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

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

SNOWBALL

Snowball in March

Spring springs in Florida,
lemons bud fancy.
Snow falls in New York.
Makes me feel antsy.
I stepped it in, sloshed it,
finally mashed it.
Snowball in March?
Love to laugh at it.

c.2018JGAnnino

c.2018 Snow ball in March, NYC, Pier 15


c.2018 NYC
Cobbled streets,
lonely snow

Hello!
Back at work here after visiting our college gal during a break from
revising my history-set verse novel, completed
in December, in d r a f t.
Walking cobbled streets past 1800s buildings & piles of snow in
Lower Manhattan inspired notebook jottings for the novel. And made me think of THE NEW COLOSSUS poet Emma Lazarus.

She (along with many I crave to know more about, such as Galway Kinnell) happens to be featured in a new March 28 to May 2 poem series airing many places in time for a keen
POETRY MONTH APRIL – surely warmer, then-
public T.V.
show launched from those creatives at WGBH, Boston
.

c. 2018 North Florida
Lemonade, pre-squeeze

Here with our citrus perfume blooms,
it’s time for me to marvel at the silly thoughts in picture books & poems, of Alan Katz, Ame Dyckman, Dennis Lee, Douglas Florian, Lisa Loeb, Jon Scieszka,
Kenn Nesbitt, Rebecca Kai Doltish, Shel Silverstein & the like.

SNOWBALL by Shel Silverstein

I made myself a snowball
as perfect as could be.
I thought I’d keep it as a pet
and let it sleep with me…

(enjoy the rest of SNOWBALL by Shel Silverstein & classroom fun with FIRSTGRADEWOW.)

I’m pulling out silly verses
(accepting recommendations)
to prepare for a presentation on poetry,
staged in a big park’s tent,
right next to a noisy popular playground,
at a great book festival,
Word of South.
A perk for me is that Poetry Friday pal, pied piper Irene Latham
will appear at Word of South at a different time,
so I can catch her mojo LIVE.

***
March clothing!

March 2018
Dressed for Winter Walking

Irma’s Tinkerbelle

(PoemFriends are peacefully greeted (Sept. 21 – International Peace Day) over at The Poem Farm with Poetry Friday host, Amy.)

Directly across our house. From Hurricane (tropical storm) Irma Sept. 2017

In flights of twos and tens,
hummingbirds darted in light rain to a feeder
I watched in Alabama.
That was one of the beauty spots
calming us
when we evacuated North Florida,
away from high winds
and waterfalls of Irma’s rain.

Maybe because my pictures of them define blurry,
or there were so many
of the whirry, bitty birds,
I made a startling leap of
imagination. J.M. Barrie must have been a
hummingbird watcher
. And I decided that
hummingbirds must have been his inspiration for
Tinkerbelle in PETER PAN.

TINKERBELLE

Our city & county officials called for
a voluntary evacuation.
When a sturdy, outdoorsy,
trusted writer pal informed
me of that alert, we knew it
was right to go with the flow.
Although I had snared the last room reservation
at a chain hotel we like, it was nicer to give that up
to another family & accept
the offer of shelter of another writer pal, whose
spacious house at tree top level,
book-filled from beam to brim,
defines the word retreat.

The hovering Tinkerbells inspired me to
write a poem, Jaunty,
in longhand there (below), which
may fit an intriguing
prompt from Carole Boston Weatherford
at TODAY’S LITTLE DELIGHT/DITTY.

I also found out how one very special canine
works a laptop.
I read borrowed books from our pal,
Joan Broerman, author, writer’s workshop leader
who is a legendary leader in the Society of Children’s Writers & Illustrators.
In generous Joan fashion, she also gave me a book for the road
(BIG MAGIC, Elizabeth Gilbert.)
My hubby & I so very much appreciate Joan for providing calm
energy & generator advice & much more
in the storm.

Maggie & Me

Back home, in North Florida Irma slowed
to a wide, walloping tropical terror, downgraded
from a hurricane.
Irma veered away east of our North Florida hilly town,
leaving people to cope with downed trees & hours
without power. I hope that many, looking at the
destruction on islands and along rivers/lagoons/canal
communities,
understand how fortunate they are not to have to live
in a Florida flood plain. (This is land that should
be set aside from development, as along the
Hillsborough River near Tampa.)

Here is my Hurricane Irma poem.

Jaunty
by J.G. Annino

A bitty bird creature,
darting,
discovers
empty feeder.
Food gone.
Hovers, hovers, hovers.
Human helper, help instantly!
Jaunty keeps looking.
More nourishment needed!

One person
quickly,
quietly,
responds,
rendering
sustenance
to
ultra-vibrant
winsome wonder.
c.2017JanGAnnino

Jaunty

Thank you all, first responders. Thank you librarians, who are among the many groups organizing for hurricane relief.

Thank you for collecting images of Hurricane Irma’s impact,
Washington Post , including photographs from my
beloved streets of coastal Southwest Florida,
where I no longer work & live, & from coastal Northeast Florida, where
we sometimes play.

Poetry Friday + 2017 Progressive Poem of Kidlitosphere

The usual Poetry Friday frolic is collected
today at Dori Reads.
. . . .

We are just shy of the half-way point
in April & Nattional Poetry Month. Lucious links of the 2017 menu are
at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.
It’s a bodacious buffet!
I will tip you off to
Poetry Mosaic.
Take off your shoes, put up your feet & allow the poets on stage there to
entertain you with their readings. It’s among the wonderful new additions to the month.

Back here at Bookseedstudio’s Friday the 14th’s day in
the National Poetry Month Progressive Poem of
Kidlitosphere, I am
sculpting in the meandering
playground of words. We are creating
together but separately, smoothly, sweetly,
a new poem. Makes me giddy!  Yesterday’s mighty fine strong line from Margaret Simon/
Reflections on the Teche, officially known as line 13, needs a neighbor. So line 14 arrives:

Shiver me. Look who’s here. Must I disappear?

See if you think that fits
as the poem-to-date appears a bit further, below.

As always, we are soothingly stage-directed
by Progressive Poem pixie & perpetrator
Irene Latham at Live Your Poem. (Who quilted/created
our lovely logo.)
Handsprings are boing boing boinging
all around for her idea & influence.
Enjoy the dragonwords
and when this is titled at day 30
perhaps you’ll dare read it to a
captive
castle
audience?

Untitled 2017 Progressive Poem In Progress

I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges—
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,
stories of castles, of fires that crackle,
with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.

But edges sometimes need sandpaper,
like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.
So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour
facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.

I thread the crowd, wear freedom in my smile,
and warm to the coals of conversation.
Enticed to the stage by strands of story,
I skip up the stairs in anticipation.

Flip around, face the crowd, and freeze!
Shiver me. Look who’s here. Must I disappear?

. . . .

Now here’s the wand hand off to Brenda,
at Friendly Fairy Tales,
who will weave her magic over words for day 15.

Line-leaders day by day:
April 2017
1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Diane at Random Noodling
6 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
7 Irene at Live Your Poem
8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
9 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Penny at a penny and her jots
11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
14 Jan at Bookseedstudio
15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
19 Pat at Writer on a Horse
20 BJ at Blue Window
21 Donna at Mainely Write
22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch
23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
29 Charles at Poetry Time
30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

Happy Happy Poetry Friday! And please remember that
the collected castle of Friday characters is
at Dori Reads.

 

We are all . . .

The always-informative, often soothing Poetry Friday collection is, collected here this week.

. . .

" We are one Earth"               c. 2017Jan Godown Annino

” We are one Earth” c. 2017Jan Godown Annino


We are one Earth.
We are one People.

We are all immigrants, citizens.
We are all Christian, Hindu, Buddhist.
We are all Jewish, Muslim.
We are all Black, Hispanic, white.
We are all First Nation, Asian.

A long-time spiritual of decades ago that sang out
across this land soothing many, is known as
I Shall Not Be Moved.
It transformed in the U.S. Civil Rights era to
We Shall Not Be Moved.

And it just came into my world,
a most welcome zephyr.

A group of us were invited to stand and sing
this as a protest song of solidarity, in a version
with some words changed for modern times.
We attended this service in response
to vile speech,
sent to a local Jewish temple
and hurtful to us all.

Singing there, a zing zanged
through me.
I felt more uplifted than
I had in months.

We Shall Not Be Moved keeps company with me.
Here it is, with my 2017 tweaks. 

2017 Edition, We Shall Not Be Moved

Will shall not, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Jews and Christians, we shall not be moved.
Jews and Christians, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Hindus and Muslims, we shall not be moved.
Hindus and Muslims, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Immigrants, citizens, we shall not be moved.
Immigrants, citizens, we shall not be moved

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Black and white, we shall not be moved.
Black and white, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Hispanic, Asian, First Nation, we shall not be moved.
Hispanic, Asian, Firsr Nation, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Gay, straight, trans, we shall not be moved.
Gay, straight, trans, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

O YES! Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

©2017 Jan Godown Annino

This is shared with a huge heart of appreciation
to my husband’s former students, the ones who
kindly invited us to the service.
They are long-time consumer activist-attorneys,
David and Barbara Abrams. The Florida Supreme Court
recently honored David Abrams for his generous
public spirit. And he is quick to note that
his law partner, and partner in life, Barbara Abrams,
is why he is able to give so much time to the community.

For more on the original I Shall Not Be Moved.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Shall_Not_Be_Moved

To catch the tune, listen here.