friday feast: joan logghe’s “Ode to Spoons” (+ a recipe)

from “Back to the Land” by Maira Kalman (2009)

When it comes to eating utensils, spoons reign supreme.

I’ve always loved them more than knives or forks, with their aggressive blades and tines, slices and stabs.

Spoons are friendlier, nurturing. Their rounded bowls invite you to dip, sip, and slurp. The word “spoon,” with its fun-to-pronounce double ‘o,’ has a charm all its own. Say it now:

SPOON

See how your lips gently touch like a soft kiss? Adorable.🙂

For most of us, spoons came first. Our hungry baby mouths opened wide for rice cereal, puréed peaches and strained peas. And when some of the food missed its target, the edge of the spoon magically corraled any oozy bits from chin and cheek. So accommodating!

And what about Spoon’s most important function?

SOUP! Ah, soup . . .

I was delighted to discover Joan Logghe’s “Ode to Spoons” recently. Love how she celebrates the divine in the everyday. I was happy to learn she shares my love for Maira Kalman, for whom ordinary objects also take on extraordinary significance when viewed through the lens of history, heart, memory.

Continue reading

friday feast: “eggs satori” by karen greenbaum-maya

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

“Breakfast Piece” by Herbert Badham (1936)

During these trying times, each of us finds a way to cope. The response I’m hearing most often from my author and illustrator friends is, “Make Something Beautiful.”

The simple act of creating something new is not only life affirming — it affords the creator the calm that comes with total immersion in a project. Writers often talk about “being in flow,” when you lose all sense of time and place, and the only thing that matters is the work.

I liken “being in flow” with mindfulness. When we are fully present there is no worry over future events or regret about the past.

Continue reading

a birthday song for my dad

James: fisherman, harmonica champion, Facebook fanatic, lemon meringue pie eater.

Not too long ago, when my father was a young whippersnapper in his late 80’s, we gave him an internet subscription for his birthday.

He was already on the computer playing video games, but had yet to venture onto the world wide web. He started out with a dial-up connection, quickly learned the ins and outs of sending emails, and before we knew it he was happily visiting news sites, participating in a chat forum, and placing dollar wagers on his favorite lottery sites.

Today, James turns 102. Willful and wireless, he’s burned through at least 3 desktops since his first foray online.

Every day he logs onto Facebook and shares clusters of updates with his friends. Ever the fastidious organizer, he opts for a recurring series of themed posts rather than mundane status reports: tree houses, bonsai plants, interesting facts, old Hawai’i, music fix of the day, joke of the day, and of course, FOOD. On Sundays he shares a hymn and a prayer.

Dad and me at Haleiwa Beach Park.

Continue reading

poetry friday roundup is here!

“When our trust in politics has run out, when our faith in humanity has run out, art is there to make sense out of chaos.” ~ Janis Ian

“It is always better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

I actually had an entirely different post planned for today that I’d written two weeks ago, celebrating the first female President of the United States. But it was not to be, and the world as I thought I knew it changed on a dime. I’m trying hard to understand and accept, but it is very difficult. I know many of you share my pain, sadness, and disbelief.

So instead, I thought I’d share a poem I stumbled upon last year. Joe Salerno was new to me, and I think you’ll appreciate what he has to say about the nature and power of poetry. When we seek expression of the ineffable, it’s poetry that steps in with words bred of emotion, infused with truth. Poetry sometimes unearths the profound with far reaching consequences.

Spanish writer José Bergamín once said, “The novel is born of disillusionment; the poem, of despair.”

“Woman at Writing Desk” by Lesser Ury (1898)

POETRY IS THE ART OF NOT SUCCEEDING

Poetry is the art of not succeeding;
the art of making a little ritual
out of your own bad luck, lighting a little fire
made of leaves, reciting a prayer
in the ordinary dark.

It’s the art of those who didn’t make it
after all; who were lucky enough to be
left behind, while the winners ran on ahead
to wherever it is winners
go running to.

O blessed rainy day, glorious
as a paper bag. The kingdom of poetry
is like this — quiet, anonymous,
a dab of sunlight on the back of your hand,
a view out the window just before dusk.

It’s an art more shadow than statue,
and has something to do with your dreams
running out — a bare branch darkening
on a winter sky, the week-old snow
frozen into something hard.

It’s an art as simple as drinking water
from a tin cup; of loving that moment
at the end of autumn, say, when the air
holds no more promises, and the days are short
and likely to be gray.

A bland light is best to see it in.
Middle age brings it to flower.
And there, just when you’re feeling your
weakest,
it floods you completely,
leaving you weeping as you drive your car.

~ Posted by permission. Copyright © 1998 Joe Salerno.

*

Nothing to do now but roll up our sleeves and get to work. No time for despair, self-pity, or blame. Creatives create. Making is the best healing. Make stories, songs, pictures, soup, cookies, poems. Model a world of diversity, inclusion, love, decency, and tolerance for all the children out there. In our own spheres, what we do with purposeful intent can make a difference. Let’s remember to support each other, be generous with our time and advice, always be kind, and “never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

Now, please leave your links with the always hungry Mr. Linky. Don’t forget to put the name of the poem or book review you’re sharing in parentheses after your name. Thanks for joining us today!

*

*

 

“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” ~ John F. Kennedy

 


Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

[review] Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko by David Jacobson, Sally Ito, Michiko Tsuboi, and Toshikado Hajiri

Though every elementary school student in Japan is familiar with Misuzu Kaneko’s poetry, relatively few in the English-speaking world are familiar with her work.

Marked by a refreshing ingenuousness, curiosity, and extraordinary empathy for the world around her, Misuzu’s poems resonate with people of all ages, demonstrating that quiet, gentle words have their own special power.

DEWDROP

Let’s not tell anyone.

In the corner of the garden this morning,
a flower shed a tear.

If word of this spreads
to the ears of the bee,

it’ll feel it’s done wrong
and go back to return the nectar.

Thanks to this breathtakingly beautiful picture book, a new audience of North American children can now read a selection of Misuzu’s poetry in English, learn about her short tragic life and the fascinating backstory of how her work was lost for half a century before being rediscovered in 1982.

 In Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko (Chin Music Press, 2016), author David Jacobson frames the story of Misuzu’s life with an account of how young student poet Setsuo Yazaki read one of her poems and was so impressed by it that he spent the next 16 years searching for more.

art copyright 2016 Toshikado Hajiri

BIG CATCH

At sunrise, glorious sunrise
it’s a big catch!
A big catch of sardines!

On the beach, it’s like a festival
but in the sea, they will hold funerals
for the tens of thousands dead.

Continue reading