d-liver d-letter

SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED/ Stevie Wonder

some picture books about postal mail

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I slip a hug onto paper.

Pen a poem.

Soothe a tear.

Share a quest.

Mail it off

to a point further west.

~©JGAnnino,2020

 

For some seniors, the postal mail is medicine. ~~ actual prescribed

pills that arrive to keep a BeLoved alive. And for most seniors & juniors,

personal paper mail is the good medicine of a smile from far off miles.

 

This year, many of us want our US Postal Service to be delivering election mail.

But Republicans in the Senate need to stand up to the President in the White House as he appears to plan to eviscerate the Postal Service & thwart the 2020 vote-by-mail elections.

:::

My love of postal mail is generational.

My parents wrote (and saved) fun postcards to each when they were courting.

If not for the historic U.S. mail, my father wouldn’t have received from his

relative, the cherished Civil War love letters that a Union Lieutenant relative wrote his

fiancé. They married, after the war!

Our daughter and her husband send us paper mail delights from their changing postal zones. I think her delighted reading and opening of all the little envelopes in THE JOLLY POSTMAN  interactive picture book, by the Ahlbergs) set her up for a StampLife.

Not only am I happy to have postcards and sweet personal letters sent to me, I also love to trade through the US postal mail. I can’t imagine how shopify and etsy traders would have fared without the USPS. Here, a nod to my favorite Poetry Friday etsy shoptraders, Robyn and also, Michelle.

 

On one of our several trips to D.C. we family Postal Lovers visited our US Postal Museum. We had fun!

https://postalmuseum.si.edu/

I find it wrong-minded and unpatriotic (nod to Ben Franklin)

clearly an Anti-USA act, to stifle, squeeze, or shutdown the historic and necessary hallmark of a free government

that my postal service is. Here are some resources.

PBS

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/the-vital-role-of-the-u-s-postal-service-in-american-elections

League of Women Voters

https://www.lwv.org/blog/why-we-need-fight-united-states-postal-service

NPR

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/14/834336341/hoping-to-save-the-postal-service-people-rush-to-buy-stamps

Buy US Postage Stamps online. Create an account for free. LOVE stamps, flowers, cartoon characters & other miniature works of art, can come at you in your postal mail.

In these times of #saferathome, #selfisolating  we’ve felt fortunate to use the snorkel USPS collection boxes.

Here’s a picture of them from Wikipedia. 

YOUR TURN:  Any memorable songs or poems, when you think of postal mail? Enjoyed reading a book to children that features postal mail? Find the link for moderated comments box, below with my appreciations. [ a wonkiness in digital land here at the moment, so there may be x-tra space before box.]

For more on #PoetryFriday, please see Renee and please visit Molly this week @ NIX THE COMFORT ZONE.

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#SusanCerulean: I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird

[please find PoEtrY fRiDaY links at the end]

Susan Cerulean: I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird

Earlier this week on another page here, I honored the “good trouble” created by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who as a young man in segregated Alabama, was positively influenced by Rosa Parks and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

This page turns to a “good trouble” activist in Florida for environmental justice. She is Susan Cerulean. Maybe your Florida kayak glide, escorted above by a fish-hunting osprey, brought you to love this confounding state where I live. Or perhaps your Florida habit began via books by Zora Neale Hurston, such as Their Eyes Were Watching God, or with Oranges by John McPhee, or any of the several books of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, such Hurricane or her best-known, Everglades, River of Grass. Or, perhaps your student brought home from the school library, the rambunctious Florida eco-warrior Skink in the YA novel Skink, No Surrender, a character first crafted years ago in his adult fiction, by Carl Hiaasen.

Whatever the reason you commune with the idea of Florida, please look for the works of our state’s excellent, revered, unique literary eco-definer and eco-defender, Susan Cerulean.

I don’t often depart from children’s literature, especially poetry, as my theme at this site. But please pay attention to an extraordinary new double-memoir, I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird, (University of Georgia Press.) Susan Cerulean movingly blends her care for Florida and its ecosystems, including nesting terns that like to lay eggs where tourists tromp, with her care for her beloved Father, who like so many, migrates to Florida from elsewhere. In this case, from New Jersey.

 

I created a poem in celebration of her extraordinary story. I hope you will find some time for I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird. The birth of it brings a unique author-opportunity next week.  (shared at the end with other resources)

 

Your assignment

 

How to know what it is.

 

Accompanied

by a brightening of the sky at the engaging moment.

Likely, not.

 

What is the assignment? 

Who is the assignment?  

 

The assignment may arrive

as a thin needle jab

of torreya tree you petted in a park

now stuck in pain under your fingernail

so that you can’t forget this struggling creature.

 

 

The assignment may arrive

when your diabetic neighbor calls from her doorway

as you take your nightly walk. At her front step, you learn

you are to dress her unending toe wound.

 

You can’t know the assignment in advance.

 

Just know, it will call.

~JGAnnino, 2020

 

 

I hope you will want to meet Susan Cerulean in a digital meet up 6 p.m. August 7.

Susan Cerulean photograph copyright, Jeff Chanton, all rights reserved

Sample the book in this review by novelist, poet, memoirist Trish (Pat) MacEnulty. Enjoy a feature on it by author and editor, Kathleen Laufenberg.

If you can encourage your library or bookstore or reading group to create an event for this book, contact Susan and please say I sent you.

full disclosure

In addition to her own writing, Susan Cerulean is an environmental nonfiction anthologist. She edited Milkweed Editions’ The Book of the Everglades, which included my chapter, and, works from Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, Susan Orlean, the late famed sea turtle author-scientist Archie Carr, poet Lola Haskins, and longtime Miami Herald columnist and novelist Carl Hiaasen.

I have been friends and writing colleagues with Sue for more four decades. And following I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird, I’ve a hope for what’s next between her book covers  ~ Ursus, which walk, feed, birth and die here in crazy Florida, barely.

:::::::

Poetry Friday is organized and cheered today from the pages of READING TO THE CORE.  Learn more about Poetry Friday from Renee M. LaTulippe. Please keep scrolling to leave your thought in the moderated comments box, with my appreciations.

 

 

#BelovedCommunity Rep. John Lewis

“You never become bitter,” Rep. John Lewis said. “You never become hostile. You never try to demean your opposition.” National Public Radio

A baton is aimed at young John Lewis, on ground, foreground right during a peaceful demonstration. His skull was fractured. March 7, 1965./Associated Press photograph  

Recent monumental pandemic news stepped into background noise for me as I listened transfixed to the heartfelt, emotional and proud commemorations, funeral moments and memorial for the famed #GoodTrouble #BelovedCommunity creator, Rep. John Lewis. I learned that Invictus, by William Ernest Henley, spoke to his courage and strength in sticking to his pledge to always conduct himself nonviolently, even under torture, in events that could lead to death:

IN the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

According to an interview with his sister, she remembered in child days that her big brother John recited Invictus, walking from room to room in their house. They lived in segregated Pike County, Alabama, where the local library denied her book-loving, voracious reader brother, a library card to the whites-only, tax-supported facility. The boy once denied a library card, became a member of the United States Congress in 1987, and later was honored as a book author, at the Library of Congress, on more than one occasion.

Rep. Lewis’ peaceable human rights actions, for what he thought of as #BelovedCommunity, were in keeping with his earliest studies, to become an ordained minister.  His degree from Fisk University was in philosophy and religion. As a boy he thoroughly read the Bible at home, his sister remembered. He also liked learning, from the newspaper, that the already-admired civil rights activist Rosa Parks and a new person on the Alabama scene, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., called for peaceful protest. And, she said, he liked comic books, for their Justice League heroes, who righted wrongs.

So, so fitting, that his National Book Award winning triology MARCH, is told as a graphic novel, as illustrated below by Nate Powell, all rights reserved. See The Horn Book Q/A with the Congressman.

from the John Lewis triology, with Andrew Aydin, illustrations copyright Nate Powell, all rights reserved

As I find poems about Rep. Lewis, I will link them here. “John Lewis” is a tribute poem I recommend to you from  my talented Poetry Friday colleague ,Michelle Kogan.

Appreciations to a group that means much to me #BigBendPoetsandWriters @BigPoets for sharing this poem about US Rep. John Lewis, by Avis Veronica Simmonds 

Float

Welcome to Poetry Friday for 17 July 2020. More on Poetry Friday, is below.

Float

My dear but overtasked Mom, whose occasionally inscrutable life I ponder more often in the summer than any other season, was an excellent small-lake swimmer in her school days.  As an adult, this former athlete, also a high school archer and basketball player, chose as her only sport, the face-up float. So this is for dear Mom.

 

Mom and me in the sea

 

She allowed me to

link by hand,

drift alongside her 

beating heart,

her stretched-out

living raft.

~ JG Annino, 2020

 

I wish I owned a photograph of Mom swimming, or just lounging on a lake dock in her one-piece, sleek, classic Jantzen “diving woman” logo swimsuit,(in blue, not red as pictured at the link.) When I grew older, she confided that to invite her body to feel light, to drift, was free therapy, needed bliss, release, otherworldness.

 

 

So now, switching moods, because we can use a smile in these traumatic times, I share here from the animal kingdom, what Mom practiced – the free-spirit float. She passed on long before I made this image a few years ago on a trip to  Homosassa Springs. A defender of natural Florida, she would want this serene sirenia & you, to enjoy a float if it rolls our way. Strength & peace & also some float to you, in significant days leading to Nov. 3, 2020.

 

"FLOAT", copyright, all rights reserved,JanGodownAnnino

“FLOAT”, copyright, all rights reserved,
JanGodownAnnino

Poetry Friday is within Kidlitosphere, illuminated by poet & educator Renee LaTulippe at No Water River.  Last week Ruth hosted, writing from among the lovely people of Haiti.   Next week, we connect with Margaret, at Reflections on the Teche.  Thank you for your beautiful link ~~ via comments, traditional-style. Keep scrolling for the your thoughts? box, which doesn’t automatically post. If you think there’s a glitch or if you prefer, send your Poetry Friday link to me by owl, snailmail, email, butterfly, turtle, twitter, fb, fern, affirmation or, prayer. I’m anticipating a bit of away-time at zoom events Friday & Saturday that weren’t scheduled when I answered the lovely calendar call, so I’ve posted early. Appreciations for your visit.

As often as I can, I will wrap up your links from comments & notes right here .

^^^^Janice soothes us with an original poem & photo of an element often overlooked. http://janicescully.com/

~~~Amy’s offering some mighty fine lines at BookBuzz. Just can’t get each kind, out of my mind. https://bookbuzz123.blogspot.com/2020/07/window-shelf.html

@@@ Linda’s yuk-yuks are totally lucky ducks. Feel the images, See the sounds! Linda astounds. http://awordedgewiselindamitchell.blogspot.com/2020/07/refurbished-clunkers.html

🙂 🙂 🙂 Michelle, Fine Artist, features feather finery inspired by On the Teche & she offers more fabulous poem-making (I’ma afloat over one in particular). Do inhale her signature, exquisite poetry in artist inks, too.  https://moreart4all.wordpress.com/2020/07/16/poetry-friday-poetry-mix-flowers/.     I also like to play in Michelle’s studio at Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/michellekoganfineart/

Tim, joins in first time here (to my recollection) with work-in-progress/science fiction. Welcome! images.https://timkulp.com/home/visual-stories I’ll spend more time at his site later, where a Middle Grade novels post led me to a link & thereupon I gorged on a photo gallery of libraries’ eye candy at a swoony copyright-free site. Additional appreciations, Tim!

Carol arrives back at New York from Virginia with questions, thoughts, worries building, about #quarantineoverdrive, employing clunker gifts & outasite art. TY, also, for the sweet treat, Carol! https://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2020/07/clunker-line-poem.html

Little Willow peeks out from behind her pile of reading/websitedesign/acting/article-writing/ etc. duties to visit, with her usual depth. https://slayground.livejournal.com/907539.html 

Matt has fallen for flowers, but not in the usual way, wrangling a wort, a vetch & who knows what else, along the path. Be sure to continue on at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme for his You Tube channel. https://mattforrest.wordpress.com/2020/07/16/poetry-friday-summer-flowers-my-first-prose-poem-ever/

Bridget, known for “wee words for wee ones,” is up to something BIG! http://www.weewordsforweeones.com/2020/07/wee-source-floating-poetry-across-world.html

Kind Tabatha, who I’ma never indifferent to,  serves up clever. https://tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/

Molly shares artistic comfort at Nix The Comfort Zone – how could she not, with the gifts she unwraps? https://nixthecomfortzone.com/2020/07/17/pf-poetry-swap-and-more/

Tim Gels contributes an original poem that gave me pause, at Yet There is Method. I hope you find time to read & think about it, too.  https://timgels.com/2020/07/17/bothered-or-not/ Welcome to Bookseedstudio, Tim.

Island gal Ruth invites a peek at her Summer Poetry Swap. Not to miss! https://thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com/

Apples drops down into Bookseedstudio for the first time ~~ welcome!~~ with a post about wide-open, tall-towering, water-flowing, grasses-growing, preserved places & spaces. Go & enjoy this fresh-air share. https://theapplesinmyorchard.com/2020/07/17/poetry-friday-national-park-haiku/

Amy of The Poem Farm fame, gets into the kitchen to whip up a list 🙂 A tasty list. A maker list. A go-do-that-list.  http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2020/07/just-make-something-list-poem.html I promise to go-make. Some thing!

Ramona invites us to consider a common summer kids’ drink, through a Marcus Jackson lens. Wow. Appreciations, Mr. Jackson & for Pleasures from the Page https://pleasuresfromthepage.blogspot.com/2020/07/poetry-friday-ode-to-kool-aid.html

Leader Mary Lee shines light on prolific & moving poet/playright/storyteller/publisher/picturebookcreator/forceforchange, Zetta Elliott, in her highly regarded poetry collection, SAY HER NAME.
http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2020/07/poetry-friday-say-her-name.html

Donna at Mainely Write brings her sweet older Sister self to us & she gifted me with tears. xo to D.

https://mainelywrite.blogspot.com/2020/07/a-recap-of-some-squiggles.html

Please help me welcome to Bookseedstudio & perhaps to Poetry Friday, Susan Bruck. She is creator of the nourishing SOUL BLOSSOM LIVING, which features her wisdom & artistry in several mediums, including poetry. Her clever verse about floating in child days, follows her story of a recent, not-be-be-repeated flying encounter.  Not-to-be repeated, but you don’t want to miss reading it!

https://www.soulblossomliving.com/floating-and-flying-through-life/

#NikkiGrimes

A humid Florida hey there weary travelers, from this Bookseedstudio patch of Poetry Friday. We PF bffs are collected this week via Live Your Poem by honorary Floridian & groovy poet Irene Latham. To know more about friday poet pals, please visit No Water River & Kitditosphere, at this article’s end, where I’ve linked.

"Flower Face" by Jan Godown Annino.

“Flower Face for Nikki Grimes” from June. 2020 miniature zinnias/ Bookseedstudio.

I think of gardens when I think of NIKKI GRIMES, “poet, photographer, artist & avid gardener,” as she describes herself. In addition to the shelves of literary & publishing success honors that this poet has earned, I feel that everyday, Nikki Grimes deserves armloads and cascading gardens of all kinds of flowers,  baskets of fresh herbs and roaming vines of fresh veggies. In her decades and decades of work in crafting exquisite books, she has helped young readers, especially those whose skin color is similar to hers, feel someone understands their rocky road. But please know that she is a writer for all. Her words nurture all children & many adults, to bloom into their full potential. Start with WORDS WITH WINGS, a title that I connect with deeply. In 2015, I included it in a Bookseedstudio blog here.

 

An early self-bloomer, despite finding little fertilizer & too much rocky ground in earliest years, young Nikki created poems and art before the age of 10, living in bleak circumstances. She always desired to create beautiful things. She remembers making poems from age six!

C..2019allrightsreserved/JGA
heirloom rose plant adopted from Goodwood Gardens/Florida

Nikki Grimes is outspoken in her commentary on our world’s marginalization of books   created by writers of color and about the sidelining of books about families and children of color. Consider how infrequently these good resources are brought up in class, outside of a specific anniversary, celebratory day or month. Nikki Grimes has.

Listening to Nikki Grimes at the Reading Rockets’ interview linked in the paragraph above, says to me that from the first day of school, children should be reading stories where not all the children are white. And in fact, it is right that all children read bright stories where most of the kids in the room, at the park, are not white. Stories on making new friends, losing shyness in class, managing seats on the bus, events at the fair, camping adventures, discoveries at a museum, should cover all children. Consider also how often a book about a topic on people of color or other marginalized people who aren’t people of color (and this does include people who are American Indians/Native Americans) is a sad book, a book about a difficult topic. Most children still grow up unaware of the exceptional, trail-blazing healers, scientists, thinkers, discoverers & others, who are people of color. The general public only in recent years learned of the brilliant work of black women in the U.S. space race program, dedicated mathematicians, cruelly marginalized, while proving exceptional crucial brainpower to the United States mission. People in Florida, home of NASA, should be especially sensitive to knowing & teaching this story, told in HIDDEN FIGURES, the great picture book that was sold for a movie, created for all ages.

OK. I’ve stepped a bit off-topic. But that too, may be a key part of the Nikki Grimes story, as when you read more Nikki Grimes’ books or follow her life story you may tend to step off-path, too. This poet’s child days truth is told in the enormously potent ORDINARY HAZARDS. As a young girl she endured, she survived, through serial, multiple, unhappy home & school settings. There was violence. Out on Mean Streets, she did defend herself. This makes the exquisite beauty that Nikki Grimes delivers in the poems she crafts & also in her images in photographs and paintings, all the more compelling. Step into her visual art gallery.

Nikki Grimes at Pennsylvania Center for the Book

Poet Nikki Grimes at Pennsylvania Center for the Book

Author appearances with new books are altered in #healthierathome times. But meet the inspiring Nikki Grimes at her home’s Nikki Grimes You Tube Channel, Try a poetry prompt there or learn how lists are important to her creative process. You can also catch up with an April 2020  visit some of us checked into at the Highlights Foundation #HFGather. Subscribe to her newsletter, read her blog & other pages at her website & follow along on twitter. As you dwell among her works and learn more of her life, you may discern that two of Nikki Grimes’ themes are Faith & perseverance. For ideas on Faith look to her book, THE WATCHER, inspired by Psalm 121 or sit in the pew, COME SUNDAY. For life as a creator who keeps on keepin’ on, look to her generous sharing about bumps in path to finding a publisher for her exceptionally successful book, A POCKETFUL OF POEMS. She also shines a generous spotlight on other creators, as she does in this interview she conducted with POEMS IN THE ATTIC artist, Elizabeth Zunon. I beam thanks to Michelle Barnes, who met Nikki Grimes at a library event in Florida, for tipping me off to the N.G. Elizabeth Zunon Q/A.

Notes from Nikki is bright with her tenderly cultivated blooms, cultivated words, & with creative re-imaginings of her recycled paper projects & news of her deep connections with students around the globe. When you find one of her books out there in the world, let her know, for this newsletter!

Nikki Grimes Books Generally Available Now

April 2020 Highlights Foundation #HFGather visit

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I appreciate poet Irene Latham for gathering us this week via Live your Poem, in the Kidlitosphere, explained so well by poet & educator Renee LaTulippe at No Water River.

Peace to you, especially in troubled times.

Peace flowers abloom at the Bookseedstudio patio 6/2020.

Peace flowers arranged, inspired by Nikki Grimes calla lilly artwork at her gallery

Flowers arranged – 6/2020, inspired by Nikki Grimes’ paintings at her gallery: https://www.nikkigrimes.com/grimesgallery/grimesgallery.php

 

#KidLit4BlackLives #TheBrownBookshelf

A heart-lifting moment in recent conversations on race & how to counter racism in this beautiful USA, is the community children’s literature coming-together, of June 4th, 2020.

It collected under the banner #KidLit4BlackLives & I heard about it through #TheBrownBookshelf, my guide for 13 years, to fabulous books I might otherwise not have known about & some titles I was already seeking.

Jackie Woodson warmly welcomed us to the table, hosted by Kwame Alexander. But the best thing about it is that so many soon-to-be luminaries were invited onboard with now-famous, once-unknown, contemporary, award-winning children’s-book creators of color. I especially enjoyed meeting a 9-year-old future leader, zooming in from overseas. Correction: Leader. Period.

It’s exciting to see thousands of publishers, editors, educators, parents & creators of books for young people, listening/learning from an evening of vivid voices that are predominantly from people of color. We all pledged to learn more, learn harder, learn better, about what our community needs to do to improve.

Following the event, which he attended, graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang shared this thoughtful instagram conversation with a beloved esteemed educator who was 10 during the 1967-68 riots in the USA, which led to the Kerner Commission. (divot to the right, to flip to each page.) Educator Tony Green believes that the country needs a national commission that has broad ethnic representation (unlike the all-white, male Kerner Commission) to create implementable provisions that will move the USA forward in the wake of a shameful litany of black lives lost after an incident with police. That is one part of a larger racial issue, which involves food deserts, poverty, imprisonment and health care access. I would like to see this country’s Native American/American Indian population included in this national discussion.

I loved how Ms. Woodson, whose BROWN GIRL DREAMING, is a favorite of mine, asked everyone to speak out when a racist remark is heard, when it comes directly to you from your uncle who is a wizard at guitar-playing, or the friendly neighbor who grows sweet cherry tomatoes two streets over. “That’s not kind,” is a starter, before walking  away. “I don’t feel good being around thoughts like that.” Doesn’t have to be a long lecture. Shouldn’t be. Jerry Craft knew how to get a conversation going in many families, such as in Florida, where I live. He said to share how, “Save the Whales doesn’t mean that dolphins don’t deserve to live. Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that ALL Lives don’t matter.”

The evening was awash in appreciation for people regardless of their skin, the quality of their home, their unemployment status or the labels on their clothing. More kindness, more thinking before speaking, more interest in people of color all through the year, and not just at a significant anniversary of birth or death, or a standard celebration time, or month, is a step toward shedding racism.

Appreciations to author Joanne Fritz for this fb page grab.

To revisit these speakers, make time for the recorded event. Above, find & follow #TheBrownBookshelf link, which also includes a rich list of resources.

Appreciations to political cartoonist Nathan Archer, Florida chair of the National Cartoonists Association, for this #BlackLivesMatter 6/2020 image shared on his fb page.

Generator Season

Greetings from the precipice of the reason for generator season. Our 1st named tropical weather system is mapped in color on our local newspaper’s pages. Arthur. In case you had bet on Arnold or, Aurturio. We seek bids from installers of our chosen brand of generator. Photos of fuse box & outside electrical power components have been taken & sent. A gas line will be connected from our house to the (fortunately) existing pipe under the tree-lined suburban street we trod daily. All this fuss so our very own, yard-to-glass, Myer lemon hand-made yellow glow frozen cubes, via  old fashioned-style but super retro gift juicer from our thoughtful daughter, will last until October. That month is the H.S. end. O, Florida!

Hurricane For the term hurricane we give thanks to the beautiful Caribbean Island’s original peace-loving Taino people. Their way of saying it was more like  hura’ca’n, modified by armed Spanish conquerers so that armed English-spellers could come up with our hurricane. Here’s my page with Taino resources. No word on what the armed French called it, during their hurricane days here.

Some of you know I’m a collector of objetos di las floridas, so here is one I can’t take credit for, but it lifts my #healthyathome spirits  Would love to know if Maine uses a public service moose. Credit deserved!

Although every time is alligator time in Florida, May and June coincide with bull gator bellows and mating season, so reptile alertness, always needed in Florida, is wise evermoreso if you decide to practice your physically distant/social distant novel covid-19 avoidance protocols in the beautiful, water-abundant outdoors. They like same trails you do!

Two recent very local news notes speak of alligators, I imagine much as a news source in polar bear country would alert you to Ursus maritimus’ ways. The story on blue crabs reminds against E.R room forseen events if you tie your bait cord to your wrist. Yes, I have seen this, at the old Caloosahatchee River dock near Tice at the border of Fort Myers. The other speaks of how to conduct safe outdoor tuba-time, lest you call up a live gator.

photoC.JanGodownAnnnino,allrightsreserved

JanGodownAnninoC.allrightsreserved

Do you have a unique local design face mask? I would like to see some featuring art or photo images of our beautiful swimmer, blue crabs, or shells of pink/purple striped scallops, or my favorite coast plant – sea oats. I’m not a sewer so I haven’t created masks for medical staff, but a word from Ancient City Poets via North Florida Poetry Hub called for upbeat personal poems for Mayo Clinic staff. My poems were paired with art by the coordinator & the report is that staff is loving them.  So, Xo for our good first responders.    And, keep smiling behind your face masks.

Aleppo, 3,000 B.C. citadel, and Cat Man

part of Poetry Friday/KidLitoSphere, sparkling this Friday, with poet Liz Steinglass.

+::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::+

a poem in celebration of Ernesto’s Cat Sanctuary, Syria by JG Annino Peace Color rocks me transforms prey into pal predator into pillow we settle in- wary aloy allies peace be with us and also with you c.2020JanGodownAnnino

a poem in celebration of Ernesto’s Cat Sanctuary, Syria
Peace
Color rocks me
transforms prey
into pal
predator into pillow
we settle in-
wary aloy allies
peace be with us
and also with you
c.2020JanGodownAnnino / sculpture by Anna Annino, 2000

Stone is a core pillar of Earth that baffles me.

How it’s made, the differences between igneous and metamorphic, why some stone is marble and other stone is, for example, crumbly shale. And why Florida, where I live, isn’t stoney. But Syria, for example, defines Stone.

As I turned pages in a new and supremely worthy true-story picture book set in perhaps the oldest continually settled city on Earth, my eyes lasered to artist Yuko Shimizu’s paintings of walls, buildings and ancient paths. Stone of Aleppo, a place where famous people we know of from both the Bible and the Qur’an (Koran) walked millennia ago.

We are talking a community whose trade paths  echo so much of so many languages and intrigues and faiths, the entire Old Aleppo is a World Heritage Site.

On my second and third glances through THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO, as a mother, aunt, and children’s writer,  I honed in on the helpful kids. And yes, on the cats the kids were helping, having grown up with, at one count, 13 named felines, in the Franklin Township woods in New Jersey. There were more who lurked further back in the woods. We fed so many because, word got out, if you dumped a cat near our place across the country lane from the Knispel Dairy, we would take it in. Mom, you would have liked Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel and his unselfish service to people and pets of Aleppo.

Mr. Alijaleel, who asks to be called Alaa, his first name, is a paramedic and ambulance driver. He walked stone paths, pulled open doors in stone walls, knew stone buildings in Syria all his life. And then came war. And then, for the first responder, who stayed to help the wounded, came cats.

Fortunately, a Syrian immigrant in my neighbor state of Alabama, Karim Shamsi-Basha, who had once studied in Aleppo for a year, met one of my favorite children’s poets and storytellers, Irene Latham. Mr. Shamsi-Basha spoke with Alaa. They all teamed up with artist Yuko Shimizu. Alaa opens the book with a letter: “This is a story about cats and war and people. But mostly it is about love.”

This book breaks down boundaries.

It’s going to introduce the artistry of calligraphy in Arabic writing to many schoolchildren. Told in English, the book creators use opportunities to also tell the story in the native language of the good people of Aleppo. Read it and learn ma’amoul and barazek – names of two kinds of cookies.

On back and front endpapers, ethereal double spread skyscapes, closing and opening the book feature an uncountable number of flying peace symbols. Over and over. White doves in the air. No cats. Think about that. A brave choice for a story about cats. This story and illustrations leave me feeling as if, without any credentials whatsoever, I’m invited to sit in on a key United Nations aid committee meeting on healing the Syrian people, physically and emotionally.

Please find this book of good will, book of hope, book of love, book of peace  (Jane Addams Peace. Association, please take note.)

twitter: @theAleppoCatman 

Tabatha Yeatts’ Opposite of Indifference  Poetry Month 4.28.20 entry, “Healing Heart” is about this book.

Betsy Bird has her say. And it’s beautiful.

We saw United Nations’ (UNESCO above) Aleppo pages & here, too, Syrian children’s issues at UNICEF.

Please also know paramedic Alaa’s fellow Syrian, a brave medical student.

Aleppo may be from an old way of saying the Arabic idea to”give out milk,” halaba. We don’t know. We do how in one huge example, the milk of human kindness flows from THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO.

Alessandra Abidin in Italy helped found Aleppo’s Ernesto’s Cat Sanctuary with Alaa. Ernesto was the name of one of her beloved cats. People all over the world join every day to support the work, which now includes not only cats, but also, children orphaned by war and yes, their chickens, goats, and dogs. A veterinarian is on staff, as are a technician and other helpers. The orphan animals help the hearts of shell-shocked children heal. The orphanage Alla’s group created gives kids a home.

All because one man, at the end of a long work day in an Aleppo ambulance, fed starving cats.

c.2020 Yuko Shimizu THE CAT MAN OF       ALEPPO

 

 

 

#ShelterinPoetry #SharonLovejoy & #NationalPoetryMonth

readings:  lyrical words, memories, in “A Lap Full of Monarchs” Sharon Lovejoy – A BOOK OF TOADS; THE WILD BRAID, Stanley Kunitz ;  teachings of Betty Komarek, Birdsong Nature Center, where I resided one summer, care-taking. 

this blog is a proud part of poetry friday

Back in March I yanked an invasive thorned vine off ou

big black mailbox only to discover my mistake –

I also wrenched a thorn-tangled

sweet jasmine vine that sheltered an underleaf jewel,

nature-glued.

 

 

 What to do? Leave a treasure somewhere

out there? Under grandmother oak? Nestled among

ferns?

Because I’ve met Sharon Lovejoy and Betty Komarek,

because I’m a reader of Sharon Lovejoy and Stanley Kunitz

I knew, I knew.

With worried hands, I carried jewel on vine fragment

to screened front porch. 

 

 

 

Aqua box

transparent nursery

paper mache wiggle

hang out to dry

probe cut-fruit sustenance

walk through open door

        “Watch”c.2020JGAnnino

all photographs copyright 2020 JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved

 

 

 

But!

Usually-welcome little brown lizard

creeps up (off-camera) thru foliage outside

yon door. Spotted not by me,

but by my eagle-eyed husband,

attorney advocate for kids,

who misses little about a predator.

Butterfly hadn’t graduated from walking to

more than a bunny hop, yet.

I stopped taking video & stills, tip-toed past

ground-floor butterfly &

placed barriers between it & the liz.

 

 

After about 6 ticking minutes, monarch did fly

out & up & away, on Easter Sunday, 2020.  As Betty Komarek would say, “Blessed Be.”

 

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