Monday, August 25, 2014

A Gathering of Spirits

I can’t explain it. I couldn’t if I tried
How the only things we carry
Are the things we hold inside
~Carrie Newcomer

A song for Katherine R. this morning in the hopes that it will be a little comforting:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Swap Poems

The Summer Swap 2014 poets were very entertaining, thoughtful, clever givers, as you can see from the poems below. Thank you to Irene, Keri, and Robyn letting me share these!

Summer Poem Swap
by Irene Latham
for Tabatha

Poems flip-flop
across 13 states,
dive into the hands

                         of poets

who savor words
the way wind
relishes treetops.

the poems arrive

other times
they belly-flop,
meaty as pork chops.

Each poem quenches
like a fat raindrop's

Why, oh why
does the swap
have to stop?


Victoria Inner Harbour Panorama 2012 by Gord McKenna

by Keri Collins Lewis
for Tabatha Yeatts

screech high above
mercurial waters
as the ferry slips into place:


by Robyn Hood Black

Twas breakfast, and the slimikin cur
Did tremefy the gray cat away:
All mowburnt was the bacon
All misqueme, the one who groaks
"Beware the scelidate, my son!
Epalpebrate, with kexy fur!
Beware the aquabib, and shun
the crebritous rogitator!"

* Or "Watch Out for the Small Dog Who Begs at the Table"
(thanks/apologies to Lewis Carroll and Tabatha's "Pets in the Kitchen" series)

Lucy, wondering whether she misquemed the cat

(Note from Tabatha: Maybe I should mention that one of the optional prompts was to use obsolete words in your poem? Linda shared my crazy obsolete word poems.)

slimikin - small and slender
tremefy - to cause to tremble
mowburnt - spoiled by becoming overheated
misqueme - to displease, to offend
groak - to silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them
scelidate - having legs
epalpebrate - lacking eyebrows
kexy - dry, brittle, withered
aquabib - water-drinker
crebrity - frequency, period between two occurrences
rogitate - to ask frequently


Irene is our Poetry Friday host today. Hope you are feeling better soon, Robyn!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cloaks, No Dagger

Good words do more than hard speeches, as the sunbeams, without any noise, will make the traveler cast off his cloak, which all the blustering winds could not do, but only make him bind it closer to him.
~Robert Leighton

Today we have cloaks and robes (and a coat).

Kurd Man
by Max Karl Tilke
National Museum of Georgia

Color lithograph depicting nineteenth century General Manuel Pavia y Lacy (1814-1896), Marquis of Novaliches, clad in the ceremonial robe and mantle of the Royal and Military Order of San Fernando, popularly known as Laureate of San Fernando Cruz

Inverness Coat, 1901
Men's Fashion Illustration from the Turn of the Century
Reprint by Dover Publications, 1990

A cloak was the third item of dress in a man's ensemble at the end of the 16th century. It was worn with a doublet and trunk hose.

Count Mollien in Napoleonic court costume
by Robert Lefèvre

Sir Nicholas Vansittart
by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Ludwig II portrait
by Gabriel Schachinger

Koorkap kaproen

Previous clothing-related posts include men's accessories, DIY costumes, and beads.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Honey With Poems In It

Flüssiges Gold by Maja Dumat

Today's poem was written by Su Shi more than nine hundred years ago. The Mountain Songs Chinese poetry website explains that Su Shi was friends with a monk poet named Zhongshu: "Before becoming a monk, Zhongshu...had taken a wife. However, he found it impossible to stay at home, and one day his angry wife poisoned his meat. Zhongshu nearly died but cured himself by eating honey, which he continued to do for the rest of his life. Furthermore, doctors warned him that if he even touched meat again, the poison would reactivate and he would be dead. On hearing this, Zhongshu decided that he might as well become a monk." Su Shi wrote a number of poems for Zhongshu, including "Song of the Honey-eating Old Man from Anzhou."

Song of the Honey-eating Old Man from Anzhou
by Su Shi, 1036-1101

The old fellow of Anzhou has a mind as resolute as iron
But still manages to retain the tongue of a child.
He will not touch the five grains, but eats only honey:
Smiling, he points to the bees and calls them his "donors"!
The honey he eats contains a poetry men do not understand:
But the myriad flowers and grasses vie to transport it.
The old fellow sips and savors and then spits out poems,
Poems designed to entice the ill "children" of the world.
When the children taste his poems, it is like tasting honey,
And that honey is a cure for the hundred ills.
Just when they are madly rushing about grasping at straws,
Smiling, they read his poems and all their cares vanish!
Master Dongpo has always treated others with fairness
But still there are some who like him and some who don't!
Like a tea that some find bitter and other sweet,
And unlike honey, which tastes sweet to everyone.
So, Sir, I am sending you a round cake of Double Dragon tea:
Which, if held up to a mirror, will reflect the two dragons.
Though Wu during the sixth month is as hot as boiling water,
This old man's mind is as cool as the Double Dragon Well!

Translated by Beata Grant


The Poetry Friday round-up is at My Juicy Little Universe.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Francisco de Zurbarán

Only the poet or the saint can water an asphalt pavement in the confident anticipation that lilies will reward his labour.
~W. Somerset Maugham

Art by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) today. I like Zurbarán's colors, textures, and the bits of narrative he includes in the portraits.

The Child Virgin Asleep
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Francis in Meditation
by Francisco de Zurbarán

The Burial of St Catherine
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Andrew
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Ambrosius
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Dorothea

Saint Lawrence
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Engratia
by Francisco de Zurbarán

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sonnet XVII

Like many people who only knew Robin Williams through his work, I have been shedding tears for him in the past day. Was it his vulnerability that enabled him to touch his audience so deeply?

Robin Williams chose a number of films that had poetry in them one way or other. The most obvious is Dead Poets' Society, but there were also poems in Awakenings and Patch Adams. Perhaps others, too? I saw the clips of the sonnet Williams reads in Patch Adams and the second clip made me cry (he's reading it in a cemetery). I'm not going to share that clip here, both because I don't want to make anybody cry and because I don't think the producers want the clip around. But here's the poem:

Sonnet XVII
by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Metropole Orkest

Metropole Orkest is a jazz and pop orchestra based in the Netherlands.