Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Facebook is Stealing My Umbrella

When I was a little girl, my family had a poetry anthology with this little number in it:

The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just’s umbrella.

-Charles Synge Christopher Bowen

We kids used to laugh about it because it sounded so funny. As an adult, I can see a little more of the point the writer was making.

The rain it raineth on the just

The rain it raineth on the just

And also on the unjust fella;

And also on the unjust fella;

But chiefly on the just

But chiefly on the just

Because the unjust steals the just's umbrella.

Because the unjust steals the just’s umbrella.

It is so often that the person who’s just doing his job, living his life, has to carry the person who is not. Isn’t it funny (or not funny) how often the unjust then wastes the resources someone else produced and then turns around to demand more?

just unjust panel 5

So now Facebook is being called out, yet again, for (allegedly) violating people’s privacy by scanning messages marked private and selling user demographics from them. It bothers me when companies do things like that- the rule of law is a valuable principle, and should be cared for and respected. When people abuse the legal system like this, the end result to the rest of us is new legislation. Laws piled on top of laws to clarify the mountain of laws we’re all already buried under. When this is finally brought to that point, the corporate fatcats at Facebook will have no new opinion about my privacy, nor will they decide that they now have enough money. They will find a new loophole, and continue on. We will all have some new legislation, whether it will directly affect us or not.


An Exercise in Delicate Beauty and Video Games

opening image

This past year, two guys named Dan Pearce and Jack de Quidt, who have formed The Tall Trees, released a game called Castles in the Sky. It’s so simple that I hardly want to describe it, because I would hate for you to think it is plain. It’s really the opposite; simple, but lovely and special. It’s like an 8-bit haiku.

The play is simple, with the game lasting about fifteen minutes from start to finish. In between the leaping and steering tasks are the lines of a poem about finding the uncomplicated joys in life and lost balloons and going to sleep at night. I considered reproducing the poem here for you to read, but it might diminish some of the enjoyment of the game.


I don’t get paid to write posts for people or endorse products, but I really like this one. For roughly the cost of a cup of coffee (or less, depending on how you drink it), you can download it here. For me, it was definitely worth fifteen minutes and a buck and a half.

castle cloud

Happy Mother’s Day

For all of you ladies out there who have stayed up late at night with a sick child, or wondered how to help a kid overcome a stubborn bad habit, or poured over an academic assignment and fretted about finding the balance between pushing too hard and insisting your son or daughter put forth their best effort, thanks for modeling patience, gentleness and character for us

mother and baby ducks

Happy Mothers’ Day!
I know I could never really pay my mom back or list all of the ways that she sacrificed for me in my upbringing, but thank you anyway, Mom.

I love this poem. You can read the full text here.
“And here is your lanyard,” I replied.

Bewitched by the Dance

A big thanks to LitLib for guest blogging yesterday. I cannot believe I haven’t posted since November!

I was done in — done in by their glance from their champion stance, and bewitched by their dance.

I was done in — done in by their glance from their champion stance, and bewitched by their dance.

I’m happy to be back on Kirinjirafa again though, and delighted to tell you about the project that has had me incommunicado for the last several weeks. If you get a chance, please go check out Tom Nochera’s blog by clicking on that link or by looking him up on my blogroll. He is a terrific writer with a knack for creative children’s poetry. He has graciously allowed me to collaborate with him in publishing a set of his poems in a book, A Place That’s Fun.

But the butterfly danced from flower to flower, happy to be alive.

But the butterfly danced from flower to flower, happy to be alive.


Hee hee hee! See what I mean? The first time I read that, I laughed out loud.

This process has been a terrific challenge, illustrating all of these poems, and I can’t wait to get the finished product in people’s hands. The title of this post is taken from “The People of Nance,” one of the nonsense stories in this collection. With their oddular glance and their champion stance and their dance of perchance… the people of Nance seem to do a lot of partying. I’m not really sure what all they do over there in Nance, actually, and I don’t want to know either. It’s more fun tumbling the silly words around and letting your imagination go places with them. That quality drew me in the first time I saw the writing for A Place That’s Fun; silly, playful, and certainly bewitching. Here’s an image from the title poem:

They jump and play all day, and eat from cake buffets.

They jump and play all day, and eat from cake buffets.

A Place That’s Fun will be available soon to purchase on Amazon either in print or as an ebook (and again, you don’t need a special device to view it- your pc or ipad or whatever will do just fine), and I hope you will pick up a copy.

Nobokov and How Not To Be Surprised When You’re a Ghost

It was only a matter of time before I started talking about this, I suppose, but one of my favorite celebrity ladies, Charlotte Church, has been producing some more music, and I think it may be her best yet. The vocal quality is not pristine and crystal clear, this time around it has more of a Kate Bush kind of sound. The lyrics have the sound of a person with something to sing about. Yay Charlotte. I love you like this, girl! Please please keep it up!

This song is about this philosophy poet/writer Vladimir Nabokov discussed in his book/super long poem “Pale Fire,” in which he discusses life and death. He treats the essence of humanity sort of like Betty J. Eadie, only without a god. Like we are all just a collection of souls or lives, waiting in the afterlife, ready to live again after death. Maybe it’s like the movie What Dreams May Come, where all the human beings live and die and live and then die again when it’s their turn, sort of like reincarnation, but again, with no real god presence. It’s beautiful poetry, albeit hopeless.

Time means succession, and succession, change:
Hence timelessness is bound to disarrange
Schedules of sentiment. We give advice
To widower. He has been married twice:
He meets his wives; both loved, both loving, both
Jealous of one another. Time means growth,
And growth means nothing in Elysian life.

I think the weirdness in the video is just stylistic, but there are a few little hints here and there of something in this- little beautiful people in masks can be strange and ancient too. But then I could be reading into it- who knows.

Somewhat unrelated sidenote: the Leveson Inquiry gave me a whole new respect for her. During her teen years, I kept thinking that she must be a self-entitled jackass to repeatedly show up in the news as a drunken loud-mouth (and a bit of a tramp), but now I’m just really impressed that the worst things dug up about her were that she went out partying on the weekends and smoked cigarettes. And said bad words a lot- there’s that, too. I think that if someone had been spying on my teen life and publishing everything I did in the nastiest light possible, it would have made pretty bad headlines- probably worse than hers. This has been a lesson for me- be quick to assume well of people and quick to overlook seemingly negative reports.

Seriously, why do we even need to be told things like this? Don’t jump to conclusions when you hear a negative report about someone… you may not have the full story…

Hi. Coupons. Haiku… pons. Haikupons.

I’m sooooo glad I caught myself before I threw this in the trash. It arrived a while ago and sat in a stack of junk mail and ads, and nearly got pitched when I read the cover:

It’s a booklet of coupons, but they’re all in HAIKU . Heaven help my heart.

This was on a page with a coffee coupon.

And this one was next to a coupon for cheese. Presumably. Actually, I’m guessing because I didn’t read the coupons themselves. But this probably had to be by a cheese coupon. Thanks, cows.

There were about six others along with these- poetry in marketing. Amazing no? I’m thinking the writer has a very unhealthy relationship with toilet paper, but who even cares! HE WROTE A HAIKU ABOUT TOILET PAPER!

See, this is why I shop at Target. They’re so posh. Poetry coupons! The way I figure it, if we’re gonna feed a corporate monster at least I’d rather fork it over to the ones who spread a little charm around them, instead of the ones who gender blogs about what an eyesore even their patrons are…

Makes sense, right?

Gentle Alice Brown


by: W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911)

It was a robber’s daughter, and her name was Alice Brown.
Her father was the terror of a small Italian town;
Her mother was a foolish, weak, but amiable old thing;
But it isn’t of her parents that I’m going for to sing.

As Alice was a-sitting at her window-sill one day,
A beautiful young gentleman he chanced to pass that way;
She cast her eyes upon him, and he looked so good and true,
That she thought, “I could be happy with a gentleman like you!”

And every morning passed her house that cream of gentlemen,
She knew she might expect him at a quarter unto ten,
A sorter in the Custom-house, it was his daily road
(The Custom-house was fifteen minutes’ walk from her abode.)

But Alice was a pious girl, who knew it wasn’t wise
To look at strange young sorters with expressive purple eyes;
So she sought the village priest to whom her family confessed,
The priest by whom their little sins were carefully assessed.

“Oh, holy father,” Alice said, “‘t would grieve you, would it not?
To discover that I was a most disreputable lot!
Of all unhappy sinners I’m the most unhappy one!”
The padre said, “Whatever have you been and gone and done?”

“I have helped mamma to steal a little kiddy from its dad,
I’ve assisted dear papa in cutting up a little lad.
I’ve planned a little burglary and forged a little check,
And slain a little baby for the coral on its neck!”

The worthy pastor heaved a sigh, and dropped a silent tear–
And said, “You mustn’t judge yourself too heavily, my dear–
It’s wrong to murder babies, little corals for to fleece;
But sins like these one expiates at half-a-crown apiece.

“Girls will be girls–you’re very young, and flighty in your mind;
Old heads upon young shoulders we must not expect to find:
We mustn’t be too hard upon these little girlish tricks–
Let’s see–five crimes at half-a-crown–exactly twelve-and-six.”

“Oh, father,” little Alice cried, “your kindness makes me weep,
You do these little things for me so singularly cheap–
Your thoughtful liberality I never can forget;
But O there is another crime I haven’t mentioned yet!

“A pleasant-looking gentleman, with pretty purple eyes,
I’ve noticed at my window, as I’ve sat a-catching flies;
He passes by it every day as certain as can be–
I blush to say I’ve winked at him and he has winked at me!”

“For shame,” said Father Paul, “my erring daughter! On my word
This is the most distressing news that I have ever heard.
Why, naughty girl, your excellent papa has pledged your hand
To a promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band!

“This dreadful piece of news will pain your worthy parents so!
They are the most remunerative customers I know;
For many many years they’ve kept starvation from my doors,
I never knew so criminal a family as yours!

“The common country folk in this insipid neighborhood
Have nothing to confess, they’re so ridiculously good;
And if you marry any one respectable at all,
Why, you’ll reform, and what will then become of Father Paul?”

The worthy priest, he up and drew his cowl upon his crown,
And started off in haste to tell the news to Robber Brown;
To tell him how his daughter, who now was for marriage fit,
Had winked upon a sorter, who reciprocated it.

Good Robber Brown, he muffled up his anger pretty well,
He said, “I have a notion, and that notion I will tell;
I will nab this gay young sorter, terrify him into fits,
And get my gentle wife to chop him into little bits.

“I’ve studied human nature, and I know a thing or two,
Though a girl may fondly love a living gent, as many do–
A feeling of disgust upon her senses there will fall
When she looks upon his body chopped particularly small.”

He traced that gallant sorter to a still suburban square;
He watched his opportunity and seized him unaware;
He took a life-preserver and he hit him on the head,
And Mrs. Brown dissected him before she went to bed.

And pretty little Alice grew more settled in her mind,
She nevermore was guilty of a weakness of the kind,
Until at length good Robber Brown bestowed her hand
On the promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band.

I know this girl. She may have an inclination to think for herself somewhere deep down inside, but it seems to have been buried pretty thoroughly. Why do some parents insist on teaching their children to be mindless extensions of their own lives? It’s worse yet when they’re part of a culture that teaches parents that this is exactly what they should do.

Haiku On My Door

Today I came home to this written on the back of a business card tucked into the doorway. My brother stopped by to say hello, but we weren’t home yet.

Gwendolyn Brooks

We went to the city this morning. (Outside of rush hour, it’s a short trip and a great visit for us. I love going to Chicago.) It’s been a while since I blogged some poetry, so I thought I would do that today, and with Chicago in mind, here is a brief post of a poem by a good Chicago poet.

The Bean Eaters

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering . . .
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that
is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths,
tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

~Gwendolyn Brooks

Sylvia Plath

Short post today.

Here is a collection of her poems, from which I copied Dark House below. I have this on the back of my lesson plan book, and was reading it today at work. It used to be that I didn’t think much of Sylvia Plath, but in recent years she has grown on me. “I made it myself.”

Dark House

This is a dark house, very big.
I made it myself,
Cell by cell from a quiet corner,
Chewing at the grey paper,
Oozing the glue drops,
Whistling, wiggling my ears,
Thinking of something else.

It has so many cellars,
Such eelish delvings!
U an round as an owl,
I see by my own light.
Any day I may litter puppies
Or mother a horse. My belly moves.
I must make more maps.

These marrowy tunnels!
Moley-handed, I eat my way.
All-mouth licks up the bushes
And the pots of meat.
He lives in an old well,
A stoney hole. He’s to blame.
He’s a fat sort.

Pebble smells, turnipy chambers.
Small nostrils are breathing.
Little humble loves!
Footlings, boneless as noses,
It is warm and tolerable
In the bowel of the root.
Here’s a cuddly mother.

Sylvia Plath

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