Home front: Covid-19

Home front:  Covid-19 times
IMG_3534
When I collect the plastic bag at the end of the drive, wearing a
plastic bag on my hand, and after I shake the daily news out of
said bag, I head straight for the important stuff. The funnies.
Sadly, few see funnies every day, these days. Have some here:
copyright 2020 Shakespeare on the Sound

copyright 2020 Shakespeare on the Sound http://www.shakespeareonthesound.org/

Do you find joy from other artists such as poets, singer-songwriters.
I’m going now, back outside. Not way out in the world, but where I treasure
our luxury –  small, green, and growing yard. I follow shade in day. Find bright
Venus in the west at night. Soon it will be too Florida-hot to work outside.
0-1
Wings
Jan Godown Annino
Circus colors
clown faces
overeaters anonymous
you mesmerize me
a tent trick in my yard
leaf disappears into
chubby caterpillar
overnight, oval jewel
shelters crawly bug
morphing
to
paper flapper
a prayer that
no windshield
meets
your orange wings
as we hope
no Covid-19
wall crushes our
wings
C.2020JanGodownAnnino,allrightsreserved
IMG_3631 2.jpeg
O for more bright spots for all, especially children, in contrast to angst.
My prayers and heartfelt wishes are for all who suffer,
no matter how hugely or minisculey in our world’s
Coronavirus 19 epidemic.
I think of the elderly, the disabled, the already-physically frail.
I applaud the Upstanders.
Teachers, caregivers, medical teams, law enforcement,
emergency staff, essential service workers such as those who
haul off bins of excess we’ve wastefully created, appreciations
for food providers, and all their families –
whatever part of the network all helpers work in.
I think of life and death precipices for poor children,
some of whom are still being sexually trafficked during these
times. Crime hasn’t halted. It’s one of the issues industrious law
students with the FSU Public Interest Law Center work on daily.
And my hubby leads some of these brilliant students via
Zoom sessions in the LR. All the more reason for me to tip-toe outside.

It’s important to catch a smile when you can.

0

local buck-eye, gift plant of a dear neighbor

When you have a moment, what are your go-to smiles?

Good luck, wishes for healthy days and nights.

SPRING AFTER SPRING by Stephanie Roth Sisson on #Rachel Carson

See Poetry Friday here!

Yesterday was March 17, 2020. As a Bailey on one side of my family, I like at least a wee nod to the holiday. And so my wonderful husband surprised me with a splendid Ireland-set film for the traditional St. Patrick’s Day’s post-Irish stew, kick-back.

We watched a treat of Irish wild fields, wild woods, streams and even, the Ethiopian desert, through the adventures of garden upsetter Mary Reynolds, of Ireland.  DARE TO BE WILD  made me think of world- traveling artist and writer Stephanie Roth Sisson.

Stephanie’s book about a United States woman who treasured the wild places, who worked for pesticide-reduced appreciation of Mother Earth’s natural bounty, is titled SPRING AFTER SPRING. If you like organic veggies and fruit, a blooming meadow, hidden lake, a mountain forest glen or a wide wild salt shore, Rachel Carson is the U.S. woman you need to know more about. She was a solid, steady, yet revolutionary scientist who many may not know endured vilification for her spot-on testimony before the U.S. Congress, saying that the facts indicated that in most instances, we need to hold off on a drenching of damaging chemicals when it comes to growing crops and sharing the land.

Stephanie’s charming picture book biography of Rachel Carson invites children to explore in delightful detail the rural girlhood that became catalyst for little Rachel to grow into a keen recorder of bugs, birds, bees and trees. And, a young observer of smoke and soot spewed by Pennsylvania factories. The drawings and artwork are precious and frame-worthy.

SPRING AFTER SPRING 

How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement,

written and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson, Roaring Brook Press

Q  You write, “I have long loved Rachel Carson’s writing, especially,
her books about the wonders of nature where she writes so poetically
about science.” How did that long connection to Rachel Carson inform
your proposal to write about her?
Stephanie:
I keep files with potential candidates for possible biographies. There were a few things that came together at that time to make it clear that Rachel Carson should be the subject for my next book. But, although I had read her more poetic books which completely transport the reader to this universe of interconnected lives in the natural world,  I had not yet read Silent Spring. 
 
My husband and I had just moved to Mauritius from our uber environmentally conscious bubble on the coast of California. The house we first rented in Mauritius was at the edge of a sugarcane field. So we could see everything that went on in that field from the house. I had never seen so much pesticide use and it shocked and worried me. Even inside the house there were these little thimble sized cups of gecko poison (which we immediately removed) to kill the very geckos that if you left them alone, would eat the bugs that were also being “treated” for.  We saw pest control making regular rounds in our little neighborhood. So at that point Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring became immediately relevant to my life.
 
Then there was my dear friend, Sharon Lovejoy. She was a cheerleader for choosing Rachel Carson for my next book. Her books, well, you should get them and read them, they are a genuine and heartfelt connection to nature.  And of course the politics around the E.P.A. starting in the first months of 2017 and continuing on now were also an influence.
How does an author already familiar with a subject discover
new details? And bring a fresh perspective to the story?
Stephanie:
What I try to do in the picture book biographies that I write is to not only tell the story of a person’s life, but also to explain about a field that they contributed to. For example, Star Stuff, Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos is also an astronomy lesson, and Spring After Spring, How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement is a lesson in ecology. 
There is so much information that it isn’t hard to get lost in it. There are so many things to convey, but I try to remember the child who will be “meeting’ this person for the first time and who probably knows nothing about Rachel Carson, the time she grew up in, the things that influenced her and what was important to her and why what she did was important. Also, I put in things that I think that another child could relate to, like Rachel had a dog named “Candy” who was her constant companion growing up. When she was older she always had at least one cat, and so I showed her always with her pets at home- always with that relationship to her fellow creatures.  Then there was the shell that her mother had that you see throughout the book which represents Rachel’s connection to the ocean and that you can see throughout the book.
this and all images, copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson, all rights reserved
What are your processes, tips, organization plan, in
winnowing an extraordinary amount of information on record about
someone who travels from being an unknown child of farm origins,
to testifying before tough inquisitors in Washington, D.C.,
changing U.S. history?
                  copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson, all rights reserved
Stephanie:
I love researching, as I mentioned before. I do so much that my editor has to say, “stop!” And then I sit there with my piles and look for threads that I can pull through a narrative both in words and images that I can use to illustrate a concept. 
Then I try to get a theme down to one sentence, which is SO hard to do because as I research I find so many interesting things out and want to share them all. Every page in the book should harken back to that one theme, sometimes there are sub themes in the images or hinted at elsewhere.  
 
I like showing my subjects as children and what they were like. There is a clear thread going from Rachel’s childhood and the experiences she had as she grew up, becoming aware of threats to the environment and seeing their consequences.
 
Another parallel to now is that she had to contend with a lot of disinformation and personal attacks to discredit her. So, her coming forward to testify was an amazing act of bravery. The science she had behind her as she spoke and her thorough and clear presentation, including in her book Silent Spring, appearance on the CBS Reports television show and her testimony showed people that she was credible and should be listened to. 
What sorts of materials relating to Rachel Carson did you find in research?
Stephanie:
A constraint I had was not being able to visit the places she grew up in or was associated with because I was living in Mauritius at the time. So I had to rely of print media, film and the internet. Our U.S. home base was still California at the time, so when I could fly home I would fill my suitcases with books I found about Rachel.
Particular materials that I felt gave the most insight into Rachel were her own speeches she delivered that gave a few sentences here and there describing her childhood. There is also a collection of letters between Rachel Carson and her very close friend, Dorothy Freeman where I think you can get a really good sense of what she might have been like. And also another great resource was The Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson, edited by Linda Lear. 
I read everything I could find on Rachel Carson and then I researched topics related to Rachel Carson. I kept thinking about the title Silent Spring and the iconic first chapter where Rachel paints this picture for us, with a landscape without birdsong. I used the idea of having a lot of creature voices in the beginning and then showing less as we go on could help kids get what was going on. I had also stumbled on an interview with Bernie Krauss, who wrote The Great Animal Orchestra. The book talks about how the sounds in nature represent the health of an ecosystem and that each living thing has its place in the “orchestra.”  You’ll notice that in Spring After Spring that in the first few pages hours are passing and that first we hear birds in the dawn chorus, then insects after their bodies warm up and they are able to produce sound, etc. Then in the next few pages it’s the seasons and then years. I used the idea of the health of an ecosystem being represented by sounds to not just talk about birds, but also the entire web of life as it relates to the over-use of pesticides.
copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson
                    copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson, all rights reserved
. Do you mind sharing how your mother, who you dedicate the book to,
helped create your love of nature?
Stephanie:
My mom is amazing. She had always had this connection with children and the kid in her that I benefited from immensely. She always had a garden growing, flowers all around the house …But it was this one moment that I remembered that made this her book. I was living on an organic farm and environmental education center called “Ocean Song” in Occindental, California when I was maybe 19 or 20. I had packed up all of my possessions and left to live in this place and my parents and sister had come out to visit me (aka check up on me and make sure I hadn’t joined a cult or something). We were all walking through his beautiful forest with towering redwoods, lush mosses and ferns, when my mom launches into this, “I’m very botanical” speech. All of this while she is petting the mosses and is clearly “in” the moment of being swept away with all of this aliveness around her. I love that memory. 
Q . With thanks for your time and these incredible great stories today, Stephanie, any extra, random or other surprise thoughts?
On a side note, there was a subtlety that I wanted to mention in this biography. When you look out into the world at what people have written about Silent Spring and DDT many articles vilify Rachel Carson saying that she contributed to deaths from malaria because of her cautions about pesticide use. These articles mischaracterize her stance. I wanted to make clear that she never said to not use pesticides ever, she was concerned with the inappropriate use and the overuse of pesticides and herbicides. If you want to see something shocking you can find videos online of people almost bathing in DDT. It was everywhere on everything because no one thought there were any dangers associated with it. 
Also, a lot of people don’t notice this, but the front endpapers are little vignettes of Rachel and her mother, but the back endpapers are of Rachel and her adopted son, Roger, her nephew. So while she was doing all of this writing she was also a single mom. 
                 copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson
I thank Stephanie for writing and illustrating Silent Spring and for her generous
interview including sharing these enjoyable book-process images
from her home studio.
SPRING AFTER SPRING is a multi-textured book, with extra pleasure for
little readers in voicing animal sounds and yet, equally appealing to older
nature-loving students, who will dwell with nuggets of the fascinating end notes.
Adults who are besotted with the best picture book bios will savor it, too.
Here is what KIRKUS said about Stephanie’s achievement.
Each time I read this book I am struck by how Stephanie folded a
gargantuan amount of information, conclusions and nuances, into a
smooth-flowing entertaining story. I’m especially delighted with how the book
is sprinkled with animal soundclouds, or word bubbles, which children will love
enacting out-loud, as they page through the story.
Here is my found poem, from SPRING AFTER SPRING by Stephanie Roth Sisson.
With Rachel’s chorus
Cheerily! Cheerily
fee-bee!
coo-coo!
Turalee! Turalee!
whichity!
grunt!
Jaree! Jerilay!
click!
squeak!
inspired by Spring After Spring
Besides both of us living in the Sunshine State, a connection I have with Stephanie
is our deep respect and affection for prolific national nature educator Sharon Lovejoy,
whose beautiful books of artwork and stories of bees in hollyhocks and birds on
fence posts evoke Beatrix Potter.  In a SPRING AFTER SPRING afternote, Stephanie
especially thanks her good friend, Sharon, who brought me to Stephanie’s title.
Visit Stephanie Roth Sisson at Stephanitely!
To satisfy your Poetry Friday curiosity, it’s off to No Water River, for you!
Bookseedstudio is c. Jan Godown Annino, all rights reserved

 

Poems. Three ways.

Poetry Friday’s party is with poet Linda at TEACHER DANCE

 

♥♥♥♥

Hello and please know I’m giddy to share three recent magics.

ONE

The newest volume from anthologist Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ series, TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY, shares the first and so far, only, Abcedarian poem form I have ever completed, titled, “Jaunty.” An Abcedarian is a poem with lines featuring a first letter in each line that follows the natural order of the English alphabet. If you like puzzles, this is it!

Also nested in TLD pages please find works from a forest of Poetry Friday bloom-givers, including children’s poets Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, and Matt Forrest Esenwine, as well as new picture book author Randi Soneshine.   

Each poem in TLD represents the mastering of a writing challenge issued by venerable poetry purveyors, including Carole Boston Weatherford, Naomi Shihab Nye and J. Patrick Lewis and the incomparable Jane Yolen.  If you aren’t already playing the Today’s Little Ditty monthly game, with challenges such as Golden Shovel and Ode poems, follow along at editor Barnes’ site. 

 TWO

Let’s debate, for a second, if seeing your poem on clear sparkling glass constitutes publishing? Our town is in the midst of celebrating the newest Council on Culture and Art’s fun thing, Poem on Panes. Thank you for putting local poets poems on windowpanes, dear COCA.

My poem is “House of Rhymes.” Thanks! sponsor, Adams Street Advocates:

#COCA #POEMSONPANES #VISITTALLAHASSEE

“House of Rhymes”

by J.G. Annino

In a jewel-box mansion not covered in vines

Dwelled Louella K., creator of rhymes

 

She rhymed her squat ice box, she rhymed her tall lamp

She rhymed the piano, she rhymed her fern plant

 

She rhymed down the sidewalk, she rhymed into church

She still rhymes today, in her other world perch

©JanGodownAnnino2019

Yes, it’s true. In our town in the late 1920s to the 1960s, lived a most unusual person. Among unique characteristics she is remembered for, she wrote little ditties about the appliances and furnishings of her very decorated home. She tied her verses to each honored piece, with little silken ribbons. Today the house is a downtown community museum, which I have highlighted in a couple of my Florida travel guides.

THREE

I am more-often absent in contests or challenges, too wrapped up in two books-still-in-progress.  But, Hi ho!, Hi ho!  nearly at the top of the brick poster wall, find my answer to the new Buffy Silverman challenge. I added two photos to my poem, titled “Ice-giving tree,” over at the same, prolific, Michelle Barnes’ February padlet, here.  

“””””””””””””””

To order go here: TODAY’S LITTLE DITTY

cover art c. Miranda Barnes, 2019

Bookseedstudio is part of Poetry Friday go-go juice, a super spot, if your reading or writing would like a boost.

happy birthday, Rosa Parks

this post is part of the Poetry Friday collection*

Dr. Carla D. Hayden photograph by JG Annino at FAMU, Tallahassee

introducing a new book, ROSA PARKS, In Her Own Words

I salute the Library of Congress staff and its director Dr. Carla D. Hayden, for unending reasons, including our national library’s collection of historical civil rights materials. This Bookseedstudio focus is on Rosa Parks, whose Feb. 4, 1913 birthday, as the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement is remembered publicly in many areas, from the nation’s Capitol  south to Alabama and westward to California.

It’s also marked at home with awe by those of us who curl up with a riveting new read, generously leavened with photos I recognize immediately, from this exemplar’s historic timeline. Rosa on the bus. Rosa with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And, Rosa on Dec. 1, 1955.

That day she paid her public bus fare, but wasn’t allowed to sit in an empty bus seat of her choosing, in Alabama. She was judged guilty, fined $10 and given 14 days hard city labor.

Source: aclualabama.org

 

Guilty, of being black where blacks, by local law, were denied access to tax-supported facilities.

A Landmark New Book

Because the Library of Congress received, archived and has made available, a massive collection of this incredible history-maker’s notes, kept by hand on single sheets and notebooks, and also her letters, essays, arrest details, bus boycott assignments, and other documents, a valuable, new Rosa Parks exhibit and book, beckons. It is Rosa Parks, In Her Own Words.

As noted by the book’s author Susan Reyburn, Rosa’s flowing cursive, which sprang from her expressive mind, bears witness in pencil and pen, across the backs of envelopes, paper pharmacy bags, small pocket calendars, assorted stationary, lined notebooks and other papers.

This pathfinder recorded events going back to age six, when she milked cows and picked cotton, created her first quilt, and stayed up all night fully clothed, ready to escape if needed, as white men, who often worked as law officers during the day, felt free to ravage black neighborhoods, burning buildings and flogging or killing black people found outside at night.

“Grandfather stayed up to wait for them to come to our house… 

We could not undress or go to bed at night. 

The doors and windows were boarded and nailed tight from inside.”

                                                                           Rosa Louise McCauley Parks

I trace my fingers over her handwriting and marvel at how fortunate this nation is to be the beneficiary of her bravery, her ideas and her positive civil disobedience actions. Can we have her calm proud gaze on one of our currencies?

Reading along in her moment-by-moment notes, I shout obscenities at her near-rapist, the night when teenage Rosa Louise McCauley babysits for a white couple.  A six-foot, 200-pound white bully, known to the white family, uses a con to get onto the back porch. He threatens Rosa for hours, as he guzzles liquor he has brought inside the house. He suggests sex for money. Read the heart-wrenching seesaw of keep away around a large upholstered chair. She won’t attempt escape, because of her duty to the white child asleep upstairs. The return of the couple ends the attack.

“I was not for sale. The U.S. Mint wouldn’t buy me, if he could offer it.”

             Rosa Louise McCauley Parks

 

From physically dangerous moments, to everyday insults, the story in Rosa Parks, In Her Own Words,  is as inspiring as any world civil rights leader’s memoir. Reading this led me to a poem:

Check Out The Book 
JG Annino
Oh, sure, gal. 
We got that book you want.
Yeah, I say for sure, right here.
Right here.
WHAT?
No. Now you know you can’t check it out, Rosa!
This is THE downtown li’bary.
You know your kind gotta check out over at your kind’s branch.
You don’t ever, why you can’t never, ever, all your life,
check out books here.
Next?
I say, STAND ASIDE, girl!
Why dear Miss Katrina, so good to see you.
And just how may it be my pleasure, to help?
c. 2020 JG Annino

 

Beyond Checking-out Books

Unarmed, without a bodyguard, Rosa Parks slipped into rural backwater communities of her state, as the top sexual assault investigator for the NAACP. She also collected other eye-witness experiences, such as of the school superintendent who refused to allow black children on a public schoolbus. And consider that all this is before she tests the limits of segregation of the tax-supported bus system.

On Dec. 14, 2019 in Tallahassee, I was fortunate to have placed in my hands by The Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla D. Hayden, the freshly released book, ROSA PARKS, In Her Own Words. 

Dr. Hayden delivered powerful words at the Florida A & M University commencement. And I also am grateful to my longtime friend and mentor, Librarian-educator Lenita Joe, retired, who was a kind bridge to my attendance at a post-graduation, local friends’ conversation with Dr. Hayden, who was born in Our Town. I expect to report on that in a later post.

Some 90 years after young Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was denied a book at her main library branch, her hand-written words, notes, documents, photographs, detailing little-known aspects of her personal civil rights history, dwell in the new nonfiction book ROSA PARKS, In Her Own Words, a book on paper, on-line and in glorious exhibit, showcased in an exhibit created by this nation’s most important public library open to all – THE. LIBRARY. OF. CONGRESS.

C. The Library of Congress

Find the book in many locations, including here.

Several pages of the Library of Congress exhibit are designed for families and schools.

If you write or podcast about this book or visit the exhibit in person or online, leave a link. I expect to further share the book and my poem at Tallahassee’s My Favorite Books’ open mic. night.
Jan Godown Annino/ February 2020
AND some past related articles

Bookseedstudio has several times visited the Library of Congress with joy, including here and here.

And again, happy happy birthday, dear Rosa Louise McCauley Parks! We love you. We thank you.

C. all rights reserved, The Library of Congress

  • here is more detail on the Poetry Friday collection that occurs in Kidlitosphere – you may want to join in.

one little word

Happy 2020 & all that jazz.


Bookseedstudio is present as often as possible for #PoetryFriday& #SpiritualThursday,

For Poetry Friday’s line up, please visit #KidlitosphereCentral,  for the 2020 calendar.


Vegetable papers

I crack open an unsalted, roasted peanut case to gently pull red-amber skin from each little nut.  And I peel large garlic clusters, which look like little trolls. First, pick at the troll-top head, to begin a thin-striped, white-paper, wide outer curl. With a paring knife, pull at the plastic-looking inner paper, releasing what for me (& not most others!) is a joyful aroma. Finally, I turn to these less frequently, but I relish separating Vidalia onions from their sunrise-colored skins.

THE paper

The news on paper I collect at the end of our drive is a morning ritual. Walking outside, stretching up to the dark sky, bending down for the precious free-press, unfettered critic and reporting cylinder of my life’s training and profession, walking back through the screened porch, are as essential to my morning as much as are stretches, song (“rise up this morning, smile at the rising sun“) & delicious warm Egyptian licorice tea.

With her weekly local newspaper column, Rev. Candace, who I have met only once, reaches me with calm advice. On Dec. 28 she reminded me that 2020 is the street # for my ocular MD’s office. Whether by clever developer manipulation or serendipity, this sprawling newer building sits at its ideal street number. How many of us desire the clarity of 20/20 vision?

“Vision and clarity is the prayer of many for our nation, for our state, for our community, for our families, and for ourselves,” Rev. Candace wrote, wishing every reader a year of clear vision, of clarity, in 2020.

This sent me back to the paper pages of two of my December 2019 reads, Mint Snowball and also, Voices in the Air, new to me, each created by Naomi Shihab Nye. Her words prompt a cascade of “ah, ha” &  “O, My” feelings.

Her verses wrinkle my face with crinkled eyes and a deep grin at her wry humor, or her lines release my sudden intake of breath at her pairings of words about about the poignant, the painful. Reading her poem collections make me appreciate the next youngster on the park bench dribbling mustard down his front. Closing a volume from Naomi Shihab Nye  helps me rise, to clear out the unnecessary, the forced, the unwanted. To invite in the invigorating moment that is as near as crackling garlic paper and feathery onion skin.

from “Time’s Low Note” by Naomi Shihab Nye in VOICES IN THE AIR

A peony has been trying/ to get through to you

 

One more reference – I love to find the plenty that my friend Lisa Desimini, illustrated. in NSN’s FAMOUS.

As if Rev. C & Poet NSH & Lisa Desimini aren’t handy wands enough, to shabazz! my one little word into existence as 2020 guide, when I flitted online for mentions of Voices in the Air, I found this “ah, ha” – Live your Poem/ Irene Latham

Plenty is my 2020 one little word. There is plenty plenty plenty in this world. Plenty moments with a peanut skin. Plenty joy on a park bench. Plenty helpers, especially massing among the vibrant young. Plenty connections. Plenty. This idea of plenty armors my spirit against plenty of worries that I won’t let consume me, which would render me frazzled.

During the holidays my husband & luxuriated in three hours – 3! – viewing real-time visions, sea potato clumps of delight, which exist through efforts such as #SaveOurSprings, #SaveTheManatees, in my beloved fracking-endangered, oil-drilling threatened, Florida. Plenty. 2020. They fit.

Young one & Mother, #BlueSpringsStatePark#SaveTheManatee

c. 2019allrightsreservedJGAnnino

#BlueSpringsStatePark#SaveTheManatees

For more moments with this week’s Spiritual Thursday contributors, please visit my friend Margaret Simon. For same, with Poetry Friday contributors, please visit Poetry Friday friend, Carol Wilcox. You’ll be glad you did.

c. 2019 JanGodownAnnino/JGAnnino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Receiving comfort from Georgia Heard, Janet Wong & Ecclesiasties

Language is a sweet  ponderable. I am living the idea in these current days that receiving comfort is not the same as being comfortable.

I find this to be true in the poem by Janet Wong, “The Ones They Loved the Most” found in her collection NIGHT GARDEN.

And I find this to be true in the poems of THIS PLACE I KNOW, Poems of Comfort, selected by Georgia Heard to comfort children who witnessed the World Trade Center tragedy and later, the soothing words becam bound and illustrated for a beautiful book.

Recently my dear sister through marriage, Angela, read in church from the sage poem of Ecclesiastes. And yes,   “To every thing there is a season. . . ” always catches my breath, the idea that all the emotions, all the highs and lows have a place. This gentle chanting, familiar regularly at  Bible lessons from kindergarden age through age thirteen. I knew I would take comfort from the line “. . . a time to live and a time to die . . .” and althoughI I needed to hear this line of Chapter Three, I felt at that moment & still feel at unexpected reminders, forlorn.

I agree deeply with Georgia Heard as she shares in  her book that, “Poetry has always offered comfort and consolation during sorrowful times, and reminded us of the places in our lives, inside and out, that can help us heal.” If you are comfortable now, but in wisdom know that some day you will need comfort, perhaps you keep handy comfort-giver poems:

-Ch. three, Ecclesiastes.

-I KNOW THIS PLACE, Poems of Comfort.

Lines in this touchingly illustrated book such as from –

“Stars” by Deborah Chandra: “I like the way they looked down from the sky                                                                /And didn’t seem to mind the way I cried.”

 

-lines from “Trouble, Fly” by Susan Marie Swanson:

“Trouble, fly.

                                                                                             Let our night

                                                                                             be a night of peace.”

 

– lines from “Holes” by Lillian Morrison:

-“Strangest of gaps

                                                                        their goneness 

. . .

                                                                        the hole is inside us

                                                                        it brims over

                                                                        is empty and full at once.”

Lillian Morrison

Christmas, Dad Annino & Jan Godown Annino, Ormond Beach

Dad Annino is missed every day, in oh so many ways. Because my hubby’s parents have long selected winters in Florida rather the cold blanketing New England shores where more of our family lives, most of our Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter festivities, meals, prayer ceremonies, have centered on them, for at least 27 years.

Easter was a special Dad Annino holiday. He collected as many of the palm leaves handed out at church he could hold, to later sit outside in the sunshine near the lemon and kumquat trees and fold them in beautiful ways for gifts. Always always always his intricate folds included a sacred shape he learned in his child days on the island of Sicily. Although our opinions sat firm on “different sides of the olive grove wall” on many topics,  I loved him with a fierceness that at first surprised me and then I accepted, not trying to puzzle it out.

Although he, Mom Annino and my hubby, with me, were all in Florida, the stretch of our state is such that it was an eight-to-ten-hour round trip to be with them depending upon holiday traffic.

In between visits, in more recent years I began warbling to Dad Annino over the telephone and lucked into finding that each time, I had picked a song he recognized and loved it that he either sang or hummed along with me. 

Twenty-seven years ago when I was the family’s new Mom, Dad Annino told me a story.  In a small Sicilian village a mother of many children woke up early in the morning to a ruckus among kids in her home. Ignoring the bickering, she got up, calmly washed, dressed and set about to make herself a cup of coffee. Only after she had sat as long as she wanted, clean, fresh, ready for the day, supping the sacred morning cafe and enjoying her morning pastry, did she tend to the squabbling children. “You see, la Mama must take care of  herself, first, before she can take chare of la bambina,” he said, wrapping me up in a story hug. Good-bye, sweet good bye to Dad Annino, but to paraphrase St. Matthew, I will feel you with me, always, even unto my end.

 

More poem comfort-

lines from Janet Wong’s “The Ones They Loved the Most”

-“My mother says

                                                                                                        the spirits of the dead

                                                                                                        visit

                                                                                                        in dreams

                                                                                                        seeking out

                                                                                                        the ones they loved

                                                                                                        the most.”

                                                                                 

Folded palm leaves by Dad Annino

                                                                                                          

Finally, if any of this appears garbled or out of place, please know I have a funny story about my laptop traveling to Kentucky, yet I never have. I’m temporarily working on my mobile phone, praise be to it. – jga

    

 

 

 

Pick A Pumpkin: meet children’s picture book poet Patricia Toht

[Poetry Friday is collected by Carol who savors summer this week. Go, see at her “Linky” page.]

. . . .

Let us write a holiday story, in rhyme. Topic: the much-anticipated October trip to ye olde P.P.

pumpkin/bumpkin/lumpkin        patch/catch/thatch     pick/kick/lick

Er, this isn’t rolling so trippingly off the tongue. Lucky you, Bookseedstudio readers. I asked poet, picture book author & pumpkin patch queen Patricia Toht to join us for Poetry Friday:

“Pick a pumpkin

from the patch

tall and lean

or short and fat”

c. Patricia Toht c. JARVIS
PICK A PUMPKIN

“Vivid orange

ghostly white

or speckled green

might be just right.”

c. Patricia Toht, all right reserved.

c. Patricia Toht
c. JARVIS
PICK A PUMPKIN

Her prancing pumpkin verses romp in a new picture book stuffed with the fall fun of finding a unique vegetable FRUIT. And the sly illustrations (from artist Jarvis, in a second holiday party with Patty after PICK A PINE TREE, both from Walker Books ) are drool-worthy. So, I just had to grill this author:

Q/Bookseedstudio – Will you tell of Halloween costumes you’ve enjoyed wearing – at any age? With your & your hubby’s background did you ever create costumes? What were they like?

PATRICIA TOHT My folks never allowed store-bought costumes, so ours were either sewn by mom or pulled together from the dress-up bin. When I was in middle school, my best friends and I dressed up as three blind mice and a black cat. Random, but we loved it!

My husband has made some amazing costumes for our kids. One year, our son Will went as a garbage can. Straps held the can at shoulder height, “garbage” scraps were hot glued around the edges, and my son wore a pizza box on his head. If he stopped and scrunched down, no one knew it was a costume and not an actual garbage can!

Q/Our family knocks on the Toht Family door at Halloween. What’s in the candy bowl? Is the carved pumpkin scary or goofy or ….? Decorations at the front step?

PATRICIA TOHT Our Halloween candy always includes the family favorites – Nestle Crunch bars, Mounds bars, Malted Milk Balls, and Twizzlers. The pumpkins are usually goofy ones because…well, we’re a pretty goofy family!

We have this amazing motion-detector skull and bones above our front door. When trick-or-treaters approach, it makes a spooky sound and the bones lift to either side so we can hand out candy through the middle. I love it! I hope it never breaks!

Q Other than yours, which I think will become a modern classic of pumpkin festivities, can you mention a title or two that your family enjoyed at Halloween when the kids were young?

PATRICIA TOHT Aw, thanks for saying that, Jan! A few of our family favorites include THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO WAS NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING by Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd, BORIS AND BELLA by Carolyn Crimi and Gris Grimly, and ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler. Great books for reading aloud!

Bookseedstudio says: Wonderful selections! Among my favorite Halloween titles I now have yours.  I have often shared these beloveds: Lisa Desimini’s TRICK OR TREAT! SMELL MY FEET, Kathi Appelt’s & Melissa Stewart’s BAT JAMBOREE & a surprise animal for Halloween pages in TRICK-OR TREAT OLD ARMADILLO, from Larry Dane Brimner with art by Dominic Catalano.

Thank you for this lively peek inside your family Halloween traditions, Patty. That garbage can get-up sounds super!

Below, I send everyone away with my best pumpkin pudding (chocolate-pumpkin pudding. . . 🙂 from hot, humid Florida, in lieu of pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies & pumpkin pie. But first . . .

More on author Patricia Toht

How did Patty get into children’s books? Invoices, orders, returns. She created, owned and operated her very own kid lit bookstore. This Never Never Land, in the Chicago region, brought a full calendar of back-to-school, holiday, summer vacation & other story times. Not to mention boxed crates of children’s non-fiction, chapter books, classics, novels, poetry collections, picture storybooks and yes – rhyming picture books.

At one playful point – Jumpin’ Jacks!- Patty added to her sales floor, shiny, fluffy, bouncy, moving products from a closing toy store. After keeping her Never Never Land venture hopping for s e v e n years, change came. The intrusion of big box competitors prompted a shuttering of the Land.  Sniff, sniff.

But, no worries. The play side of the store brought a toy designer into her life, Mr. Toht, the Toht Family’s four wonderful children followed along with a decade of fun living near a real British palace in the UK, while Patty’s husband created and produced in kids’ TV, before returning to the USA. Patty’s hubby has designed such darlings as Lamaze baby toys and kid give-aways for fast-food emporiums. Guess whose kids posed as testers?

Beyond this, I know from Patty’s guidance and support to me with my works, via our mutual online space, Group Blog, this author is like us within Poetry Friday; she is a reading, writing & editing pal who cares deeply about creating the best books for children. And she creates just that.

Here is what Kirkus says about PICK A PUMPKIN, brand-new this season:

“The nearly flawless rhythm of the text is a pleasure to read and will likely become a favorite…Enchanting.”

Author Patricia Toht   

JARVIS, artist 

PICK A PUMPKIN at Alphabet Soup!

Group Blog

What is Poetry Friday?   

I am a recipe renegade, so add ingredients into blender in amounts you think are good. Taste after the big swirl. Adjust flavors. CHILL!

 

…enroute to chocolate-pumpkin pudding bliss . . .

 

( I am posting early due to some important family events at Poetry Friday time. I appreciate your comments & may be delayed a bit in adding them.)

Update:  7 Oct 2019  Groovy photo – Patty’s PICK A PUMPKIN featured on the Halloween table at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cleveland. I was occupied with kidney surgery routine check ups & first-time thyroid tests last week- dear friends, all is well!! My joy was amplified when after that squee! news, ambling around the Cleveland Clinic campus, I was wowed by surprise – a stand-up book party with my talented pal prominent. (See who in the book world keeps Patricia Toht company?  🙂