Thursday, June 17, 2021

Poetry Friday: Summer Song by William Carlos Williams



June is slipping away amidst some major busy-ness and plenty of heat. Somehow the last two weeks of Poetry Friday slipped away from me too. I'm happy to be back with this short one from William Carlos Williams.


Summer Song

by William Carlos Williams 


Wanderer moon

smiling a

faintly ironical smile

at this

brilliant, dew-moistened

summer morning,—

a detached

sleepily indifferent

smile, a

wanderer's smile,—

if I should

buy a shirt

your color and

put on a necktie

sky-blue

where would they carry me?


(This poem is in the public domain.) 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Poetry Friday: Jane Hirschfield

I came across this piece — Spiritual Poetry: 22 poems about spirituality and enlightenment— by Jane Hirschfield and got lost in it. She groups the poems into categories, "gates" that she calls, "points of entry into spiritual life." 

Her gates: 

  • Permeability 
  • The Great Yes 
  • Issa's Cricket 
  • Horace's Zen 
  • Four Poets, One Theme: Spiritual Residence 
  • Four Poets, One Theme: Abundance 
  • Longing 
  • Spiritual Dialogue 
  • Realization 

She includes an expanse of poets from such varying times, places, and spaces that the result is a feeling of being in the room and sharing your sturdy and fragile humanity with the most interesting people you know. 

Here's an example of one of the poems she chose to convey "Abundance":


Of all that God has shown me

I can speak just the smallest word,

Not more than a honey bee

Takes on his foot

From an overspilling jar. 

    ~ Mechtild of Magdeburg (13th century) [translated by Jane Hirshfield]


Enjoy getting lost with me as you wander in and out of Hirschfield's gates


~~~~~~~~~~

Michelle Kogan has the roundup today. 


Photo courtesy of Daria-Yakovleva at Pixabay

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Poetry Friday: Congratulations to Marvelous Mary Lee!


Mary Lee Hahn is retiring and the whole Poetry Friday-o-sphere is congratulating, celebrating, and honoring this queen among poets, teachers, and PF schedulers/organizers. 

I've known Mary Lee online for a longish time. I think I started participating in Poetry Friday in 2006 or 2007, and I'm sure I "met" her early on. We've never met in person, but I've visited her online home so many times that I know I can kick off my shoes when I'm visiting and spending time with this kindred spirit. 

In honor of Marvelous Mary Lee, I'm sharing a few haiku that I wrote for her. Congratulations, friend, on a marvelous career. May retirement bring you new poetic joys! 

~~~~~~~~~~


Poet Mary Lee: 
a teacher, mentor, and friend,
crafter of wordscapes. 

An original. 
Empathy and compassion, 
evident always. 

Scheduler for all. 
So kind when I am tardy 
for PF sign-up. 

Mary Lee retire? 
Congratulations, but please ... 
don't go far away? 


~~~~~~~~~~


Friday, May 14, 2021

Poetry Friday: Hope is the thing with feathers


Light beginning to dawn 
after the long night of Covid. 
Family fully vaxxed. 
I still gasp at this truth. 
Daughters seeing their grandparents.
Me, seeing my parents, 
alive and walking and talking, 
after Covid maimed and 
nearly claimed them. 
Recovery. Light. Daybreak. 
Creation. 

It's been an outlandish year, 
unquestionably.  
But also a bizarre few years. 
It's all just life, yes. 
Still, life leaves its mark. 
One thing 
after another
after another 
after another 
has changed me, affected me, 
silenced me, touched me, 
spoken to me. 
As a writer, a poet, 
a human, a mother, a wife, 
friend, sister, aunt. 
Dawn returns, that's an eternal truth. 
Beginnings. 
A time to stretch 
and reclaim what's been lost.


 And now it's time for Emily. 


Hope is the thing with feathers 


Hope is the thing with feathers - 
That perches in the soul - 
And sings the tune without the words - 
And never stops - at all - 
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard - 
And sore must be the storm - 
That could abash the little Bird 
That kept so many warm - 
I’ve heard it in the chillest land - 
And on the strangest Sea - 
Yet - never - in Extremity, 
It asked a crumb - of me.

(This poem is in the public domain.) 

~~~~~~~~~~

The Poetry Friday round-up today is being hosted by the incomparable Irene Latham, at Live Your Poem



Photo thanks to fokustier at Pixabay

Friday, April 30, 2021

Poetry Friday: Spring Morning by Marion Strobel



Spring mornings — they're in full swing here and I couldn't be more gleeful. I used to think of autumn as my favorite season, and maybe I still do. There's nothing like that first moment when you sense the heat of summer breaking apart, its shell cracking, and you embrace the respite to come, the cool breezes that will revive your summer-wilted self.

But the promises that come with spring offer a unique form of happiness. Everything is fresh and expansive, everything is possible. Both seasons offer their own brand of rebirth. A chance to embrace enormous changes, to dream up a future that looks different, could be different, will be different. 

"O day — if I could cup my hands and drink of you," wrote Marion Strobel. Today is such a day. And everything in a weary world is possible. 


Read more about Marion Strobel here

Spring Morning
by Marion Strobel

O day—if I could cup my hands and drink of you,
And make this shining wonder be
A part of me!
O day! O day!
You lift and sway your colors on the sky
Till I am crushed with beauty. Why is there
More of reeling sunlit air
Than I can breathe? Why is there sound
In silence? Why is a singing wound
About each hour?
And perfume when there is no flower?
O day! O Day! How may I press
Nearer to loveliness?

(This poem is in the public domain.)


~~~~~~~~~~

The Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme


Photo credit: jggrz, Pixabay

Friday, April 23, 2021

Poetry Friday: Dear Poet

 



"I think it is important to be reminded every once in a while that there are 
all kinds of beings having all sorts of experiences that are different from mine." 



"When I put words down on a page, I am listening to their music, their rhythms 
and quiet places, their moods. A poem on the page is like sheet music: it's the score 
for an experience that happens only once it's been played. The instrument is the 
reader's own life and tongue and ears. And just as with music, the poem is never 
exactly the same." 

Jane Hirshfield, in response to Zoe 


(These excerpts are part of the "Dear Poet" collection at Poets.org.) 


I didn't have anything planned for Poetry Friday today. April is National Poetry Month and I always have such good intentions. As much as I love poetry, you'd think I'd carve out the time to do something unique and noteworthy for NPM but I always end up being so busy in April. I'm usually teaching for Brave Writer, I'm currently writing another book, and then there's all the other minutiae of life that seems to expand to fill time, no matter how much I try to simplify. I'm resigned to being an NPM failure of sorts. 

This morning, I had the familiar, Oh-my-gosh-it's-already-Poetry-Friday-again feeling. Maybe I'll do something for Poetry Friday related to my birthday, (which is this weekend), I thought. That would be fun and different. Or maybe I'll write something about being too busy to tackle National Poetry Month in precisely the way it deserves to be tackled. 

At Poets.org, I typed "busyness" into the search bar. That circuitously led me to the beauty of the "Dear Poet" series, specifically to a set of letters written in April of 2016 to Jane Hirshfield. Even more specifically and serendipitously, I landed on a letter from a girl named Zoe, written on my birthday five years ago, to Hirshfield, who sent Zoe a lovely reply, which I hope and have a feeling will be treasured forever by a certain former ninth-grader. 

Zoe is probably in college now, and I hope she is still writing to poets. I'm still busy, still teaching and writing, but somehow Zoe, Jane Hirshfield, and I met at an intersection today. Poetry has a magical way of bringing people together and sparking unexpected conversations. Today, Zoe and Jane have me pondering "all kinds of beings having all sorts of experiences that are different from mine," and "the score for an experience that happens only once it's been played." They've got me thinking about the nature of busyness, and the beauty of solitude, of a thing that "slips into the heart/without hurry, as if it had never been." 


To read the poem that prompted Zoe to write to Jane Hirshfield, go here, 

Go here for all the 2016 "Dear Poet" letters, and see one from an eleventh-grade girl who begins, "I feel that you are the kind of person who would understand what it's like to be overwhelmed by the very act of being."


~~~~~~~~~~


The roundup this week is at Reading to the Core


(Photo courtesy of Erik Karits at Unsplash.) 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Poetry Friday: The round-up is at Jama Rattigan's place

 

My day is packed, so no time to even throw together a post. Fortunately, though, Jama is in charge of all-things-poetry this week and you can visit her for the round-up at: 


Enjoy the feast! 


Thursday, April 08, 2021

Poetry Friday: Today by Billy Collins


Soon, so very soon, I want a day such as this one. 



Today 
 by Billy Collins 

 If ever there were a spring day so perfect, 
 so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze 
 that it made you want to throw 
 open all the windows in the house 
 and unlatch the door to the canary's cage, 
 indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
....

 (Read the rest here, at the Poetry Foundation.) 

~~~~~~~~~~

The anything-but-indifferent Tabatha is hosting the round-up this week 

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Happy Easter!


After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
And behold, there was a great earthquake;
for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
His appearance was like lightning
and his clothing was white as snow.
The guards were shaken with fear of him
and became like dead men.
Then the angel said to the women in reply,
“Do not be afraid!
I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.
Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples,
‘He has been raised from the dead,
and he is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him.’
Behold, I have told you.”
Then they went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce this to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”

~~ Mt 28:1-10


Painting: Bouguereau, The Three Marys at the Tomb

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Poetry Friday: Don't Go Into the Library


I'm not sure what got me started on the library love this week, except for the fact that I'm never far from library love. I grew up going to the library with my mother, my sister, and my brother, I went to the library as a young adult. When I became a mother, I took my babies/toddlers/children/teens to the library. One of my daughters is a librarian, and I still, naturally, of course, obviously, go to the library. 

"The library is the book of books," Alberto Ríos says. The library is my enormous, never-to-be-completely-conquered-but-that's-okay TBR list. 

And I must share this Lit Hub must-read: "How a Year Without My Library Has Changed Me":



Don’t Go Into the Library


The library is dangerous—
Don’t go in. If you do

You know what will happen.
It’s like a pet store or a bakery—

Every single time you’ll come out of there
Holding something in your arms.

(Read the rest here, at Poets.org.) 


~~~~~~~~~~

 The Poetry Friday roundup this week is at Susan's Bruck's place, Soul Blossom Living

(Image by TuendeBede from Pixabay)

Friday, March 19, 2021

Poetry Friday: The Daylight Savings Time Blues


If I weren't sleep-deprived (courtesy of everyone's favorite time of year) I would have composed an original poem and called it "The Daylight Savings Time Blues." Maybe I'll be capable of doing that next week. Maybe

In the meantime, someone else's ode to sleep will have to do. Thank you, Frank Mitalsky. 



Sleep
by Frank Mitalsky 

The thing that I would keep and keep 
 The dearest thing to me, is sleep. 
 Sleep that comes like waving wheat, 
 And bounds away on rabbit-feet. 
 Sleep fragrant as an angel's breath, 
That swings so near, so far, from death.

~~~~~~~~~~

Lovely Linda at TeacherDance has the Poetry Friday round up today. 


(Photo courtesy of Jay Mantri at Pixabay.) 

Friday, March 05, 2021

Poetry Friday: William Carlos Williams, Spring and All


Atticus suggested this one last week but I was in a Billy Collins mood. (Honestly, though, when am I not in a Billy Collins mood?) This week, though, felt like a spring-and-all week, with its combination of blue and cloudy skies, chilly winds, a March thaw, and the promise of quickening. 

Spring and All (By the road to the contagious hospital) 

I

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

(Read the rest here, at Poets.org.) 

~~~~~~~~~~

Be sure to congratulate her on her latest picture book, The Bird in the Herd

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Poetry Friday: I'm hosting!


No matter what is happening in your life today, I prescribe a little Billy Collins. He makes everything better, including being as old as Cheerios.

There is something utterly charming about Billy Collins discovering that he was as old as this humble, reliable cereal. He made me want to go in search of products that are my age. I'm not quite as old as Cheerios, but I did find out I am as old as: 

the Etch a Sketch
Chatty Cathy 
Bubble Wrap
Starburst candy 
Six-pack rings 

I am the same age as the Etch a Sketch. 
(Indeed, I am a few months older than the Etch a Sketch.)

There may be a poem in this. I'll keep you posted. 

Cheerios
by Billy Collins 

One bright morning in a restaurant in Chicago
as I waited for my eggs and toast,
I opened the Tribune only to discover
that I was the same age as Cheerios.

Indeed, I was a few months older than Cheerios


~~~~~~~~~~

I'm hosting the round-up! 

Leave your link and, if you like, let me know about something that was invented or introduced the year you were born. :)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Bits and Pieces of Our Days


 “I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” 

— Blaise Pascal


* A year ago on Valentine's Day I didn't know what was coming. (Well, I guess by then we'd all heard of the coronavirus entering the country but I was still naive enough or stupid enough or hopeful enough to think it would be handled well and contained.) On this day last year I was blogging about creating black-out poetry, because I never have a lot to say about Valentine's Day. Atticus and I often forget that Valentine's Day is approaching, though we've always bought chocolate for our daughters because any occasion calling for chocolate will be observed in the Edmisten household. Our anniversary is at the end of January so we've just finished trying to figure out when to schedule the celebration of that (because —hello! — school year in full swing and National Honor Society induction meetings and speech season and my schedule in addition to his ... you get the picture) when Valentine's Day rolls around and we're left looking at each other and saying, "Again? We just celebrated our love, for Pete's sake. Now we have to come up with another creative observance?" 

Okay, we've never actually said that but that's how it feels. It's not that we don't like romance. We just don't like having it dictated to us on a timetable. I'm a Questioner (thanks, Gretchen Rubin, for coming up with the Four Tendencies. I kind of love you for this.)  Questioners need to have reasons to do things and I've always rebelled against being told I should express my love for my husband in a certain way on a certain day. I'm always perfectly happy to express my love for Atticus on Valentine's Day, but my rebel wing bristles a little at the world saying I should

Anyway, here we are on Valentine's Day, 2021, and Atticus and I told each other not to do anything at all. "Nothing, do you hear me?" He said he heard me but he also bought me a little box of chocolates and gave me a homemade Valentine. I gave him a card and told him he should buy that Wallace Stevens biography that he wants. 

So, happy feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Atticus. 

~~~~~~~~~~

* Recent reading: 

The Seven-and-a-half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (fun distraction) 

Life is in the Transitions by Bruce Feiler (a number of interesting stories about just how non-linear life is) 

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (took a little bit to get into it but it ended up being very Backman-ish in its blend of humor and poignancy.) 


The pandemic robbed me of the joy of reading for a while but I've been getting back into a groove, I'm happy to report. 


Favorite reads from late 2020 that I probably haven't mentioned here: 

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (haunting and stunning) 

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (she writes of grief with such piercing truth) 


 Book recommendations? 


~~~~~~~~~~


* December and January were a blur of Covid-related sadness and shock, prayers, practical attending to my parents, coming to grips with their reality, near-daily surprises and difficult decisions about their conditions, and re-learning that miracles happen. The blur this week is one of preparation: they are going home! My father, since early December, has spent time in a hospital, then a specialty hospital, and then a skilled care facility while my mother has been in a skilled care facility for the last six weeks. They are returning home, not unscathed by Covid, but with hope for the years to come. I am grateful beyond words. 

All in all, not a bad Valentine's Day gift. 




Friday, February 12, 2021

Poetry Friday: Frank O'Hara's "Having a Coke with You"



This seems like just the right poem for saying happy anniversary (our 37th last month) and happy Valentine's Day to Atticus. We've been having Cokes together for over 40 years, so I guess this thing is going to last. 



Having a Coke with You

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, 
Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in 
Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier 
St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for 
yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people 
and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything 
as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in

(Read the rest here, at Poets.org.) 

~~~~~~~~~~


The round up is being hosted by Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone

(Photo courtesy of Athena at Pexels.)