Thursday, March 9, 2017

#PoetryFriday + #SOL17 - 10/31


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? 

46 comments:

  1. What a fascinating book, Linda! The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and I love how they are layered with meaning. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome, Molly. I enjoyed it a lot.

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  2. Birds as prophetic...I know. I didn't know, but found out when a seagull dropped by.
    These illustrations are gorgeous! My mom had an old bookstore section in my parents' antique store for much of my childhood. Except that the mildew bothers me, I just love old books.

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    1. Sounds as if you need to write about that seagull, Donna. We are so dry here that mildew just isn't a problem. I remember it in Missouri, though. Love that your parents had an antique store. My brother has opened one now that he's retired. I love it, and shopping in one, though I really don't need more!

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  3. Oh what a delightful find! I've noticed your focus on skies, but somehow overlooked the crows. Did you take the picture on your header?
    Here's a song I learned from my mom that I sing to the grandkids.
    "Trot a little horsey up to town
    Catch a little boy and don't fall down
    Hee Ha Ha
    You and me
    (Little brown jug - my kids have laughed at this image, so I've amended the lyrics)
    Little sweet boy
    Don't I love thee!
    Sunday, Monday
    Dressed so fine
    Little brass buttons
    How they shine!

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    1. This is so cute, Ramona. I know the "Little Brown Jug" tune, but not these words. Yes, I took the header picture, & have quite a few others in my photos. I think they (& ravens) are fascinating. Thanks!

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  4. What is it about crows that they are often thought of as harbingers of bad news. Is it the fact that they are black? Raucous? Their size?

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    1. In my research, there were a number of references to all birds, too. As for crows, I wonder if it's because they seem to like being around people. They don't always fly away like others, sometimes seem to be listening in on the conversation. And truly, maybe because they know people mean a snack?

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  5. Thank you for a wonderfully informative post. I'm a big fan of crows, myself, and was interested to read about their use in poetry and literature. I appreciate your comment that you save your most personal words for family and nature--rightly so!

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    1. Thanks, Tim, I think I might be researching crows more. I found a lot of links that looked interesting.

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  6. So interesting, Linda - crows portend bad news in other cultures, too. I remember them being so in fables and myths in India, where I grew up.

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    1. Oh, good to know that, Tara. As you see my comment above, I found so many links about crows.

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  7. What gorgeous illustrations!

    I'm delighted to see so many poetry-related slices today. I was just lamenting, on MBHMAINE's blog, that I haven't written poetry in a long time. I'm terrible at writing rhyming poems, but I'm feel as though I'm ready to dip my toe into the water of poetry again after your post and her's today.

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    1. Molly's post was a wonderful poem, I agree. You should give it a go, Stacey!

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  8. Such a beautiful book! I share your love of crows, Linda. They're such fascinating and intelligent creatures. Though I wonder if I would still love them if I was a bird, myself? (A thought for another day.) The verse reminds me a bit of Monday's Child, which my mother recited often... maybe because I'm a Sunday child. :)

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    1. I have not told all that I've observed, and think they are fascinating. My neighbor and I watch a couple of crows fight off a hawk trying for some smaller birds one time. They really seemed to be protecting. I remember "Monday's Child", and it is beautiful. Maybe it's time to find it again? Thanks, Michelle.

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  9. I love this, Linda! Such an interesting book. Crows are another of my favorite bird friends. Congrats on your blog's 6 years and a few days over birthday...many more to come, I hope! I do so enjoy the words you share with the world.

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    1. Thanks, Kiesha for the compliment & the wishes. Glad to know about you and crows, too!

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  10. That IS a wonderful find! It must be fun to work at a bookstore.

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    1. Yes, it is wonderful to work there, Ruth, but the piles I bring home are getting quite high! Thanks!

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  11. Oh, an oracular rhyme. What a cool book! I do love crows and do not happen to think they portend bad luck. :) Happy 6 years of blogging!

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    1. Thanks, Jama, it's so interesting to learn of the superstitions passed along. Glad you enjoyed the glimpse of this book.

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  12. The illustrations of this book are gorgeous - so many beautiful details.

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  13. What a beautiful book! I love birds, but crows are not my favorite. My grandmother used to sing "Ride a Cockhorse to Banbury Cross" and bounce us on her leg, which of course we all loved. Thank you for sharing, Linda!

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    1. And thank you for sharing a favorite rhyme. I like a lot of birds, the blue-footed booby being a real favorite, but crows around here fascinate me.

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  14. I have been thinking of crows of late. So this is perfect. This month is also known as a crow moon.
    Can you believe that we are a 1/3 of the way through with SOL17?

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    1. I know, this month (and SOLC) is going quickly! You're right! It is the crow moon. Love the reminder, Jone!

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  15. You bought that book didn't you?! I would. I would not be able to let anyone have that book until i had taken it home and made it part of my world for a while....then, I'd take it back to the store to share. That is such a neat concept for a book and illustrations for a book and well, I just love it. And, I'm in love with the whole crow/raven thing in literature too. What a wonderful post. Great job on day ten. Looking forward to day 11.

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    1. Yes, and actually the store is a membership store, too, so when one joins, one is given credits, and gains them when donating back. So I just got the book for one credit! Nice, right? Yes, I take some of them back, too, for more credits and because I don't need to keep them all! Thanks, Linda

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  16. I didn't realize you work in a used book store!! Oh, to be surrounded by all those hidden treasures!! :)

    Congrats on the blog anniversary! :-)

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    1. Thanks, Jane. This store is run only by volunteers, so I volunteer at the store, and am the volunteer coordinator. It's been a wonderful transition to teaching.

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  17. Crows give me the heebies. I am sure they bring bad luck or something along this line. And I'm pretty sure they hunt my dog...which is gross and weird. Sorry. That was a lot of unloading about my feelings on crows. But they do bring a strong feeling to readings.

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    1. See, everyone has feelings about them. It is interesting that they play a part in many cultures, and for a long time. I'm glad you shared!

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  18. Linda, what a wonderful find. Working in a used bookstore would be dangerous for me....really dangerous! This is a magnificent find!

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    1. It is dangerous, you're so right! I brought home 2 books for my daughter yesterday! But some weeks I just read and browse and wait on customers of course. Yes, I loved that someone donated this book. Thanks, Anita.

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  19. What a wonderful book. I love books about birds. I went to a second-bookstore recently and I saw box after box of Disney and other licensed character books, mass-produced in vivid color, but without real story-telling vivacity. No wonder they are rejected, not saved to pass on to grandchildren. Your book should be saved.

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    1. Yes, it is a great find, Brenda. We have those Disney books donated too, but luckily other wonderful ones like this one. I just sold a copy of Miss Rumphius the other day, new to the customer & she seemed delighted. Thanks!

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  20. What a gorgeous book! Poems of folklore so gorgeously illustrated never get old, in my books. I can imagine a child spending hours studying the detailed illustrations... I'd like to do that!

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    1. The pictures are filled to the brim, so it would take hours to look and look. Thanks, Violet.

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  21. Sounds like you found a real treasure book Linda! Enchanting art too. I have an affinity for birds, and also crows and ravens. Thanks for all here.

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    1. So glad you love those birds, too, Michelle. You're welcome!

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  22. What an excellent find! I would have like this one as a child. I'm sure all your grands will enjoy you reading it to them.

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    1. Yes, I've read it to one of them, and we spent a long time looking and finding the little details. Thanks, Doraine.

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  23. Such a cool book to find, Linda! The illustrations are amazing. The only 'pearl' I can remember that my grandma told me was that the reason my second toe was longer than my big toe was because I was intelligent. Hee-hee! I think she was just making me feel better because I thought something was wrong with my toes. (sorry I'm late to the roundup - busy weekend... =)

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    1. Ha, funny. I remember something discussed about that 2nd toe, but don't remember what. I bet there is something to it, Bridget. What a nice grandmother!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!