Category Archives: Poetry

A Visit from the Easter Bunny, by Fran Fischer

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easter-bunny

A Visit from the Easter Bunny
by Fran Fischer

‘Twas the night before Easter, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse.
The baskets were placed in the yard with such care,
In hopes that the Easter Bunny soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Easter eggs danced in their heads;
And mamma with her night cream covering her nose,
Had just settled down for a long springtime’s doze;

When out on the lawn there arose such a noise,
I jumped up to yell at the neighborhood boys.
Those kids sounded like they were out of their minds,
I pulled back the drapes and opened the blinds.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen trash
Gave the alley below me a certain panache,
When, what to my wondering eyes should be featured,
But a miniature hot rod, and eight tiny creatures,

With a little old driver, so lively and funny,
I knew in a moment it must be the Bunny.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Dagger! Now, Danger! Now, Badass and Ice!
On, T-Rex! On, Rudeboy! On, Bigfoot and Slice!
To the top of the porch! Someone toss me a beer!
Now dash away! Dash away before the cops can get here!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the housetops the coursers they flew,
With a carload of eggs, and the big Bunny, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heart the roof go kaput
From the prancing and pawing of each little foot.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Through the window the Easter Bunny came in with a bound.

He was dressed all in fun, from his foot to his ear,
He saw me but showed absolutely no fear.
A bundle of eggs he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes, oh, how bloodshot! He was sort of scary!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a sheep
And he said, “Hey, dude, why aren’t you asleep?”

The stump of a joint he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and he was kind of smelly,
Yet he shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right nasty old elf,
But I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye as he brandished his piece,
Soon told me I should have called the police.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And took all my good stuff, then turned, the big jerk.
He left me the eggs, but who wanted them now?

And out the window he went, with an arrogant bow.

He sprang to his hot rod, to his gang gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, though it was more like a hoot,

“Happy Easter to all, and thanks for the loot!”

From Old Broads Waxing PoeticUsed with permission.

Creative Juice #36

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Creative Juice #36

A baker’s dozen of links to delight you with beauty and creativity and personal growth.

  1. Fabulous review of a children’s book about poetry.
  2. Great abstract art project for children or adults. You’ll need colored tissue paper.
  3. A totally different way to enhance your creativity.
  4. The argument for output.
  5. Quilters: do you have a bunch of “orphan blocks”? Here’s what to do with them (and an idea for accumulating more).
  6. Literary nerd types will love this analysis.
  7. An exercise for writers who want to find their voice.
  8. Pretty art journal pages.
  9. This quirky, artsy hotel is located right next to the Irish Cultural Center, where I folk dance. It was vacant for a long time, and recently reopened.
  10. I’m not wild about tattoos, but these are really interesting.
  11. Beautiful Iranian architecture.
  12. The virtues of mini-quilts.
  13. Beautiful cakes.

The Joy of Childhood Poetry

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The Joy of Childhood Poetry

One of my earliest memories is of my mother reading Mother Goose books to me. I know that even as a little tot I had a large repertoire of rhymes that I could recite by heart. In kindergarten we learned lots of songs that were essential nursery rhymes set to music: Jack and Jill, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Old King Cole, London Bridge is Falling Down, and many others. Mother Goose nursery rhymes were a passage of childhood for my generation, as they had been for hundreds of years.

mother gooseWhen our children were young, we continued the tradition, buying different collections of rhymes and reading them to the kids over and over so that they soon knew them by heart. There’s something about rhyme and meter that imbed themselves in the unconscious, and even more so if they’re combined with a tune. I think you could sing the first line of a Mother Goose rhyme to an Alzheimer’s patient, and he’d be able to finish it for you.

To my sorrow, I found during my second teaching career (2006-2014) that most of my elementary school students weren’t familiar with nursery rhymes. In elementary general music, many activities start with a well-known rhyme. Since my students didn’t have a shared knowledge base of rhymes, I had to teach them a rhyme first before we could use it as the basis of a music experience. Sigh.

Back in the day, memorization of poems was a popular classroom activity. Few teachers today are able to spend time on this pursuit, because it’s usually not measured on standardized tests.

However, I still partially remember four poems I learned from Mrs. Susan Westerfield when I was in second grade, more than fifty years ago. Since they are in the public domain, I will share them with you. (Please forgive the improper formatting. I am a dunce when it comes to code.)

SwingThe Swing
By Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

ShadowMy Shadow
By Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow-
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an errant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

Gingham by JeromeG111 CCLic

Photo by JeromeG111, used under Creative Commons License

The Duel
By Eugene Field

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
’Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn’t there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went “bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I’m only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw—
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don’t fancy I exaggerate!
I got my views from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning where the two had sat
They found no trace of the dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole the pair away!
But the truth about the cat and the pup
Is this: They ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

Wynken by Crossett Library

Photo by Crossett Library

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
By Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we,”
Said Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—
Never afeard are we!”
So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam,—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home:
’Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be;
And some folk thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea;
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock on the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three,—
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

I even remember drawing illustrations for Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

What about you–did you learn nursery rhymes as a child? Did you memorize poems in elementary school? What are some of your favorites? Share with us in the comments below.

Experimenting with Poetic Forms

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Trying to get away from straight free verse to incorporate some structure into my poetry, I’m experimenting with acrostic, haiku, and etheree. Definitions of these terms can be found at one of my favorite online resources, Shadow Poetry.

writing-helloquence

Characterplay-stone-1744790_960_720

Courageous
Honorable
Authentic
Rare
Accountable
Conscientious
Trustworthy
Earnest
Recommendablecalendarpict3

 

Overscheduled

Multiple demands
Much to do, so little time
Passes in a blur

 

Center

Pointferris-center
In the
Middle of,
Equidistant
From every point on
The circumference or
Surface of a circle or
Sphere; or the primary site where
An activity or a business
Originated or is headquartered.

The last poem is in response to a Daily Post Daily Prompt.

Vivid

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In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: a stream of consciousness poem, and a quick sketch.

Vividdsc03149

Livid
Lizard
Rivet
Pivot
River
Divot

Divide
Ride
Outside
Outsider
Insider
Spider
Cider
Sider
Spiter
Spitter
Splatter
Patter
Batter
Tatter
Totter
Tater
Pater
Potater
Spader

Review of poemcrazy: freeing your life with words

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Review of poemcrazy: freeing your life with words

I bought poemcrazy at Borders (Remember Borders Books? Sigh.) when my oldest daughter entered Bennington College in 1996. Poetry was one of her areas of study (I think it was her original major), and I thought she would like it. But as I flipped through it, I decided I’d read it first, then send it to her.

PoemcrazyI started reading it often, always meaning to try out the exercises, but never getting around to it. Meanwhile, Carly changed majors several times, graduated from Bennington with a degree in German, then got a Masters from NYU in English as a second language, earned a second Masters from Baruch College, and started doctoral work. I’ve never sent her the book.

Finally, last January I began a year-long love affair with poemcrazy: freeing your life with words, by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, which has resulted in twenty-seven babies (poems) so far.

Poemcrazy is an informal textbook on creating free verse. Wooldridge is a nationally known teacher of poetry workshops to students of all ages. She is more interested in playing with words to release their emotional content than in adhering to strict form or rhyme constraints.

Wooldridge advocates collecting words in a wordpool. She likes writing individual words on tickets, like those used at carnivals. Throughout the book, Wooldridge makes suggestions for additions to the pool.

I write my words on quartered 3×5 cards, color coded: blue for adjectives, yellow for verbs, orange for nouns, green for colors, and pink for feelings. I rubberband each color together and store them in a Ziplock baggie in my desk drawer.

The wordpool can be used to generate poems. For me, one or two cards drawn from each category create weird juxtapositions that ignite bizarre images and bring long-repressed memories back into my consciousness, releasing floodgates of emotion—a perfect breeding ground for poetry.

writing-helloquence

Using stories from her life and examples from her workshops, Wooldridge nudges the reader toward creativity:

…Erica [a high school student] stared at a perfect, round dandelion gone to seed. When Stacie knocked some seeds, off, Erica went outside for another. She wanted a perfect sphere. I asked her to look closely, name it and then describe what the dandelion looked like, reminding her that close observation is important in poetry.

Then I asked her to think about a quality of the dandelion that could enrich her life. I felt discouraged and I was pushing her. I asked her to begin, What does it look like? What does it look like that it isn’t? When Erica finally wrote about her dandelion, I was reminded of the power of comparison (or simile and metaphor) to expand our sense of possibility in ourselves and in everyday objects.

Wish domedandelion
it looks like someone shot
an arrow in the moon
or even a golf ball on a green tee.
A domed jungle gym
with small people growing out.
An octopus tarred and feathered.
It smells like starbursts…
I can smell the arrow
it flew by so fast.
Bring me the light touch of a bubble
the freedom of air
the firmness and strength of a rock.

Before I read this book, I didn’t think I could write poetry.

Now I know I can.

Poemcrazy was first released in 1996. It is now in its twenty-sixth printing.

A Poem and a Blogging Prompt

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A Poem and a Blogging Prompt

I recently wrote this poem as an exercise for a book I’m reading and working through, poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. The assignment was to think of a time when an irreversible change took place in your life. I chose to list them:

 

Life shifters

New friendrandom-art-supplies
Car purchase
Graduation
Job loss
Job change
Marriage
Birth
Move
Debt repaid
Resignation
Illness
Death

Here’s my challenge to you: Consider the events in your life that made you change your direction, or select one from the list above. Express your experience and thoughts in the medium of your choosing, whether poem or prose, photography, drawing, painting, zentangle, music, or whatever. Post it on your blog, and add your link in the comments below.

Creative Juice #24

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Creative Juice #24

Fourteen inspiring articles to send you to your creative work station.

Poems for the New Year

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Poems for the New Year

Actually, these poems have nothing to do with the new year, but I have so many posts titled “Three Poems” or some variation thereof, that I tried to come up with a different title.

These poems were inspired by an exercise in poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge.

Orchestration 

Orcas leaping in unison, diamondbacksconcert
Rattling their tippy-tails
Chaos
Harmonic dissonance
Extinguishing
Sympathetic resonance
Tonal distinction
Rendered
Atonal
Temptation yielding to
Intentional pandemonium
Orchestration machination
Notational anarchy

Skinny 

Wienieweinie
Whiney
Meanie
Miney
Teeny
Tiny
Feeney
Finey

Skinny
Twinny
Blinky
Twinkie
Cheapy
Peepy
Pee pee?
Poopy

Twinklespaghetti
Twinkle
Periwinkle
Thinkle
Thinkle
Fairy twinkle

Pearly
Burly
Gnarly
Carly
Matty
Patatty
Heady
Spaghetti

Pogobanjo
Pinny
Togo
Tinny
Bogo
Binney
Skoko
Skinny

Plinky
Plinky
Banjo binky
Pease
Porridge
Cold

Arizona Winter udgvznom0xs-john-price

Suddenly not hot
Scorching sun a memory
Coat necessary

Flip flops put away
Unaccustomed shivering
Don’t stand in the shade

 

Poems © by ARHuelsenbeck

2016 in Review

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2016 in Review

New Year’s Eve is a fitting day to look back evaluate your progress. Have you accomplished what you wanted to do this year?

Creative Goals for 2016:

I overdid it. Everything I’ve read about goal-setting since mid-year says don’t set too many goals. I guess 14 are too ambitious.

Here’s what I did and didn’t achieve:

  1. Continue work on my three major works-in-progress, The Unicornologist, The God of Paradox, and The Night Runner, and begin the submission process with at least one of them. I decided to focus on The Unicornologist. If it ever gets done, it’ll be my first novel to be published. I’ve been working on it on and off for about twenty years, and several times I thought I was I was on the verge of completion, but I just started my second major revision of the year. So, nothing is about to be submitted. However, ­The Unicornologist is a much better story than it was at the beginning of the year, so progress has been made.
  2. Write a poem a day. Take Writing 201: A Poem a Day. WordPress revamped its Blogging U, and Writing 201 wasn’t offered this year. I did not write a poem a day, but I did write a bunch of poems.
  3. Oil_painting_palette wikipediaMake visual art. Finish the online drawing class on Craftsy.com and integrate creating art into my week, maybe even take a class at the local community college. I did not finish the Craftsy course, or go back to college. But I did some zentangle, and I participated in the Index Card a Day challenge.
  4. Practice calligraphy. Fail.
  5. “Win” NaNoWriMo in November. Since I have so many unfinished works, I decided not to start a new one, and sat out National Novel Writing Month this year.
  6. Work humor into my writing. I’ve been reading How to Write Funny by John B. Kachuba, and I’ve tried a couple of humor pieces.
  7. File the papers stacked in my office so I can move in my sewing machine from the laundry room and start quilting again. Honest to goodness, I have spent hours on this goal every month, but my paper keeps multiplying. I still have two boxes of stuff to file. However, I joined the quilting ministry at my church, and so far I’ve made one comfort quilt, and three baby quilts for the Crisis Pregnancy Center.
  8. Practice zentangle. I did, a little.
  9. Write for the devotional markets. Fail.
  10. Write a piece for Huffington Post. Never got around to it.
  11. Color. No, though I did buy a cool Van Gogh coloring book.
  12. Practice guitar. Fail.
  13. Practice recorder. Fail. But I did practice piano for an hour almost every day.
  14. Rewrite and submit some of the unsold pieces in my files to new markets. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but this will be on my list for next year.

 

vacant-desk

ARHtisticLicense:

I didn’t specify any goals for my blog, though I intended to continue it and improve it. I posted every day in 2016.

These were the top ten posts of 2016 in terms of views:

  1. Ballet Feet
  2. Go Mobile
  3. All Things Unicorn
  4. The Yarn Creations of Jan Furtado
  5. Art of Quilting Show at the Gilbert Historical Museum
  6. Collision of Science and Art
  7. In Praise of the Humble Recorder
  8. Jan van Eyck’s The Crucifixion and the Last Judgment: Painted by a Committee
  9. If I had my Life to Live Over
  10. ArtLifting

Have you read all of them?

The one I’m most proud of is the Art of Quilting Show, because of the sheer number of hours it took to take all the pictures (and then sort through about 200 of them), write the article, and design the post.

The one that surprises me the most didn’t make the list; it’s Arizona Fine Arts Expo, which only earned ten views. I actually reposted it from another blog I contribute to, Doing Life Together, which is not an arts blog, yet it netted me 135 views there. The post I authored that got the most views on Doing Life Together in 2016 was a memoir actually posted in 2015, Easters of my Childhood, which garnered 281 views in 2016, many more than any of my posts on ARHtistic License.

My readership is currently 206 as of this writing, which I know is substantially up from last year, but I don’t know by how much, since I didn’t record my number last year, and WordPress only gives me current follower statistics, not a growth graph. (Are you listening, WordPress?) Are you a subscriber to ARHtistic License? If not, please follow me. You can sign up on the sidebar on the right.

How about you? Did you meet your goals for 2016? Do you have goals for 2017? Have you written about your goals? Comment or share a link below.

Tomorrow I will post my creative goals for 2017 and issue a challenge to all my artistic readers and friends. See you then! And happy New Year!