Featuring cherita!

March 31, 2018

Ekphrastic April

To celebrate National Poetry Month 2018, April 1 through April 30. It all begins tomorrow!

"Portrait of a Poetress Crowned With a Laurel Wreath" by Rosalba Carreira.

Ekphrastic is a term that simply means art about art--a painting inspired by a novel, a dance inspiring a song, a poem written after viewing a piece of sculpture, etc. I'm challenging myself to writing a cherita for paintings by women artists, most of whom are unknown or long forgotten.

What is a cherita? It is a haiku-like poem of three stanzas. The first stanza is one line and sets the scene. Stanza two is two lines, stanza three is three lines and tells a story.

Cherita is both singular and plural. They are not titled, although the first line may appear to be a title. To learn more, visit the cherita: home of the cherita.

March 30, 2018

Poetry Friday--Child Verse: Poems Grave & Gay

I think, perhaps, spring will be sticking around from this point on. The earlier part of March was a horror show with its multiple nor'easters, but the past few days have seen a bit of sunshine and warmth. To celebrate the change in the weather, Easter, and the start of National Poetry Month, I'm resurrecting some little ditties from Child Verse: Poems Grave & Gay by John B. Tabb, first published in 1899.

Many of the poems were published in the children's magazines that flourished at the time, titles such as St. Nicholas and the Youth's Companion. The poems could easily be enjoyed by today's children. I'm particularly fond of the punning!

Here are a few that I hope will brighten your day:


A LITTLE yellow Bird above,
A little yellow Flower below;
The little Bird can sing the love
That Bird and Blossom know;
The Blossom has no song nor wing,
But breathes the love he cannot sing.


DO you remember, little cloud,
This morning when you lay—
A mist along the river—what
The waters had to say?

And how the many-coloured flowers
That on the margin grew,
All promised when the day was done
To leave their tints to you?


BICYCLES! Tricycles! Nay, to shun laughter,
Try cycles first, and buy cycles after;
For surely the buyer deserves but the worst
Who would buy cycles, failing to try cycles first.


'TWIXT Handkerchief and Nose
A difference arose;
And a tradition goes
That they settled it by blows.


SAID a Snake to a Frog with a wrinkled skin,
"As I notice, dear, that your dress is thin,
And a rain is coming, I'll take you in."


WHEN Georgie would not go to bed,
If some one asked him why,
"What is the use?" he gravely said,
"You know I cannot lie."

Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week!

March 27, 2018

Haiku Sticky #451

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Easter hyacinth
the slow turning from
pastel green to purple

March 25, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

I hope you marched yesterday to end gun violence, or if you didn't, I hope you at least got to hear some of the speeches of the high school students who undertook the goal of changing the culture of the gun in America. We are not a people that puts ownership of instruments of death above lives. We're not. It is imperative that we vote in November to rid our congress of those who think NRA money is worth selling out Americans, and, their own souls. Still, at the march I attended in Portsmouth, NH, the old dog that walked up to everyone and accepted hugs joyfully, spoke to me the loudest.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


March 24th march

so many signs
so many demands

look to the dogs
in the crowd to carry
the one true message

March 23, 2018

Poetry Friday--Ekphrastic Cherita

I'm looking forward to National Poetry Month coming up. In the past I've celebrated with "Ekphrastic Mondays" during April. This year I've decided to try for 30 days of ekphrasis (art about art) and I'm planning on writing cherita*. I'm asking for your help in selecting art for me to be inspired by. If you have a favorite work of art by a female artist, please send me the artist's name and the work, or simply send a link [dianemayrATdianemayrDOTcom]. I only ask that the work be within the public domain to avoid problems with copyright and permissions. I can't guarantee that I will use each suggestion, but I'll give it a shot!

Here's an example of an ekphrastic cherita. The painting is "Kinsale buoy" by Patty Gulledge and is used with permission. It was posted to the 6th Annual February Daily Poetry Project by Linda Mitchell and I wrote the cherita to go with it.

seagull watches

old fisherman's fingers
in motion

mending the nets
that haven't existed
for fifty years

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Be sure to stop by Laura's Writing the World for Kids where you'll find dozens of poetry links for today!

*Cherita: a three-stanza poem that tells a story. The first stanza has one line that sets the scene, the second stanza has two lines, the third has three lines. To learn more, visit the cherita.

March 20, 2018

Haiku Sticky #450

Happy Spring!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


spring equinox
...if only the ground wasn't
covered in snow

March 18, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


late winter storm

wanting to go home
...wanting to wait

the conditions
of the heart weighed against
those of the weather

March 16, 2018

Poetry Friday--Haibun

Over the course of the six weeks of the 6th Annual February Daily Poetry Project (it includes the warm-up of the week before and the cool-down of the week after February), I found myself writing in a variety of forms--from haiku to cherita to limericks to a form new to me, the "Skinny." I also wrote three haibun. A haibun is a prose piece combined with haiku. Here are two, the third, "The Stuff(ing) of Angelic Bears," can be found on Donna Smith's blog from last week.

"The Tall White Sun" (1917) by Charles Burchfield. Photo taken by Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Whitney Museum of American Art.
The King's Pines

In the 1500s the British explored the seas by way of multi-masted sailing ships built with native pines.  The forests of the British Isles were stripped, and only centuries' time could replenish shipbuilders' supplies.  Exploration led to exploitation of the natural resources of other lands.  And thus, the colonies of New Hampshire and Maine, with their massive old growth Eastern White Pines, were destined to suffer economic, political, and ecological consequences.  The King's men came to the region to mark trees, selected for British masts, with three hatchet cuts known as the "King's Broad Arrow."  The citizens of New England had to work around the King's Pines, and, be subject to fines and punishment if they harvested any of them.  In 1734 a group of New Hampshire citizens fought back in what was, at the time, called, "The Mast Tree Riot."

child's plastic boat
on an artificial pond
...fog continues

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The second haibun was inspired by a work titled, "Moon Song," by batik artist, Lisa Telling Kattenbraker.

© Lisa Telling Kattenbraker.

On a Full Moon Night

It was after the war and their families never prospered during those postwar boom years.  They were the poorest of river rats amongst the small city's river rats--the best friends, though, that a boy could have.

On warm, full moon nights, two or three of them would head down to the bay carrying a bushel basket between them.  A home-made-net-on-a-broomstick sat on each one's shoulder.  They waded into the shallows where hard-shell crabs scurried through the eel grass.  They believed the full moon had powers to draw the creatures to the surface.  But, in truth, the light from the moon simply made their mossy-green, flattened bodies more visible.

The boys would scoop crabs from the water and toss them into the basket.  They were divided equally at the end of the night.  At home his mother waited with a pot of boiling water at the ready. 

On a handful of nights each year he would eat like a king.

That was long ago, and far away...

Sometimes, though, on full moon nights he'll take the big boat's dinghy and drift through the shallows.

corporate dinner
king crab legs for the taking
he takes chicken

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

If you're looking for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, you'll find Linda's hosting at Teacher Dance.

March 13, 2018

Haiku Sticky #449

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


"Spring ahead!"
extra hour of daylight
to watch the snow fall

March 11, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

Another nor'easter may or may not hit us Monday-Tuesday (forecasters can't pin it down at this point). This past week's winter storm was named Quinn, the storm of the week before was Riley.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by NASA (RAMMB Slider).


long range forecast

nor'easters come
one on top of the other

is existence at risk
now that our names have
been given to storms?

March 9, 2018

Poetry Friday--"Exodus 22:22-23"

Linda Baie of Teacher Dance owns a pencil drawing that had belonged to her grandfather. It is signed by L. D. Wight and is from the early part of the 20th century. The drawing was used as a writing prompt. Linda has given permission for the picture to be posted and I've included it in the illustration for my poem titled "Exodus 22:22-23."

The title is a biblical verse:
Exodus 22
22 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.
23 If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry,

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


Exodus 22:22-23

I was born and raised
in the neighborhood
of 48th St. and First Ave.

Guttersnipe some
called me--but I
was no delicate bird.

When Mama died, and
Papa was worse than dead,
I was herded onto a train.

By all accounts, a fatherless child.

Claimed at the first stop
I learned a full mouth
of teeth would be what

"They" found most
appealing. "They" are
the folks I live with.

By live I mean work.
By work I mean all day,
every day, except Sunday.

On Sunday, I am a child of God.

I would be saved through
work and prayer. I was honest
at work, but, at prayer...

Still, the food is good.
There is always enough.
And I have two new teeth!

Lord knows, I have no reason to cry.

Iowa Public Television has a series of short videos taken from their documentary, "The West by Orphan Train." The following is one example:

Learn more about the film and the orphan trains, visit http://westbyorphantrain.com/.

Please visit Michelle at Today's Little Ditty for the Round-Up of this week's poetry links.

March 6, 2018

Haiku Sticky #448

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


early March
snow boots & flipflops
side by side

March 4, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

Another cherita from the 6th Annual February Daily Poetry Project.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Original image from Wanderings and Excursions in North Wales by Roscoe Thomas (1836).


castle ruins

princes long gone,
tourists climb the steps

at night the agile
wood mice keep house
as they have always done

March 1, 2018

Poetry Friday--"Cathedral Tour Guide"

I was a participant in Laura Shovan's "6th Annual February Daily Poetry Project" and wrote a poem on each of the 28 days of February (and the last seven days of January). I've been illustrating some that are not dependent on the original work of art that acted as a prompt. I may be sharing one or two more on future Poetry Fridays.

This is a persona poem, which is defined by The Poetry Archive's glossary, "A persona, from the Latin for mask, is a character taken on by a poet to speak in a first-person poem."

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Cathedral Tour Guide

The busload of tourists
gone I sit and breathe
alone, but not lonely.

Those who visit now
are not looking to learn
the history of the window.

We watch the change in
the quality of its colors
as the sun melts away.

Red, now saint's blood.
Not blue, but caelestis.
Yellow? Inferno, of course.

We sit--outer and inner
selves primed to accept
the pending darkness.

Note: caelestis is the Latin root of the word, celestial.

The guide is a product of my imagination and the cathedral is not a particular one. I did think of the "window" as a circular rose window. In reading about windows, I found that a rose window is also known as a "Catherine window," after the 4th century martyr, St. Catherine of Alexandria. (I added a statue of St. Catherine to the illustration.)

This led to a look into Catherine. Here's a quick summary of her story: originally a pagan, at age 14, Catherine had a vision of the Madonna and Child and became an ardent Christian. She had a run-in with emperor Maxentius, a pagan, who tried a number of ways to "persuade" her to renounce her faith. He used torture, starvation, and when that failed, he proposed marriage! Not surprisingly, she refused. He didn't like her response and ordered her executed on a breaking wheel. A breaking wheel was used to crush the bones of the person being executed. Contrary to what it was supposed to do to Catherine, the wheel itself was broken. (The breaking wheel became known as a "Catherine wheel.") Catherine was finally executed by beheading, she was 18. Believe me, her story is much more complex and mystical then my retelling!

Renée at No Water River will be posting this week's Round-Up, please stop by!