Friday, June 28, 2013

My Mountain, inspired by Neil Gaiman

Socorro Peak (M Mountain), T.A. Irion, used by permission

In Socorro, New Mexico, a mountain rose up from the desert in our extended backyard.  The local academic community called it "M" Mountain, so named for the prominent M that, like a misplaced Hollywood sign, advertises the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

I chose to attribute that M to Michelle instead.  From the moment I saw it, I knew this was my mountain.  We all need a mountain to call our own.  To ground us and guide us, to act like a beacon, and aide us in reaching our "impossible" dreams.

Today's little ditty was inspired by a commencement address that Neil Gaiman (award-winning author of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama) delivered to last year's graduates of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  In my mind, Neil Gaiman is both a genius and an addiction.  To that I must now add a damn good motivational speaker.  This 20 minute video is a testament to those talents, and comes with a wholehearted recommendation for anyone who works, lives, and breathes the creative realm.  Even if you decide not to watch the video, I hope that you can glean some inspiration from my poem which was written in response.

My Mountain, inspired by Neil Gaiman

 I. My mountain.
    There is a mountain
    cloaked in enlightened illusion
    and impossible possibilities.
    It cracks the sky
    and breaks all the rules.

II. My adventure.
     I advance toward the summit.
     Sometimes nimbly;
     often clumsily;
     always purposefully
     to avoid the scorpions,
     the rattlesnakes,
     and the imposters.

III. My Voice.
      Along the way,
      I send out signals:
      messages in bottles
      bearing witness
      to the pen in my hand
      and the heart on my sleeve.
      Mostly they smash
      on craggy rock.

IV. My Bliss.
      All will be well—
      my mountain is in view.
      Such is my life
      of work
      that’s not work.
      My glorious and fantastic

© 2013 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.

There's still more inspiration to be had at The Poem Farm.  That's where you'll find Amy Ludwig VanDerwater with today's Poetry Friday roundup.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five for Friday Fiesta

"Jazz Time" by Chidi Okoye
Yes!  It's finally Friday.  The end to another busy week.  This week had its highlights, mind you.  Like on Tuesday, when Diane Mayr joined me in the Haiku Garden with a haiga about one of my favorite flowering plants.  (Go ahead and check it out.  I'll wait.)

Where were we... oh yeah, who doesn't love Fridays?  And since discovering Poetry Friday, they're even better-- like sitting down with a cup of joe and the Sunday paper, minus the boring sections.  Heaven.

Today I'm not much in the mood for anything hardcore.  I'm in the mood to party.  Something light and carefree.  How about a Five for Friday Fiesta-- a little ditty free-for-all?

To join me, all you need to do is string five words together (plus title, if you like) having to do with your current state of mind.  Leave it in the comments section and I'll move it here so we can all enjoy.  Don't fuss too much or bust a gut, it's just five words.  You really can't go wrong.  Now don't leave me hanging, because a party of one is just no fun.  Deal? Deal.

Oh, and when you're done here, make sure you visit Carol at Carol's Corner for the rest of today's Poetry Friday roundup.

Poetic Cleansing

Today my soul;

 (c) Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

Botanic Gardens

Friends, flowers
my soul.

(c) Carol*, at Carol's Corner
* I really want one more word. I want it to be "Friends and flowers".

Red Velvet Cake

Stained fingers
worth it.

(c) Mary Lee, at A Year of Reading


Home again!
New heart.

(c) No Stinkin Ultracrepidarian

Homecoming II

Home with me.
Heart Full.

(c) Mrs. No Stinkin Ultracrepidarian

Friday is here.

(c) Sarah Monsma

On patio
Feet up


Late for party


Radiant sunshine
Forgiving clock

(c) Cathy, at Merely Day By Day 


is the best-tasting

(c) Tabatha, at The Opposite of Indifference

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Haiku Garden: Diane Mayr

Today I am pleased as punch to welcome Diane Mayr, self-described casual poet, librarian, children's writer, and lover of noodles, to the Haiku Garden.  Huzzah! Huzzah!

Diane may call herself a casual poet, yet her haiku and haiga often blow me away with their profound simplicity-- bite-sized morsels of beauty and truth.  With a few spare moments in my day, I will often gravitate toward her blog, Random Noodling, for inspiration.

And just to prove my point, check out today's little ditty, this gorgeous haiga about wisteria-- "pernicious in its growth, but fragrant and lovely when it is in bloom," according to Diane.  (Art is from a Japanese book (1814), which is in the "Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan" collection of the NY Public Library.)

So am I right or am I right?  For someone reluctant to cut back her wisteria, Diane does wonders with her poetic pruning shears!

What Diane didn't know when she sent me this beauty, was that I, too, love that particular flowering plant.  In fact, seventeen years ago I was married under a magical canopy of wisteria.  It bloomed just for us... for our special day... 

Cutting it back?  Definitely not an option. 

Thank you for visiting today, Diane, and for taking me on that lovely trip down memory lane.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dreams of My Father

In honor of Father's Day, I have a special guest on Today's Little Ditty-- my dear ol' dad.  I'm so grateful for the relationship I have with my father and am proud to share many of his personality traits.

Here we are many, many moons ago:

Sometimes I still feel like I'm piggybacking on his broad shoulders.  It's a comfortable place to be.  

One of the most wonderful things for me now that he's retired, is finding out things about him that I never knew before; like how much he, too, enjoys poetry and words, and the challenge of picking just the right ones to express his innermost musings.  The following is from a collection of about thirty poems that he wrote last year on the subject of dreams.  This is one of my favorites... and no, not just because it mentions li'l ol' me.


In my dreams I have permission
to go places and do things I cannot do
when I am awake.  For instance, last night
I went to a picnic in the rain and slush at my daughter’s friend’s house
on the beach at the lake on the far side of the community.  I did not
get wet.  I was not cold.  There were fish four feet long swimming in the water
near the rocks.  The umbrella did not work.
I saw it with my own (sleeping) eyes.
Try that when you’re awake.

(In My Dreams 3)
8 February 2012
© George A. Heidenrich. All rights reserved.

All my life, people have told me what a wonderful man my father is... as if I didn't already know.  Thanks, Dad.  I love you.

Whether dreaming, soul-searching, or lighthearted laughter is what you're after, please join Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for today's Poetry Friday roundup.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Maybe: Poetry in Action from Ingrid Michaelson

When I was ten, you could find me laying on my bed, listening to Casey Kasem's American Top 40 on the radio, scribbling down the lyrics to popular songs as fast as my little fingers could fly.  Back then, of course, the Internet wasn't available to download lyrics.  If your favorite LP didn't include lyrics in the liner notes, you had to rely on a good ear for listening and, in some cases, a good guess to fill in any gaps.

As a child, I wasn't known for my extensive record collection.  Liner notes were virtually non-existent in my budding musical life.  At that point my vinyl included Marlo Thomas' Free to Be You and Me, the Broadway cast recording of Godspell, and my golden ticket, Ronco Presents I Love Music, a 1970-something, top hits compilation album.  So I did the best I could with deciphering lyrics like Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" from my tinny AM station.

And when I confessed to my mother that my favorite female musical artists were Dolly Parton and Barbra Streisand?  Her reply (after pausing, possibly to ponder big boobs and noses) was "What about Olivia Newton John?  Why can't you like Olivia Newton John?"  Clearly a more appropriate role model for a ten year old.  It wasn't for another few years yet, that my life would dramatically change with the discovery of Joni Mitchell's Hissing of Summer Lawns.

My daughter, on the other hand, has had a jump start in her musical tastes, peppered with the influence of popular female singer-songwriters (not including Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, or Olivia Newton John).  At eight, she bopped to Katy Perry, at nine she was belting 'em out with Adele, and at ten, she has a significant waiting list of songs she wants me to upload to her MP3 player.  The singer-songwriter who has been a constant throughout her growing love of music, however, is Ingrid Michaelson.  I believe Ingrid is to Miranda, what Joni was for me.  I only wish I had Ingrid's songs to swoon over when I was ten too.

So today's little ditty is brought to you by Ingrid Michaelson.  This song, titled "Maybe," is from her 2009 album Everybody.  I chose it as an example of poetry in action, not so much for the profundity of her lyrics (though some of her other songs might fall into that category), but because I love the theatrical combination of Noh-style puppeteers, marionettes, and shadow puppetry, set in a Mary Poppin-esque world of anything can happen. 

And, I bet, your mother would approve.

For more poetry, both on and off the page, visit Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference with today's Poetry Friday roundup.