Sunday, November 30, 2014

Poetry Pantry #229

Photos Taken By Bjorn Rudberg
Madeira, Portugal


Cascades

Dense Forest Laurel

Mountain Paths are Carved.

Terraces

The Valley of the Nuns

Greetings, Poets!

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.

Just want you to know ahead of time that Poets United will be taking a break during the upcoming holiday season.  We will have a Poetry Pantry on December 21.  After that we will have a break until January 4 when a new Poetry Pantry will go up, and after that things will resume again.  We do hope, however, that you will write in the meantime.  I know I will.  Smiles.

This week I am sharing more photos taken by Bjorn Rudberg. They were taken in Madeira, Portugal.  Beautiful photos.  Thanks, Bjorn.

Be sure to visit Poets United Monday to see what Sherry Blue Sky  has planned to share.    Be sure to visit Midweek Motif on Wednesday, where Susan will have another excellent prompt!  And who will Rosemary feature on Friday for either her "I Wish I Had Written This" or her "The Living Dead" series?

Today link your ONE poem.   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, November 28, 2014

The Living Dead

Honouring our poetic ancestors

Pied Beauty
By Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things —
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
  Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;
    And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
  Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                Praise him.


We don't have a Thanksgiving holiday in Australia, but can't fail to be aware of its importance in the United States — which may influence the rest of us in the global village to at least spare a thought for things we might be thankful about. So I thought a poem of gratitude would be appropriate today. This one came immediately to mind.

I only just realised, in researching this post, that Hopkins died so young (carried off by typhoid). A Jesuit priest, he felt a conflict between his religious and poetic vocations — on entering the priesthood he burnt his early poems, and later when he began to write again he refrained from publishing so as to avoid the fault of vanity. Luckily for us his old friend, the poet Robert Bridges, published his work posthumously.

Hopkins was a poetic innovator. He is now regarded as ahead of his time and his poetry as a precursor of free verse. He is particularly known for his invention of "sprung rhythm". This is explained in an excellent article at poets.org: 'By not limiting the number of “slack” or unaccented syllables, Hopkins allowed for more flexibility in his lines and created new acoustic possibilities', and by Wikipedia as, "designed to imitate the rhythm of natural speech".

It is more formal than free verse, however, with non-metric feet beginning with a stressed syllable and having any number unstressed. He sometimes accented certain syllables to show where the stresses fell. In this poem he's only done so twice, on the words "all trades" in the sixth line, and rightly so as otherwise we might not realise he intended both syllables to be stressed. Normally we, who were brought up on free verse, have no problem reading Hopkins, but his work must have posed some difficulties in a time when metric verse was considered the only way to write poetry in English.

Wikipedia goes on to say:

Some critics believe he merely coined a name for poems with mixed, irregular feet, like free verse. However, while sprung rhythm allows for an indeterminate number of syllables to a foot, Hopkins was very careful to keep the number of feet he had per line consistent across each individual work, a trait that free verse does not share. Sprung rhythm may be classed as a form of accentual verse, due to its being stress-timed, rather than syllable-timed, and while sprung rhythm did not become a popular literary form, Hopkins's advocacy did assist in a revival of accentual verse more generally.

And poets.org further notes:

In addition to developing new rhythmic effects, Hopkins was also very interested in ways of rejuvenating poetic language. He regularly placed familiar words into new and surprising contexts. He also often employed compound and unusual word combinations. As he wrote to in a letter to [Robert] Bridges, “No doubt, my poetry errs on the side of oddness…" Twentieth century poets such as W.H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, and Charles Wright have enthusiastically turned to his work for its inventiveness and rich aural patterning.

As you can see above, he also liked to play with sound, in such devices as alliteration and assonance.

Finally, it's worth noting that this poem is what he called a "curtal" (i.e. curtailed) sonnet, an abbreviated version of the Petrarchan sonnet, which he worked out to a mathematical formula. He was nothing if not inventive!

All in all, his experiments make for arresting poetry. However we want poetry to transcend its craft, and I think Hopkins always succeeds in this with his beautiful word choices and depth of feeling.

You can find more of his poetry at PoemHunter, and there are books galore at his Amazon pages, mostly second-hand — as well as a number in Kindle editions.

I'm thankful to Poets United for giving me the opportunity to immerse myself in Hopkins. It's been a long time, and he is so worth revisiting.

The Wikipedia link on his name, above, gives comprehensive biographical details. I was glad to read that, despite ill health, inner struggles and probable depressive illness, he exclaimed on his deathbed,

"I am so happy, I am so happy. I loved my life."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Gratitude


“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, 
then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” 


“My gratitude for good writing is unbounded;
I’m grateful for it the way I’m grateful for the ocean.”

     ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life





If you have heard this song too many times,
switch off the sound and just search the images for inspiration.  


Midweek Motif ~ Gratitude


The New Science of Gratitude:  "Author and researcher Dr. Robert Emmons has discovered what gives life meaning: . . . . Gratitude improves emotional and physical health, and it can strengthen relationships and communities."


What do you think?


Your Challenge:  Compose a poem around the idea or experience of gratitude.



from Thanks  
by  W. S. Merwin,  1927 

. . . .
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

. . . .  (Read the rest HERE at The Acadamy of American Poets)



Part in peace: is day before us?
Praise His Name for life and light;
Are the shadows lengthening o’er us?
Bless His care Who guards the night.

Part in peace: with deep thanksgiving,
Rendering, as we homeward tread,
Gracious service to the living,
Tranquil memory to the dead.

Part in peace: such are the praises
God our Maker loveth best;
Human hearts to heavenly rest.
Such the worship that upraises




For those who are new to Poets United:  
  1. Post your new gratitude poem on your site, and then link it here.
  2. If you use a picture include its link.  
  3. Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
  4. Leave a comment here.
  5. Visit and comment on our poems.
(Next week's Midweek Motif is "a day 'that will live in infamy' or a 'bomb' of a day.")


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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Poetry Pantry #228

Photos Taken By Totomai Martinez
Philippines

Sunrise at Panglao Beach

("Philippines has 7,107 islands and there are lots of beaches. This is taken in Panglao Beach, Bohol. 
I woke around 5 am, and waited for the sunrise. I was just starting in photography when I took this photo.")
   

Chocolate Hills in Bohol
("One of the popular tourist destinations in the Philippines is the Chocolate Hills. It seems unreal but really it’s true.
It was affected recently by an earthquake but I think it’s once again open for tourists viewing.")

Boracay Island
(Boracy Island is always included in one of the best beaches in the world. With its blue crystal waters,
white sand and stunning sunset, lots of foreigners visit this island.
Very popular during the Holy Week season – the peak of summer.")

Masskara Festival in Bacolod City

("This is my hometown and our city is known as the City of Smiles.
Masskara Festival was founded when our city was struck with calamities and tragedies.
We decided to cover our woes and pains with smiling masks.")


The Ruins in Bacolod City

("Known as Taj Mahal in the Philippines. This is an old mansion located in one of the sugarcane 
plantations. It has a rich story behind it and it’s about unconditional love too.")

Greetings, Poets!

This next Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the United States.  Thanksgiving should be, in my opinion, the beginning of the lead-up to Christmas; but it seems as if we have had many Christmas decorations and products in store since right after Halloween.  Sigh.  We have had a bout of extremely cold weather, and it looks like we will be having another rough winter here.  But...for those of you in the United States, do have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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.

This week I am sharing photos taken by Totomai Martinez.  (I will resume with Bjorn's series next week.)  Totomai came from the Philippines but has been working in Japan for almost 8 years now.
In his introduction to his photos, he said that the Philippines has 3 major geographical divisions, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.  However, all of the photos shared today are from Visayas as he was born there.  In a few weeks I will be sharing his photos from Japan.  Thank you, Totomai!

For today, link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below.  And  be sure to visit others as well.

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

Be sure to see what Sherry Blue Sky has to offer us on Monday.  Check out Susan's Midweek Motif on Wednesday.  And read Rosemary Nissen-Wade's feature on Friday.

The link for Poetry Pantry will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 21, 2014

I Wish I'd Written This

Carnival in the Park
By Elizabeth Riddell (1910-1998)

Two thicknesses of dark trees and air
And then the flowering fair
With its bright blooms of light
Its trunks of wire and its mane-tossing horses
Galloping the summer pastures of the night.

The birds to make the music are shut in boxes
Silver paper falls in a silly stream,
The gold is gilt, the promises tissue paper
But in the soil sleeps the persistent grass
And when the trumpets and the showmen pass
It will thrust back to light.
Meanwhile the wooden hooves of the carnival horses
Gallop the summer pastures of the night.


Elizabeth Riddell was a well-known Australian literary figure, not only a noted poet but a celebrated journalist, who twice won the Walkley Award, Australia's most prestigious prize for journalism. She was also a winner of two other distinguished literary awards, the Kenneth Slessor prize for poetry and the Patrick White Award for her body of work.

She was of my parents' generation, and I often used to see her published poetry in journals and newspapers when I was growing up.

She was a New Zealander by birth, as so many distinguished Aussies are (but if they make their lives here later, we like to claim them as our own). She also spent some time in England, and during World War II lived and worked (as a journalist) in New York. She returned to Australia after the war ended.

The biographical entries in Wikipedia and Australian Biography are sparse, but at the opposite extreme the latter also offers the full transcript of a 1992 interview with Robert Hughes.

I'm glad to say her books are well represented at Amazon. I love the lyricism of her work, the fact that it is often somewhat mysterious and/or melancholy, and that it frequently deals with ships and the sea — though not in this particular piece, which instead suggests her enjoyment of the fantastical. I like the way she enjoys that without losing sight of the realer values exemplified by the grass.

I wish I'd written pretty much every poem she wrote!

I'll treat you to more of her beautiful verses from time to time, as it's so difficult to find any online. Our local library sells off old stock cheaply to patrons, and yesterday I was lucky enough to find her 'Selected Poems' for $1.



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



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Health




“We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.” 
― Kurt VonnegutBreakfast of Champions

File:Flag of WHO.svg
Flag of the WHO (World Health Organization).


“All too often women believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, 
to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget.  In actuality, 
when we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response 
to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm's way.” 


“We still counted happiness and health and love and luck 
Médecins Sans Frontières
and beautiful children as "ordinary blessings.” 
― Joan DidionBlue Nights








Midweek Motif ~ Health




Your challenge: Center a poem on 
health ~ even if you must begin with disease. 




PS: Today is also World Toilet Day.  Yes.  Feel free to write to a motif of toilets or lack of them.   Many in the world have no toilets or sanitary systems.  Water Aid.org  (link) is doing something about it.  Here's a song:  


BY HENRY DAVID THOREAU
There is health in thy gray wing,
Health of nature’s furnishing.
Say, thou modern-winged antique,
Was thy mistress ever sick?
In each heaving of thy wing
Thou dost health and leisure bring,
Thou dost waive disease and pain
And resume new life again.

We here at Progressive Health would like to thank you   
For being one of the generous few who've promised   
To bequeath your vital organs to whoever needs them.   

Now we'd like to give you the opportunity   
To step out far in front of the other donors   
By acting a little sooner than you expected, 
. . . .
(Read the rest HERE at the Poetry Foundation.) 



For those who are new to Poets United:  
  1. Post your new health poem on your site, and then link it here.
  2. If you use a picture include its link.  
  3. Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
  4. Leave a comment here.
  5. Visit and comment on our poems.
(Next week's Midweek Motif is Gratitude)


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Monday, November 17, 2014

Life of a Poet - Old Egg

Kids, you are in for such a treat today! We are swooping across to Australia, to meet with Robin Kimber, whom we are pleased to know as Old Egg. You will find this poet at Robin's Nest. I knew Old Egg had a love story to tell, but now have also discovered he was a child in England during WWII, living through the Blitz. Wow! Gather round. Let's share a cup of good British tea with Aussie's very own Old Egg!



Sherry: Robin, it is so nice to be visiting with you. Give us a little glimpse into what your life is like at this time.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Poetry Pantry #227


Photos by Bjorn Rudberg
Rogen, Sweden - Summer

Kayaking in Rogen

Lichen of an old forest

Marshes of Rogen

Rogen - old pines

Rogen


Greetings, Poets!

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.  I just don't GET people who link and enjoy visits, yet don't bother to visit others -- even those who spent time making comments on their poetry.

This week I am again sharing photos taken by Bjorn.  This week the photos are from Rogen, Sweden, in summer.  Though it is not summer, at least in the northern hemisphere, the pictures evoke some wonderful memories.  Sigh.Thank you, Bjorn!

Be sure to visit Poets United Monday 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."

Again:  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, November 14, 2014

The Living Dead

Honouring our poetic ancestors 

Crossing the Bar

By
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892)

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar. 


I was brought up on this — my Dad loved to recite it — and I always think it was that other sea-loving poet, John Masefield, who wrote it. But no, it was the great Tennyson after all.

If my Dad understood the metaphor, that wasn't clear to me as a child. Perhaps he just loved the sounds of the words. I certainly loved hearing them roll off his tongue! I also have a memory of him reciting them a bit tipsy on one occasion. When he got to 'And may there be no moaning at (sic) the bar / When I put out to sea', my Mum said drily, 'Don't worry, there won't be.' I think she was talking about the kind of bar that men drank in!

It's clear to me now that Tennyson was thinking of his death, hoping it would be a smooth and easy transition and that those he left would not grieve too hard. It also suggests that he was a deeply religious man, whose greatest hope was to come home at last to God. It is by no means the only one of his poems with a distinctly Christian flavour. Which is odd, as the Wikipedia article (see link on his name, above) informs us that he tended towards agnosticism and Pantheism. 

He was wonderful in lyrics such as this, a master of rhyme and metre. He was also famous for longer poems such as The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Lady of Shalott, and the long In Memoriam on the untimely death of his best friend. My favourite is Ulysses but it's a bit long to use here. His works can be found at PoemHunter, and there are numerous volumes at his Amazon page.

It's astonishing to learn that his first book of poetry was badly received! However, in later life he was made Poet Laureate, the longest serving British poet laureate ever, and was honoured with a peerage.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Swimming


Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 2, Illustration by John Tenniel





Midweek Motif ~ Swimming



Your challenge is to take us Swimming.  

Build a poem around a swimming adventure, misadventure or place ~ literal or psychological or fantastical.  



Swimming Hole by Thomas Eakins





For those who are new to Poets United:  
  1. Post your new swimming poem on your site, and then link it here.
  2. If you use a picture include its link.  
  3. Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
  4. Leave a comment here.
  5. Visit and comment on our poems.
(Next week's Midweek Motif is Health.)


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