Sunday, April 30, 2017

#Poetry Break: Envoy

57th Street (M.A. Reilly, 2009)

 - Billy Collins 
Go, little book,
out of this house and into the world,
carriage made of paper rolling toward town
bearing a single passenger
beyond the reach of this jittery pen
and far from the desk and the nosy gooseneck lamp.
It is time to decamp,
put on a jacket and venture outside,
time to be regarded by other eyes,
bound to be held in foreign hands.
So off you go, infants of the brain,
with a wave and some bits of fatherly advice:
stay out as late as you like,
don’t bother to call or write,
and talk to as many strangers as you can.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

#SOL17: Mining Books: 物の哀れ

Impermanence (M.A. Reilly, 2017)


I have been mining books. Reading and connecting. For example when I was reading Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Textbook,  I was stopped by this section.

from Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Textbook, p. 269

Death is a dividing line. There's no mistaking that second when life has left a body. I watched my mother die and my husband and in each situation the animated, loving people they were ceased to be.


Towards the end of the book, I come across a Japanese term included by Amy.  This too seemed relevant.

from Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Textbook, p. 319

I wanted to remember the word so I included it in the painting I did that tops this post.


Some days, way does lead on to way.

#Poetry Break: Cottonmouth Country

woods (M.A. Reilly, 2013 North Carolina)

 - by Louise Glück

Fish bones walked the waves off Hatteras.
And there were other signs
That Death wooed us, by water, wooed us
By land: among the pines
An uncurled cottonmouth that rolled on moss
Reared in the polluted air.
Birth, not death, is the hard loss.
I know. I also left a skin there.

Friday, April 28, 2017


March (M.A. Reilly, 2015, from my art journal)

        - by Gabriela Mistral
A Tasso de Silveira
Dame la mano y danzaremos;
dame la mano y me amarás.
Como una sola flor seremos,
como una flor, y nada más.
El mismo verso cantaremos,
al mismo paso bailarás.
Como una espiga ondularemos,
como una espiga, y nada mas.
Te llamas Rosa y yo Esperanza;
pero tu nombre olvidarás,
porque seremos una danza
en la colina, y nada mas.

For Tasso de Silveira
Give me your hand and give me your love,
give me your hand and dance with me.
A single flower, and nothing more,
a single flower is all we’ll be.
Keeping time in the dance together,
singing the tune together with me,
grass in the wind, and nothing more,
grass in the wind is all we’ll be.
I’m called Hope and you’re called Rose;
but losing our names we’ll both go free,
a dance on the hills, and nothing more,
a dance on the hills is all we’ll be.

[translations by Ursula LeGuin from her book, Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral.]

Thursday, April 27, 2017

#Poetry Break: On Rhyme

Scottish Rain (M.A. Reilly, 2008)

On Rhyme

 - Billy Collins 
It’s possible that a stitch in time
might save as many as twelve or as few as three,
and I have no trouble remembering
that September has thirty days.
So do June, November, and April.
I like a cat wearing a chapeau or a trilby,
Little Jack Horner sitting on a sofa,
old men who are not from Nantucket,
and how life can seem almost unreal
when you are gently rowing a boat down a stream.
That’s why instead of recalling today 
that it mostly pours in Spain, 
I am going to picture the rain in Portugal,
how it falls on the hillside vineyards, 
on the surface of the deep harbors
where fishing boats are swaying, 
and in the narrow alleys of the cities
where three boys in tee shirts 
are kicking a soccer ball in the rain,
ignoring the window-cries of their mothers.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

#Poetry Break: Initiation Song from the Finders' Lodge

from my art journal (2016)

Initiation Song from the Finders' Lodge

    - Ursula LeGuin

Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
and your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
be always coming home.

#PoetryBreak: Fear Is What Quickens Me

finger painting 

Fear Is What Quickens Me

 - by James Wright


Many animals that our fathers killed in America
Had quick eyes.
They stared about wildly,
When the moon went dark.
The new moon falls into the freight yards
Of cities in the south,
But the loss of the moon to the dark hands of Chicago
Does not matter to the deer
In this northern field.


What is that tall woman doing
There, in the trees?
I can hear rabbits and mourning dovees whispering together
In the dark grass, there
Under the trees.


I look about wildly. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#SOL17: On Not Aging

Rob teaching
Rob will never grow old.
He will not turn a year older like you will this year, or I will next fall.
He'll never retire, or find new hobbies and interests.
He will never see his son graduate high school, drive, enter college.
He will never have the chance to disrupt the idea of what 70 is or 80.

I freeze his life at 60.
When he turned 60, we had no idea what that year would bring.
There were no signs that said, live brilliantly now, for you will be dead soon.
We were blind.

17 years ago my mom died.
Each year, I add to her age.
She would have been 98 had she lived.
My father would have turned 100 next September.

Rob was always 4 years older than me--almost exactly.
We were born on adjacent days in mid-November.
He was 3 years, 364 days older.
There will likely come a time when we are the same age.
There will come a time when I am older.
He will always be 60.

Why can I age my parents, but not my husband?
Is it the simple tragedy of dying early?
I don't know.
What I do know is that Rob will never grow old. 

#Poetry Break: Faith

Counting (M.A. Reilly, 2010)


  - by Tim Seibles

Picture a city
and the survivors: from their
windows, some scream. Others
walk the aftermath: blood
and still more blood coming
from the mouth of a girl.
This is the same movie
playing all over
the world: starring everybody
who ends up where the action
is: lights, cameras, close-ups—that
used to be somebody’s leg.
Let’s stop talking
about God. Try to shut-up
about heaven: some of our friends
who should be alive       are no longer alive.
Moment by moment death moves
and memory doesn’t remember,
not for long: even today—even
having said
this, even knowing that
someone is stealing
our lives—I still
had lunch.
Tell the truth. If you can.
Does it matter     who they were,
the bodies in the rubble: could it matter
that the girl was conceived by two people
buried in each other’s arms, believing
completely in the world between them?
The commanders are ready. The gunners
go everywhere. Almost all of them
believe in God. But somebody should
hold a note     for the Earth,
a few words for whatever being
human     could mean
beneath the forgotten sky:
some day one night,
when the city lights go out for good,
you won’t believe how many stars

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Seibles. From Fast Animal (Etruscan Press, 2011). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Monday, April 24, 2017

#Poetry Break: Why I Don’t Mention Flowers When Conversations with My Brother Reach Uncomfortable Silences

(M.A. Reilly, 2012)

Why I Don’t Mention Flowers When Conversations with My Brother Reach Uncomfortable Silences

Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing
flowers home.
Wisława Szymborska
In the Kashmir mountains,
my brother shot many men,
blew skulls from brown skins,
dyed white desert sand crimson.
What is there to say to a man
who has traversed such a world,
whose hands and eyes have
betrayed him?
Were there flowers there? I asked.
This is what he told me:
In a village, many men
wrapped a woman in a sheet.
She didn’t struggle.
Her bare feet dragged in the dirt.
They laid her in the road
and stoned her.
The first man was her father.
He threw two stones in a row.
Her brother had filled his pockets
with stones on the way there.
The crowd was a hive
of disturbed bees. The volley
of stones against her body
drowned out her moans.
Blood burst through the sheet
like a patch of violets,
a hundred roses in bloom.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

20 Faces in 20 Days

An image I painted.
I am participating in the #100DayProject Creativity. Each day for no more than 20 minutes I will compose a face. To do this I might sketch, paint, collage, photograph, and/or digitally compose. In 2014, I spent 100 days making a collage a day based on the news--most often from the New York Times. (You can see that project here and here) .  Below is a slideshow that feature images I made during the first 20 days.


#Poetry Break: blessing the boats

Silence (M.A. Reilly, Maine, 2015)

blessing the boats

(at St. Mary’s)
may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back    may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Green Earth Book Awards

from here: "Green Earth Book Award is the nation’s first environmental stewardship book award for children and young adult books. Over 128 winning and honor books have been honored since 2005. The award continues to garner attention from the literary world as an esteemed award, bringing recognition to authors, but more importantly, providing the award-winning books to children.
Each year, an expert jury selects books that best convey the message of environmental stewardship in these categories:
    • Picture Book:  books for young readers in which the visual and verbal narratives tell the story
    • Children’s Fiction: novels for young readers up to age 12
    • Young Adult Fiction: books for readers from age 13 to 21
    • Children’s Nonfiction: nonfiction books for readers from infancy to age 12
    • Young Adult Nonfiction: nonfiction books for readers from 12 to age 21"

2017 Short List

Image result for ada's violin
from Ada's Violin

2017 Long List

  • Ace, King of My Heart, by Lea Herrick and illustrated by Nora Howell, Krystal Colon, and David Herrick (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
  • Maybe a Fox, by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee (Atheneum Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)
  • Pax, by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Jon Klassen  (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Saving Wonder, by Mary Knight (Scholastic Press)
  • The Wolf Keepers, by Elise Broach and illustrated by Alice Ratterree (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
  • Broken Wing, by David Budbill (Green Writers Press)
  • Dig Too Deep, by Amy Allgeyer (Albert Whitman & Co)
  • KABOOM!, by Brian Adams (Green Writers Press)
  • Keep Her, by Leora Krygier (She Writes Press)
  • Rescued, by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic Press)
  • Up from the Sea, by Leza Lowitz (Crown BFYR, Random House Children’s Books)