Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One Misty Moisty Morning

 It is , here today.

Song from Steeleye Span, a favorite group of mine back in the 1970's:

  One misty moisty morning when cloudy was the weather
  I met with an old man a-clothed all in leather 
 He was clothed all in leather with a cap beneath his chin 
Singing, “How do you do, how do you do and how do you do again?”
This rustic was a thresher as on his way he hide And with a leather bottle fast buckled by his side He wore no shirt upon his back but wool unto his skin Singing, “How do you do and how do you do and how do you do again?”
I went a little further and there I met a maid “A-going a-milking, a-milking, sir,” she said Then I began to compliment and she began to sing Saying, “How do you do, how do you do and how do you do again?”

I having time and leisure, I spent a vacant hour

  A-telling of my treasure while sitting in the bower 
 With many kind embraces I stroked her double chin 
 Singing, “How do you do, how do you do and how do you do again?”
I said that I would married be and she would be my bride 

And along we should not tarry and twenty things beside
  I'll plough and sow, reap and mow and you shall sit and spin
  Singing, “How do you do, how do you do and how do you do again?”
Her parents then consented, all parties were agreed 

 Her portion thirty shillings, we married were with speed
  Then will the piper he did play whilst others dance and sing 
 Saying, “How do you do, how do you do and how do you do again?”
Then lusty Ralph and Robin with many damsels gay 

 Did ride on Roan and Dobbin to celebrate the day 
 And when they met together their caps they off did fling 
 Singing, “How do you do and how do you do  
And how do you do and how do you do again?”


Here's a YouTube link if you'd like to hear them sing it:


Saturday, April 27, 2013

April Birth

Here's a poem I wrote sometime in the 1990's:

April Birth

I was born on a green day
with shoots of April green sparks
flashing in the trees.
Light green leaves pushing
white blossoms into flight,
having just arrived,
Olive green birds with white breasts
jumping from branch to branch.
The sun poured lime green smells
on the hands of the warm wind.
Grass green bugs began their march to summer.
I opened my tiny voice
and my newborn cry
was a green poem
to Tuesday afternoons.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Peony Moon

It was shining bright last night, and promises the same tonight.

wonderful painting:   "Peony Moon"   by Michelle Lee 

I love this name for the April full moon, which also goes by  Full Pink Moon , Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and — among coastal tribes — the Full Fish Moon, when the shad come upstream to spawn.

here is a photo of last night's moon, from the Facebook page EarthSky:

and here's another artist's image : Large Peony with Moon,  by Veronica Winters:

The Peonies in my garden have very tight buds, and with this cool Spring, they don't look ready to bloom for a while... which is fine with me.  The profusion of Tulips, Lilies of the Valley, Ajuga, and Moss Phlox don't need any more competition .

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Busy these days

Grading papers and correcting the proofs for my book.  The garden and its pile of mulch await me.

Birthday coming up.  Posting some childhood photos:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In these gorgeous days of April

the most delightful April weather I remember in many years,

This came today:

The Real One, with MY name on it.

I knew it was coming, but I confess it gave me pause.

All I could think of was poetry -- lines from poetry like these from Andrew Marvell:

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near.

Not to indulge in too much melodrama... but it did take me aback.  I never minded turning 40, or 50, or 60, but this milestone gives me pause.
Now my gift for both yesterday and today, and, hopefully, a few more days, is that a Red-headed Woodpecker is coming to my bedroom window to munch on the suet and the fruit and nut block. He is very skittish, but I have been able to see his wondrous red head.  It's a totally different red than that of the Cardinal, or the head of the Red-bellied Woodpecker.  It's a deep crimson.  This photo doesn't do it justice, though it's from the Cornell Lab, and is better than anything I could take:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Garden report

First, the bad news:  a pair of house finches have been trying for a while to build a nest in the concrete lattice wall by the back door; each time the nest material has fallen out. They, however, kept at it. This evening when I went out to inspect the garden, after yesterday's gale force winds and torrential rain, there, on the pavement, was the nest.  Empty. And there, on the other side of the door, were the smashed little eggs that had blown out of the nest as it came down. So that's one less finch family this Spring.

More bad news, but not so bad as the finch news:  The Groundhog is back and has excavated another hole, this time at the other end of the garden:

The next news item falls into the "I have work cut out for me" category.  The grounds guys delivered my mulch:

and, after that rain, everything is growing wildly; the lilies of the valley are taking over, and must be beaten back. The lambs-ears are nearly drowned in them:

The good news:  In the slanting light of this late afternoon/early evening, the tulips are so lovely:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Between Heaven and Mirth

Last evening, Fr. James Martin was on the campus where I teach.  He gave a great talk based on his book, Between Heaven and Mirth.  The message was that a sense of humor was part of being human, and that we need to allow a spirit of joy to permeate our religious practice.  Too many gloomy Christians.  He punctuated his talk with some really hilarious jokes, many of them on himself. The man could be a standup comedian!  We had a good crowd, among them my students from the first semester course on Christian Spirituality. I had used Martin's book  The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything  as one book in that course, and the students loved it.  I was so pleased that they came to his talk when they had long since finished the course!

one joke he told:

A man knocks on the door of a Franciscan church and asks a priest to pray a novena so that he might be able to afford a Lexus. “What’s a Lexus?” says the poverty-minded Franciscan. Frustrated, the man goes to a parish run by the Dominicans (the order, not the nationality). “Will you pray a novena so that I can afford a Lexus?” Says the Dominican: “What’s a Lexus?” Finally, the man figures he’ll go to the Jesuits, since they have a reputation for being so worldly. “Father,” he says to the priest, “do you know what a Lexus is?” The priest nods. “Good,” says the man. “Will you pray a novena that I can afford one?” “Sure,” says the Jesuit. “What’s a novena  ?

one more:

A Jesuit, a Dominican, and a Franciscan were walking along an old road, debating the greatness of their orders. Suddenly, an apparition of the Holy Family appeared in front of them, with Jesus in a manger and Mary and Joseph praying over him. The Franciscan fell on his face, overcome with awe at the sight of God born in such poverty. The Dominican fell to his knees, adoring the beautiful reflection of the Trinity and the Holy Family. The Jesuit walked up to Joseph, put his arm around his shoulder, and said, “So, have you thought about where to send him to school?”

Maybe you have to be Catholic to get these jokes, but the crowd last night roared with laughter at them.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On this day, thirty-five years ago

I became a member of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.  In our parlance, I was incorporated into the Community - my vocation day.  Here's how I looked then, at age 30:

 No grey hair, and fifty pounds thinner.  Unbelievable.  That background, the tomb of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton,located in the Basilica,  looks unchanged today.

Those almost two years as a novice -- in our parlance, "Seminary Sister" --- were tough ones for me.
But they helped me grow painfully in self knowledge and in community living skills, and in my relationship with God.

I am very glad it is now and not then, though.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In a Dream I Walked with God...

Dag Hammarskjold died in a plane crash 52 years ago. For younger readers, he was the Secretary General of the United Nations.  A book of his journal entries and insights, called Markings, has never been out of print since publication.  I have loved this book for a long time.

Here are some quotes from it:

“You wake from dreams of doom and--for a moment--you know: beyond all the noise and the gestures, the only real thing, love's calm unwavering flame in the half-light of an early dawn.”

“Forgiveness is the answer to the child’s dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is made clean again.”

“In a dream I walked with God through the deep places of creation; past walls that receded and gates that opened through hall after hall of silence, darkness and refreshment--the dwelling place of souls acquainted with light and warmth--until, around me, was an infinity into which we all flowed together and lived anew, like the rings made by raindrops falling upon wide expanses of calm dark waters.”
photo from the red horse blog.com

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Different Kind of Grief... and Horror

Here it is, this beloved annual event on this cool and sunny April day, and again, death and devastation.  At this point, no one knows who was responsible for the two bombs, filled with shrapnel, which detonated within seconds of each other.  Two dead, and one of them is an eight year old.  Hundreds injured.    I am reminded that this horror has been going on in downtown Baghdad, and in villages all over Afghanistan, and in villages in Palestine and Israel, almost every day.  But when it hits home, it finally hits home. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gratitude and Grief

Gratitude for two cool and sunny Spring days,for flowers blooming, for the voice of the Brown Thrasher newly arrived from the South...

Brown Thrasher photo by Steven Muskie:

Grief for the huge old Mock Orange bush that the grounds guys cut down sometime over the winter.
The Thrashers used to nest there. Where will they nest this year?

I swear -grounds guys just like to cut trees and bushes down. They promise to plant new ones in their place, but those new ones will take at least forty years to get that big. And  I will be dead in forty years. How's that for a selfish environmentalist? 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pouring rain morning

I should be doing schoolwork; have many student journal entries to read, and thirteen packets of thirteen poems from my poets to read... and here I am,  watching the rain , and indulging in one of my addictions:  watching the puppies on the camera at the Great Dane Service Dog Project.

If you too would like to become addicted, just click on this link:

and then click on "Cam 2: Indoor Puppy Room." Right now, they have ten puppies eight weeks old, and three who are about twelve weeks.  Really fun to follow.

Here are a few photos from the site:

Carlene White, owner of the Project, conversing with Olive, mother of the Pimentos:

Hilary and the Pimentos ( born Feb.23):

Thursday, April 11, 2013

National Poultry Month?

I love this cartoon.  Had to share it!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My New Book!

Today I received the file of the cover for my new book of poetry, Vexed Questions.

The publisher is Aldrich Press, in California.  It should be out in July.  I'm very excited!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Garden

Finally, it's warm!   The flowers are emerging by the hour.  Lily of the valley stalks appeared between the time I was out weeding at 8:30, and the time I went out with a camera at 10:30.
Here are some of the Spring flowers:


Hyacinths, with Irises behind them:

Virginia Bluebells:

emerging Peonies:
and, of course:

I've been writing some poems, but have been posting them on the Press 1  "Writers Anonymous" page, since I'm doing a  30/30 with my buddies  Bebe and Nicole.  I hope to make it all the way through!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

College Reunion

I'll be busy the next four days, working at our college reunion.

We are a unique group; our Catholic women's college closed forty years ago, and we still have reunions. The campus and all the buildings were sold to the government in 1979, and FEMA is located there now, so though we visit it, we hold our reunions at the Wyndham Hotel in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. 
It's an all-class reunion, and usually about 300 women show up for it.  Our Alma Mater's first line goes:  "All together, all together, still, still, we meet..."   and we do.

Here I am in 1970 with my roommate in our dorm room:

and here are four of my classmates ( including my roommate ) at the reunion in 2010:
still, still we meet.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

National Poetry Month

Lots of good activities happening for National Poetry Month.  I've jumped in to the 30 poems in 30 days group on the Press 1  website, joining three or four other poet friends there.

And of course, there's the Great Poetry Giveway - the drawing will be the last day of April.

I tried to garden today, but it was too cold.  Managed to fill one trash bucket full of weeds,then gave up.

Spent the afternoon getting ready for classes, which start back on Wednesday.

May I say that I am worried about what's going on in North Korea?  Their soldiers remind me of old films of Nazi Germany.  Loose cannon is an understatement.

Short post today.

a photo of the wild strawberry vines/weeds I've been pulling up. They take over everything.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chiffchaff eggs

The Chiffchaff,  and a nest of Chiffchaff eggs

I've always wondered what the Chiffchaff looked like, since this little bird is a resident of the UK, and appears in the chorus of this song by Donovan:


Rain has showered far her drip
Splash and trickle running,
Plant has flowered in the sand
Shell and pebble sunning.

So begins another spring,
Green leaves and of berries,
Chiff-chaff eggs are painted by
Mother bird eating cherries.

In the misty tangled sky
Fast a wind is blowing,
In the new-born rabbit's heart
River life is flowing.

So begins another spring,
Green leaves and of berries,
Chiff-chaff eggs are painted by
Mother bird eating cherries.

>From the dark and wetted soil,
Petals are unfolding.
>From the stony village kirk,
Easter bells of old ring.

So begins another spring,
Green leaves and of berries,
Chiff-chaff eggs are painted by
Mother bird eating cherries.

Rain has showered far her drip
Splash and trickle running,
Plant has flowered in the sand
Shell and pebble sunning.

So begins another spring,
Green leaves and of berries,
Chiff-chaff eggs are painted by
Mother bird eating cherries.

 and this is how I've always pictured the "stony village kirk."

Have loved this song since I first heard it, back in 1968.