as lovely as a tree, rooted in the earth, reaching towards the heavens
as enchanting as an ash, central column of life, cosmic axis
as captivating as cherry, awakening the magic of spring
as handsome as the beech, guardian of knowledge, wisdom writing words
as magical as an elder, conjuring, healing, restoring life
as stately as oak, enduring portal, shelter, protection and door
as graceful as a willow, mirroring the moon, fulfilling wishes
as dazzling as holly, solstice companion, glow piercing winter’s grey
as simple as the arbor, center and pivot, beginning and end
The last Friday is April is Arbor Day, a day to celebrate trees. From cosmic axis to shelter for fairies, trees have always been honored by humans in stories and myth, symbols of life and rebirth, connecting, protecting and healing.
The photos were taken when I visited the Jewish Museum in March; the colorful geometry of the window decorations caught my eye first, but then the reflections of the trees across the street in Central Park worked their own magic.
The poem combines two NaPoWriMo prompts: long 17-syllable lines from day 27, and using a line or phrase from another poem to begin your own from day 25. Raise your hand if you had to memorize Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees” in elementary school! Permanently embedded in my brain, “lovely as a tree” seemed perfect for Arbor Day.
When you go out today, instead of keeping your eyes on your device, look around and take in the beauty and majesty of trees.
of games, Bronx Sultan of Swat:
Forever The Babe
Echoing my post from yesterday a bit: it’s always a good day to celebrate baseball. And who deserves a day of celebration more than Babe Ruth? George Herman Ruth put up stats as both hitter and pitcher that still stand in the top 10 of all time, and he did it while maintaining a famous appetite for good food with a physique to match.
Fat Cats crushed the House
That You Built, casting shadows
of shoes still unfilled
My haiku draws its inspiration from the NaWriPoMo prompt from way back on day 20 to include kennings (a phrase that describes something without using its actual name) in a poem. Baseball is full of them.
Let’s hope today finds us all batting 1000.
my thoughts trip, whiffling
through rivers melting in air,
shunting the edges,
vagrant from ideas not
born of determinate lines
to glaucous vision, but fledged
in fire, the eye caught
in a jizz of mimetic
trills from a long-addled mind
It’s the birthday of John James Audubon, master bird artist. To celebrate, I made a loose copy of one of the birds in his black billed magpie painting, and finally answered the day 17 prompt from NaPoWriMo to use 10 words from a specialized dictionary in my poem. Killing two birds with one stone (so to speak), I also used this week’s words from The Secret Keeper.
(5) Words: | TRIP | FIRE | RIVER | EYE | MELT |
It’s always a good day to celebrate birds!
The words from birdcare.com’s Find a Bird Dictionary:
whiffling: descending rapidly from a height once the decision to land has been made, involving fast side-slipping first one way and then the other.
shunting: moving fitfully along a coastline instead of striking out over the sea
vagrant: a bird which wanders to a particular area if its orientation is at fault or adverse winds drive it off course but in normal circumstances would not be found there at all
determinate: a species in which the female usually produces a fixed number of eggs in the clutch
conspecific: belonging to the same species.
fledged: a young bird which has just left the nest (‘fledged’)
jizz: the overall impression which a bird gives an observer, enabling an experienced birdwatcher at least to suspect its identity, even if plumage details and other diagnostic features cannot be seen. Jizz consists of a combination of colour, size, shape and movement
mimetic: mimicking sounds
addled: failing to hatch
trills: a rapid succession of similar notes
What kind of alive am I?
Each morning, nothing new:
I drink coffee, I drift into the usual black.
Can I change into colorful costumes? Can I?
Today a gypsy, perhaps a fortune teller too,
surprise myself and try something new,
an animal, a vegetable, an entire zoo:
I could become the old lady who
doesn’t care what other people think or do.
I could ignore them and be free
of any laughter or unkind words that come my way.
Can I sing and dance too?
Be the mask and have the mask be true?
Words have feelings,
and feelings have words:
but both need to sing
and both to begin
without self-censorship or fear.
Innocent joy: I want to
find that lost
forgotten what to do.
I’m not sure how
to make this change of black to red or blue.
Yet it’s false, not right
to pretend I couldn’t choose
if I wanted to.
I could give out rainbows;
I could create a few.
Today is selfie day, and not only have I channeled my inner Man Ray once again for self-portrait #14 in my 100 Self-Portraits series, I’ve channeled my inner Delmore Schwartz for a riff on his poem “I am Cherry Alive“. When I found the print out above from a long ago Illustrator class that used Schwartz’s work as a source , I knew where this selfie-with-poem was going.
Anyone who knows me is aware that 90% of my wardrobe is black. It wasn’t always that way though…
In this portrait I tried to give myself a little color, while also honoring the way I might have actually dressed back in the day. No, I don’t think I have the nerve now, but it’s a nice thought!
Delmore Schwartz, supposedly the model for Humboldt in Saul Bellow’s novel “Humboldt’s Gift”, was a gifted New York writer of short stories, poems, and essays, an editor, and also a witty conversationalist. He had early success, but like so many before and after, abused drugs and alcohol and suffered from mental illness in later life. You can read more about him, and read more of his poems, here.
It’s his birthday!
What fools, what fools, what fools these mortals be
what fools to mimic riches glitter fame
what fools to in those masks refinement see
what fools embraceth folly without shame
Where every likeness hath its own deceit
wherein it looketh match to opposite
pretended twin to answer in repeat
the shoe that forceth toes and heel to fit
With voices like to painted artifice
with jaws that stretcheth into polished teeth
with promises that proveth meaningless
duplicity a smile cached underneath
And will the masquerade yet come undone?
I fear the jester killeth us with fun.
Shakespeare knew a few things about fools. With admiration, and as part of my April Fools series, my first ever sonnet.
“Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”
Infinite mystery, spirits in green,
essence enduring connected by roots
of and inside of, devouring with growth.
Silence of green, traced in shadow, unseen
spirits compounding with opening fruit,
mystery hidden, unseasoned, renewed
guardian tree spirit, green giving birth,
swaddled in mystery, nourished with blood.
It’s Earth Day! so some recycled junk mail art seems appropriate. And Green Man, the male counterpart to Mother Earth, is also a perfect subject. Did you know that Robin Hood, Peter Pan, the Green Knight, and Puck all come out of Green Man mythology?
I was lucky enough to attend the first Earth Day in 1970 in Washington DC. I lived near Baltimore at the time, and some friends had been invited to sing at the event. That was 46 years ago–there’s still a lot of work to be done. But we can all help every day by using less, and recycling more.
This card is part of my junk mail art mythology series. The day is part of Doodlewash‘s Month of Celebratory Days. The poem answers two prompts: Writer’s Quote Wednesday, theme “mystery”, sponsored by Silver Threading and Ronovan Writes, and another san san, the challenge this week from Jane Dougherty.
Moon and stars, big and blue the sky–
sleep coming, sleep is coming soon–
wings drift close, shadowing the light.
I wish for wings so I could fly–
touch the stars, touch the shining moon–
map the sky by scattering dreams,
catching the stars to say good night,
sky covered with magic moon beams.
The elementary school my daughters attended celebrated National Poetry Month in a big way. The children read and wrote a lot of verse, and Poem in Your Pocket Day was always fun, as they would pull out favorites to read to their classmates. Last year in April I posted a few of the bookmarks the school made one year with poems and artwork from the students. Both poem and artwork above were inspired by the bookmark below.
I love the images both Kenisha and Keanu used to represent the dreamworld of the night. Both would be in their early 20s now; I hope they are still writing and drawing their worlds. And producing poems from their pockets!
My poem is in the form of a san san, the challenge by Jane Dougherty this week. NaPoWriMo used this form for a prompt too, and I’ve wanted to try it, so thanks Jane for the push!
the site of / lost
secrets laughing / tears revealed
plain words / without embellishment
rocks / melting
now shattered / together
It’s National Look Alike Day, so my original conception was some kind of mirror image collage. Then I started working this week’s The Secret Keeper words into a cleave poem, attempting to incorporate opposite feelings of the words in each side of the poem. I looked for references to illustrate the idea of both the day and the poem.
The results are, as they say, “interesting”. I do like the collage, and I have a pile of twinlike photos to make a series of it if I so desire. The poem? the idea is a good one, but still needs some work I think.
(5) Words: | PLAIN | LAUGH | SITE | ROCK | SECRET |
Robert Earl Keen is a close observer and chronicler of humanity. This blackout poem uses the lyrics of his song “Shades of Gray“, which manages to convey the emotions of the time and place without ever once directly referring to the bombing.
“We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.”
from inside the earth
rebirth transitioning death
answers with echoes
It’s Bat Appreciation Day…a reminder of how vital they are to ecosystems everywhere. Insect control, pollination, and seed dispersal are all important ways that bats help keep the earth in balance. Many bat populations are endangered for the usual reasons: habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting, disease, use of chemicals.
Bats play an important part in story and myth as well. Because they often live in caves and come out at dusk, bats are associated with the ambiguity of night. Western culture tends to give bats an evil shading (think vampires and the wings of devils), but many Asian and Native American cultures associate them with good luck.
Today also marks the celebration of Haiku Poetry Day. How do I know this? Charlie at Doodlewash is sponsoring a month of celebratory days, and he made sure I knew about Haiku Poetry Day for NaPoWriMo.