poetry friday roundup is here!

“The bluebird carries the sky on his back.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

WELCOME TO POETRY FRIDAY AT ALPHABET SOUP!

Please help yourself to warm blueberry muffins and green tea. ūüôā

Something I look forward to every Spring is spying that first flash of blue alighting on a bare branch outside my window. Bluebird!

If the sun’s out, the bluebird’s feathers dazzle. He must know how handsome he is. Before the trees have budded, this show of color offers hope and such joy. It’s amazing how just one little bird in a natty blue coat can transform a landscape.

The bluebird has been considered a harbinger of happiness by many world cultures for thousands of years. On this Mother’s Day weekend, here are bluebird poems by Emily Dickinson and Mary Oliver. I love the shared delight of these two poets, born 105 years apart.

Wishing you the gift of sweet birdsong amid the din, a spot of beauty to light the way, and many happy moments.

*

by Deidre Wicks

 

THE BLUEBIRD
by Emily Dickinson

Before you thought of spring,
Except as a surmise,
You see, God bless his suddenness,
A fellow in the skies
Of independent hues,
A little weather-worn,
Inspiriting habiliments
Of indigo and brown.

With specimens of song,
As if for you to choose,
Discretion in the interval,
With gay delays he goes
To some superior tree
Without a single leaf,
And shouts for joy to nobody
But his seraphic self!

(1896)

 

*

by Suren Nursisyen

 

WHAT GORGEOUS THING
by Mary Oliver

I do not know what gorgeous thing
the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
beak, body into the pink air
of the early morning. I like it
whatever it is. Sometimes
it seems the only thing in the world
that is without dark thoughts.
Sometimes it seems the only thing
in the world that is without
questions that can’t and probably
never will be answered, the
only thing that is entirely content
with the pink, then clear white
morning and, gratefully, says so.

~ from Blue Horses (Penguin Press, 2014)

*

Now, please leave your links with the dashing Mr. Linky below. I hope you enjoy flitting from blog to blog, sampling all the poetry goodness laid out for the taking. Thank you for joining us this week!

 

 

*

by EO Prints

 

“A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

 

DON’T FORGET TO THINK BLUE.

ūüź¶ HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!! ūü¶č


*This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link. When you purchase something using a link on this blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup receives a small referral fee (at no cost to you). Thank you for your continuing support!

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

[review + editor chat + giveaway] Poetry for Kids: Emily Dickinson

Birdsong, flowers blooming, “a sea of summer air.” What a singular delight to linger over this new collection of Emily Dickinson poems!

Emily Dickinson, edited by Susan Snively and illustrated by Christine Davenier, is the first book in a new Poetry for Kids series published by MoonDance Press. The 35 poems are arranged by season, beginning with Summer. And what a joyous welcome it is:

It’s all I have to bring today,
This, and my heart beside,
This, and my heart, and all the fields,
And all the meadows wide.

Who could resist such a generous invitation to tag along with Emily as she spies a skittish bird, describes what it’s like to chance upon a snake (“grass divides as with a comb”), and cheerfully provides a “recipe” for making a prairie (“it takes a clover and one bee”)?

After the carefree explorations of summer, there’s a gradual winding down as Autumn arrives, with poems about a garden preparing for the cold weather, sunsets, and the passage from life to death. Winter ruminations strike a fitting contemplative tone: snowfall magically transforming the landscape, an industrious spider spinning a web, imagining what heaven might be like.

With Spring, the welcome signs of new life, a delightful letter from a fly to a bee, and fanciful cloud gazing:

A curious cloud surprised the sky,
‘Twas like a sheet with horns;
The sheet was blue, the antlers gray,
It almost touched the lawns”

Continue reading

friday feast: chatting with burleigh mut√©n about miss emily

“Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it.” ~ Emily Dickinson

I’ve been curious about Emily Dickinson’s relationship with children ever since learning that she used to lower baskets of gingerbread to the neighborhood kids.

That’s why I loved Burleigh Mut√©n’s delightful verse novel Miss Emily (Candlewick, 2014). It gave me a good sense of how Dickinson might have interacted with four of the children in her life: her niece and nephew Mattie and Ned (who lived next door at the Evergreens), and the pastor’s kids Mac and Sally, who lived across the street.

This fun and suspenseful adventure, where Emily and the children disguise themselves as gypsies to catch a glimpse of the midnight circus train, is told from Mac’s point of view. It is clear the kids all adore Miss Emily and she, them, united as they are in imaginative play and a singular brand of friendship.

Art © 2104 Matt Phelan

I’m so pleased Burleigh is here today to tell us more about writing and researching Miss Emily. I daresay “the children’s laughing goddess of plenty” herself would be quite pleased with this story, as it celebrates her fondness for children and the importance of remaining true to one’s inner child: therein lies the truth about who we really are and should always strive to be.

Look sharp! The circus train is here. All Aboard! ūüôā

*   *    *

Continue reading

friday feast: emily dickinson’s poetry of flowers

“Earth is crammed with heaven.” ~ Emily Dickinson

Please help yourself to Emily’s rice cakes and a cup of green tea.

Hello Spring, is that really you? ūüôā

Today we’re greeting the somewhat reluctant, much-awaited season of renewal, rebirth, and regrowth with a little help from esteemed poet Emily Dickinson.

I’m sure you know she was fond of sending friends and acquaintances fragrant bouquets with notes or verses tucked in them, sometimes with a gift of food.

What could be sweeter than homemade gingerbread or coconut cake, nasturtiums and peonies from her garden, and a heartfelt verse she’d penned just for you?

from the New York Botanical Gardens Emily Dickinson Exhibit (2010)

Though she may have eschewed personal contact with people outside the family, Emily was able to sustain longstanding friendships and express romantic inclinations on her own terms. She cultivated and excelled in all three of these pursuits — gardening, baking, writing — as a normal course of each day, all of them requiring practiced skill, time and devotion.

Continue reading

friday feast: black cake from the woman in white

“Fame is a fickle food upon a shifting plate.” ~ Emily Dickinson


Only authenticated daggeureotype, circa 1846-47,
taken at Mt. Holyhoke Seminary.

Most of the time, when I think of Emily Dickinson, I imagine her in a white dress, sitting at the little writing table in her upstairs bedroom at the Homestead in Amherst, pouring her heart out in a letter, or fearlessly penning another one of her flaming, pithy gems.


Dickinson Homestead, Amherst, MA (Emily’s bedroom =¬†2 windows, upper left).¬†photo by Water Rat

Somehow it never occurred to me before¬†that she probably also wrote a fair amount of¬†poems in the kitchen or pantry, scribbling stray thoughts down on scraps of paper or in the margins of newspapers. Surely while she was gathering, adding, or mixing ingredients,¬†inhaling aromas fruity,¬†pungent, spicy, or sweet –she was also¬†mentally combining fleeting images and impressions¬†according to her prevailing mood. Writers, after all, are usually bound by¬†24-hour recipes.


Handwritten manuscript of “Wild Nights.”

While Emily celebrated the domestic realm as Amherst’s most well-known recluse and eccentric,¬†she did not hesitate to defy certain traditional expectations to meet her own ends, especially with regard to writing.¬†In The¬†Cambridge Introduction to Emily Dickinson (Cambridge University Press, 2007), Wendy Martin states, “Unable to have an office or workplace of her own, Dickinson created one out of the kitchen hearth, the verdant garden, and the small writing table in her upstairs bedroom.”

Continue reading