Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snowing for Days

It’s elegant the way snow settles
On the branches: as if the dawn sequoia nestles
A woman in a white kimono. Below the city bustles
But here I can recall a Chinese cherry, its petals
Once covered the ground before a wooden chapel,
Still as the bird house topped with a snow white steeple;
The snowbird, junco, nuthatch, kindly fed by people,
Disappear at day’s end, to wonder where they go unsettles,
But we too retreat and sleep and in the morning warm the kettle.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Mouse Within a Wood Pile

Wikimedia photo by Forest Wander













Verses Inspired by an old Appalachian song, "Mole in the Ground," sung by Bascom Lamar Lunsford for Smithsonian Folkways.




I wish I were a parrot beside a lazy fountain

for if I were a parrot beside a lazy fountain,

I'd sing to you from down low and head right up the mountain.

I wish I were a firefly darting in the open field,

for if I were a firefly darting in the open field,

I'd speak my love for you, my lips no longer sealed.

I wish I were a lonesome frog beside a verdant pond,

for if I were a lonesome frog beside a verdant pond,

I'd dream of you and a changling make of a magic wand.

I wish I were a wee mouse within a snug wood pile

for if I were a wee mouse within a snug wood pile,

I'd hum a little winter's tune for you to pass the while.

I wish I were a warm cat purring in a sunny window,

for if I were a warm cat purring in a sunny window,

I'd peer out below at your perfect angel in the snow.

I wish I were a long-tailed lizard in a sunlit spot

for if I were a long-tailed lizard in a sunlit spot,

I'd curl my tail up giddy with you and make a happy knot.

I wish I were a winter's bear asleep in my dark den,

for if I were a winter's bear asleep in my dark den,

I'd dream of how you'd wait for me to visit half past ten.

I wish I were a raccoon a-sitting in my hollow,

for if I were a raccoon a-sitting in my hollow,

I'd scatter all manner of nuts and seeds for you to follow.

I wish I were a pelican flying by the wide blue sea,

for if I were a pelican flying by the wide blue sea,

I'd swoop down your muck boots and drop within my key.

Monday, December 30, 2013

"The Doll in the Grass" (traditional) retold with variations as a Sestina


Lois Lenski


The King had twelve sons.
Each son was suited with armor
and told to find a woman
who could sew a shirt in one day.
So they set out into the world,
each high upon his horse.


The youngest, Ashiepattle, road his horse
into the woods; as sons 
go, he was good-hearted but often lost in the world,
a shy boy whose armor
could not protect him from his brother's jokes. This day
his life would change when he would meet a woman--



Deep in the forest, buried in the grass, a doll cried, "I am a woman.
Ashiepattle, come underground and ride your horse
through tunnels night and day.
I have made a shirt to give to one of the king's sons."
When Asheipattle found the tiny woman she glowed like golden armor
and he brought her cupped in his palm to the bright world.

She road in a silver teaspoon driven by mice through the world--
Ashiepattle upon his horse; beside him, his tiny woman.
But the spoon toppled by a lake--Oh!-- Ashiepattle's tears rolled down his armor.
He searched the lake upon his horse,
the sparkling water spilling from his fingers like a thousand suns. 
Then from the water a  mermaid rose and in her arms night turned to day.

She had delivered the tiny woman full grown as if it were her birthday.
Hooray! They road together upon his horse back to the world,
back to the King where they gathered with all of the sons.
Ashiepattle was afraid to show the King the shirt made by the woman--
small enough to fit a bee or hold a bite of sugar for a horse,
but the King's heart was not encased in armor.

And he ordered it placed in a tiny pendant of armor,
that he wore around his neck each day.
And the mice? Free of the spoon, they had scurried past the horse,
and set out on their own adventure in the world,
turning a scullery maid into a royal woman
and filling their bellies with the finest crumbs scattered by many sons.

envoy to come later....tp 12/.31/13

Sunday, December 29, 2013

"The Lambikin" Traditional and here retold with considerable liberty.

This is the start of a new project based loosely on Candlelight Stories selected and edited by Veronica S. Hutchinson with drawings by Lois Lenski, 1927.
Image: © Nevit Dilmen found at Wikimedia commons










The Lambikin

Lambikin, Lambikin was light on his heels,
he leapt through the forest
turning cartwheels.
Along came a jackal
who looked hard and long,
then with a sad look,
Jackal sang him this song:

Lambikin, Lambikin,
you would have a sweet taste.
If you want to get to grandma's
you'd better make haste. 

Lambikin, Lambikin was light on his heels,
he leapt through the forest
turning cartwheels.
Then along came a Vulture
who looked hard and long,
then with a sad look,
Vulture sang him this song:

Lambikin, Lambikin,
I hear through the trees.
you're sweet to the taste,
better than butter, sweeter than fleas.
Like a rabbit to Grandma's,
you really must hurry, so
take your woolie-white furry,
and go scurry now, scurry.

Lambikin, Lambikin was light on his heels,
he leapt through the forest
turning cartwheels.
Then along came a Tiger, a Wolf,
a Dog, and an Eagle.

They looked and they looked,
they prowled and they  growled,
they looked and they circled,
then stopped when wolf howled,

Oh Lambikin, Lambikin
you'd better get going,
our bellies are empty
our ribs, they are showing!

Lambikin, Lambikin leapt through the wood
and in Grandma's door as fast as he could.
He never forgot his friends of the forest
and put out a suet with cranberry porridge.




Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Giant (after reading Douglas Florian's "Giant" in Laugh-eteria)

from Jack and the Bean Stalk
Giants are just lonely guys.
Step up behind one and give a surprise--
Shout out to him, Hooray!, then slap his hand-- high five.
Invite him roller skating, then from a plane sky- dive!
If you're dropping too fast, he can hold out his mitt,
and catch you in air quick as a wit, then smile --
which will help to lessen his cares,
(a hedge- trimmer will do to clean up his hairs).
And while you're at it,  before they go green,
clip all his nails so he doesn't look mean.
A giant is a grown man, a very big man
who acts like a bear because he thinks he can.
He's not one of course, he's really sort of kind
                                                   and smart, and a lucky find. If you find one
                                                   he likes peanut butter and jellies,
                                                  and drinking cocoa while watching the telly.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Own Stage



Great Pershing Balloon Derby Joe Deshon Photographer

Some people bike, others swim
Dad runs miles at the gym
I’ve seen Aunt Sara's yoga--
Downward Facing Dog,
And Uncle Walt cuts firewood, log after log,
I would like to get up and take to my feet,
To dance wild and crazy right my down my street,
but I can close my eyes
and move like clouds through the skies,
                                                                                  even  though I'm still here at this page
                                                                                  I am free and dancing on my own secret stage.