Gather and thank

Poetry Friday’s own Teacher Dance, Linda B. gathers us this week

Poetry Friday’s spiritual Thursday of Novemeber,is gathered by Ramona. Appreciations, Ramona!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Gather and thank

For a gathering sense of shared community here,
pulled together by response to the local yoga tragedy
& the quest for valid votes in Florida governor
& senate elections, I am appreciative
for the the ahisma people,
non-harming people

For a gathering of new poems** flowing to
my pen since summer, I am appreciative

For the brave gathering of journalists at
meetings, speaking with sources, asking
questions across our states & world,
I am appreciative

For creativity, dignity of leadership & perseverance
within U.S. indigenous tribes, I am appreciative

For a gathering of most-loved ones by my
side on Nov. 22, I am so very appreciative

And for my Poetry Friday world,
all of you, ashisma people,
I am always so appreciative
to be gathered with you.

** poems!
I feel grateful that my writing guru, Adrian Fogelin, has looked over a small gathering of my new poems, written since summer, which surprised me to be on a theme. If I can continue apace, I plan to bring more to an early 2019 workshop. I will say that terms such as “flamingo”, “catamount” & “skunk ape” appear among the lines. . .

Apalachicola November 2018 55th Annual Seafood Festival

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<The Poetry Friday Sunrise is with Kay!<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
After what blewew through

people of the village of Apalachicola
scanned clear sky chasing hurricane gray
rejoiced for oyster spat found live on farmed sea baskets
cleared storm clutter off shoreline
rushed sweets to tupelo bees
bustled to serve 55th annual seafood dinner line

c.2018JGA/JanGodownAnnino

The first week of every November for 55 years, the Florida
Panhandle seaport of Apalachicola, where our family has
spent inspiring days and nights, where the city library
has been so inspiring to young readers,
where history-holding people revive old wood shotgun houses for needy locals,
where my husband met with legal services clients more than 30 years ago,
holds the cantankerous FLORIDA SEAFOOD FESTIVAL. And what a celebratory event
this post-H.Michael, miracle festival can be.

I was chilled as I began to understand
the wreck and wrack Hurricane Michael wrought on
this North Florida coast. What other calling card would a categroy 4 storm that barreled over
beautiful barrier islands and blasted mainland sands Oct. 10-11, 2018, leave behind?
Although 40 miles or so separated working waterfront Apalachicola from the westward
deadly direct Mexico Beach hit,
the swirl of winds and stormy surf reached tough tendrils east of Apalachicola into Eastpoint, Carabelle,
Dog Island, Alligator Point and southeast of us, at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Blessedly, the refuge is
recovered enough for this weekend’s annual Monarch Butterfly Festival.

Families and friends are personally coping with the horrific loss of 29 lives in Florida,
an uncounted number of physical and emotional injuries.
Locals and second-home visitors are dealing with the splattering of home roofs and cafe walls into neighbors’ yards, pushing boats and cars down familiar streets.
Residents are reacting to the disruption of work, school, and everything else that happens
in seven days of a week.
Singular landscapes that the region’s people work in and relax in,
and wild acres thought preserved from human habitation, road building, place making,
in national refuges or state lands, suffered a scouring sea change.
Many of us keep a wary eye on how the world’s sea changes are known to be human-born.

But always there are moments of hope in recovery efforts.
Such as bringing food to the famed
Apalachicola River Basin tupelo tree bees.
Yes, feeding sweets the bees. As the line, above…

Your official invitation to attend the Apalachicola party the first weekend every November is always here at the FLORIDA Seafood Festival website.

Some aspects of working waterfront Apalachicola, to know if you go
Downtown Books and Purl, Hole in the Wall, The Gallery at High Cotton, Bowery Art, Cafe Con Leche
and other strong small storefronts calling to you, that keep keeping on. If you are fortunate to attend, check online with AAA or the Florida Highway Patrol
or your navigation sites, for updated traffic details. Storm-Battled U.S. 98,
coast-hugging road ribbon of life for the region, as of this post, has lane closures in places.
Perhaps try Hwy. 20 or Interstate 10 & work your way south an an open, interior road.

I have written about Authors in Apalach on more than one occasion, such as here.
Downtown Books and Purl
The Gallery at High Cotton


I love this potent article in SIERRA magazine by Sue Cerulean
, editor, author, friend in
Florida who brought me to book-making with Falcon Press & and published my history essay (p. 107) and an important Seminole Tribe of Legend by Betty Mae Tiger Jumper (p.92), my book biography subject, in
the Milkweed Editions collection,
BOOK of the EVERGLADES.

c.2017
JGA/JanGodownAnnino
Baite Place, Eastpoint, FLA
all rights reserved.

Birdsong Co-Founder Tribute – Betty Komarek

[We are in the Poetry Friday Universe collected this week by Brenda. See the bees knees!]

Many of us who grieve for loss of life,
destruction of land & structures from the natural force of
winds & water powered by Category 4 Hurricane Michael, think of the Florida coast.

Hurricane Michael busted on from the Gulf & its sugar sands,
to scream through inland pecan groves & cotton fields – southwest Georgia’s farmlands & river/lake coves, including a tiny Georgia writing retreat I’ve loved, that my critique partner owns,
The Cove.  R.I.P to The Cove. But also …

Before the storm arrived I wrote here about Birdsong, in Georgia.
Today I share my poem set in 1998, & inspired
by Betty Komarek, co-creator of Birdsong,
just over the border of Florida, outside Thomasville, GA
Due to Hurricane Micheal, Birdsong postponed an Oct. 13 music fundraiser,to be rescheduled.

>>>>>>>>

Birdsong Summer

That summer she left the land
for Kay’s mountain cove
she looked long
across Horse Pasture
opened her screened porch door
smiled that eternal smile that says –
Praise and Thanks
Blessed Be

She bent, offered food to Skink,
scuttling back-step friend

She stood with deep-seeing eyes,
finding
far fields, deep woods, green swamp, farm pond

Her gaze remembered
flying squirrel, grazing deer,
zebra longwing,
bob white, towhee, wood thrush,
pileated woodpecker, indigo bunting –
all her feathered friends of tiny beating hearts

She crunched hot feet on dry peanut stone
felt cool moss on split rail
returned inside to the wide hall
stood at stairs in the center
of her universe
looked up through roof to her Sky

She stepped across the straw mat
to her Window
reached deep into her chest
drew out a part of her heart
fixed it on the handle
of the room’s screen door

That summer she left the land
all her planted friends
talked about change –
Nandina, mulberry, saw palmetto, yaupon holly,
liriope, pokeweed, quince, needle palm, loquat,
sweet gum, coontie, tea olive, wax myrtle,
crepe myrtle, yucca, pyracantha, pittosporum –
they rustled, sighed, bent their heads
not knowing if this was forever

That summer she left the land
the champion pecan tree from Shadrack’s time
with the excuse of a purple storm
split itself open
in a final crash into the west yard

That summer she left the land
bears walked into town
padding along South Madison Street
as if they still lived there

That summer she left the land –

A coyote yipped in Ginhouse field

Skink disappeared, reappeared,
disappeared, reappeared

A panicked juvenile cardinal
flew out from accidental entrapment
in the log cabin room
where it had battered itself against the window

That summer she left the land,
in front yard leaf litter,
one leathery brown leaf shape-shifted
into a perfect heart

Following that summer she left the land,
since she had got by without all her heart,
since Birdsong had got by without all of her heart,
she now knew –
both she and her World
would be all right
when the purple storm came again

She still
smiles her eternal smile that says
Praise and Thanks
Blessed Be

(a poem in celebration of Betty Komarek
January 29, 1914 – April 16, 2002)
c. 2002-2018 JGA/Jan Godown Annino
allrightsreserved

Thankful after Hurricane Michael 2018

Thankful after Hurricane Michael 2018

Most bumps in the road are smoothed by a
wild beach
new book
ripe fig from the front yard
belly laugh

I wrote the above while recovering
from surgery.

But Hurricane Michael of Oct 10-12, 2018, roaring
up the Gulf of Mexico from Cuba with the power of
a cataclysmic Category 4 tropical storm,
can’t be considered a bump in the road.

Sadly, there are 22 deaths to mourn in Florida
& still others, in other states H. Michael blasted.

Things are so in flux, next month’s election process
will be disturbed for our coast; officials also say it
may take years for some villages to ever function as before.

My city was spared all but discomfort –
nights and days without electric power,
streets blocked by tossed trees,
progress was rapid in #LOVETLH. Tree arborists hoisted snapped
pines from car & building roofs,
electric and cable line workers restored service.
We the people own the electric utility here; it is
very responsive.

My family in Tallahassee is grateful
for slight damage – loss of dogwood & Myer lemon
(fig tree still stands!) –
& we are more than grateful for First Responders
everywhere who take on 16-hour shifts to set things right.
Neighbors also pitch in, unasked, to help
clear yards of a fresh carpet of green pine needles,
or pull downed brown branches to the curb for collection.

What IF?
If we had taken our savings & become owners of coastal lands,
an idea we have had fun dallying with, we would have known,
signing papers, that the beautiful seashore places
will always, always, always
be mere shifting sands & will some time be in the eye of the storm,
so our purchase would have been a lark, a giant gamble.

A gamble –
knowing about the history of
guaranteed natural beach erosion &
the inevitable onslaught of Gulf of Mexico storms.
I feel very very sorry for children caught
up in this gamble that was not of their own
making. And I wish more grit than usual,
for adults who couldn’t call The Forgotten Coast,
as it is lovingly nicknamed by regional officials,
a second or third home, but their only home,
due to needed work or, happenstance.
Thousands of helpers are pitching in
during this unfortunate time,
not the least of these,
The American Red Cross/Hurricane Michael.

c.2018
allrightsreservedJGA
Spring 2018
Wild dunes at St. George Island State Park, pre-Hurricane Michael

Birdsong Nature Center, Georgia

Birdsong Nature Center, Georgia/ Jan Godown Annino

Twenty years ago I spent days and nights strolling, stopping
and listening to the rhythms of life among Georgia pines and magnolias,
walking through fields and woods, as I watched over a natural treasure
known as Birdsong. This was a surprise – that Betty Komarek, co-creator
of an outdoors classroom of 500 acres, selected me to substitute for her.

I felt inadequate for the task, yet she decided that without a science degree,
without any field work to my name, I was the just-right caretaker to: feed
roaches to her back-doorstep pet; give a firm Scat! You! broom swipe to
squirrels and raccoons that dared to reach the bird window feeding station;
and, among other tasks, it seemed I commanded adequate enough hands to haul in
and freeze North Meridian Road road kill for someone’s elses examination
later (not me!)

In her 84th year, Betty would finally take a hot-weather break from Birdsong,
so I was in residence (un-airconditioned) in July and August of 1998. My supposed
eagle eye was to keep check on the before-hours and after-hours thrum of activity
around the wild land and weathered buildings, including the classic small
farmstead hearth and home, a listed historic property that is a musuem,
populated with numbered curios collected by Ed and Betty Komarek
during domestic and foreign adventures they created in
decades of marriage as premier traveling fire-management
ecology researchers and trainers.

c.2018JGA
“Birdsong Door”

My one flop was failure to prevent a small car loaded with college kids from
driving through a staff-only grassy path on a terraced old field, in order
“to make observations” (trespass) at a further-out cypress swamp. They mumbled
verbal permission, as colleagues of Professor So and So of University Such and Such.
That meant they should park and hike as every guest would.
Birdsong is not a drive-through scenic car route,
quite unlike Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains.
I held my hand up while I said would make a call to check,
prompting them to roll past me, grinning, gaining vehicle
access into the wild footpath acres. No harm done, I guess.
At least, I was not relieved of my duties.

Treasured moments filled notebooks, including listening to
night songs of coyotes, the first I’d ever heard them,
side-stepping a coiled water moccasin (thanks to hiking partner
Susan Murowski), finding a small shiny brown magnolia leaf
shaped like a heart, when I needed it, during a moment I felt
Betty had erred in selecting me, finding a dead but still
lovely blackbird in the attic,
learning of the best food for the pet lizard named Skink
(roaches I was to trap for Skink and, did) and,
having Betty share surprises of a few other of her tricks of trade.

c.2018JGA
allrightsreserved
“Birdsong Charlotte”
Where E.B. White’s writing spiders live

When I later wrote a feature about Birdsong during my corresponding days for editor
Paula Crouch at the travel desk of The Atlanta Constitution,
I didn’t disclose those tidbits. And, as Betty Komarek’s spiritual colleague
in caretaking, to honor her memory, I’m not doing that now.
This week for Poetry Friday, I expect to share a poem, about Betty at Birdsong,
that I wrote in 2002 upon her passing at age 90. I hope you will return for that.

SATURDAY event Oct. 13, 2018
Depending upon how Hurricane Michael affects the region,
consider attending a family-friendly Birdsong music benefit
by Sammy Tedder and Mike Andrews
4:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 13, 2018 at Birdsong Nature Center.

Giggle me, world

Giggle me, world

This October, Spiritual Thursday is arms open wide to share
about humor, meaning –
not mean, but sweet silly stuff that brings on the happy.
I’d smile if you comment.
And later when  ST jolly jottings are up, please leave
a link.

Have you brought out a giggle from a baby or toddler?
For our gal, holding her just a wee bit over my head,
her belly down, face looking at mine,
for a brief “airplane” flight, produced a belly laugh.

And she giggled, too.

Lots of ways of plays brought out the laughs.

Giggle my world

Funny face
puppet paw pat
hide-and-seek-cat
in October, peek-a-book bat.

c.2018JGA

Best medicine for adults, too

I appreciated the experience of feeling that
laughter is the best medicine when
pain & discomfort involving kidney surgery would ease,
anxiety went poof! earlier this season, enjoying a simple joke.

One time, especially.
I felt bothered by the bag of blood
towering over my head. That unease ended
when the the nurse that afternoon threw a
towel over the blood transfusion bag
and then he lightly jiggled the pole, made a funny sound &
turned it into a flowing ghost. It was hilarious. I needed the
laugh/sneeze/cough heart-shaped pillow the hospital
provided, to swaddle my healing belly wounds, it was soooo funny.

c.2018allrightsreserved

I’m gratefully healed across the middle now
& can let the chortles
rip without hurting scar seams.

Top humor starters follow.
Are they similar to yours?

Cartoon collections
Humorist Roz Chast’s New Yorker cartoons & many cartoon books,
along with those of Gary Larson & others.

A few from our
Roz Chast shrine. Collect them all!

Nonsense verse

Spoken out loud. Better yet I read these
out loud from Illustrated versions
of the most nonsensical jollity. The best best best
for my LOL is Edward Lear’s “The Owl and the Pussycat,”
which I recently learned was voted the favorite children’s poem
in England.
When my poetry-loving mother
offered her liltingly dramatic rendition of the moon-lit journey
of the loveable avian/feline pair, including her finger-ring in
her own nose, in the wood, I fell over in laughter.

Today, I am agog over my discovery,
through the sweet blog Silvershoes and Rabbitholes,
of a Hilary Knight version of O & P! You know it? I didn’t.
Mr. Knight is beloved for ELOISE and also, by Lee Bennett Hopkins fans,
for his illustrations of the LBH poem collections, HAPPY BIRTHDAY and
also, SIDE BY SIDE, which I have gifted to young teachers.
His version features a set-up to the poem that melts my heart
with touches of whimsy that are equal to Lear’s nonsense genius.

Silly sings

ELLA JENKINS, a strummer, a singer is f-u-n-n-y.
Are there silly songs from your homestate or
where you live now? We enjoy the friendly quirks
of Florida where we have created our own family,
where my first family moved when I was in middle school,
so Ella Jenkins cracks me up with her original tune,

“I Know a City Called Okeechobee”

Puppets

Lambchop
I can’t be the only crazy person who loves to
prance & sing “This is the Song that Never Ends,”
made famous by Shari Lewis and her puppet pal, Lambchop.
I hummed this before and after surgery.
So cool that her daughter Mallory Lewis,
carries on the silly tradition.
http://blog.cmnonline.org/2017/03/09/the-song-that-doesnt-end-by-shari-lewis/

Costumes
Odd eyewear. Funny hats

c.2016allrightsreserved

In summary

Dour tastes sour.
Joy is a toy.

And when I create situations of joy
that produce laughter or full on smiles,
my psyche can more easily steamroll irritations,
so my human-imperfect nature
is more likely to react amiably, kindly,
when a roadblock, setback, disappointment
or that occasional huge challenge,
boulders onto the path.
I hope these thoughts make your spirit smile.

Me & a Monster
c.2017JanGodownAnnino
allrightsreserved

Four little weeks after Cle Clinic surgery

The Poetry Friday raft floats at
The Water’s Edge.

For now please join my
celebration of life, healing, faith
& the love of friends & family
& strangers, such as hospital teams,
a party that follows
Aug. 21, 2018 kidney surgery
to remove my diseased right
red bean,
leaving the left one
behind to do all the work.

Time for another sample!

Four weeks gone by!

I’ve ditched a lot of the fuzz brain,
am mobile in the AM,
without the walker &
often without my tall, Gandalf-type
walking stick,
a surprise hand-carved for me by a
Girl Scout parent long ago. We normally
we take it on our refuge hikes but it is
for me, now sturdier than a regular cane
for everyday get-abouts on neighborhood streets.

c.2018PetarTodorov
“Lefty” an original kidney cartoon delivered in the hospital by an honorary & beloved, family member.

My body folds up at mid-day. But
for the first time, on yesterday,
a smidge of energy returned in the PM.

One of my favorite heal tricks is
to re-read Get Wells & that includes
the funny cards & words (often in poem form)
about surgery, medicine, hospitals &
of course, kidneys.

My actual hospital sheet! I was sitting up in the adjoining lift chair when I went, “Eeek! Look-ee what Beautiful shape I see! Do you see it?

Original kidney limericks are encouraged.
Take a look at those to date, at
the first limerick posts, visible near the story’s end.

A new poem contribution shared in a wee bit,
is a clever departure from limericks,
created by author, decades-long pal,
crackerjack crit. partner
& great soup-maker,
Ann Morrow.

It follows my poem heart pour,
Heal Song,
in gratitude to
the Cleveland Clinic surgical team.

Heal Song
by J.G. Annino

Unlike piercing a ragged Parma
or slicing Birdsong’s field of Georgia sedge

Unlike slivering an envelope’s lip
or eliciting cedar splinter from pinkie skin

Tiny cuts incised into the abdomen 21 Aug. 2018
are the kindest

In OR #6
under lights football field bright
host of healers
commence cutting edge labor
deploy tiny camera like Andromeda Strain
maneuver through induced bloat of carbon gas
surgeons find targets
retrieve dead bean
stop tendrils extruding to vena cava
excise imposter veins
withdraw tiny camera
smooth skin flaps
suture precise origami folds
kindest cuts swaddled
breathing tube out
anesthesia fades

patient awakens
singing singing *

c.2018 J.G. Annino
21 Sept. 2018

*The surgery notes are a deep dive into
nonfiction medical writing that have brought
my husband & me new vocabulary & an even greater
appreciation for what went on
up on the slab in the lab. Those notes report
that the patient (moi) was
“exhuberant” in the two-step
recovery rooms.

I sang, I sang, is what “exhuberant” means.

Thank you, pal Velma Lee Frye,
for the seasons of spirited song circle
I felt fortunate to attend. I did hum & sing to
keep my spirits up in the waiting times before
& after surgery – why not?

Rainbow from our room, Cleveland Clinic campus! By Paolo Annino. One of my hubby’s uncountable tender uplifts to me.

And now, something to hum about,
this very moment,
a delightful new poem from Scholastic
author Ann Morrow.

The Kidney Sisters
by Ann Morrow

Kidney 1 and Kidney 2 were such a healthy pair
“We’re small, but strong and mighty,” they often did declare.  
“We clean and filter all the blood, working every day.”
“Our nephrons never stop to rest or take the time to play.”

The years went by, the team worked hard, they rarely made a peep.
Until one year when Kidney 1 began to fall asleep.
“Too much work has worn me out. I’m sad and weak and weary.”
“I think I’ll go to Cleveland, I’d love to see Lake Erie.”

So Kidney 1 and Kidney 2 exchanged a sad adieu.
Each with an agenda, they started life anew.
Kidney 1 loved city life – museums, food and wine.
A river and a lakefront, suited her just fine.

Kidney 2 loved staying home, it fit her to a T.
With twice the work she found herself, as strong as she could be.
She misses Kidney 1, of course, and the special bond they had,
But thinks the single life she has, is not at all half bad!
c.2018 Ann Morrow, all rights reserved

Isn’t that lovely? Applause, Ann!

My solitary kidney & I
expect to be back Oct. 4 to guide the Poetry Friday
Spiritual Thursday Sisters in conversations about
ha!, humor.

Lately I’ve missed out on
book birthdays & other book cheers, but I can’t
leave without mentioning two worthy
launches of dear friends.

Laura Shovan
brought out her 2nd novel,TAKE DOWN<
the remarkable story
of a school girl, Mickey Delgado,
who competes at the highest level
on the wrestling team. You likely know it
but if not, < take a seat in the Laura Shovan gym.

My favorite lines include:

“Look out, Mickey Delgado is going to storm the state championships.”

“You got that right,” I say. “But Dad, can you call me Mikayla?”

And, my personal poetry pied piper
Irene Latham, is right nowbringing out her ba-zillionth creative book, this with bright
color illustrations I love by Thea Baker,
LOVE, AGNES, Postcards from an Octopus
much to my coast-loving delight.

My favorite Agnes/Irene lines include:

Agnes rolled her eyes. She still knew how
to do a thing or two.

p.s. for today’s host, The Water’s Edge. I know
your country is gi-normous but Thea Baker,
of above new book, LOVE, AGNES
is based in Australia, f.y.i.

Both books are must haves.

Finally, it always cheers me to catch up with Betsy Bird’s columns.
Try her 2019 Newberry/Caldecott noshing, where she tips me off to poems
by Richard Wright (with a cameo from Donald Crews) & artistry
in photo illustration by Nina Crews

And remember I would love to
see your limerick or other
funny words
about being sick, healing,
nurses, MDs, or the like.
If said words pop up on your site,
great, just
send a link!