Featuring cherita!

August 30, 2018

Poetry Friday--Memento Mori

Memento Mori is translated from the Latin as "remember death."

Remember that you, too, will die. Remember that death is part of the circle of life. Remember those people death has taken from you.

It is not, as one may hasten to conclude, a depressing topic for short form poetry!

There is an interesting discussion about death haiku, which you can find at Charlotte Digregorio's blog where she has an interview with Robert Epstein. Epstein's new book is Checkout Time is Soon. It is a follow-up to Checkout Time is Noon. None of the sample haiku included with the post strike me as depressing. In fact, the one that begins "packing..." is quite funny! (Read more about Epstein and death poems here.)

I write about death all the time, although, if I write haiku, its brevity can lead to interpretations other than death. It all depends upon the reader and his or her own life experience. Here's an example from 2015:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


words not needed
the tempo of her rocking
delivers the news

I'm also fond of haunting (pun intended) graveyards. Visiting a well-kept cemetery is like spending time in a little-used park--peaceful and a great place to wander. I enjoy reading about the lives summarized on gravestones, and speculating about the true stories. Here are two graveyard poems from my files:

From 2017:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


a dusting of snow changes
one's perspective

From 2014:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


followed by
a swarm of
I read the dates
on the headstones
one after another

I find it interesting that when I wrote this, four years ago, I had never heard of the cherita form. I have since adopted the cherita as my form of choice. This poem, with a minimum of tweaking, could easily be a cherita! (If you're unfamiliar with the form, you'll find a definition on the right-hand side of the page near the top.)

The following I wrote recently. I used a photo I had taken in 2008 at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, MA. I was doing research at the time for a subject in Women of the Bay State, Mary Eliza Mahoney. Mahoney was a child of freed slaves, was the first black woman in the U. S. to receive professional nurses training (graduated in 1879). She was buried in Woodlawn and I took photos of her monument for possible use in the book. While there, I took a gazillion photos of other markers and things that I found interesting. I've been using them as inspiration ever since.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


old graveyard

the littlest souls
with little markers

a marble lamb
remembrance of a child
too young for a name

Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge is hosting the Round-Up this week. Be sure to stop by!

August 28, 2018

Haiku Sticky #468

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


morning walk:
orange butterfly
against a blue sky
no summer jewel
unaccounted for

August 26, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


my mind's eye
can't match the clarity of
this summer day

August 23, 2018

Poetry Friday--Surprise! A Goose.

Two weeks ago I issued a poetry challenge. Using an image of an animal from the Library of Congress photo collection as inspiration, participants were asked to write a poem. Today is the unveiling of the virtual gallery titled, "Surprise! A Goose."

The poems are divided into three sections, "Feathered," "Furred," and "Feared." I know it's perpetuating a stereotype, but reptiles and insects do have a long-standing reputation, and, the alliteration was too good to ignore. Creatures of the sea, too, would be in the "Feared" section--just think sharks, electric eels, and stingrays--pretty scary!

Thank you to all the Poetry Friday peeps who helped make this exhibit a reality!


Kay McGriff sent a cherita (she also used the same image for a haiku, seen here):

© Kay Jernigan McGriff, all rights reserved. "Chickens. 1" L. Prang & Co..

It's no surprise that Donna Smith, who lives in Maine, found a seagull photo to be inspiring:

© Donna J. T. Smith, all rights reserved. "Aboard a trawler. Selecting fish and cutting off heads. Only mackerel, whiting and occasional flounder or halibut are kept. Thrown from trough into ice-filled hold. Fish heads and non-marketable fish are thrown into sea above which hundreds of seagulls wait hungrily. Provincetown, Massachusetts" by Edwin Rosskam (1937).

Michelle Kogan picked a beautiful American night heron:

© Michelle Kogan, all rights reserved. "American night heron" Edgar Alexander Mearns (1887)..

Here's one of mine:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Trochilidae. - Kolibris" by Ernest Haeckel (1904).

Carol Varsalona, who like Donna Smith, lives near the ocean, also found a seagull picture to inspire her. She explains what she did:
I paired a 1907 stereopticon card from LOC...with a current photo of a seagull on Long Island's south shore. I was going to try a cherita but that will have to wait. I digitized the two to give the image a feel for what a stereopticon card looks like but with a twist (Then and Now).

© Carol Varsalona, all rights reserved. "Santa Catalina Island in the Pacific - Seagulls at rest in foreground" (1907)..


Tabatha Yeatts sent a delightful poem based upon the story of the first aerial flight. I've included her explanatory matter.

"Vincent Lunardi, Esqr., his dog & his cat" (1784)..
Here's some info from Wikipedia to go with the illo:

There was a flying craze in France and Scotland with James Tytler, Scotland's first aeronaut and the first Briton to fly, but even so and after a year since the invention of the balloon, the English were still skeptical, and so George Biggin and 'Vincent' Lunardi, "The Daredevil Aeronaut", together decided to demonstrate a hydrogen balloon flight at the Artillery Ground of the Honourable Artillery Company in London on 15 September 1784. His balloon was later exhibited at the Pantheon in Oxford Street.

However, because the 200,000 strong crowd (which included eminent statesmen and the Prince of Wales) had grown very impatient, the young Italian had to take off without his friend Biggin, and with a bag that was not completely inflated, but he was accompanied by a dog, a cat and a caged pigeon. The flight from the Artillery Ground travelled in a northerly direction towards Hertfordshire, with Lunardi making a stop in Welham Green, where the cat was set free as it seemed airsick, before eventually bringing the balloon to rest in Standon Green End. The road junction in Welham Green near to the site Lunardi made his first stop is called Balloon Corner to this day to commemorate the landing.


In carriages, on boats --I'd travelled before --
the marks of my claws could be seen on table legs
far and wide, but what could prepare me for riding
in the air? Your stomach moves when you are at
sea and I might have flung some half-digested
trout back where it came from, but when your
whiskers flick a sky-lofted wind, you're like a bit
of fur with no meat, a feather let loose from its
bird. The fierce and fearsome shaking in my
innards only stopped when I was paws in
the dirt, nose to the grass. A cat likes to
know where

© Tabatha Yeatts-Lonske, all rights reserved.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "A red fox prowls for voles, hidden beneath the snow, in Yellowstone National Park in the western U.S. state of Wyoming" by Carol M. Highsmith (1874).


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Bee Motel sign, Route 2, Havre, Montana" by John Margolies (1987).

Margaret Simon had a goose poem with its Library of Congress inspiration photo on her blog last Friday and today, she is playing Round-Up host at Reflections on the Teche. She awaits your visit!

August 21, 2018

Haiku Sticky #467

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


just the one red leaf, but
the future is told

August 19, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Chipmunk and ferns" by Olive E. Whitney [1874].


sparrows keep their distance

chipmunk stands front and center:
chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp

her Greek chorus cheeps from behind
the audience of one indoor cat
chatters in frenzied excitement

August 16, 2018

Poetry Friday--Bird Challenge

Christie at Wondering and Wondering is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up for today. Two Fridays ago, in preparing for her hosting stint, she issued a call for bird poems to be posted today. I wrote a cherita, inspired by an old illustration found on the Library of Congress website, to meet the challenge. It's not a particularly happy poem, and I actually feel bad about posting it. Apples will be here soon and we'll be rushing headlong through fall and into winter. The non-migratory sparrows always break my heart during particularly harsh spells. I'm uplifted, though, by their constancy and willingness to sing all year round.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. I combined and edited this illustration, and this photo, both from the Library of Congress.


house sparrow knows

apples once ripened
fall to the ground

windows then close
on crumb-bearing boys
and comes the starving time

I posted a challenge last week for you to pick an image of an animal from the Library of Congress collection and using it as inspiration, write a poem. I will display challenge poems here next week in a virtual exhibition titled, "Surprise! A Goose." Remember to send your poem and the link to the inspiration image by next Tuesday for posting on Friday, August 24. [dianemayrATdianemayrDOTcom] You are always free to add your poem to the comments section, too. Read more about the challenge here.

August 14, 2018

Haiku Sticky #466

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


steaming manholes
...city's summer visitors
hotfoot across the street

August 12, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

Generally I find aphids repulsive, but these red ones, against the green, made me rethink my position!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


summer garden

red aphids
are actually perfect

when one thinks
in terms of the
color wheel

August 9, 2018

Poetry Friday--Library of Congress Challenge

When I don't have a photo of my own to illustrate a poem, or if I'm in need of a subject to write on, I often turn to the Library of Congress collection of photographs. They have 14 million photographs! Currently, an exhibit curated by Anne Wilkes Tucker, is appearing at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, CA. The exhibit contains a selection of 440 LOC photos. They are projected digitally, or appear in gallery print format, for the exhibition titled, "Not an Ostrich." (Margaret Simon, if you're reading this, take a look here for the photo that inspired the exhibition title.)

For today, I've chosen a Library of Congress photo in the public domain (rights information is included on the image description page), which I've paired with a cherita.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Geese on the farm of a French-Canadian potato farmer in Soldier Pond, Maine" by Jack Delano (1940).

The New Flock: The Riddle in the Pun

One day the chicken
jumped out of the way
of a sickening array
of hell-bent and honking,
frantic, full-feathered fowl.

"Who are they?" she shrieked.
"Answer! Answer me, Farmer!"

"My clever chick!" said Farmer.
"You ansered your own question!"

He went on to advise her,
"Don't get in a tizzy!
They only get hissy
when you stand in the
way of their supper."

Anser anser domesticus is the scientific name of the domestic goose!

I'm posting a challenge for you to visit the LOC collection of images find an animal, and use it as inspiration for a poem of your own. Perhaps the easiest way to do that is to decide on a particular animal, for example, I selected "goose," then put the name in the search box. "Goose" resulted in 287 images ("geese" returned 121, there is significant overlap). Some of the hits are photos, some are drawings, some are photos of a baseball player whose first name is Goose. For the purposes of this challenge, use whatever strikes you as being poem-worthy!

Come back on August 24 where I'll have "mounted" a virtual exhibition of participants' work. I've decided to title it, "Surprise! A Goose." Let me know in the comments if you're interested, and if so, email a link to the LOC image and include the poem by Tuesday, August 21 [dianemayrATdianemayrDOTcom]. Or, if you combine the poem with the image, send me the LOC link plus the jpg for your project. Let's do it--it'll be fun! If no one participates, it's going to be just geese poems, so please anser my challenge! Please note: I'm be traveling this week, so I may not acknowledge your email for several days.

And, if you're participating in Christie Wyman's bird challenge--do a LOC search, find a bird image, and then use your poem for both challenges! You'll kill two birds with one poem! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone is this week's Round-Up hostess!

August 7, 2018

Haiku Sticky #465

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


a simple request
honey on buttered toast
...last day

August 5, 2018

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.


trip to the library

yes, it's a cliché, but a book
extended my visit

to a mountainside
and along the harrowing
sharp edge of malevolence

August 3, 2018

Poetry Friday--Spark Postcard Exchange

July was another Spark postcard exchange. This time round, though, I didn't pick a summmer/nature theme to work from. Much of the early part of the summer was spent in outrage over a number of issues that affect the present and future of our country. I'm not one to shy away from politics in my poetry, but, if you prefer to stay away from the political, you'd best stop reading now and come back next week.

I picked the Statue of Liberty as my unifying theme and wrote and illustrated four postcards to send. The illustrations use photos and graphics in the public domain, and as you can tell, I have cropped, altered, and combined them for my purposes.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


changing conditions

it's not easy to continue
standing watch

her torch's light
scatters in the fog
her eyes no longer see

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Why do we want these people from all these shithole countries here? We should have more people from places like Norway.

~ Donald J. Trump, January 11, 2018


Can he not see
the woman isn't
white, but green?

The copper mines
of Norway supplied
Lady Liberty's skin.

A veneer to protect
regulate and enable
a great Lady to feel.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


no safe harbor here

burgeoning lines
and chain link fences

zero tolerance means
we do no heavy lifting--
starting with lamps

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


Statue of Liberty

Her outer appearance
Her inner scaffolding
Might it only take
insatiable rat to
away her foundation?

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading will be hosting this week's Round-Up. She awaits your visit!