poetry friday roundup is here!

Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

Please help yourself to a mug of warm cider and an apple cider donut. Since things are tough these days, better take two. 🙂

While many of us consider fall our favorite season — we certainly love the gorgeous leaf color, the cooler temperatures and deep blue skies — there is always that shade of melancholy, a keener awareness of passing time.

As trees take their final bow in rustic costume, we become more appreciative of their transient beauty and painfully aware of our own mortality.

Recently I stumbled upon this poignant poem by Michigan poet David James. I think he gets it just right.

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“Apple Orchard” by Audra Ziegal
FALLING
by David James

I've wheelbarrowed over a thousand
apples behind the cedars
for compost.
Hundreds are still left stranded 
in the branches, dropping with each burst
of wind. Every year's a blur,
and my heart marks another tally off 
inside my chest wall. This is the year
of my first grandson, who purrs
asleep in my arms, who looks through me
with his dark eyes. I touch his soft
cheeks and his little fists shoot out
as if to catch himself.
We're all falling into the great trough,
I want to say but don't.

I can't imagine his world without
imagining the end of mine.
Who will sit in this lovely yard
and write poems? There's no doubt
someone will, someone from the dying planet
who will look over at the pines
and remember his past and smile.
The wind will blow apples
down, the autumn sun will shine,
and he'll hear the jay calling
for no reason other than to file
a complaint that the bird bath
is dry as a bone.
In the end, we all bow our heads in exile,
and prepare, in our own ways, for the fall.

~ from Michigan Poet, November 2012

“Autumn Bluejay” by Gina Signore

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Now, please leave your links with the dashing Mr. Linky below. I’m looking forward to reading all your wonderful poems, reviews, and musings this week!

Thanks so much for joining us. Please stay safe, be well, don’t forget to vote, and have a nice weekend. 🙂

ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD!

*Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

[tasty review + recipe] Nacho’s Nachos by Sandra Nickel and Oliver Dominguez

When you’re hungry for just the right snack, there’s nothing more satisfying than biting into a warm, crispy, zesty nacho.

Oh, that satisfying crunch! The gooey cheese and spicy hot hello of jalapeño! Go on, close your eyes as you relish the flavor. Lick your lips, then reach for another. 🙂

Did you know that tomorrow, October 21, is the International Day of the Nacho? Or that 2020 marks 80 years since nachos were first invented? Just who was actually responsible for this eye-closing mouthful of deliciousness?

In NACHO’S NACHOS: The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack by Sandra Nickel and Oliver Dominguez (Lee & Low, 2020), we learn how Ignacio Anaya, a resourceful restaurant employee from northern Mexico, fortuitously created this savory treat one fateful afternoon in 1940.

Ignacio, or, “Nacho,” for short, was essentially raised by a foster mother after he lost his parents at a young age. He was a boy with a good appetite who enjoyed his foster mother’s quesadillas, and it was she who taught him how to cook. He was a natural in the kitchen, and in his early twenties he got a restaurant job, performing many tasks such as seating guests, passing out menus, taking orders, and serving meals.

As Nacho went from table to table, people smiled. He had a special talent for making diners happy.

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the rare gift of inaugural poems

“The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams never die.” ~ Edward Kennedy

 

 

OF HISTORY AND HOPE
by Miller Williams

We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
The great and all the anonymous dead are there.
We know the sound of all the sounds we brought.
The rich taste of it is on our tongues.
But where are we going to be, and why, and who?
The disenfranchised dead want to know.
We mean to be the people we meant to be,
to keep on going where we meant to go.

But how do we fashion the future? Who can say how
except in the minds of those who will call it Now?
The children. The children. And how does our garden grow?
With waving hands — oh, rarely in a row —
and flowering faces. And brambles, that we can no longer allow.
Who were many people coming together
cannot become one people falling apart.
Who dreamed for every child an even chance
cannot let luck alone turn doorknobs or not.
Whose law was never so much of the hand as the head
cannot let chaos make its way to the heart.
Who have seen learning struggle from teacher to child
cannot let ignorance spread itself like rot.
We know what we have done and what we have said,
and how we have grown, degree by slow degree,
believing ourselves toward all we have tried to become —
just and compassionate, equal, able, and free.

All this in the hands of children, eyes already set
on a land we never can visit — it isn’t there yet —
but looking through their eyes, we can see
what our long gift to them may come to be.
If we can truly remember, they will not forget.

~ from Some Jazz A While: Collected Poems (University of Illinois Press, 1999)

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[review+ giveaway] Joey: The Story of Joe Biden by Jill Biden and Amy June Bates

“America is made of ordinary people capable of extraordinary things.” ~ Certified Bidenism 🙂

 

The very first picture book biography of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden begins with his earnest appeal:

“Give me the ball!”

We soon see how this memorable refrain aptly characterizes his competitiveness and willingness to take the lead and carry the burden — whether playing a childhood game of pick-up football or diligently working on behalf of his constituents.

JOEY: The Story of Joe Biden, by Jill Biden (with Kathleen Krull) and Amy June Bates (Paula Wiseman Books, 2020), essentially highlights Vice President Biden’s early years, showing young readers how his middle class upbringing, strong family values, daredevil spirit, fierce determination, and inborn compassion shaped his life as a leader and public servant.

 

 

Reading this book is like sitting down with a good friend who’s sharing favorite family stories about someone she knows only too well. Kids have likely seen Joe Biden on TV; they know he’s running for President, and now, thanks to Jill, they have a chance to view this larger-than-life public figure in a more personal, relatable way.

We first meet Joey as an active 8-year-old, on the move and not the least bit intimidated by a group of older boys playing football. It didn’t matter that he was smaller than all of them, he taunted them anyway. When they couldn’t catch him, “they welcomed him into their game.”

 

 

Joey had such great adventures with his best buddies, Charlie, Larry, and Tommy. Typical boys, everything was a competition. They went to the movies and reenacted their favorite scenes, romped through the neighborhood with Joey’s dogs, and visited the monkey at the candy store. But Joey was also a peacemaker who looked out for others, a natural leader who drew people together by focusing on what they had in common.

Did you know Joey could never refuse a dare? Risk taker extraordinaire, he once “climbed atop a mountain of still-burning coal,” “raced along the pipes high above a river,” and even “grabbed a heavy rope and swung over a construction site, imitating Tarzan — without a net.”

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[review + recipe] I’m Feeling Blue, Too! by Marjorie Maddox and Philip Huber

 

Look! Just what we all need: a new BLUE book!

Yep, this one’s got my name written all over it, and I simply had to share it with you today.

Safe to say, most, if not all of us — young, old, somewhere in-between — have a crazy-making case of the pandemic blues. It may come and go, but some dark shade of it always seems to linger in the back of our minds. Or maybe we just have the blahs, feel bored or uninspired (confinement can do that to you). No better time to banish the ho-hums and embrace the unique power, beauty, and wonder of blue. 🙂

In I’m Feeling Blue, Too!, a poetry picture book written by Marjorie Maddox and illustrated by Philip Huber (Resource Publications, 2020), a young boy celebrates the essence of blue, discovering its presence in the world around and within him.

A sequence of 13 poems drives the narrative, which takes place on a summer’s day from morning to night. The opening poem is a wake-up call for all:

 

Hey you,

got those summertime slumps,
down-in-the-dumps,
life-full-of-bumps,
bad-news blues?

Time to get up
and shake up
the woulda-coulda-shoulda’s.
Time to get the “can’t-do-nothin’” out of blue.

Time to zap the sad
with some kaleidoscope clues.
Come on, whistle for Blue
and get moving!

Get ready. Get set. Guess blue!

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