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.”

SUMMER SONG
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
sky-blue
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.”

THE HOUSE WAS QUIET AND THE WORLD WAS CALM
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”

 

SUMMER STARS
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.

“Moondrops”

 

🌟 HAVE A TERRIFIC SUMMER AND SHINE YOUR LIGHT!! 🌓

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“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.

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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.

billy collins, sir paul mccartney, and a summer blog break

wildair
via The Wheatfield

Ah, summer! Time to step away from the stove and laptop, relax, and stay cool.

Mr. Cornelius, 50-something Paddingtons, and I are looking forward to ice cream sundaes, fresh peach pie, reading trashy novels mind-enriching classics, growing basil, hanging out with relatives, tickling the ivories, and shopping for cool things.

Before we sign off for a bit, wanted to share this interesting video of former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins interviewing Sir Paul McCartney at Rollins College last October. They discuss early academic influences (Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats), songwriting, poetry, celebrity, and much more. Paul shares a few naughty bits from Chaucer’s “Miller’s Tale” and sings “Blackbird” at the end.

photo by Scott Cook

I especially enjoyed hearing how the Beatles honed their craft, how John’s snarkiness complemented Paul’s optimism when it came to writing songs. Paul hasn’t lost any of his boyish charm or good looks, remains humble and grounded, and it was nice to know that had he not become a musician, he might have tried his hand at teaching English. 🙂

Can you imagine walking into class on the first day of school and seeing Paul as your teacher??!!! SCREAM.

The video is about an hour long, so you might want to bookmark this post and come back later when you have enough time to get nice and comfy, sip a tall glass of iced tea, and enjoy the meeting of two brilliant minds. The students in the video remain amazingly calm throughout. If I ever found myself in the same room with both Billy and Paul, I’d probably faint dead away. Just sayin’.

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lick, slurp, sip, munch: what can you do with a paleta?

If you want a paleta, raise your hand!

Mango? Lime? Coconut? Strawberry? Pineapple? What do you fancy? We need one last tasty lick before summer ends.

Carmen Tafolla’s story makes me want to visit the girl narrator’s barrio — where “the smell of crispy tacos or buttery tortillas or juicy fruta floats out of every window, and where the paleta wagon rings its tinkly bell and carries a treasure of icy paletas in every color of the sarape.”

What Can You Do With a Paleta? is pitch perfect storytelling. Dr. Tafolla captures the fun, anticipation and utter deliciousness of this favorite Mexican ice pop treat, the very essence of summer and childhood.

And I LOVE the way she reads her story aloud. You’ll see what I mean:

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Wasn’t that great? My favorite part is the blue mustache. 🙂

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friday feast: anna’s garden songs by mary q. steele and lena anderson

Mr Cornelius Cucumber

While looking for more children’s books illustrated by Lena Anderson, I was happy to discover Anna’s Garden Songs — a whimsical, light-hearted collection of 14 fruit and veggie poems written by Mary Q. Steele.

Garden favorites like peas, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, beets and onions take their place in the sun with playful rhyming verse and Lena’s fanciful pictures. I may as well confess right now that I’ve always had a thing for giant vegetables, so when I saw how Lena fiddled with scale in this book I squealed with delight. 🙂

Blond, mostly barefoot, bespectacled Anna is just adorable as she plants, harvests and shares the garden’s bounty with her friends, grandfather, and large pet rabbit, who happily scampers through the pages and almost steals the show (he’s especially good at nibbling and napping).

From the moment I opened the book and saw Anna hiding in that big pea pod, I knew I was in for a real treat. I can’t decide which I like most — Anna sitting atop a giant beet, relaxing amongst the tomato plants, or wearing a dress made from lettuce leaves.

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friday feast: s is for sea glass by richard michelson and doris ettlinger (+ flip flop cookies)

#49 in a series of posts celebrating the alphabet

Put on your bathing suit and flip flops. Grab your pail, shovel and shades. Let’s go to the beach!

Poet Richard Michelson and illustrator Doris Ettlinger celebrate the sights, sounds, smells, fun and mystery of a joyous day by the sea in their charming new picture book, S is for Sea Glass: A Beach Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, 2014).

Written in a variety of poetic forms (ode, haiku, free verse, rhyming couplets), Michelson’s poems range from lyrical to light, capturing the many moods, rhythms, and emotions associated with ocean and shore from A to Z.

Have you ever made a sand angel? Or maybe you’d rather show off your castle-building skills, stroll the boardwalk, or comb the beach for shells or sea glass, letting your imagination run wild with possibility. Was this piece from a “king’s cup/Or medicine bottle” — maybe even a pirate’s decanter? Whatever you decide, there’s nothing quite like a tossed and tumbled “gift from the ocean.”

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