Today is the last day of March and tomorrow is the first day of National Poetry Month. I wanted to get this out there for those who were anxiously awaiting my scavenger hunt! This is the beginning of one of my favorite times of the year – Spring, Eastertime, poetry month, swapping the winter for spring/summer clothes, and full on geocaching! There are only a couple simple rules – comment with a link to your poem, link back to this challenge on your page so we can get as many participants as possible. The only deadline is April 30th as the last day of the month. I hope this one has double the participants and triple the creativity as last year. As promised welcome to my National Poetry Month Scavenger Hunt aka NPM 21.
1. Write a love poem
2. Write a poem about lost love
3. Write a Dizain
4. Use the following words in a poem: equal, umbrella, tidy, weight
5. Write a Constanza (this has nothing to do with Seinfeld)
6. Compose a poem about hands
7. Write a poem incorporating your favorite beverage, an automotive malfunction, and basketball
8. Write a Magic 9 poem using a theme of slavery, freedom, or manumission.
9. Write a quatern poem
10. Write a sestina
11. Write a poem that explores a lie you were told
12. Use these words in a poem: delicate, daughter, detail, defeated, daily, dip
13. Write a poem about a mythical creature
14. Bonus: Write a loop poem OR write an acrostic poem OR be daring and combine the two!
In my retirement, and as a result in part due to COVID. I’ve been reading more than usual. Martha Kennedy, a WordPress friend, sent me a book. The book is titled, “Blind Turn” by Cara Sue Achterberg. I loved this story! When I read the back cover I thought, oh no a tragic teen angst story. I was wrong. The book is written in short chapters from the perspectives of the mother and then the daughter. Yes there is angst because it is a very real portrayal of a typical 16 going on 17 high school girl. The perspective of the mother is filled with the worry and concern every parent would feel. The people in the story are believable and their actions realistic. The trial kept me in suspense. The ending was both satisfying and brought tears. My sister in law is going to read this with my niece. There are some scenes that are uncomfortable but they will no doubt spark discussion between the two of them (since my niece is just turning 16). Martha requested that after I finish the book that I send it on into the world. After I get it back from my SIL, I’m planning to send it to my friend in Michigan… If any of you would like to read it, let me know and I’ll include your name as someone she can send it to once she’s done!! If you are interested in other books, or want to have your very own copy to keep forever, check out Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, or www.CaraWrites.com! I give this one five out of 5 stars!
I have a book that was a gift to me from a coworker, The Little Zen Companion. I would flip through the pages waiting for some phrase or quote to touch me. This was often during times of stress when I was looking for a way to find a little Zen peace or perspective. One of the quotes that I turned to often was by Albert Einstein his three rules of work “1. Out of clutter, find simplicity. 2. From discord, find harmony. 3. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” The result was sort of my modus operandi. 1. Control your environment were you can. 2. Ignore the noise. 3. Let the chaos settle and pick up the pieces that you want to save.
I suppose as I’ve gotten older I’ve mellowed. My work life forced me to look for the calm, often in the eye of the storm. I learned to let things go because not every problem was mine and not every problem had a solution. Now, I don’t easily get in a twist. I have patience. I developed an inner life that is still water. Basically I learned to chill. This is a Musette. This form has 3 stanzas of 3 lines each. The first and third lines rhyme and have only 2 syllables and the 2nd line has 4 syllables.
Chaos at the
Find the calm spot
Breathe deep breathe deep
Tomorrow is my second COVID vaccination. I’m very anxious to roll up my sleeve and bare my arm. Part of my impatience stems from recent developments with the novel strains that have been identified. The other part is due to son#2 – Three of his coworkers left work feeling ill. They tested positive. The rest of the work force went to get tested. My son was negative and was able to return to work. Later that day three more went home sick. Again everyone was to get tested however, because of the number that had tested positive, they wanted everyone to wait an additional day prior to testing. Son#2 went in to be tested. Later that day he started to fill ill. He ran a fever, had muscle aches, and a massive headache. His test came back positive. He has developed a cough. Because son#2 has COVID, son#1 is home in quarantine as well. They are holed up in their house with son#1 keeping to his bedroom and avoiding contact with son#2 as much as a small 2 bedroom house will allow. We went on a grocery run to procure the necessary supplies to make them comfortable – tons of Gatorade, lots of fresh fruit, canned fruit, frozen pizza, cheese, milk, bread and lunchmeat. Son#1 does most of the cooking but has decided not to in an effort to avoid all contact… I took pity on them and made a huge pot (about 2 gallons) of homemade chicken noodle soup. We delivered the groceries and soup and left before they retrieved them from the doorstep. I’m anxious. I’m concerned. I’m at a distance since I can’t jeopardize my own health or that of Sparky. Son#2 has asthma. The doctor wants him to ride it out at home unless he starts having difficulty breathing. He has been monitoring his blood oxygenation using an app on his phone (not the most accurate) and I’m even more concerned as the number is lower than I’m comfortable with. Prayers and good vibes sent into the heavens would be appreciated…
I finished the last study and am now well into a second one. This particular study requires me to be at work at the ungodly hours of 7:00 AM – 9:00 AM and then 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM for a week, then it kind of relaxes and it is only the early morning times. So I’m driving much earlier than usual. This means I’m seeing some unusual things. For several days I’ve seen a Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a telephone pole on the edge of a field near my subdivision. Yesterday I saw it gliding in a sweeping circle over the open field until it suddenly dropped and pounced on something in the grass. It reminded me of knife throwing as it cut through the air and pinned its prey to the ground.
Today a hawk
Cuts the sky
No rough edges
I give you a little micropoetry. Micropoetry is a collective term for a variety of different forms of short poetry. As a poetic artform, it doesn’t really have any rules. There are also no real character length limitations either though they tend to be classified by the number of words, number of lines, and the number of characters limited by the medium they are posted on… . This is why the majority of poems are less than 140 or 280 characters (old and new twitter limits) or with a maximum of 160 characters (mobile phone limit).
I’ve been busy in the studio. And the Kiln tech has been catching up with all the pieces coming and going through the bisque and glaze kilns. So lets get right to it!
This is a little coccolith I made in white stoneware. I glazed it with Super T with Gold Shino on the background. It turned out better than I had expected. The Shino tends to bubble if other glazes are placed on top of it so I had to be very careful when applying the Super T. I’m calling it a rousing success! This one is a little painful to hold as it is very sharp!
This orb was an experiment using a stamp set that I got at Christmas. The little daisy pattern stamp was used in hope that spring was really on the way! I used Gold Shino on the background and then Semi-Matte Blue on the discs. I was not as satisfied with the way it turned out but that is mostly my own fault. I was worried that the blue glaze was going to be too thick to be able to see the daisy detail – so I removed some of it. That resulted in the blue looking very pale. It is still lovely but it doesn’t match the picture in my head…
I decided to redo a previous orb that I had gifted to a former Xangan. I decided to use a glaze called Tomato. This glaze is a rusty red with a slight iridescence when it it applied thickly. I was crushed when the kiln tech said that there was some damage on one side – due to someone picking it up and then setting it down a little hard. Because of the many sharp points on this piece, it is not suitable for an area with small children…
This orb is a miniature of one I made about 20 years ago. The original is about the size of a soccer ball but this one is only the size of an orange. I glazed it in Mamo Yellow over a mixed clay body (white stoneware and porcelain). The glaze turns out a semi-matte yellow when it is thinly applied but is a nice green where it pools thicker. I call this one Puberty Revisited.
This next one is a coccolith, Syracosphaera exigua. I’ve replicated this one multiple times but with a variety of glazes. This time I tried out the reformulated Grape glaze with Shaner Gold on the “runes”. I think its lovely.
I attempted another coccolith, Scyphosphaera apsteinii, one of the coccoliths found in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. The clay body is white stoneware. I glazed the interior with Super T and used Phil’s Celadon on the outside. I am very happy with the contrast of glaze colors.
This is another coccolith, Hymenomonas globosa. This one is a white stoneware clay body glazed in Wood’s Blue. I’ve had trouble getting this glaze to work on my pieces but took a chance. You can see the really lovely blue in the areas where it pooled. My classmates all applauded the glaze on this one! I like it too!
Last but not least is an experimental piece that I worked on. I cut a multitude of little triangles in various sizes and wrapped them around my pin tool. The triangles initially looked like tightly wound rosettes. After trying out a few different techniques I ended up with more conical forms attached to the hollow form at the pointed end. It was suggested that I attempt Evan’s Red glaze ( but decided not to because it rarely comes out red and instead is a murky grey). I went with Atomic Purple (looks a light lavender) which I applied very thin in hopes that it didn’t overwhelm the texture. Success!
Today is St. Patrick’s Day. In the past it was a day of politics, green beer, hardboiled eggs, and large gatherings. Since COVID restrictions are still in effect, any gatherings will be of limited attendance and physically distanced. Being on a college campus, I realize that tradition is not so easily dismissed. There will be private gatherings. There will be groups that go to the local watering holes. And yes, there will be the consumption of green beer. I suspect that the beer will be cheap and plentiful since it is not likely to have a long shelf life…
Entering the “way back machine” transports me to 1978 and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. I was never a drinker. I still don’t drink and have a very low tolerance for alcoholic beverages. One of my dorm-mates and several of her friends invited me to join them for some green beer at the local watering hole. I was not 21 yet. I was a color-in-the-lines kind of kid so I declined. They insisted I come anyway. The place was packed. It was so busy that we literally couldn’t get inside. So we hung out in the little area to the side where they had set up some chairs and tables. A waiter came over and asked us what we wanted. My friends announced, “Green beer for everyone.” Without batting an eye soon there were 6 frothy mugs of green beer on the table. Five of them were gulped down in an instant. My mug sat there. Finally my friend asked if I was going to drink it. I told her I didn’t like beer. She wanted to know if she could have it; and she drained that mug in nearly a single chug. The “designated driver” movement hadn’t been started yet but that soon became my standard role. I was the friend who made sure everyone stayed together and kept any from wandering into the street or walking into signs…
I swore off drinking green beer
But they pushed the pints ever near
Loud I raised my voice
That drink’s not my choice
To which they shouted hear, hear!
A little limerick in honor of the day. I hate writing limericks, and drinking beer. But I did wear green today!
I was listening to a zoom seminar that involved multiple presenters over the course of the day. At mid morning the moderator broke in and announced that there would be a 30 minute “bio-break”. Time stopped. My brain did a somersault and I had a new and favorite phrase. I mentioned this to my geeky sons and they knew immediately that it was a term for going to the bathroom or taking care of other biological needs – like a snack or meal, stretching the legs/going for a walk, or just getting a drink of water. I guess its been around for awhile but with COVID and zoom meetings it has now entered the mainstream!
Then later that same day, two students were walking in front of me down the hall and I overheard a snippet of their conversation. “I was headed to class with Kyle and a couple of people walked up. I wasn’t sure who they were so I gave them an ocular pat-down.” I had never heard this phrase either! I had to google it. It seems that is was coined in a show called “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” where it refers to doing a threat assessment by looking someone over. Which makes sense in this era of coronavirus. We are constantly doing ocular pat-downs of all the strangers we encounter, trying to tell if they are sick or healthy, properly masked or not, and whether they are keeping an appropriate physical distance…
So I asked my sons for the latest “new” phrases or words that they’ve heard. Not surprisingly several had to do with social media in general and Zoom specifically. It is now a thing to get zumped. That is the word for being dumped by a boy/girlfriend via a zoom call. I guess it is a step up from a breakup text. Then there is Zoom-rage where you get dropped or cut off from a zoom call/meeting causing a disproportionate rise in anger. I guess some people actually become violent and break things – like their computers! Another term mentioned, but in a completely different context, is Zoomies. Their definition is NOT a pet that gets very excited in anticipation of a treat causing them to run crazy (usually in circles). No, they said that Zoomies are your college roomies who due to attending virtually, are forced to hang out on Zoom. They also mentioned Blursday as what day it is when you lose track of time due to quarantining.
So I’m going to close this post and take a bio-break. I had to lookup the date to schedule this one because its Blursday every day lately…
Life story calligraphy
Tar to asphalt writ
Scrawled along small town main street
Sealing his fate and road cracks
A friend’s neighbor is an older Chinese man who immigrated to the US in the mid 1960s. She had him and his wife over for an outside patio picnic. After dinner he was relating his story to the kids. He left China and managed to make his way to freedom. It was not an easy journey. There were times he thought he would be caught and returned to his home country. He was young and unskilled. He didn’t know any English. He didn’t have family or friends in the US. Nevertheless he was able to find a sponsor family through a church organization (the church where my friend attends). He ended up in Indiana. He recently retired from working for the street department and had a confession to make. He had worked for many years on a crew sealing the cracks in the streets. His coworkers never caught on, but he would write on the streets using Chinese characters, at first it was just good wishes. After he had been working for several years he started writing his life story. I suppose if you could read Chinese and drove slowly enough you might be able to decipher some of his tale – from oppression and fear and flight to his eventual life in the US where he found love, life and a full life.
Perhaps we can return to a better version of ourselves…