Monday, June 30, 2014

LIFE OF A POET - VANDANA SHARMA

Up, up and away, my friends, across the skies to the heart of India, a beautiful country I so enjoy visiting vicariously.  This week, we are going to meet with the poet Vandana Sharma, who writes at Eternal Emotions. Get ready for all the wonderful sights and sounds of New Delhi, as our taxi changes from lane to lane, trying to keep up with all of the activity on the street.


·    Sherry: Vandana, so nice to be meeting with you! Please tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you spend your childhood?




Sunday, June 29, 2014

Poetry Pantry #207

Photos from South Africa

   The elephant rehab centre is  near
Kruger National Park. Kerry's daughter and
mother-in-law rode elephants there.

At the cheetah rehab center in the vicinity of the 
town of Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal.

Another taken at the Kwa Cheetah Breeding Program.
Kerry can be seen at the table behind the cheetah.

Drakensberg Escarpment

Drakensberg Mountains -

The Drakensberg mountain range forms the Eastern escarpment of South Africa, 
which rises to 2000 - 3000 km in height - the central region of the country is a great plateau. 




Greetings, Poets!

Oh, these Sundays do come around fast, don't they?

Glad to see each of you here this week for Poetry Pantry.  It is always enjoyable for me to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same.  Admittedly, I personally appreciate those with whom there is a feeling of reciprocity, which makes for a feeling of community.  I think we ALL tend to visit (after a while) people with whom we reciprocate.

This week and next week I am featuring photos shared by Kerry O'Connor, most of  which were taken in the vicinity of the town of Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa,  where she lives.  Ladysmith is a town in the so-called Battlefields area of Kwa-Zulu Natal, as it was the site of a famous siege siege during the Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1900). If you are interested in finding out more about the Kwa Cheetah Breeding Program pictured above, click here.  The photo of the elephant was taken a bit further north.  The photographer  is Kerry's husband, H. J. Clark.

Be sure to visit Poets United tomorrow to see what Sherry Blue Sky  has planned to share.  Will it be a featured poet?  A featured blog?  Or a featured poem?

Glad to see there is always a  great turn-out for Midweek Motif.  We hope to see you this coming week for another challenging prompt by Susan Chast!  (And, ha, perhaps many of you have noticed that if you look at one week's prompt Susan gives  a clue about the following week's prompt as well, so you can get a head start.)

And on Friday, remember to see who Rosemary Nissen-Wade features on "I Wish I Had Written This" or  "The Living Dead."

I issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  There are participants here from many different cities, many different countries.  I think it is great fun to see different areas featured. I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to dixibear@aol.com letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Living Dead


Honouring our poetic ancestors

So We'll Go No More A-Roving
By George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

So we'll go no more a-roving 
So late into the night, 
Though the heart be still as loving, 
And the moon be still as bright. 

For the sword outwears its sheath, 
And the soul outwears the breast, 
And the heart must pause to breathe, 
And love itself have rest. 

Though the night was made for loving, 
And the day returns too soon, 
Yet we'll go no more a-roving 
By the light of the moon. 

I fell in love with this poem when I was a romantic schoolgirl, probably for its music and its muted melancholy. Of the Romantic poets, Byron wasn't my favourite. I think most people now consider Keats to have been the greatest of them, and I agree. I also have a very soft spot for Shelley's passionately freedom-loving voice. However, Byron could certainly make great verbal music. For example (from "The Destruction of Sennacherib"):

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

That stirs even a pacifist like me! It is actually the rhythm of it which so stirs the blood, but I most love the sonorous beauty of the language.

The music of "We'll Go No More A-Roving" is gentler, slower, but just as beautiful.

Now that I am no longer a romantic young girl, I don't think the poet was talking about strolling in the moonlight; and I'm amused to read online interpretations suggesting that the poem refers to scaling back his social life, refusing a few party invitations.

it seems to me that he is making excuses to his lover that he can no longer rise to the occasion, or at least not so often as he used to. Never has it been so prettily expressed!

Handsome Byron seemed the epitome of a romantic poet, and his affairs were scandalous in his day. (The Wikipedia link on his name, above, goes into detail.) He left England to live abroad because his free-living, free loving lifestyle was so disapproved of at home. I think it's rather sweet that even he had to confess to becoming less lustful in middle age, or at any rate less virile.

"It's not your fault, dear," he says. "Your attractions haven't faded. It's just that I'm not as young as I used to be."

Well, that's my interpretation anyway. 

Whether or not you agree, do please enjoy the musical words and lovely metaphors!


You can read more of his poetry at The Poetry Archive or purchase his works via Amazon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Diary Stories

http://www.quotesncaptions.com/anne-frank-quotes-2/

The Diary of a Young Girl 

(better known as The Diary of Anne Frank
was published on the 25th of June 1947.



Midweek Motif ~ Diary Stories

Your Challenge is to create a poem from an entry in a journal, yours or someone else's.  You might also want to reflect on the writer or on the journal.   Or write a poem as if it is a journal entry.

Poetic Inspiration:



You are greater than the Bible
And the Conference of the Birds
And the Upanishads
All put together
You are more severe
Than the Scriptures
And Ham­mura­bi’s Code
More dangerous than Luther’s paper
Nailed to the Cathedral door
You are sweeter
Than the Song of Songs
Mightier by far
Than the Epic of Gilgamesh
And braver
Than the Sagas of Iceland
I bow my head in gratitude
To the ones who give their lives
To keep the secret
The daily secret
Under lock and key
Dear Diary
I mean no disrespect
But you are more sublime
Than any Sacred Text
Sometimes just a list
Of my events
Is holier than the Bill of Rights
And more intense” 
       (copied from goodreads Quotes)




an old knuckle baller, he still wears the cap he wore in high school,
yellow&brown, embroidered LH, faded&nipped in time's toll---it
contrasts his grey temples, face full of whiskers, red rimmed eyes,
still wide, cheeks sagged, creased, work the salt off a peanut, teeth,
tongue shuck the shell & spit it in an ever increasing pile, like
bones at a chicken feast

one hand works the cover of a browned baseball, fingers flipping
around the leather&laces, through the repertoire of pitches he once
threw, the other works a pencil along a score card. he keeps
every hit, strike, ball, foul---every statistic of importance, a scratch,
scratch, scratch of lead, impression on paper, the game reflecting
in his cornea---spits another shell, works the ball, scratch, scratch
sisyphus

man on first, one out, pop, scratch, scratch, double play & it's
over, he folds the card in half, then quarters so it fits neat in
his back pocket, shuffles up the concrete steps between bleachers
to wherever he goes & whatever he does until tomorrow when
he'll be there, in his usual spot, spitting shells, hand running through
the memory of pitches & marking his card,
with one thing that makes sense

leaving me
to sit,
notebook in hand,
scratching away,
                       just the same
 


           (Used with permission)


 Please:  
1.      Post your diary story poem on your site, and then link it here.
2.      Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
3.      Leave a comment here.
4.      Honor our community by visiting and commenting on others' poems.



(Next Week's Midweek Motif will be Half Year and World UFO DAY)


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Monday, June 23, 2014

LIFE OF A POET - KATHRYN DYCHE DECHAIRO

Prepare yourselves to be visually wowed, my friends. I have been enjoying the poetry of Kathryn Dyche Dechairo, who writes at The Edge of Silence, for some time, but only recently became aware of her stunning art work. Kathryn describes herself as a mixed media artist. If you have not yet seen her work, prepare to be amazed.   


Sherry: Kathryn, let’s go all the way back. Where were you born and where did you grow up? And how did you get from there to Ohio?


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Poetry Pantry #206



Lake Garda, Italy, with Alps in the background


Lake Garda, Italy, with Cypress trees


Gardesana Hotel in Torri del Benaco
This is a classic old lakes hotel, first recorded in 1452, which has hosted  Churchill, Stephen Spender 
and King Juan Carlos I of Spain; in 1954, Laurence Olivier holidayed here with Vivien Leigh.

Small port  --  Torri del Benaco

Another village along Lake Garda

Bardolino, a town famous for wine, on Lake Garda



Greetings, Poets!

Oh, these Sundays do come around fast, don't they?

Glad to see each of you here this week for Poetry Pantry.  It is always enjoyable for me to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same.  Admittedly, I personally appreciate those with whom there is a feeling of reciprocity, which makes for a feeling of community.  I think we ALL tend to visit (after a while) people with whom we reciprocate.

This week I am featuring photos shared by Gabriella of Lake Garda in northern Italy.  Thanks, Gabriella, for these very nice photographs.

Be sure to visit Poets United tomorrow to see what Sherry Blue Sky  has planned to share.  Will it be a featured poet?  A featured blog?  Or a featured poem?

Glad to see there is always a  great turn-out for Midweek Motif.  We hope to see you this coming week for another challenging prompt by Susan Chast!  (And, ha, perhaps many of you have noticed that if you look at one week's prompt Susan gives  a clue about the following week's prompt as well, so you can get a head start.)

And on Friday, remember to see who Rosemary Nissen-Wade features on "I Wish I Had Written This" or  "The Living Dead."

I issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  There are participants here from many different cities, many different countries.  I think it is great fun to see different areas featured. I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to dixibear@aol.com letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Friday, June 20, 2014

I Wish I'd Written This

Hokusai says

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.

He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.

He says keep praying.

He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive —
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn't matter if you draw,
or write books. It doesn't matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn't matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.
Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.
He says don't be afraid.
Don't be afraid.
Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

— Roger S. Keyes


Though this poem has been widely circulated online, and you may well know it already, I can't find out much about its author, although he is described as "a renowned scholar". All I can ascertain is that he was recently based (and perhaps still is) at Brown University as a visiting scholar, his field is Japanese art and he has written some beautifully illustrated books on the subject. The latest, Ebon: The Artist and the Book in Japan, was published in 2006 by Washington University Press and is already a collector's item on Amazon.

It appears that Keyes has a particular interest in Hokusai (1760-1849) an ukiyo-e painter and woodblock printmaker of the Edo period in Japanese art. Hokusai is stil known for his "Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji", particularly The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, which of course you will recognise:




There are more examples of his work in the Wikipedia article.

Keyes's poem telling us what Hokusai says must, I think, refer to the messages he perceives in the paintings. But also the poem is often accompanied by the story that Hokusai, on his death bed at 89, said that if he had lived another five years, he would have been "a real painter". Perhaps Keyes had access to more of his words and was quoting or paraphrasing.


Whatever moved Keyes to interpret his favourite subject in verse, he has given us a beautiful philosophical reflection and affirmation of life, as well as a tribute to the artist he so appreciates. I love what the poem says, and the urgent conviction in which it is said, so that by the end it is exemplifying the attitude it describes.


Here is Hokusai's lovely Self-Portrait at the Age of Eighty-Three, which illustrates that joy in life. We can see that Keyes interprets him accurately!



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Light and Dark

  "...the man in the street does not know a star in the sky. 
The solstice he does not observe; the equinox he knows as little; 
and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind. "


Midweek Motif ~ Light and Dark

(The Longest/Shortest Day, Solstice)

In the Northern Hemisphere, our days lengthen into summer until our longest day, this year Friday, 20 June (the precise solstice is at 6:51 AM (ET) on Saturday, June 21).  In the Southern Hemisphere, our days shorten into winter until this shortest day. Thus, in the North we are about to experience the slow (re)turn to Dark; in the South we are about to experience the slow (re)turn to Light.

Your Challenge:  Use longest/shortest day or return to Light/Dark—as a metaphor in a new poem.  


Poetic inspiration:


Day in Autumn

BY RAINER MARIA RILKE,  TRANSLATED BY MARY KINZIE Read the translator's notes
After the summer's yield, Lord, it is time
to let your shadow lengthen on the sundials
and in the pastures let the rough winds fly.


As for the final fruits, coax them to roundness.
Direct on them two days of warmer light
. . . .   ( Continue reading HERE.)

We Have Not Long To Love

We have not long to love.
Light does not stay.
The tender things are those
we fold away.
. . . .   (Read the rest HERE.)



Please:  
1.      Post your poem with its  Light and Dark motif on your site, and then link it here.
2.      Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
3.      Leave a comment here.
4.      Honor our community by visiting and commenting on others' poems.

(Next week's Midweek Motif is Diary Stories.)

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Chat Between Two Poets - Susan Chast

Time for another chat, my friends and, when I saw this poem by Poets United staff member, Susan Chast, I asked if she might be willing to chat about it, and she replied "With pleasure!" Yay! Susan writes, as you know, at Susan's Poetry. We are very lucky to have her on staff, and don't we know it! So let's dive in!






Sunday, June 15, 2014

Poetry Pantry #205

Bridges Across the Thames


This is  Radcote Bridge, which is more than 700 years old and still in daily use.

The wooden humpback type bridges are to prevent cattle from crossing.

This is New Bridge, though it isn't exactly new.
The bridge dates from the 14th century and is built of Taynton stone in the
 same way as Radcot Bridge, which is slightly older.
They were built by monks on the orders of King John in order to improve communications 
between the wool towns in the south of England, and the Cotswold farms.

Tadpole Bridge is a road bridge across the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England. 
The bridge dates from the late 18th century, the earliest reference to it being in 1784. It is built of 
stone, and consists of one large arch.

This is a ford, where the riverbed is so shallow that you can walk across.


Greetings, Poets!

First of all, happy Fathers Day to any of you poets who are fathers!  Enjoy your day.

Glad to see each of you here this week for Poetry Pantry.  It is always enjoyable for me to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same.  Admittedly, I personally appreciate those with whom there is a feeling of reciprocity, which makes for a feeling of community.  I think we ALL tend to visit (after a while) people with whom we reciprocate.

This week I am featuring photos shared by Jo-hanna.  They are pictures of Bridges across the Thames River in England.  Her photos were taken close to the source of the Thames before the river becomes very wide. Jo-hanna indicates that some of the bridges are centuries old, not fit for traffic other than riders and walkers.  Thank you, Jo-hanna, for sharing your beautiful photos.

Be sure to visit Poets United tomorrow to see what Sherry Blue Sky  has planned to share.  Will it be a featured poet?  A featured blog?  Or a featured poem?

Glad to see the turnout  for  Mid-Week Motif Wednesday continues to be good.  We hope to see you this coming week for another challenging prompt by Susan Chast!

And on Friday, remember to see who Rosemary Nissen-Wade features on "I Wish I Had Written This" or  "The Living Dead."

I issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  There are participants here from many different cities, many different countries.  I think it is great fun to see different areas featured. I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to dixibear@aol.com letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Living Dead


Honouring our poetic ancestors

A Dying Tiger

By Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

A Dying Tiger—moaned for Drink—
I hunted all the Sand—
I caught the Dripping of a Rock
And bore it in my Hand—

His Mighty Balls—in death were thick—
But searching—I could see
A Vision on the Retina
Of Water—and of me—

'Twas not my blame—who sped too slow—
'Twas not his blame—who died
While I was reaching him—
But 'twas—the fact that He was dead— 


As Dickinson is very well-known and often quoted, I've chosen a poem and a picture which are not as widely disseminated as some others. (Although Wikipedia tells us that the best-known portrait of her is the only authenticated one, this is so like that I'll take a chance on it.)

She has become legendary as a reclusive spinster who was in poor health, did not live into old age, and was acclaimed as a poet only after her death.  There is truth in these details, but perhaps less truth in the supposition that she must have been frail and timid. An article in The Guardian in February 2010 suggests that she was a more lively character than that (and that her mysterious illness was possibly epilepsy).

Certainly the poems are strong and lively. You can read them at PoemHunter. Also her Complete Poems and various other volumes of her poems and letters are available from Amazon, and from Amazon U.K.

Her first editors cleaned up her idiosyncratic punctuation, changing her dashes to more conventional commas and such. The "corrected" versions are sometimes still published today. Luckily her original punctuation was later restored, and critics agree that the poems are better that way.

Try reading this poem aloud as it is written, with the dashes signifying longish pauses. You'll see that they also provide emphasis. Also note that they don't just automatically separate every phrase from its neighbours; obviously they are precisely placed. If you read it this way, the poem works. It springs to life.

Perhaps the tiger is a metaphor. If so, I don't think we're meant to know the underlying meaning. For me the poem is powerful even if I suspend disbelief and take the story literally.

Dickinson, along with Walt Whitman, is credited with giving American poetry a new voice — its own voice. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ The Number Thirteen

“I believed in immaculate conception and spontaneous combustion. 
I believed in aliens from outer space and vampires, prophecy, and 
the resurrection of the dead. I had deja vu many times each day. 
I was thirteen.” 
― Kate Braverman



Road Sign



File:Centered square number 13 as sum of two square numbers.svg
13 as sum of 2 square numbers


Midweek Motif ~ The Number Thirteen



Your Challenge:  Write a 13-line poem in which the theme has to do with the number thirteen.  Please post your poem by Friday the 13th.


Here are 13 of many possible inspirations:  
  1. Paraskevidekatriaphobia  (fear of Friday the 13th)
  2. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, a poem by Wallace Stevens. 
  3. The first line of George Orwell's novel 1984:  It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.  
  4. Thirteen Reasons Why,  a novel by by Jay Asher.
  5. Saint Anthony of Padua whose feast day is June 13.
  6. Thirteen, a song sung by Johnny Cash (written by Danzig)
  7. Thirteen, a song by Ben Kweller
  8. Wilt Chamberlain
  9. Thirteena 2003 American film 
  10. 13 Tzameti, a 2005 French film ("Tzameti," "13" in Georgian)
  11. Thirteenth floors
  12. Apollo 13
  13. Covens

Panel from an elevator in a residential apartment building in Shanghai.
Floors 4, 13 and 14 are missing, because of the similarity between
the pronunciation of the word 'four' and 'death' in Chinese;
note also the "negative first floor", as the number zero
is considered similarly unlucky in parts of East Asia.



Please:  
1.      Post your  "13 lines on 13" poem on your site, and then link it here.
2.      Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
3.      Leave a comment here.
4.      Honor our community by visiting and commenting on others' poems.


(Next week's Midweek Motif is  Light and Dark, or The Longest Day.)


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