Thursday, December 26, 2013

Five for Friday: Year End Celebration


 

It's the end of the year.  I feel it in every tired sigh; every pound I've put on; every muscle that yearns to be stretched; every urge to begin anew with fresh plans, re-prioritized goals, and (dare I say it aloud?) New Year's resolutions.

As a writer, a mother, a homemaker, and a participant in the human "race," frustration is part of the job description.  While I am able to do many things adequately to keep myself and my family afloat, I crave those extra, non-existent hours to focus on one thing at a time until I am satisfied that I have met my own lofty expectations.

I am reminded of Becky Shillington's tree, which she described in her recent visit to the Haiku Garden.  I stretch upward, brushing the surface of the life that I envision for myself.  But while I'm proud of my accomplishments so far, I know that I'm not there yet-- it's still out of reach, just beyond my squinty gaze. 

New Year's resolutions, or for me, goals, are a way of seeing my way toward that life I envision for myself.  Do you make New Year's resolutions?

For those of you who stop by today, I hope you will join my celebration of moving forward.  To participate, string five words together (plus title if you wish) about the year's end, the start of the new year, a resolution that you have adopted, or perhaps a reason for not making resolutions at all.  Leave them in the comments and then I will move them up to the party room.

I also hope you will join Mary Lee at A Year of Reading, who is celebrating the 52nd Friday of the year with today's Poetry Friday roundup.


YEAR END CELEBRATION



Resolution

This time I mean it.


* * *

Smooth White Page

Working toward possibilities presently unimagined.

-Tabatha Yeatts, The Opposite of Indifference

* * *

outward, onward, write, smile, love

-M. M. Socks, The Drawer of M. M. Socks

* * *

On the Eve of the New Year

Ready, willing
to begin anew.

-Mary Lee, A Year of Reading

* * *

In a Nutshell

It's not problem, it's yours.

-Diane Mayr, Random Noodling

* * *

Twenty fourteen already? Oh my.

-No Stinkin Ultracrepidarian

* * *

 Motivation

simply wired
to be inspired

-Liana Mahoney


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Love: Views from a Window Seat



You won't find a lot of book reviews on Today's Little Ditty.  While I love to read, reviewing books usually feels like homework, and this Ditty Girl doesn't do book reports.  However, every once in a while a book comes along that feels like an old friend-- one that sits so comfortably in my heart, by sharing it I feel as if I am sharing a piece of myself. 

Views from a Window Seat: Thoughts On Writing And Life, by Jeannine Atkins, is one of those.

A few of you may remember a certain giveaway on Irene Latham's blog, Live Your Poem, last month.  It was marked by waving hands, flailing elbows, pushing and shoving... okay, there were no flailing elbows to speak of, but the rest is all true.  Somehow, I managed to win that giveaway, and have been savoring Jeannine's book in bits and pieces ever since.

On the surface, this is a book of essays that focuses on the writing process.  It is organized into four sections, or seasons, as viewed from Jeannine's window seat: Spring: Beginning, Summer: Moving Through the Middle, Fall: Revising, and Winter: Finding an End.  But really, this book is so much more than a how-to guide.  It's an honest look at what it means to be a writer, a beautiful personal account of one writer's journey, and a source of meditation and motivation-- an inspirational companion. 

I have chosen to share with you a piece from one of Jeannine's winter essays, titled "Words and Wreaths."  The reason I chose it is because my parents arrived this week from out of town.  Up until now, we've scarcely paid any mind to holiday preparations at the Barnes house-- no tree, no lights, no cookies.  Why? Because we've been too distracted by "everything else."  Family time has taken a back seat to homework, outside social engagements, work responsibilities, and a whole lot of same old same old.  But now that school is out and the grandparents are here, the full orchestration of togetherness and family holiday traditions can begin!

In the following passage, Jeannine describes her annual tradition of hosting a gathering where family and friends make holiday wreaths together: 

       A friend admired the bushiness of the one I made this year, the way branches jutted every which way.  I told her that this was how I write, first going for broke, leaving the clipping for later.  I let the colors of the spruce and hemlock suggest whether they want red ribbon, holly berries, pale dried grasses, or a glittery band of stars.
       My friend worried that the stuff on her leaner wreath would blow away.
       Peter, whose wreath was enormous, said, "That's what's supposed to happen."
       The world is windy.  Dried grasses or blooms fall off, like memories or extraneous facts.  But the green circle holds for a while.

For me, it's now time to focus less on the accessories, and more on nurturing that inner green circle.

And speaking of inner circles, Buffy Silverman is waiting to welcome you to the Poetry Friday roundup.  Frankly, I don't know of a more supportive or welcoming bunch of people, so please do join us at Buffy's Blog.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Haiku Garden: Becky Shillington



I've had a blast participating in the merry madness of Susanna Leonard Hill's Holiday Writing Contest over the past week.  Out of 118 entries, fourteen have been chosen as finalists and the choice is now up to you!  Voting has commenced and will continue until Wednesday, December 18th, at 5:00pm EST.  Please cast your vote for whichever story makes your jolly heart jingle. 

As for myself, I've enjoyed aspects of each and every entry (yes, all 118), but now feel quite ready to take a break from Santas and sleighs, reindeer, elves, and all varieties of mishaps, mix-ups, and mayhem.  Like a breath of fresh air, Becky Shillington joins me in the Haiku Garden today to share her own gift of the season.  Not the kind that is unwrapped in a flurry of excitement, but the kind of seasonal gift only Mother Nature can provide-- the kind that unwraps itself, slowly, over time, and belongs to anyone and everyone who stops to relish the moment.


Winter Silhouette

 Bare branches reach up,
Fingers brushing a blue sky
So bright that I squint.
 
(c) 2013 Becky Shillington. All rights reserved.


As a writer of picture books, chapter books, and poetry; a former third grade teacher; and an active mother of twins; Becky's personal life mirrors these branches, reaching out to those in her immediate and extended communities.  If you visit her blog, Tapestry of Words, one of the first things you'll notice is all the resources she generously shares with fellow writers and readers of all ages.  But I especially admire the fact that she frequently volunteers in her boys' classrooms, sharing her love of poetry with children and adults who recognize the benefit of watching the world unfold.  She describes her life as "a tapestry of love, laughter, and southern comfort." I, for one, am grateful that she chooses to share these qualities with the rest of us.

In the midst of the craziest month of the year, thank you, Becky, for stopping by the Haiku Garden; and for encouraging the world to slow down, if only for a few moments, so that I could stop, breathe, and enjoy today's little ditty. 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Flight Before Christmas



Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us.  Are you a thriver or a surviver?  I like to complain about Christmas craziness as much as the next person, but truth be told, I love this season of joyful chaos: the twinkling lights, the holiday music that drives my husband crazy, my children's effervescence, spending time with family and friends, and the foundation of love and generosity that underlies it all.

Oh, and did I mention the 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest, sponsored by Susanna Leonard Hill?  Now there's some jolly good fun to ring in the season!  The rules: write a children's story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster (a la Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer).  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words.

Be sure to stop by Susanna's blog, Something for Everyone in the World of Children's Books, to peruse all of the entries.  After finalists have been selected, voting will take place starting December 16th, and winners announced on Thursday, December 19th.

I hope you enjoy reading my (330 word) entry as much as I enjoyed writing it!

 
THE FLIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

‘Twas a week before Christmas and all was not well.
While out on a test flight, the sleigh hit a swell.
An icy cold blast took St. Nick by surprise
and sent him careening through blustery skies.
Tossed this-a-way, that-a-way, capsized, upended,
a thought flashed before him as Santa descended:
What good are warm boots and a snazzy red suit,
if what you don’t have is a good parachute?

He called to his reindeer (though none were in sight),
“Come Dasher! Come Dancer!  Be swift in your flight!
Come Prancer and Vixen!  Come Comet and Cupid!”
But none of them came, and poor Santa felt stupid.
Through clouds of whipped cream, he kerplopped like a cherry;
his jolly demeanor, now somewhat less merry.
With huge, booming voice he exclaimed,
"HO HO HO!
 READY OR NOT…
 LOOK OUT BELOW!”




Unaware, until then, of the ill-fated flight,
the elves all looked up with their jaws dropped in fright.
Could it be?  Yes, it was!  Old St. Nick in free fall!
Those quick-witted elves wasted no time at all.
They worked as a team, without missing a beat,
to pile up snow, oh, at least fifty feet.

Would Santa Claus notice with everything white?
He needed a map he could read from great height.
So the elves in their hats of bright red and bright green
encircled the mound to make sure it was seen—
the red hats on one side, the green on the other.
At first they formed one word, and then came another:
the reds on the left side spelled L-A-N-D;
on the right were the green hats with H-E-R-E.

While Santa still dropped like a streak through the sky,
he saw this and gave a most gratified sigh.
He aimed, best he could, for the elves’ snowy mound
that cushioned his fall when, at last, he hit ground.
Nothing came close to the love Santa felt…
with a smile he said, “Guess I need a seat belt.”

© 2013 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.

Poetry Friday friends, there's more fun to be had just around the bend!  Please join our round-up host, Tabatha Yeatts, at The Opposite of Indifference.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cyber Seduction


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Givrebranche.JPG

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of hosting Linda Baie in Limerick Alley.  With grace and gentleness, she bid a final farewell to autumn.  If you missed it, please take a moment to read and enjoy. 

Winter is now upon us... though some of us more than others.  In Florida, we rely on indicators other than fallen leaves and plunging temperatures.  Things like the 24-hour Christmas radio stations; the store displays of holiday merchandise; the jam-packed schedule of parties, field trips, and activities; and my personal favorite (ahem), my ever-expanding email inbox.  My box runneth over with junk advertisements for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all manner of fabricated pre-holiday cheer.  My index finger is weak from clicking unsubscribe, and still the onslaught continues.  Who needs snow when you have an avalanche of spam to shovel?

Which brings me to today's little ditty: my response to that bottomless pit of paparazzi advertising.


 
Seduction

It all began
with cookies. Now
and then, you popped up
unexpectedly.   It was cute,
you were sweet, and before long
you fell into step with my digital footprint.
Just a fling, I told myself, but you wanted more:
my time, attention, undying devotion, a credit card number
and personal security code.  And then it happened.  Black Friday.
It was late. There on my lap in the bedroom, aura glowing, you
told me I was glamorous, well-to-do, elite, and that XL or XS
didn’t matter. “2-for-1,” you said, “a limited-time offer.”
So I gave you my IP address, my credit card, the
works.  Who could resist those promises,
now as empty as my bank account? 
For a time I thought we clicked,
but now I realize I did all
the clicking. And what
once was 2-for-1,
is now just me,
50% off.


May your month be merry, your shopping simple, and may the beauty of the season surround you.  You can start now.  Please join hostess Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge, as she celebrates the gifts of Poetry Friday.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Limerick Alley: Linda Baie


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Denmark_St_1982.jpg


http://www.gonefishingpress.com/
I've never been one for goodbyes.  
No parties, no fanfare.  
I'd rather slip away quietly, fade-out...and...cut.  
That's a wrap. 


You would think goodbyes would get easier with age and practice, but for me, they've become more difficult.  Time has become less infinite, more precious, giving me pause before moving on.

That's why I'm especially grateful for generous souls like Linda Baie, who bring attention to these passages of time--the ends and the beginnings--in a manner that comforts rather than alarms.  Linda is driven by many passions, including reading, writing, teaching, learning, living, and loving; all of which shine through in her poetry and on her blog, TeacherDance.

So delighted to welcome you to Limerick Alley, Linda!

By way of introduction to today's little ditty, Linda shared with me that she has relied on autumn as the source of inspiration for many poems this year, including her own (like this one and this one) and those written by others as well.  Now that December has arrived, she says, "it's time to say farewell to our autumn ideas."  Sigh.  I guess I'm ready if you are.

          It's goodbye to the season named fall.
          After fulsome praise -- now time for all
          yellows, oranges, and reds
          to crunch into their beds.
          Let leaves take their final curtain call.

          (c) 2013 Linda Baie. All rights reserved.

Autumn into Winter, by Sabine Rich (c) 2011

If you would like to have a limerick featured here in the future, please contact me at Michelle (at) MichelleHBarnes (dot) com, or by commenting below.

leaf-in-ice02.jpg, photograph by Nancy Ward (c) 2005

Friday, November 29, 2013

Five for Friday: Potluck Party



Another Thanksgiving come and gone.  I can tell because my heart is filled with gratitude and my refrigerator, with leftovers.

O leftovers!  I could write an ode to leftovers, I love them so much.  Just the thought of not having to cook for the next few days fills my heart to overflowing.

So today I am hosting another Five for Friday party, this time in honor of my devotion to microwave reheating.


Looking for five-word ditties (plus title, if you wish) to celebrate the blessings of a full heart and a full fridge.  Sure, not everyone loves leftovers.  Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving either.  I get that.  But I hope you will join in nevertheless.  If not food love, you can write about something you do appreciate this time of year.  As long as it's just five words; no muss, no fuss.  Leave your contributions in the comments and I will add them here.

And hey, if nothing else, we can all be grateful for Poetry Friday, right?  Many thanks to Carol at Carol's Corner for hosting today's roundup!  I also want to give a shout out to the Two Weeks of Thanks-Giving roundup at Teaching Authors today.  You can find my own thank you note to a special teacher here.

All this writing is making me hungry.  Sandwich anyone?


Oh, that's right, we're having a potluck!  Sorry-- my brains are mashed potatoes.  Whoa!  Did you catch that?  Five words... see how easy it is?

As host, I have prepared three dishes to start us off.  Bon appetit!


Sweet Potato,
please be mine?

Cranberry Sauce: 
my autumn crush

Being together
is dessert enough

-Michelle at Today's Little Ditty


Poetry
is the best
dessert!

-Mary Lee at A Year of Reading


Stuffing!
Breadcrumbs
on overdrive!
Yum!

-Carol at Carol's Corner


Love is
the happiest
side.

-Betsy at I Think in Poems


Granddaughters-
whipped cream,
no pie!

-Linda at TeacherDance


Pumpkin Pie:
best breakfast
ever.

-Buffy at Buffy's Blog


 Delicious
mashed potatoes.
Thanks, Bob!

-Catherine at Reading to the Core


Turkey too big?
    Leftovers forever. . .

-George the (No Stinkin) Ultracrepidarian


Tonight's supper:
turkey noodle soup.

-Keri at Keri Recommends


A full refrigerator --
I smile.

One for Diane:

Turkey carcass =
So much stock.

-Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference


PECAN PIE

Who can Pecan? We can!

APPLE PIE

Apple? Gobbled in a snap!

BERRY PIE

Each bite is like sunlight.

-Julie at The Drift Record



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

With Thanks to My Teachers



Today I am participating in "Two Weeks of Thanks-Giving" at Teaching Authors.  Coupled with American Education Week, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to show my appreciation for the teachers who helped shape the person I am today.

One of the most meaningful compliments I received from a teacher came to me at the end of my senior year at Connecticut College, from someone who hardly knew me... or so I thought.  It was finals week.  Classes were over and graduation in sight.  As I breezed from one end of campus to the other, I bumped into Professor Gene Gallagher.  Though I wasn't a religious studies major, I had enjoyed participating in his class, Cults and Conversion in Modern America, that semester-- just a theater major with a desire to expand my horizons.

Eugene Gallagher
It was a brief exchange, a passing remark really.  A handful of seconds that somehow made a profound impact.  He said:

"You're a brave woman, Michelle."  

How I've treasured these words over the subsequent 25 years.  These words that reflected the height of my self-confidence.  Yes, I was that brave woman, passionately stepping out into the real world, keeping my eyes open to opportunity, and meeting life boldly, with intentionality.

But who was responsible for cultivating that bravery?  My parents, of course, but also my teachers.  Teachers who have always been there, nurturing, stimulating, supporting, and guiding me through unfamiliar territory, knowing me more than I thought possible, and challenging me to become extraordinary.

Since then, life, with its stencil and exacto knife, has attempted to carve away at that confidence with varying degrees of success.  These days, bravery has metamorphosed into resilience, but the passion is still alive.  Every day I strive for that peak of self-confidence to bloom again.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASternbergia_clusiana_1.JPG

Today's little ditty is a thank you note.  Though simple in its acrostic form, I dedicate it to Professor Gallagher and to all of my teachers and mentors, in school and in life.  Thank you for the enCOURAGEment to pursue my dreams

          Believe in yourself
          Respect those who came before
          Allow the possibilities
          Venture into the unknown
          Education matters

              © 2013 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pre-Thanksgiving Greetings


                                                                                     1873, US Public Domain

I'm not sure how this happened, but Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!

Am I ready?  Heck no.

But I've been spending time in the Haiku Garden with Robyn Hood Black, and you should see the tasty morsel she's cooked up!

My family will attest to the fact that I'm not a bad cook, they might even say I'm a good cook, but convenience fare only goes so far.  Unfortunately, I can't say that I particularly enjoy my jaunts in the culinary arts-- it's one of those tasks that has fallen into my lap by default.  And when it comes to Thanksgiving, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'd rather be a guest than a host.  I'll happily bring the mashed potatoes or a nice bottle of wine.

Today's little ditty is a Thanksgiving greeting card verse that I wrote and sold to Andrews McMeel Publishing back in 2007.


                         COVER:  Turkey roasting...
                                                      Glasses toasting...

                         INSIDE:  Giving thanks that I'm not hosting.


Yep, that's pretty much me all over.  

When I recently contacted Andrews McMeel's greeting card editor to find out if the verse was ever used and whether or not I could legitimately post it on my blog, he informed me that my verse was in print for a while, but he wasn't sure if it still is.

I hope you'll let me know if you see my baby in the card racks over the coming week.  Never did see the artwork for this one, but they paid me well so I can't complain.

And now that I've tantalized your taste buds, please join Katya, this week's Poetry Friday host over at Write. Sketch. Repeat.  Everyone's invited!  Side dish welcome, but not required.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Haiku Garden: Robyn Hood Black



I'm so excited to be able to spotlight the talents of Haiku Garden's special guest today: children's author, poet, and artist Robyn Hood Black.  Robyn is a versatile writer, having published fiction and non-fiction children's books, as well as a variety of poetry in anthologies, magazines and top-notch journals.  She is also an accomplished artist with a penchant for "literary art with a vintage vibe."  I highly recommend her Etsy shop, artsyletters, as a great place to start your holiday shopping!

Robyn describes haiku as a "sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth."  Not only do I admire her talents in this elegant and economical genre, but I benefit from her gifts as a teacher, as well.  On her website, she encourages visitors, "poets and readers of any age," to explore their own haiku journeys with online resources that include a haiku resources list, how-to guides for children, and inspiring samples of her own haiku.

On Robyn's blog, Life on the Deckle Edge, she provides even more inspiration.  Currently she is running a series called "We Haiku Here."  The series, which will continue into December, introduces us to several outstanding haiku poets from The Southeast Chapter of The Haiku Society of America.

Today, however, is all about Robyn, and with that, I give you today's little ditty:

              cold front –
              an urgent wind
              at my back


                                      -Modern Haiku, Winter/​Spring 2012

                   (c) Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

Robyn let me have my pick of haiku on her website and I selected this one because it hits me where I live.  Not only does it reflect the sudden shock of late autumn in North Florida, but it also mirrors my state of mind at this time of year-- that sense of urgency always at my back, breathing down my neck and giving me cold shivers.  Sort of like this Wind God by Japanese painter, Ogata Kōrin.

Ogata Kōrin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thank you, Robyn, for spending time in the Haiku Garden today.  I look forward to your continued lessons in the art of haiku, so that I, too, can condense life into potent nuggets of truth.



Friday, November 15, 2013

A Dirty Kitchen Secret



I hate to be the one to break it to you, but today is Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.  Trust me, it's true.  Would I be so cruel as to make something like that up?

Did you know, most Americans only clean their refrigerators once or twice a year?  (All together now: "Eeeeuw!")  This is according to an article in the Wall Street Journal-- a source renowned for its housecleaning expertise, or so I've heard.

The time has come, my fellow Americans.  Today's the day!  You want to make room for all of those turkey and pumpkin pie leftovers, don't you?

So in honor of the occasion, today's little ditty has transformed the aforementioned article, aptly titled "Why Won't Anyone Clean Me?", into a "found poem"-- one that takes words and phrases from an existing text and refashions them to create something new.  I've been wanting to try my hand at a found poem for some time now.  Notwithstanding the pungent odors and harmful bacteria, it was fun.


     A Dirty Kitchen Secret

     Forgotten in a corner,
     he didn’t notice
     the surface tension,
     the “ick” factor,
     bubbling up
     around the perimeter
     like spilled soda from a can.
     Good intentions
     allowed to ripen
     “out of sight, out of mind”
     until what ensued
     was chaos, all levels
     of refrigerator nastiness.
     Soda in the crisper,
     milk in the door,
     leaks from raw meat,
     dog licking the bottom shelf, 
     no clue what to do
     with the special
     cheese compartment,
     and high-tech solutions
     thwarted by consumers
     who try to salvage
     old salad dressing.

       © 2013 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.


Jama Rattigan, our favorite foodie with a heart of gold, is serving up today's Poetry Friday roundup with a cup of tea and an apple pumpkin walnut muffin.  Seriously. Yum.  You'll find her at Jama's Alphabet Soup.


...Mortimer???

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Musing: Veteran's Day




http://teapottantrums.typepad.com/index/2006/12/shocking_pictut.html 


I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother what was war?" 

-Eve Merriam



With thanks to those who have served and sacrificed with honor.
           -MHB


Friday, November 8, 2013

"Sweet Bird" Joni Mitchell


"I have always thought of myself as a painter derailed by circumstance."
          -Joni Mitchell, June 2000

At the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada, 6.30.2000 (CP PHOTO/Glen Berger)


Yesterday was the 70th birthday of a special friend.  

 THEN:
Joni Mitchell, 1970.  Photograph: Henry Diltz/Corbis












                                                        AND NOW:
Joni Mitchell, 2013.  Rene Macura / AP Images for CP Images














Sure, our relationship has been somewhat lopsided: I've never had her over for dinner or bought her a present, but I don't think she minds.  Unbeknownst to her, Joni Mitchell has held a special place in my heart for many years-- she's celebrated my friendships and first love, eased my pain, inspired my songwriting years ago, and has indelibly painted my life's canvas with the rich colors of her music and poetry.

I first discovered Joni in a clearance bin at Sam Goody's in the White Plains mall.  I knew her by name, but that was all-- I didn't yet connect her with her more famous albums, Blue (1971) or Court and Spark (1974), nor her popular hits "Big Yellow Taxi," "Woodstock," "Help Me," or "Free Man in Paris." Mostly I was attracted to the album title, The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975), intrigued by the cover artwork, and lured by the price.  (It was my own money after all, and as I recall, my very first album purchase.)

Once I gave it a listen, I was hooked.  Over the years I gradually increased my collection and found that for every mood and occasion, Joni was right there echoing my innermost thoughts and feelings.  For today's little ditty, I am sharing "Sweet Bird"-- track 9 off this amazing album: 


SWEET BIRD

Out on some borderline
Some mark of inbetween
I lay down golden--in time
And woke up vanishing

Sweet bird you are
Briefer than a falling star
All these vain promises on beauty jars
Somewhere with your wings on time
You must be laughing
Behind our eyes
Calendars of our lives
Circled with compromise
Sweet bird of time and change
You must be laughing
Up on your feathers laughing

Golden in time
Cities under the sand
Power, ideals and beauty
Fading in everyone's hands

Give me some time
I feel like I'm losing my mind
Out here on this horizon line
With the earth spinning
And the sky forever rushing
No one knows
They can never get that close
Guesses at most
Guesses based on what each set
     of time and change is touching
Guesses based on what each set
     of time and change is touching
Guesses based on what each set
     of time and change is touching.

(c) 1975 Joni Mitchell.  All rights reserved.



While she no longer has the voice of a songbird (likely due to a half-century of smoking), in my eyes Joni remains just as sweet.  And in her own words, "I learned a woman is never an old woman."  So there.

Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell's Songs, written and edited by Lisa and John Sornberger, is a collection that was published earlier this year.  It highlights forty years of Joni Mitchell's thought-provoking lyrics as well as original contributions by acclaimed writers, long-time friends, and creative collaborators, celebrating her poetic prowess and the powerful impact her words have had on their lives.  I guess I'm not the only one.


http://www.amazon.com/Gathered-Light-Poetry-Mitchells-Songs/dp/192751312X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383876223&sr=8-1&keywords=Gathered+Light


Speaking of powerful words, today's Poetry Friday host is Diane at Random Noodling.  There's a whole lot more inspiration just around the bend.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Two Line Tuesday: Lou Reed






ForestWander Nature Photography


I always believed that I have something important to say
and I said it.

                                                                 -Lou Reed

  

Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed's widow, wrote in a letter to their neighbours, "He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees..."


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Five for Friday: PHSD



What a week it's been! 

If you missed the outcome of my Insomnia, you can find it here.

You can find The Witching Hour, my entry to Susanna Leonard Hill's 3rd annual Halloweensie Contest, here.

But really I've been eating, sleeping, and breathing Halloween all month long, and now...

Courtesy of Matt Ward





I feel like death warmed over.











Courtesy of GiggleBugg



Nah, don't call Zombie Control just yet, it's only Post Halloween Stress Disorder (PHSD).  Easily remedied with a bit of Five for Friday group therapy.







To join in, all you need to do is string five words together (plus title, if you like), leave it in the comments section, and I'll move it here so we can all enjoy.  Easy peasy zombie squeasy.  Don't fuss too much or bust a gut, it's just five words.  You really can't go wrong.

Then, when you're done, hobble over to TeacherDance where Linda is hosting today's Poetry Friday hangover... I mean roundup.  But try not to leave any limbs behind, okay?

PHSD

Zombie
is my 
middle name



TUMMY STRESS

No more
cookie fingers
ever!

-Linda Baie, TeacherDance 


COOKIE FINGERS SAY
(for Linda)

We'll be back
next year!

-Tabatha Yeatts, The Opposite of Indifference


NOVEMBER 1

Chocolate ghosts
empty
candy jar

-Laura Shovan, Author Amok


Too much candy equals gas...

-Richard McCray II


The porch light
is out.

-Regina Sokas


Still coffin up bone splinters.

-Jama Rattigan, Jama's Alphabet Soup


Kids gone.
Candy tithing begins.

-Buffy Silverman, Buffy's Blog


giddy giggles,
grouchiness
Halloween hangover

-Bridget Magee, wee words for wee ones


OVERLOAD

Sugar turns
kids to
monsters.

-Keri Collins Lewis, Keri Recommends 


A thousand welcomes
to November!

-Ruth, There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town


November starts
with sugar highs.

-George A. Heidenrich


HALLOWEEN IS OVER

The teacher
sighed with
relief.

-Mary Lee Hahn, A Year of Reading


BOO-HOO

Not enough
Halloween
in Europe!

-Renée LaTulippe, No Water River


Trick or Treat -
Too late?

-Robyn Hood Black, Life on the Deckle Edge



Monday, October 28, 2013

The Witching Hour



We're halfway through the Halloween Countdown, and the suspense is killing me!  Will I survive this Insomnia?

A "weensie" dose of lighter fare may be just what I need to pull through, so I've decided to enter the 3rd annual Halloweesie Contest sponsored by Susanna Leonard Hill.  The rules of the contest are simple: write a Halloween story in 100 words or less.  It can be scary or funny, poetry or prose, but it must be appropriate for children and include the words spooky, black cat, and cackle.

Well, you know me, I took the "little ditty" approach.


          THE WITCHING HOUR

          This is the tale
          of two cats and a whale
          named Spooky, Cackle and Boo.

          Each Halloween
          the trio is seen
          traversing the ocean blue.

          An unusual sight—
          black cats in the night
          on the tail of a whale, it’s true.

          But once every year
          when bewitching time’s here,
          they set sail and admire the view.

          © 2013 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.


Courtesy of Eunice and Andrew, Lazy Cats Are Here


Be sure to stop by Susanna's blog, Something for Everyone in the World of Children's Books, to read and enjoy all of the entries.  After the finalists have been selected, there will be a vote for the winner on Monday, November 4th.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Countdown: Day 1


Limerick Alley, after dark

Lucky, the Halloween shamrock



Halloween has come to Limerick Alley...  

bigtime



Ooh, I hope it's not TOO scary!



In the spirit of the Halloween horror franchise and its bountiful series of slasher movies, I thought it would be fun to release a stream of limericks to count down the remaining days until Halloween.  Sooooo...


For the next week, I will be releasing one stanza each day of my seven stanza poem titled Insomnia.

Be sure to return to this post daily to see how the story unfolds!


        Insomnia

       It’s 3 a.m., why aren’t I sleeping?
       Odd hours I seem to be keeping.
       My eyes are not closing,
       my mind is composing,
       and limericks, silently creeping…

       Was that just the wind I heard moan?
       Making these walls creak and groan?
       I can't comprehend
       why my hair stands on end,
       till I notice I'm not here alone.

       My eyesight, unfocused and bleary;
       the silence, electric and eerie;
       a whisper, my name,
       "Who's there?!" I exclaim.
       "Just me," she says, "no worries, Dearie."

       From shadows, a hideous sight
       ignites my spontaneous fright:
       a foul surprise
       with sunken white eyes,
       and skin mostly rotted with blight!

       "I once was a dancer, you know.
       Tonight, it's my Halloween show..."
       Her head, it unhinges
       and out jump, like ninjas,
       huge crickets that breed in her toe. 

       I feel the sweat bead on my brow.
       The crickets are everywhere now!
       My heart skips a beat
       but I'm stuck to my seat,
       and I think that I'm having a cow. 

       I'm shaking like autumn's last leaf,
       just hoping the pain will be brief.
       A BLOODCURDLING SCREAM
       wakes me up from my dream...
       and I breathe a deep sigh of relief. 

       © 2013 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.