Friday, January 30, 2015

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Poems about Small Things, selected by Myra Cohn Livingston

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit passionate reader/teacher/poet Mr. Hankins for Roundup!

So. Anyone else out there shocked we're at the end of January?? I started The Artist's Way this month with a group of Birmingham artists, and I AM LOVING IT. Morning pages and artist dates, oh my! I'm learning lots about myself, that's for sure. In that spirit, I have written about where I am in my artist-writer's life over at Little Patuxent Review (should be up about mid-day). Spoiler: I am in a far different place than I was a dozen years ago! Thank you, LPR, for publishing my "Artichoke" poem and for inviting me to post.

I'm excited to move into February, my most favorite month of the year! I have a February birthday (as do many Poetry Friday friends! Yay, and Happy Almost Birthday Month!), so I pretty much celebrate all month long. Here's some of the festivities: scrapbook weekend with the womenfolk in my family, hubby taking me to see Billy Joel in concert, more cello lessons (yes! I have switched from fiddle to cello! Holy Bach, if I ever master the bow hold it will be a masterpiece!), more Artist's Way, more writing, blooming daffodils and forsythia, cheesecake (just thought of that -- I must be hungry) and who knows what else??

And now, for you, this last Poetry Friday of January: poems from the 1994 book ANIMAL VEGETABLE MINERAL: Poems about Small Things, selected by Myra Cohn Livingston. Enjoy!

The Snail 
by Langston Hughes

Little snail,
Dreaming you go.
Weather and rose
Is all you know.

Weather and rose
Is all you see,
Drinking the dewdrop's

Trees: The Seeds
Myra Cohn Livingston

We are
given light wings,
parachutes, downy legs
that we may be carried alof
by wind

and drop
where some kind mouse
will bury us in earth;
some squirrel will forget we are food,
leave us

to sprout
green shoots, to weave
rootlets, that we may eat
and drink and grow in time our own
small seeds

Invitation Standing
by Paul Blackburn

Bring a leaf to me
just a leaf just a
spring leaf, an
april leaf

Blue sky
never mind
Spring rain
never mind
Reach up and
take a leaf and
just come


  1. Your birthday activities sound great. Yes to cheesecake, always :-)! I always like careful attention to small things. I like those "downy legs" of Myra's poem, the inviting "never mind"s of the last poem, and beauty of a small perspective: "Weather and rose
    Is all you see,
    Drinking the dewdrop's
    Mystery" in the first.

  2. Happy birthday month! Scrapbooking weekend with family--what a wonderful idea! I like the way Myra Cohn Livingston's poem both depicts the wide variety in trees and that they follow the same journey.

  3. You inspire in so many ways. Happy happy birthday month, Irene. Thank you for the celebrations, both little and big. Hug!! x

  4. Happy early birthday, Irene! Thanks for sharing these...I love them!

  5. Have a marvelous birthday month, & your plans sound quite wonderful, Irene. I love these, the book is new to me, too. My favorite: "Drinking the dewdrop's
    Mystery." Sweet to ponder...

  6. You make us feel so much a part of your life by sharing your celebrations. Happy Birthday Month just around the corner! The small poems are lovely, especially Blackburn's Invitation Standing. The repetition of "just" and "just come" is so effective, I think. I can't say why but I get the feeling of ee cumings "in just spring when the world is puddle wonderful..." from this poem. Must be the word "just"! Thanks for a peak at Myra's selections.

  7. I liked the Artist Way, especially enjoyed those artist dates. I'll bet going through it with a group is wonderful. Loved these poems!

  8. I love how poems like this make me stop and just savor the words, tasting them with my tongue. Beautiful, dear Irene. Thank you for sharing these snippets.

  9. Happy early birthday, fellow February babe! :) Thanks for posting these three little gems. How I love envisioning the snail "Drinking the dewdrop's/Mystery." I enjoyed drinking in your personal essay on the LPR site as well, Irene. Especially: "The practice of writing poetry is a way to love the world – not a way to conquer it." I'm still chasing and needed to hear those words. xo


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