilled dreams of a career, buying into the idea that a woman's only role is to be a wife and a mother. Of course, there could many more reasons, some of which would never have been revealed to me no matter how long she lived. There are some things one keeps to one's self.

I guess Michelle did not get as many responses as she had hoped for earlier in the month, because, the other day she posted something (which, now, I can't find to quote accurately) asking those who've held out to please consider writing a short poem. If the issues we all seem to have with our mothers are overwhelming, and have held us back in their expression, perhaps something shorter would be doable. So, I've taken that advice and written something short. It is posted on the October 2016 padlet. And for today, I've gathered a few haiga that I wrote about my mother. They've all been posted here before.

Mother's Day 2011:

Mother's Day 2012:

January 2014:

Mother's Day 2016:

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is taking place today at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Stop by!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

October 18, 2016

Haiku Sticky #380

After a year and a half of drought conditions, we had a day of intermittent rain. The next day I was amazed at the number of little white puffballs that had appeared overnight in my yard.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

October 16, 2016

October 14, 2016

Poetry Friday--Bird Poems from Robert Francis

If you're a regular reader here, you may have picked up on the fact that I love birds (and ironically, cats).

I have two bird poems from Robert Francis. Robert Frost once said Francis was "the best neglected poet." Consider him now un-neglected since we're talking about his work today!

Both of these poems are from Come Out into the Sun: Poems New and Collected by Robert Francis (1965):
The Hawk

Who is the hawk whose squeal
Is like the shivering sound
Of a too tightly wound
Child's toy that slips a reel?

But beyond who is why.
Why any cry at all
Since death knows how to fall
Soundlessly from the sky?


So bandit-eyed, so undovelike a bird
to be my pastoral father's favorite--
skulker and blusterer
whose every arrival is a raid.

Love made the bird no gentler
nor him who loved less gentle.
Still, still the wild blue feather
brings my mild father.

If you're interested, I've posted Robert Francis poems twice before, here and here.

Please check out the poetry happenings being rounded-up by Irene at Live Your Poem.

October 11, 2016

Haiku Sticky #379

This year a number of people on Facebook shared a a Columbus cartoon from The Oatmeal. I urge you to take a look at it and read it, including the notes at the end. It explains a connection to American history that most of us probably haven't heard--Columbus's role in the slave trade. It is not a pretty picture.

I'll never think of Columbus Day in the same way. The artist who put together the Columbus Day cartoon offers up some alternative titles for the October federal holiday. I'd like to offer this one, "Truth and Justice Day."

It's a long introduction to today's senryu (a poem like a haiku, but about human nature rather than Nature):

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Recently I've been reading two new adult books of fiction that take a look at slavery. They are The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Of the two, Homegoing had a greater impact on me. I highly recommend it for book group discussions. Although The Underground Railroad is an "Oprah book," and on the list of finalists for National Book Awards, I can't recommend it with the same level of enthusiasm, but, it, too, will make for a great discussion.

October 9, 2016

Happy Haiga Day!

An ekphrastic ditty for today!

"Bassin de Trianon à l'Automne" by Henri Le Sidaner, courtesy The Athenaeum.

October 7, 2016

Poetry Friday--Random Thoughts

The significance of this presidential election occupies my thoughts much too much. Writing poems doesn't seem to be an option at this time. One month to go before the anxiety either subsides completely or begins to grow exponentially. Until then, I'm digging through old poems to fill the void. This tanka was written on October 3, 2010 and I used it for today with a photo I had taken back in 2009. My blueberry bush was particularly colorful that year.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The photo, uncropped, was also in this haiga from 2010:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

For the Poetry Friday Round-Up you must visit Violet Nesdoly / poems, she's waiting for you! Have a great weekend!

October 4, 2016

October 2, 2016

Happy Haiga Day!

September is already gone, so I figured I'd better post this one before the winter is here and the squirrels will be looking for those acorns they left behind on the stairs!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.