Hillaire Belloc and The Microbe

Yesterday was the last day at work for my boss. It was hard to say goodbye to him as he was the one who brought me on board when I came back to California from New Orleans many years ago. Harder for him as he had been with the company over 21 years. All the poems I found about saying goodbye were about people dying which was not at all appropriate. However he is a delightful Frenchman (who has never lost his accent) and this is a delightful poem by a Frenchman with just the sort of attention to detail I think he’d appreciate.

This is from More Beasts for Worse Children by Hillaire Belloc. Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953) was a French born writer who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. More on Belloc at wikipedia

The Microbe

The Microbe is so very small
You cannot make him out at all,
But many sanguine people hope
To see him through a microscope.
His jointed tongue that lies beneath
A hundred curious rows of teeth;
His seven tufted tails with lots
Of lovely pink and purple spots,
On each of which a pattern stands,
Composed of forty separate bands;
His eyebrows of a tender green;
All these have never yet been seen–
But Scientists, who ought to know,
Assure us that they must be so….
Oh! let us never, never doubt
What nobody is sure about!  

The round-up for Poetry Friday is over at the hostess with the mostess, Kelly at Big A litte a. Next week’s round-up will be HERE!


Friday, November 16, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |6 Comments

Poems of 15 words or less

I almost forgot, there’s still a little bit of Thursday left so rush on over to

and take a look at this week’s picture for Poems of 15 words of less.

And yes, I did manage to write mine in-between a twitter here and a twitter there.

Thursday, November 15, 2007|Categories: Random|Tags: |0 Comments

How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted by Guy Wetmore Carryl

I went looking for a poem about a little rhino and came up with this one instead by Guy Wetmore Carryl.

How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted

A POET had a cat.
There is nothing odd in that—
(I might make a little pun about the Mews!)
But what is really more
Remarkable, she wore
A pair of pointed patent-leather shoes.
And I doubt me greatly whether
E’er you heard the like of that:
Pointed shoes of patent-leather
On a cat!

His time he used to pass
Writing sonnets, on the grass—
(I might say something good on pen and sward!)
While the cat sat near at hand,
Trying hard to understand
The poems he occasionally roared.
(I myself possess a feline,
But when poetry I roar
He is sure to make a bee-line
For the door.)

The poet, cent by cent,
All his patrimony spent—
(I might tell how he went from verse to werse!)
Till the cat was sure she could,
By advising, do him good.
So addressed him in a manner that was terse:
“We are bound toward the scuppers,
And the time has come to act,
Or we’ll both be on our uppers
For a fact!”

On her boot she fixed her eye,
But the boot made no reply—
(I might say: “Couldn’t speak to save its sole!”)
And the foolish bard, instead
Of responding, only read
A verse that wasn’t bad upon the whole.
And it pleased the cat so greatly,
Though she knew not what it meant,
That I’ll quote approximately
How it went:—

“If I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree”—
(I might put in: “I think I’d just as leaf!”)
“Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough”—
Well, he’d plagiarized it bodily, in brief!
But that cat of simple breeding
Couldn’t read the lines between,
So she took it to a leading

She was jarred and very sore
When they showed her to the door.
(I might hit off the door that was a jar!)
To the spot she swift returned
Where the poet sighed and yearned,
And she told him that he’d gone a little far.
“Your performance with this rhyme has
Made me absolutely sick,”
She remarked. “I think the time has
Come to kick!”

I could fill up half the page
With descriptions of her rage—
(I might say that she went a bit too fur!)
When he smiled and murmured: “Shoo!”
“There is one thing I can do!”
She answered with a wrathful kind of purr.
“You may shoo me, and it suit you,
But I feel my conscience bid
Me, as tit for tat, to boot you!”
(Which she did.)

The Moral of the plot
(Though I say it, as should not!)
Is: An editor is difficult to suit.
But again there’re other times
When the man who fashions rhymes
Is a rascal, and a bully one to boot!
Read more about this funny poet who died too young at Wikipedia

Friday, November 9, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |6 Comments

The Little Elf by John Kendrick Bangs

I needed a poem to make me smile today so here’s a little one by John Kendrick Bangs.

The Little Elf

I MET a little Elf-man, once,
Down where the lilies blow.
I asked him why he was so small
And why he didn’t grow.

He slightly frowned, and with his eye
He looked me through and through.
“I ’m quite as big for me,” said he,
“As you are big for you,”

John Kendrick Bangs

Read more about Bangs
(sorry – no time to do a summary)

The round-up is over at Mentor Texts & More this week. Don’t forget that the round-up of all the Poetry Friday round-ups can be found here.

Friday, November 2, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |6 Comments

Here there be fairies & William Allingham

William Allingham (March 19, 1824 or 1828 – November 18, 1889) was an Irish man of letters and poet. He was born at Ballyshannon, Donegal, and was the son of the manager of a local bank who was of English descent. He obtained a post in the custom-house of his native town and held several similar posts in Ireland and England until 1870, when he had retired from the service, and became sub-editor of Fraser’s Magazine, which he edited from 1874 to 1879, in succession to James Froude.

In 1874 Allingham married Helen Paterson, known under her married name as a water-colour painter. He died at Hampstead in 1889, and his ashes are interred at St. Anne’s in his native Ballyshannon. You can read more about him in Wikipedia

The Fairies

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We darent go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owls feather!

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

William Allingham

This week’s Poetry Friday round up is at Literary Safari

Friday, October 26, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |11 Comments

My First Memory (of Librarians) by Nikki Giovanni

My wedding anniversay was Wednesday and I pulled out a gift we had a received, a book of love poems by Nikki Giovanni. None of them seemed quite right for Poetry Friday but this one seems just perfect!

My First Memory (of Librarians)
by Nikki Giovanni
This is my first memory:
A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky
wood floor
A line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the center
Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply
too short
For me to sit in and read
So my first book was always big

In the foyer up four steps a semi-circle desk presided
To the left side the card catalogue
On the right newspapers draped over what looked like
a quilt rack
Magazines face out from the wall

The welcoming smile of my librarian
The anticipation in my heart
All those books—another world—just waiting
At my fingertips.
From Acolytes by Nikki Giovanni.


Check out the round-up of all the Poetry Friday postsat

Friday, October 19, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |12 Comments

The Pobble That Has No Toes by Edward Lear

A side note – I know I am not the first person in the history of the world to move but I must be one of the last to ever get settled. Soon, I hope, to be back to more regular posting. Thanks for those who have written to check on me. So for Poetry Friday, a little nonesense seems to be in order.


The Pobble who has no toes
Had once as many as we;
When they said “Some day you may lose them all;”
He replied “Fish, fiddle-de-dee!”
And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink
Lavender water tinged with pink,
For she said “The World in general knows
There’s nothing so good for a Pobble’s toes!”

The Pobble who has no toes
Swam across the Bristol Channel;
But before he set out he wrapped his nose
In a piece of scarlet flannel.
For his Aunt Jobiska said “No harm
Can come to his toes if his nose is warm;
And it’s perfectly known that a Pobble’s toes
Are safe, — provided he minds his nose!”

The Pobble swam fast and well,
And when boats or ships came near him,
He tinkledy-blinkledy-winkled a bell,
So that all the world could hear him.
And all the Sailors and Admirals cried,
When they saw him nearing the further side –
“He has gone to fish for his Aunt Jobiska’s
Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!”

But before he touched the shore,
The shore of the Bristol Channel,
A sea-green porpoise carried away
His wrapper of scarlet flannel.
And when he came to observe his feet,
Formerly garnished with toes so neat,
His face at once became forlorn,
On perceiving that all his toes were gone!

And nobody ever knew,
From that dark day to the present,
Whoso had taken the Pobble’s toes,
In a manner so far from pleasant.
Whether the shrimps, or crawfish grey,
Or crafty Mermaids stole them away –
Nobody knew: and nobody knows
How the Pobble was robbed of his twice five toes!

The Pobble who has no toes
Was placed in a friendly Bark,
And they rowed him back, and carried him up
To his Aunt Jobiska’s Park.
And she made him a feast at his earnest wish
Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish, –
And she said “It’s a fact the whole world knows,
That Pobbles are happier without their toes!”

— Edward Lear

Friday, April 20, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |6 Comments

Notice What This Poem is Not Doing by William Stafford

Okay, I’m editing this entry to add a couple of comments I didn’t have time for this morning. I have no idea what the answer is to the question asked in the title of this poem. The only thing I came up with was that it didn’t rhyme which is what some people think makes something a poem. Other people are responding with their own thoughts but I must confess that I feel better knowing I’m not the only one a wee bit perplexed by it.


The light along the hills in the morning
comes down slowly, naming the trees
white, then coasting the ground for stones to nominate.

Notice what this poem is not doing.

A house, a house, a barn, the old
quarry, where the river shrugs–
how much of this place is yours?

Notice what this poem is not doing.

Every person gone has taken a stone
to hold, and catch the sun. The carving
says, “Not here, but called away.”

Notice what this poem is not doing.

The sun, the earth, the sky, all wait.
The crowns and redbirds talk. The light
along the hills has come, has found you.

Notice what this poem has not done.

— William Stafford

Friday, April 13, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |9 Comments

The Candle by Edna St.Vincent Millay

Not that I would know a thing about burning my candle at both ends, mind you, but this short poem spoke to me today.

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
It gives a lovely light! 
— Edna St.Vincent Millay


Friday, April 6, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |28 Comments

Serious Omission by John Farrar

For this week’s Poetry Friday I give you John Farrar and dragons, or a serious lack of.

Serious Omission 

I know that there are dragons, 
St. George’s, Jason’s, too, 
And many modern dragons 
With scales of green and blue;

But though I’ve been there many times 
And carefully looked through, 
I can’t find a dragon 
In the cages at the zoo! 

 John Farrar

Friday, March 30, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |2 Comments

Sick Fish by Kenn Nesbitt

Trying to get back into the Poetry Friday habit I went looking for a poem to make me laugh. I found this one by Kenn Nesbitt on his site http://www.poetry4kids.com

Sick Fish

The fish in our aquarium
are looking rather ill,
and most of them are turning
kind of green around the gill.

I might have fed them too much food,
forgot to clean their tank,
or maybe they’re allergic to
the toys and junk I sank.

Perhaps I broke the thermostat.
I could have cut their air.
What’s certain is they’re sickly
from my downright lack of care.

But even though they’re looking ill
I still have cause to gloat;
they’re obviously talented–
they’re learning how to float!

–Kenn Nesbitt

Friday, March 23, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |15 Comments

Home, Sweet Home by John Howard Payne

Home, Sweet Home 
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,  
Be it ever so humble there ‘s no place like home!  
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,  
Which, seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere.   
    Home! home! sweet, sweet home!          
    There ‘s no place like home!  
An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain:  
O, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!  
The birds singing gayly that came at my call;—  
Give me them,—and the peace of mind dearer than all!   
    Home! home! sweet, sweet home!  
    There ‘s no place like home!  
How sweet ‘t is to sit ‘neath a fond father’s smile,  
And the cares of a mother to soothe and beguile!  
Let others delight mid new pleasures to roam,   
But give me, oh, give me, the pleasures of home!  
    Home! home! sweet, sweet home!  
    There ‘s no place like home!  
To thee I ‘ll return, overburdened with care;  
The heart’s dearest solace will smile on me there;   
No more from that cottage again will I roam;  
Be it ever so humble, there ‘s no place like home.  
    Home! home! sweet, sweet home!  
    There ‘s no place like home!

John Howard Payne
From the Opera of “Clari, the Maid of Milan”

Friday, February 2, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |4 Comments

Rhyme of Rhymes by Andrew Lang

A poem about poetics from Andrew Lang, author of the popular coloured fairy books.


Wild on the mountain peak the wind
Repeats its old refrain,
Like ghosts of mortals who have sinned,
And fain would sin again. 

For “wind” I do not rhyme to “mind,”
Like many mortal men,
“Again” (when one reflects) ’twere kind
To rhyme as if “agen.” 

I never met a single soul
Who SPOKE of “wind” as “wined,”
And yet we use it, on the whole,
To rhyme to “find” and “blind.” 

We SAY, “Now don’t do that AGEN,”
When people give us pain;
In poetry, nine times in ten,
It rhymes to “Spain” or “Dane.” 

Oh, which are wrong or which are right?
Oh, which are right or wrong?
The sounds in prose familiar, quite,
Or those we meet in song?

To hold that “love” can rhyme to “prove”
Requires some force of will,
Yet in the ancient lyric groove
We meet them rhyming still.

This was our learned fathers’ wont
In prehistoric times,
We follow it, or if we don’t,
We oft run short of rhymes.

Andrew Lang

Friday, December 15, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |4 Comments

You Enter the Forest by Joseph Campbell

I am at a bit of crossroads with my writing, my writing career (two different things), and my life in general. A friend sent me this poem yesterday to help me remember what is important to me and how taking the easy way out is not going to help me reach my goals. It’s the sort of poem I looked for when I was in Junior High and High School; the kind I would write in every one of my notebooks and pin up on the wall in my room. Right now it is on the wall next to Mary Oliver’s JOURNEY.

You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else’s path.

You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else’s way,
you are not going to realize
your potential.

It takes courage
to do what you want.

Other people
have a lot of plans for you.

Nobody wants you to do
what you want to do.
They want you to go on their trip…

– Joseph Campbell

Friday, December 8, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |17 Comments

The Journey by Mary Oliver

I am resurfacing only briefly because I don’t want to let another Poetry Friday go by without posting (even though this is a late Thursday writing.) This poem speaks to me on so many levels.  I hope to post updates soon but for now, enjoy some Mary Oliver.


One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.

It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
~ ~ ~ Mary Oliver

Friday, December 1, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |14 Comments

The Alligator’s Children by Cicely Fox Smith

LIfe is still a roller coaster. No time to blog or read blogs or do much of anything except try to remember how to put one foot in front of the other and get through another day. I’ll be at CSLA in Sacramento this weekend and then hoping to crash for the next week at home, on vacation, curled up on the couch with my husband, my dog, and many hours of TiVo to help me vegetate.

But Poetry Friday is a must-do.

The Alligator’s Children

The alligator is a creature
With not a single pleasing feature;
And even when it’s very small,
It is not cuddlesome at all.
With countless teeth its jaws are set.
I do not want one for a pet.

Cicely Fox Smith, 1882-1954

Friday, November 17, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |13 Comments

Seals by Dorothy Keeley Aldis

If you read my post yesterday, you know I am stuck in a painful parenting place. Once again, I turn to an animal poem to make me smile. If only we could all just bounce a ball and wiggle and jiggle and feel happy with who we are.


The seals all flap
Their shining flips
And bounce balls on
Their nosey tips,
And beat a drum,
And catch a bar,
And wriggle with
How pleased they are.

by Dorothy Keeley Aldis

Friday, November 10, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |6 Comments

Frog-Making by John Bannister Tabb


Said Frog papa to Frog mamma,
“Where is our little daughter?”
Said Frog mamma to Frog papa,
“She’s underneath the water.”

Then down the anxious father went,
And there, indeed, he found her,
A-tickling tadpoles, till they kicked
Their tails off all around her.

John Bannister Tabb

Friday, November 3, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |8 Comments

A Man Said to the Universe – Stephen Crane

This poetry Friday contribution sums up a lot of the conflicting feelings in me of late. ’nuff said.

A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
“A sense of obligation.”

Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

Friday, October 27, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |6 Comments

The Fly – William Oldys

The Fly
(An Anacreontick)

Busy, curious, thirsy Fly,
Gently drink, and drink as I;
Freely welcome to my Cup,
Could’st thou sip, and sip it up;
Make the most of Life you may,
Life is short and wears away.

Just alike, both mine and thine,
Hasten quick to their Decline;
Thine’s a Summer, mine’s no more,
Though repeated to threescore;
Threescore Summers when they’re gone,
Will appear as short as one.

William Oldys (1696-1761)

Friday, October 20, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |1 Comment

If you have a goal in life by Susan Polis Schultz

Susan Polis Schultz and the poetry of Blue Mountain Arts were a big part of my junior high to high school years. Like Rod McKuen, her words often went to the heart of what I was feeling (lost, broken-hearted, dreaming of something just out of reach or deeply in love with my current boyfriend or crush) My mom and I didn’t always get along and back then she didn’t understand (or I didn’t think she understood) my overwhelming obsession with words, with poetry, with telling stories on paper. Being a writer was never taken seriously as a career option; it was something you did “on the side” after your normal job as a teacher or secretary. I wanted her to understand my need to write but I feared she never would. But one year for Christmas I received this poster with a poem. It was about 24×24 and packaged against a hard piece of cardboard and shrink-wrapped to keep it from bending. It was a glimmer (for me) of hope that she understood, or was trying to understand me. For all all I know she bought it on a whim and didn’t study the verse at all but I took it to mean it was okay for me to focus on my goal of writing.

For years (and I mean YEARS) I didn’t take the plastic off. I leaned it against the bookcase in my mostly-purple bedroom so it was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw at night. When I got married and moved, it went with me, getting a little bent around the edges. So off came the plastic and I had to trim a bit around the edges to fix the broken parts. Over the years, each time I moved, something got ripped or bent a little more. It was, is, by now, just a faded piece of paper reduced to about 12×12 from all my cutting around the edges. It has a home now, in a frame under glass, and sits in my office.

If you have a goal in life
that takes a lot of energy
that incurs a great deal of interest
and that is a challenge to you,
you will always look
forward to waking up to
see what the new day brings.
If you find a person in your life
that understands you completely
that shares your ideas
and that believes in everything you do,
you will always look forward to the night
because you will never be lonely.
Susan Polis Schultz
Friday, October 13, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |21 Comments

A Scientific Limerick by William S. Baring-Gould


To her friends said the Bright one in chatter,
“I have learned something new about matter:
My speed was so great,
Much increased was my weight,
Yet I failed to become any fatter!”
~~~ A. H. Reginald Buller (1874-1944)

(Note:  Mass increases with velocity in Alfred Einstein’s special theory of relativity.)

William S. Baring-Gould, The Lure of the Limerick: An Uninhibited History (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1967): 6.

A. H. Reginald Buller was an accomplished mycologist who lead the life of a bachelor professor. His is a fascinating story. Read more about The Poet-Scientist of Mushroom City. Online version of the poem was found here: http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/303.html

Friday, October 6, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |6 Comments

Fire and Ice by Robert Frost

In searching for a poem to share this week I came across this old friend. In my teen years, like many teens, I spent weeks upon weeks (okay probably months upon months) wavering between manic highs when everything in my world was wonderful (he likes me, he really likes me) and horrible, depressing lows when I couldn’t understand the point of getting out of bed in the morning (he dumped me, I can’t believe he really dumped me.) During those emotional roller coaster rides, this poem spoke to me loudly. I often had it copied on the inside cover of my notebook. Was I a melodramatic teen? You bet!

Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Robert Frost

Friday, September 29, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |6 Comments

Caterpillar by Christina Rossetti

’tis the time of caterpillars and butterflies in my backyard so I give you this poem from Christina Rossetti. (Even though it doesn’t mention the wasps that I battle for the life of my caterpillars.)


Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry,
Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk,
Or what not,
Which may be the chosen spot.
No toad spy you,
Hovering bird of prey pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.

~Christina Rossetti

If you are not already aware of it, http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/ is a great site set up by the Library of Congress, a poem a day for high school students. Some great poems here and information about how to read poetry out loud.

Friday, September 22, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |5 Comments

Poetry by Edwin Markham

comes like the hush and beauty of the night,
  And sees too deep for laughter;
Her touch is a vibration and a light
  From worlds before and after.

By Edwin Markham
From Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833?1908).  An American Anthology, 1787?1900.  1900.

Thursday, September 7, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |2 Comments

Eliza Cook – The Sea-Child


HE crawls to the cliff and plays on a brink
Where every eye but his own would shrink;
No music he hears but the billow’s noise,
And shells and weeds are his only toys.
No lullaby can the mother find
To sing him to rest like the moaning wind;
And the louder it wails and the fiercer it sweeps,
The deeper he breathes and the sounder he sleeps.

And now his wandering feet can reach
The rugged tracks of the desolate beach;
Creeping about like a Triton imp,
To find the haunts of the crab and shrimp.
He clings, with none to guide or help,
To the furthest ridge of slippery kelp;
And his bold heart glows while he stands and mocks
The seamew’s cry on the jutting rocks.

Few years have wan’d—and now he stands
Bareheaded on the shelving sands.
A boat is moor’d, but his young hands cope
Right well with the twisted cable rope;
He frees the craft, she kisses the tide;
The boy has climb’d her beaten side:
She drifts—she floats—he shouts with glee;
His soul hath claim’d its right on the sea.

’T is vain to tell him the howling breath
Rides over the waters with wreck and death:
He ’ll say there ’s more of fear and pain
On the plague-ridden earth than the storm-lash’d main.
’T would be as wise to spend thy power
In trying to lure the bee from the flower,
The lark from the sky, or the worm from the grave,
As in weaning the Sea-Child from the wave.

Eliza Cook (1812–89)

From: Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).
A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.

(I hope to resurface for regular posting later today.)

Friday, September 1, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |3 Comments

Work Without Hope by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

This poem is for every writer who has a day job. Every person who has to work a job they don’t want to work but they have to, if just to pay the bills, or keep that all important medical insurance. 

We had a big layoff this week at my day job. The mood around the place is quite glum and those of us left behind, still employed, are not too sure that we were the lucky ones. 

ALL Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—  
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—  
And Winter, slumbering in the open air,  
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!  
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,         
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.  
Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,  
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.  
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,  
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!  
With lips unbrighten’d, wreathless brow, I stroll:  
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?  
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,  
And Hope without an object cannot live. 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 1772–1834
from Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

Thursday, August 24, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |3 Comments

The Riot by Gamaliel Bradford

Although this poem is called The Riot I think it could just as easily be called The Writer’s Life.

The Riot

You may think my life is quiet.
I find it full of change,
An ever-varied diet,
As piquant as ’tis strange.

Wild thoughts are always flying,
Like sparks across my brain,
Now flashing out, now dying,
To kindle soon again.

Fine fancies set me thrilling,
And subtle monsters creep
Before my sight unwilling:
They even haunt my sleep.

One broad, perpetual riot
Enfolds me night and day.
You think my life is quiet?
You don’t know what you say.

Gamaliel Bradford (1863–1932)

Friday, August 18, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |5 Comments

Where My Books Go by William Butler Yeats

A small update for poetry Friday.


All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken’d or starry bright. 

William Butler Yeats.
1865 – 1935

Friday, August 11, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |2 Comments

Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note by LeRoi Jones

When I was in 7th grade we had a project in our English class that I just loved. I think it was part of what turned me on to poetry. We were supposed to chop up bits of poems that spoke to us and then find pictures in magazines to illustrate them. I don’t remember how many pages we were supposed to turn in but I know that I went the overachieving route and turned in about 10 times more than I needed to. That’s where I first read this poem by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka ). It sums up how I feel when life is spinning out of control and then, right under your nose and where you least expect it, you get a touch of hope, and it is enough to carry on.


Lately, I’ve become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelops me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad-edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for the bus…

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I count the stars,
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

Nobody sings anymore.

And then last night, I tiptoed up
To my daughter’s room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there…
Only she on her knees, peeking into

Her own clasped hands.

Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), 1961
You can read more about the poet here: http://www.amiribaraka.com


* Yes, many replies to your comments are still forthcoming. I’m sorry.
** Winners of the art contest to be announced soon. The delay is my fault.
*** Stay tuned for details about the Book Launch party for Hugging the Rock. If you’re close enough to get here, you’re invited. (Hint – save the date 9/27)

Thursday, August 3, 2006|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |7 Comments