summer magic and a blog break

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days — three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” ~ John Keats

“Wonderland” by Christian Schloe


It’s Summer!

Hello, fragrant, fruitful mornings with sunlight streaming through the windows, long lazy days luring us to dreaminess.


“Wind, Clouds, and Tea”


Awake, abloom, aloft — we eschew the tedium of routine, courting freedom, relaxation, play. William Carlos Williams once said, “In summer, the song sings itself.”

by William Carlos Williams

Wanderer moon
smiling a
faintly ironical smile
at this
brilliant, dew-moistened
summer morning, —
a detached
sleepily indifferent
smile, a
wanderer’s smile, —
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?

“Secret Entrance”


There is something so carefree and magical about summer — time of campfires and fireflies, travel and adventure, wonder and romance.

“Fly Away”


We need venture no further than the pages of a good book to discover our heart’s delight. Cicero said, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

by Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”


In the reverie of a fine summer night, the line between reality and imagination blurs. The sky opens wide with possibility, showing off its stars. Novelist Peter S. Beagle said, “Anything can happen in a world that holds such beauty.”

“The Wishing Star”


by Carl Sandburg

Bend low again, night of summer stars.
So near you are, sky of summer stars,
So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars,
Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,
So near you are, summer stars,
So near, strumming, strumming,
So lazy and hum-strumming.

“Night Makers”


As we sign off for our summer blog break, we wish you the calm and space to dream, long arms to reach for the stars, and big bowlfuls of inspiration and whimsy.





“Midnight Sky”


“All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.”

—L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams


“Set Your Heart Free”


♥️ The digital illustrations in this post were created by Austrian surrealist artist Christian Schloe. See more of his work here.


The lovely and talented Michelle Kogan is hosting the Roundup. Drift over in your hot air balloon and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. See you in late August/early September!

Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

[review] Poetry for Kids: Carl Sandburg by Kathryn Benzel and Robert Crawford

“Poetry is a mystic, sensuous mathematics of fire, smoke-stack, waffles, pansies, people, and purple sunsets. The capture of a picture, a song, a flair, in a deliberate prism of words.” ~ Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg has been called the “Voice of America” and the “Poet of the People,” and in this new poetry collection, young readers can easily see why.

Edited by professor and Sandburg scholar Kathryn Benzel and illustrated by award winning artist Robert Crawford, Carl Sandburg (MoonDancePress, 2017), is the third title in the marvelous Poetry for Kids series.

It contains 36 of Sandburg’s finest poems presented in two sections, Poems about People and Poems About Places. Widely anthologized favorites such as “Fog,” “Young Bullfrogs,” “I Am the People, the Mob,” and “Theme in Yellow” are featured alongside new-to-me gems, “Early Moon,” “River Roads,” “Harvest Sunset,” and “Haunts.”

Just as he rode the rails across country, Sandburg’s verses transport us from farm to prairie to big city, expressing his wonder, pride, and reverence for the beauty and expansiveness of our great nation. As someone who lived the American dream, born of humble beginnings and having worked from a young age at many odd jobs (shoe shine boy, milk and newspaper delivery, porter, farm laborer, bricklayer, coal-heaver) before becoming a journalist, editor, poet, and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Sandburg became a champion of the American worker, translating his wealth of first-hand experiences and hard-won lessons into passionate free verse.

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carl sandburg’s soup

#4 in an eclectic collection of notable noshes to whet your appetite and brighten your day.

ed ed/flickr

  Fave writer soups: Truman Capote (Gumbo), Willa Cather (Vegetable), Bob Dylan (Split Pea), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Vegetable), George Bernard Shaw (Vegetable), William Makepeace Thackery (Bouillabaisse). Source:


Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphbet soup. All rights reserved. 

friday feast: meowish metaphors

“A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem.” ~ Jean Burden

Robert S./flickr

I’ve just slipped into my black cat suit so I can channel my inner feline. So far this morning, I’ve batted the air, leapt to the top of the refrigerator, took several serious naps, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d good, l – o – n – g stretches.

Are you impressed by my grace and agility? My stealth moves and “aren’t you lucky to be in my presence” cattitude?

Oh, I am sooooooooo sleek. You may pet me.

*admires whiskers*

Yes, Halloween is coming, but did you know National Cat Day is exactly one week away, on October 29th? Of course we’re going to celebrate here at alphabet soup by featuring several uber-cool cats, along with the authors and/or illustrators who live with them. Me-ow!

But for now, let’s paws for a bit of purrfect poetry.

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friday feast: hallowhine

Bah humbug!

Oops, wrong holiday.

I have such mixed feelings about Halloween. Blame it on my candy conundrum. Or my pumpkin problem. (Why do I keep alliterating? Somebody, stop me.)

While most people are happily carving pumpkins, passing out candy, dressing up in cool costumes, or gorging on treats, I’m trying really hard not to dwell on the “traumatic Halloween incident.”  *Sniff*

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