Monday, April 24, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Twenty-Four: Dog Music

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Sometimes when I read a poem or a passage in a book, Pam pops into my head. I'm always startled by these happy occasions to remember her, sometimes feeling as though she's reaching across the ether, reminding me not to forget her. The first time I read this poem, I immediately thought of her and her love for dogs and music. It made me a laugh a bit to think of her singing with a dog, and the dog singing back.

Dog Music 
by Paul Zimmer

Amongst dogs are listeners and singers.
My big dog sang with me so purely,
puckering her ruffled lips into an O,
beginning with small, swallowing sounds
like Coltrane musing, then rising to power
and resonance, gulping air to continue—
her passion and sense of flawless form—
singing not with me, but for the art of dogs.
We joined in many fine songs—"Stardust,"
"Naima," "The Trout," "My Rosary," "Perdido."
She was a great master and died young,
leaving me with unrelieved grief,
her talents known to only a few.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones. ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Monday Poetry Stretch - Shadorma

The shadorma is a Spanish poetic form consisting of six lines (a sestet) written in syllabic form. The syllable count is 3/5/3/3/7/5. A shadorma may consist of one stanza, or an unlimited number of stanzas.

That's it! Easy-peasy, right? I hope you'll join me this week in writing a shadorma. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Twenty-Three: Dog

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam loved animals of all sorts, particularly those that were down on their luck, homeless, helpless, and unloved. Her heart seemed to expand with every new creature she took in. The first dog she took in was Pungo, named for the place where he was found. He was a sweet dog, made more affectionate by all the love heaped upon him.

Dog 
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The dog trots freely in the street
and sees reality
and the things he sees
are bigger than himself
and the things he sees
are his reality
Drunks in doorways
Moons on trees
The dog trots freely thru the street
and the things he sees
are smaller than himself

Read the poem in its entirety.

I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring—it was peace. ― Milan Kundera
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Twenty-Two: Evening Hawk

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam had a fascination with hawks. I often wondered what it was she loved, and if in part she was longing for the freedom of flight and the perspective one gets from a bird's-eye view of the world. Just a few weeks ago on her birthday, I arrived at church to find a hawk perched atop a car in the parking lot. It stayed long enough for me to snap a couple of photographs before it moved on.

Evening Hawk 
by Robert Penn Warren

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
In many traditions, hawks are sacred: Apollo's messengers for the Greeks, sun symbols for the ancient Egyptians and, in the case of the Lakota Sioux, embodiments of clear vision, speed and single-minded dedication. — John Burnside
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Poetry Friday: School

Today is the last day of the semester. Soon we'll be sending a new crop of teachers off into the world. It's bittersweet really. I'm always ready for the end of the year, but I will be sad to see them go. This poem is for all my students who will soon be leading students of their own.

School 
by Daniel J. Langton

I was sent home the first day
with a note: Danny needs a ruler.
My father nodded, nothing seemed so apt.
School is for rules, countries need rulers,
graphs need graphing, the world is straight ahead.

Read the poem in its entirety.


In addition to this post, you may want to take a few minutes to read my National Poetry Month post(s). This year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love. Here are the posts I've shared to this week.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy poetry Friday friends!

NPM 2017 Day Twenty-One: At the Galleria Shopping Mall

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
I once made the mistake of going clothes shopping with Pam. I tried on more clothes in that one trip than ever before or since. She had to twist my arm to get me to agree to put things on, and even once they were on I was reluctant to step out of the dressing room so she could see them. I really hate shopping, but Pam was an enthusiastic supporter, and tried desperately to enliven my wardrobe.

At the Galleria Shopping Mall 
by Tony Hoagland

Just past the bin of pastel baby socks and underwear,
there are some 49-dollar Chinese-made TVs;

one of them singing news about a far-off war,
one comparing the breast size of an actress from Hollywood

to the breast size of an actress from Bollywood.
And here is my niece Lucinda,

who is nine and a true daughter of Texas,
who has developed the flounce of a pedigreed blonde

and declares that her favorite sport is shopping.
Today is the day she embarks upon her journey,

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
For some, shopping is an art; for others, it's a sport. It can be a vice and it can be a cause. Some love it. Some hate it. Rarely is someone indifferent. ― Pamela Klaffke
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Twenty: The Blue Scarf

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
I've mentioned that Pam liked to buy gifts for people. Quite often she bought me clothes. I know she meant well, trying to add a dash of color to my monochromatic wardrobe, but I am a fashion disaster and no amount of well-intended effort on Pam's part was able to coax me to adopt her more audacious style of dress. I do have one very bright, very loud scarf she gave me that I pull out from time to time. I'll admit to feeling a bit bolder when I wear it.

The Blue Scarf 
by Amy Lowell

Pale, with the blue of high zeniths, shimmered over with silver, brocaded
In smooth, running patterns, a soft stuff, with dark knotted fringes, it lies there,
Warm from a woman’s soft shoulders, and my fingers close on it, caressing.
Where is she, the woman who wore it? The scent of her lingers and drugs me.
A languor, fire-shotted, runs through me, and I crush the scarf down on my face,
And gulp in the warmth and the blueness, and my eyes swim in cool-tinted heavens.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
A scarf has to be the most beautiful thing ever invented to wear! It's a winding, a continuity, an infinity! — Sonia Rykiel
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Nineteen: Brewing Green Tea in a Glass ...

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Many of the intimate conversations with Pam, at the kitchen table, or curled on opposite ends of the couch, were over tea. I could always count on Pam to have something delicious, though I was not too fond of the numerous herbal and fruity varieties.

Brewing Green Tea in a Glass 
Percolator After the Regular
Brown Teapot Has Broken
by Molly Tenenbaum

These leaves don't spin like black
tea in a dark tornado,
but swing light as dragonfly-wings

though you wouldn't want dragonfly-wings
in your tea, allowed amount
of rat-droppings in cornflakes—

but that transparency, that iridescence—
wings, clearly,
with their dark tiny veins.

To start a pot of floating greenery
says the right thing
about the day, I think, that no one knows


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment. ― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Eighteen: These Are The Gifts

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam was a gift giver. She never arrived for a visit without a housewarming fit of some sort. As someone who collects teapots, I have a number of small tokens from Pam that recognized this love. One is a small kitchen towel hook with an antique-looking teapot photo. There is also the teapot ornament that hangs on our Christmas tree. What I always appreciated about these gifts is that they weren't generic to a household, they demonstrated that Pam really knew who you were and what you would appreciate. And while the gifts were always nice, Pam was the real gift.

These Are The Gifts
          For my daughter, 2 1/2
by Gregory Djanikian

They are her signature:
Sea shells in our boots and slippers,
Barrettes under each of our pillows,
Marbles and flecks of clay
In the deep mines of our pockets.

Some we find quickly, others
Are lost to us for weeks or months,
And when we come upon them
In our daily disorder, we are struck
By her industry, this extravagance
Which secretly replenished
Our cupboards, baskets and drawers
With gifts from the heart.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
Maybe some people just aren't meant to be in our lives forever. Maybe some people are just passing through. It's like some people just come through our lives to bring us something: a gift, a blessing, a lesson we need to learn. And that's why they're here. You'll have that gift forever. ― Danielle Steel, The Gift
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.