Featuring cherita!

September 29, 2017

Poetry Friday--"Abecedarian"

In writing an abecedarian for Michelle's September TLD challenge (she's featuring all the contributions today), the major stumbling-block for me was to find something for the letters Q and X. In most ABC books Q is usually satisfied by "Queen" or "Quilt," while X often is represented by "X marks the spot," "X-ray," or some word that begins with "eX" rather than X. I always think of using an eX word as cheating. Of course, there's really not a whole lot of words beside xylophone that someone would recognize. I got to thinking a bit more and came up with a solution--plain old X. Unfortunately, X likes being the center of attention! Here's my poem with a slightly tweaked illustration taken from an old book titled, The Pirate's Pocket Book, by Dion Clayton Calthrop.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Abecedarian: An Xcellent Xcuse to Xpound

Ask me the goal. (I will xplain.)
Berate me for pursuing it. (I will xpand my argument.)
Celebrate if I achieve it. (...I'll be so xcited!)
Don't smirk, giggle, or
Emit guffaws. (Xempt yourself from such inanities!)
Frown not, either. (You will be xpelled!)
Give me your complete attention. (No xpense other than time is required.)
Hear me! (Let the xplications begin!)
I (me, on xhibit for all to see, and, judge)
Just came up with this brilliant, but slightly
Kooky idea of
Lavishly and lovingly lauding (okay, xceedingly hyperbolic) a
Minor (xcruciatingly so),
Neglected (xhaustingly so), letter, which is
Overpowered constantly by a certain vowel.
Peculiarly xtroverted, this cruciform marks spots and is
Quintessential to communication, yet is
Relegated to playing second fiddle to the xcessively bloviated letter E!
This cannot go
Undenied or unquestioned! (Xposure is necessary!)
We must embrace the letter X. (And render xtraneous vowels xtinct.)
X! All by its lonesome self--no
Yielding to the call of that xtra E.
Zip, nada, nothing, but X! The xceptional letter.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Laura is hosting the Round-Up today at Writing the World for Kids--she's waiting for you!

September 26, 2017

Haiku Sticky #428

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Goldenrod, cinquefoil,
beggerticks, buttercups,
hawkweed, goatsbeard.
It's as if autumn seized
the summer sun to parcel
out to delirious bees.

September 24, 2017

September 21, 2017

Poetry Friday--Frost and Found

A big shout-out to Michelle Barnes who is featuring a post I wrote for TLD, "How to Get to Carnegie Hall." Be sure to check it out!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

A long time ago I wrote an article titled, "Frost and Found." It was about "finding" haiku in the poems of Robert Frost. It never did see its way into print, but, I still think it is a valid approach to writing haiku, especially for kids who cry, "I don't know what to write about." Frost's work is chocky-block full of strong visual images. If you can't find a million images in a book of Frost's, there's something wrong with you.

Frost provides the images, and it's up to me, as the poet, and you, as the reader, to find the relationship to humans. I'm going to use Frost's phrases, but not necessarily in the order he presented them.

Since it's still apple picking time here in NH, and, since apples are particularly abundant this year, I thought I'd see what haiku lie hidden in "After Apple-Picking."
After Apple-Picking

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Here are five haiku I found:

fleck of russet...
through a tree magnified
apples appear

of no worth
a barrel that I didn't

cider-apple heap
ten thousand thousand fruit
struck the earth

coming in
scent of apples
on the night

rumbling sound
I keep hearing...
this sleep of mine

How many haiku can you find?

Amy at The Poem Farm is this week's Round-Up host. Please stop by!

September 19, 2017

Haiku Sticky #427

I'm not quite sure if this is a haiku (deals with Nature) or a senryu (deals with human nature). I'm leaning toward senryu. For those who don't know, a kigo is a seasonal word that acts as a shortcut. You read the word and you know exactly what season it is.

Pumpkin-spice has taken on a superstar role in the fall. You see it absolutely everywhere. Most people I know have long grown weary of it. Does anyone really need pumpkin-spice Pringles?

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


the new kigo brings
an eye roll

September 17, 2017

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


wherever it fits
it goes

September 15, 2017

Poetry Friday--Response to a Response

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The above was my art response to a poem by Rebecca Smolen in the recent SPARK! 34 challenge. I've written about the challenges before, which are the brainchild of the talented Amy Souza. (Amy is an artist, writes, edits, and also manages the quarterly SPARK! challenges as well as a quarterly postcard challenge.) You can read Rebecca's poem, "Van Gogh Could See It," here.

As you all know, Van Gogh was a prolific artist, so I was able to find a number of self-portraits to choose from for my response piece. And, there is the painting, "The Starry Night," as well as a drawing of "Starry Night," accessible. All of Van Gogh's work is in the public domain, so I felt free to use and adapt it.

I almost never do an art piece without words in it, and for the SPARK challenges I generally use a quote to add to the piece.

Van Gogh was a letter writer and his letters have been translated and are available online. I spent a good part of a day just reading randomly through his letters. But, since there was a mention of warships in Rebecca's poem, I decided to look for a mention of boats. The quote I found is taken from a letter to Emile Bernard circa July 17, 1888.

When I finished I thought about how relevant the quote is to contemporary America, and so, I wrote a response to my SPARK response. If you've read any of my recent posts you'll remember how I've become enamored of the cherita form (a short poem of six lines total, which tells a story), and for my response I wrote a cherita sequence. I hope that each cherita can be read independently of the sequence and tell its own tale.
Shark Attack! The Story Behind the Headline

on the monkey bars

two smart-alecky boys
taunt and egg each other on

never coming to blows
one will eventually blink
and walk away...

on the lake

while drifting they watch,
each in their own little boat

they breathe the air
absorb the sun and mostly
ignore the noise on shore

on the beach

a boy has climbed
up the lifeguard's tower

no one asked if
he was qualified,
or, if he could swim

from the tower

he has them chanting along
"sharks are fake"

swimmers respond
to the boy's presence--
there's no need for worry

on the lake

boats begin to take on water
too late for a safety check

they can hold on
there's a boat nearby...
there are no sharks, right?

on the distress call

wait, there is no lifeguard
the tower stands empty

a ruckus comes
from the arcade:
two boys are at it again

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
Michelle H. Barnes at Today's Little Ditty is hosting the Round-Up this week. Stop by for the poetry links, and, to contribute five words of peace.

September 12, 2017

Haiku Sticky #426

After a weekend of watching hurricane reports, Sunday night I had a typical (for me) anxiety dream--not being able to get to where I needed to be. My thoughts go out to the people who dealt with the reality of evacuating and of having a hurricane strike.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

September 10, 2017

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Image credit: NASA/NRL.


hurricane watch

we buy cases
of bottled water

flashlight batteries
to illuminate our

I saw this on FB yesterday:

September 8, 2017

Poetry Friday--Abecedarian

Last week, at Today's Little Ditty, Michelle Barnes had an interview with Carole Boston Weatherford who challenged TLD readers to write an abecedarian poem for the September DMC challenge. I posted one on the TLD padlet, illustrated it, and was going to post it today. Following the news of Hurricane Irma, though, led to thinking about hurricane poems.

I remembered a poem I had received through a "poem-of-the-" email subscription many years ago. If I remember correctly, I believe it came from Milkweed Editions, but I can't be sure because I lost all my back emails three years ago in a crash. [I had been using an online back-up program that allowed me to reload all my files with the exception of my emails. There's something nice about getting rid of the old stuff and starting all over, but on the other hand, when you're looking for a poem you had saved, you're out of luck.]

I figured I must have written a hurricane haiku over the years, so I did a search of my files. It turns out I had written a whole book's worth of hurricane poems and forgotten about them! It was for a project I worked on back in 2003 on The Great New England Hurricane of 1938. One of the poems turned out to be an abecedarian poem! (It seems I posted another one of the poems back in 2011, which you can read here.)

Today's forecasters can warn of hurricanes far in advance of their hitting a location. Back then, forecasting, without the benefit of satellites and computers was an art at best. There was no FEMA assistance to help in the recovery, either. Some of the stories of the devastation would make your hair curl.

Apples (Macintosh)
Bathtub (claw-footed)
Cushion (sofa)
Doll (baby, fully-clothed except for socks and shoes)
Eyeglasses (tortoiseshell frame)
Fedora (size 7 3/8)
Galosh (left foot only)
Hymnal (Presbyterian)
Icebox (sliced bologna and half a pound of butter inside)
Jacket (child’s, red)
Knob (brass, door attached)
Life preserver (with survivor)
Milkcan (empty)
Nightstick (wrist strap missing)
Oilskin (and sou’wester)
Portrait (unidentified, 1700s?)
Quahog basket (no quahogs)
Rubber ball (black)
Staircase (minus banister)
Toddler (on shingled roof fragment)
Ukelele (strings intact)
Vacuum cleaner (electric cord frayed)
Window (six paned, with and without glass)
X-ing sign (railroad)
Yacht (her mast broken)
Zwieback (one box, unopened)

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I never did finish the project, despite having 34 poems written. As I mentioned above, the devastation was awful, and after a while, it was too depressing to continue.

I hope all our southern neighbors escape unscathed. We'll be thinking of you.

The Round-Up is being hosted by Matt Forrest Esenwine. Matt is also celebrating the "birth" of his first picture book, Flashlight Night. Way to go, Matt!

September 5, 2017

Haiku Sticky #425

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


old friends
it now takes all of them
to find the words

September 3, 2017

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


late summer
...hard not to mistrust
the moon