Friday, June 9, 2023

Poetry Friday: Where I Live

What a delight to pick up the book, Where I Live: Poems About My Home, My Street, and My Town, from my library holds shelf recently.

"This posthumous compilation selected by distinguished anthologist Janeczko beautifully captures the essence of home; Yum’s art enhances this, centering each poem firmly into diverse communities. . . . People and places are diverse in artistic expression, allowing readers to recognize themselves in different poems . . . an outstanding poetry compilation about the meaning of home."
—School Library Journal (starred review)

There are many wonderful poems by beloved poets featured on the charmingly illustrated pages. I can't resist naming the poets in this anthology that I've met in person or heard speak at conferences: Janet Wong, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Naomi Shihab Nye, Irene Latham, Paul B. Janeczko, and Charles Waters. While I was perusing the book, I decided to write a cento* from lines borrowed from these poets. 

*From the Latin word for “patchwork,” the cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form composed entirely of lines from poems by other poets.

On summer Mondays                                     (Irene Latham)         

in yellow boots                                               (Paul B. Janeczko)

ready to zoom,                                                 (Janet Wong)

each footprint a temporary tattoo.                   (Charles Waters)  

There is a place to stand,                                 (Naomi Shihab Nye)                

the place where I feel free.                              (Amy Ludwig VanDerwater)

 - Ramona Behnke      


I love the image of those yellow boots leaving temporary tattoos on the wet pavement. I look forward to finding a new place to stand and a place to feel free in our new home. Moving cross country at this stage of life is not for the weak of heart.

Be sure to check out this latest anthology, Where I Live. I included two of my favorite anthologies by Paul B. Janeczko from my own bookshelves in the picture. I can't wait to introduce fireflies to the grands when we move to North Carolina in July!    

    Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Spiritual Journey Thursday and Poetry Friday: Radiance Among the Flowers

One of our favorite playgrounds/parks in our area is Rhododendron Park, about a half mile from our current home. However, we moved here in the middle of summer last year, so I failed to see it in springtime splendor, Things have been a bit busy with the upcoming move (daughter and family moved into our place so they could get their house on the market). I was afraid that I might have missed prime blossom time. I stopped by last Friday and spent a wonderful hour wandering through the park and snapping pics,

I love these lines from Joy Harjo's poem "Remember."

"Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems."

I am grateful to have walked among alive poems this past week. Join me for this radiant ramble through Rhododendron Park.



And because I revel in the baker's dozen, here's the 13th picture of springtime splendor, taken in our front yard yesterday.


These lines from Wendell Barry's poem "The Peace of Wild Things" sum up my love affair with nature: 

"And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.

For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."


Our Spriritual Journey host for this week is Dave at Leap of Dave who shares ruminations on the church. Check out Dave's thoughts on how "the church and the post office are really about one thing, the same thing, and that thing is delivery." 

I took Dave's invitation to heart "to write about anything you like." Anytime I write about nature, I remember my dear friend, Jan Orme. She was my walking buddy for years. Her interest was always trees, mine lay in blossoms. She indulged my frequent stops to snap pics and revel in wonder at the splendor of the natural world. This post with its pics and poems is dedicated to my dear friend Jan. Any time I walk, I remember her.

Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Slice of Life: My Four-Year Old Grandson Captures Beauty for Me

One of my favorite ways to enjoy the world is to watch nature in all her seasonal glory. I frequently comment on the beauty around us as I drive around. Last fall, one of my grandsons was with me as we stopped to snap pics of several beautiful trees decked out in fall splendor. 

A few days later, this same grandson was my passenger when I commented on a particularly beautiful tree and bemoaned the fact that I did not have time to take a picture. 

His reply, "No worries, Grandma. I'll take a memory pic for you." And with that, he pointed his pretend camera and snapped away. 

I took him to preschool yesterday and commented on a particular shade of springtime green that I love. Today as we headed to the park (or the playground as his 22-month old brother insists on calling it), I commented again on the springtime greens and the beautiful rhododendrons that surround us in so many varied colors. I found myself wondering aloud about whether our new home in North Carolina would have the same springtime blossoms and luscious shades of green. 

He piped up from his third row seat in the van, "It's okay, Grandma. I'm taking memory pictures for you." And so I continued driving to the delighted sound of his pretend camera snapping pics of the beauty surrounding us. 

Nothing beats this Grandma gig!

Friday, May 19, 2023

Poetry Friday: Stunning Picture Book

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Janice Scully at Salt City Verse. I've been an  infrequent visitor to Poetry Friday of late, but a picture book I picked up on my holds shelf this week is exquisite and deserves to be shared far and wide.  

It is Joy Harjo's poem, "Remember" illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade. This has long been a favorite poem of mine. I'm thrilled to see it in a picture book format. Check out the #BNStorytime with Joy Harjo reading the book accompanied by Michaela Goade's magnificent illustrations. You might also enjoy this PBS Kid Read Along with Poet Laureate Joy Harjo! which includes a reading of the poem (without the illustrations) and a few interview questions as well. As a fellow Oklahoman, I was excited when Joy Harjo was named our nation's Poet Laureate in 2019. I am thrilled to share this new picture book and hope you'll check it out soon.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Slice of Life: Springtime Splendor!

Spring is my second favorite season of the year (after fall which I totally adore). I frequently stop to capture spring splendor on my phone. And it's all around us when we take the time to pause and notice. Here's a round-up of pics I took from this last week. 


  Rhododendrons at the preschool

Cherry blossoms outside the hair salon

 Blossoms on a walk with grandson

Lilacs in the front yard

Rhododendrons in daughter's neighborhood

(I insisted she stop the car so I could capture this shot.)

Wisteria on a walk with friends

 I love capturing the glories of nature with the occasional human subjects too.

Here's my favorite family pic from last week:

Daughter and two of her boys at an afternoon Mariner's game! 

Monday, May 8, 2023

Slice of Life: Adventure Awaits

Last July we moved from our home of 25 years to be closer to our daughter. It was hard saying goodbye to our home. However, I've been able to maintain my friendships since we're only 25 minutes from our former community. I still return for haircuts, book club, and the occasional birthday celebration with friends. 

It has been fun to watch spring arrive in this new setting. I took several pictures this past week and decided to save them for this goodbye post. I'll miss our blue rental house with its yellow door. I'll miss the trees in the back yard that I can see from the bedroom window. I'll miss the camellia welcome at the door and the the beautiful azalea bordering the sidewalk. I'll miss the colorful blossoms across the street and the tulips next door.


Our upcoming move is 2,770 miles from our current home in the Pacific Northwest. Our daughter, her husband, and the three grandsons are relocating to Greensboro, North Carolina and we're following them across the country. I've never even been to North Carolina! I'm looking forward to living in a new-to-me state. I'm looking forward to a new home. I'm looking forward to experiencing the seasons in this new setting and sharing my discoveries. 

I thought this move was so much farther than our move 26 years ago from Texas to the Pacific NW, but a quick check revealed this move is just 434 miles farther than our earlier move. I'm trying hard to not think about all that we're leaving behind and focusing instead on the adventure that awaits.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Shall We Dance?

Chris at Horizon 51 is hosting us this month with the prompt, Shall we dance?

I immediately thought of our favorite local musician, Nancy Stewart, who hosts a Maypole Dance in the park each year. Here's Nancy's pic and report from Instagram of this year's event. 

I've never been much of a dancer myself, but I had a delightful partner four years ago. We were eating outside at Pagliacci's Pizza and listening to the strains from Music in the Park across the street. When we moved to the park after dinner, Jack invited me to dance with him. 
At two years of age, he was my youngest dance partner until yesterday when I asked Jack's youngest brother, Ollie, to dance with me. He took me by the hand and led me to his parent's bedroom. It took me a few moments to figure out the two words he kept repeating, "Turn on, turn on, turn on." I finally figured out that he wanted me to ask Siri to turn on the music. Unfortunately, I don't have a pic of mine and Ollie's dance to the music Siri provided for us. But Ollie is now my record-breaking, youngest dance partner at 21 months of age. 
There's something very special about dancing with my grands. We twirl, we spin, we sing along in pure joy and delight. 

As I was thinking about this theme, I pulled a favorite picture book off the shelf. It's one that I enjoyed sharing with my students each year around Mother's Day.
". . . Mama would say:
'Bless the world 
it feels like
a tip-tapping
kind of day.
Let's celebrate!'
And so we did."
The mother and daughter dance through each of the seasons. But my favorite parts of the book are the "And afterward . . . " sections, the things that occur after the dancing, You'll have to read the book!  
Thanks, Chris, for inviting us to this joyful celebration of dance for the merry month of May.