Number ten of thirty-one, nearly a third of the way through the month of the Two Writing Teachers March Challenge. Find the links here!
And today, Poetry Friday with Michelle H. Barnes at her beautiful blog, Today's Little Ditty! Today she shares an inspiring time at a conference recently, listening and being inspired by Lily Yeh, an artist building parks and memorials in the most poignant and needed of places. You will want to visit to discover more.
My blog is a few days over six years, and I've enjoyed every part, the poems, the stories, the pictures shared. Writing over a period of time is not only a diary of events but becomes a reflection of self, I think. I see patterns and those of you who read my posts possibly do too. I reserve my most personal words for family and for nature. Two things touching the outdoors stand out all through these six years, writing about skies and about crows. As can be seen by my header, crows pop up often like those "Four and Twenty Blackbirds/baked in a pie."
You know I work at a used bookstore, and a recent, "oh, wow, look at this book!" find is a marvelous older picture book titled Crows, in which Heidi Holder illustrates an old rhyme. The pages range from one crow to twelve, include a framed picture of the crows themselves with beautiful illumination and rhyming couplets. Below that picture is an illustration of the content with rabbits. In the opposite "full" page is a similar scene, but with a female mink and a swashbuckling weasel She also shares that the rhyme comes handed down from her grandfather, but only seven parts (maybe for the days of the week?). And she found different versions of it in her research. Heidi adds in an author's note that birds more than any other creature are known to be prophetic.
Here is the cover and a sample of the page of four crows.
In my own research, I've seen this termed an "oracular" rhyme, meaning "prophetic". In other words, if one sees one crow, it portends "bad news". It is helpful that Holly has included additional pages of information, one of which is a key to the symbols in her illustrations. For example, in the page for "one crow", she's included meadow rue, which means "regret" and forget-me-nots, which mean "true love". It's a fascinating book that pleases me to imagine someone telling this rhyme as foretelling fun, or would it be foretelling truth?
Here is the beginning:
"One is for bad news.
Two is for mirth.
Three is a wedding.
Four is a birth."
You can find more pictures of the pages on Google images. Do you have a rhyme that you learned from a grandparent or other friend/family member that is similar?