Friday, July 31, 2015

at the very top

We've reached it, almost:  that time of year so precisely and richly described by Natalie Babbitt that it changed me as a reader and a writer. 

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.
-- Prologue from Tuck Everlasting, 1975

This beginning to a book caught me like hands holding my 10-year-old head on both sides, looking me urgently in the eyes and saying, "Of words we can make art, art as true as a photograph layered with brushes of color, with sound and rhythm of blues symphony, full of the woven textures of weariness, curiousness, motion and suspense.  Writing can do it all."

What about you, poetry friends?  What piece of literature brought you to see writing as art, made you want to live in and even make this kind of art?

Keri has the round-up today at Keri Recommends.  Happy Almost August.

Friday, July 24, 2015

taking a walk

Greetings from Seaford, England!  Since I last posted from Brussels Airport, I've spent 10 days in Greece--on the island of Alonissos and in Athens.  You'd think I'd have much to write about from that experience (and I do!), but between relentless relaxing, heavy tourist activity and iffy internet connections, that real-time opportunity has passed.  So this morning I'll share a Summer Poem Swap gift that I received in June from Margaret Simon.  It came in a tiny notebook that has accompanied me on my travels, and as I have reread it in several new and unfamiliar locations, it has taken on new and interesting meanings.

Take a Walk

One leg a pillar
between earth and sky
the other, a pendulum,
swinging a single step
into a tap-a-tap-tap
percussion procession.

Disguise doing nothing as a walk.
Make harmony of mind, body, and world.
Your movements matter.  Be present.

Notice a leaf hanging loosely
wiggling like a worm
when the wind blows.

Notice your breath
in rhythm to your steps.
You are feeding the tree.

Walk through town.
Whom will you meet?
Greet them.
Invite them.
Start your own parade.

--Margaret Simon
   Summer Poem Swap 2015

Isn't that wonderful?!  At home as my summer vacation began, it fit so well with the walks I was taking in familiar surrounding, reminding me to be both present to wonder and outward-facing.  As I snorkeled the coast of Alonissos, I was the leaf hanging loosely at the surface, watching the seagrass "blowing" in the underwater wind.  In Athens, the first stanza described architecture of both stone and bone, building and body, columns of marble and columns of people stepping and swinging in and out of sun and shadow.  There were a LOT of steps!

Thank you, Margaret, and thank you, Tabatha, for organizing all this swapping!  I'm afraid I can't seem to upload any photos--this ChromeBook is not playing nicely with Blogger--but I think Margaret's images are strong enough to carry the post.  See more at the round-up today, hosted by--HA!  I'm just seeing this--Margaret herself at Reflections on the Teche.

Friday, July 10, 2015

in flanders field, just for a minute

This is my first ever mobile post, coming to you at 1:30am EST from the Brussels airport.   We're here just for a couple of hours on our way to Greece, and it being 8:30 am here and therefore definitely Poetry Friday, imagine my pleasure at being greeted by a ceiling hung with poppies and this installation which includes the famous poem "In Flanders Fields."  We put Duncan in the photo because his assigned summer reading is All Quiet on the Western Front. (Nice and light for on the beach or by the pool.)

Here's the poem, and welcome to the 100th anniversary of WWI. 

In Flanders Fields / John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The round-up today is with I can't tell who!  Conserving data and seeing you on Saturday, maybe!