Thursday, April 26, 2012

Celebrate "National Poem in Your Pocket Day"

Fernando Pessoa
Art Credit: Gary Lachman

Today is National Poem in Your Pocket Day and I think it deserves a shout out to all. Originating in New York City in 2002 and becoming a national event in 2009, it provides an opportunity to celebrate poetry of all types. 
If one looks at the banner of my blog, the subject of useful poetry is included. Poetry serves. It gives a voice to emotions, history, and the nature of people and the universe. A poem can tell stories and anecdotes that are often timeless in message. I’ve shared some poetry over the past year on this blog, showing how poems I deem useful for me have been woven into the strength of my personal fiber. 
The poem in my pocket today is by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935). Like many great artists, his literary genius went largely unrecognized until after his death. The Los Angeles Times once called him “the greatest twentieth century writer you have never heard of.”
A wonderful friend once told me that my purpose in life was “Spreading the Gospel of Good Music and Poetry.” In that spirit, here is an untitled poem by Fernando Pessoa, my “newest favorite poet” introduced to me this spring by a Portuguese friend who shares my passion of poetry.
Don’t try to build in the space you suppose
Is future, Lydia, and don’t promise yourself
Tomorrow. Quit hoping and be who you are
Today. You alone are your life.
Don’t plot your destiny, for you are not future.
Between the cup you empty and the same cup
Refilled, who knows whether your fortune
Won’t interpose the abyss?
From “A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems,” by Fernando Pessoa
What poem will you put in your pocket today? Please let me know!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Want More Bird's Nests?

Wild Bird Nesting Fiber
100% Natural Alpaca

This Sunday morning, I found four bird nests in my back yard, erasing any guilt (that I didn’t have) for not joining my family in church. Three hummingbird nests, all with eggs, are buried in foliage along my fence. The robin’s nest, high up in a tree, is a hopping little home right now. I’ve spotted at least three baby beaks reaching for food and an attentive mama bird. She sat on the nest for a couple of hours early morning warming her babies in the cool air and wind. Later, she was off gathering food. The first time back she wasn’t suspecting me and I was able to catch a couple of images of her feeding the young. I tried for a better photo and she flew off instantly. I’m done Mama Robin, please return to your previously scheduled program.
The four nests have something in common: strands of alpaca wool are woven in each nest thanks to an alpaca bird nesting ball I put out in late February. It was purchased at McAdams Ltd. in Columbia, Mo. ($9) but the website for the small, mid-Missouri business, Alpacas d'Auxvasse, sells the ball for $10.50, shipping included. The Wild Bird Nesting Fiber is ready to hang in a tree after pulling bits of the Alpaca through the netting.
It’s a great addition to a back yard and also a worthy gift idea for a very reasonable price. The company’s website,, explains:
"Alpacas d'Auxvasse is a small farm just east of Auxvasse, MO. Breeding Suri and Huacaya Alpacas for quality fiber and conformation is not enough. Focusing on raising healthy, happy, FRIENDLY alpacas, is a priority. I don't want to watch my animals from afar - I want to be a welcome part of their lives.I raise my animals to have as beautiful a disposition as they do fiber and conformation."
My Note: Keep alpaca balls from the reach of dogs lest potential destruction.

Robin Feeding Baby
(Click image to see detail.)
Hummingbird Nest

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Power of "Mercy Now," by Mary Gauthier

Jim Rogers (1976-2010), Ann Rogers, David Rogers (1941-2005)
Memorial Day Weekend 2005, Columbia, Mo.
The song “Mercy Now” from the uber-talented Mary Gauthier’s (pronounced “Go-shay”) 2005 album by the same title serves as a singable diary of the past half decade of my life. 

Whether a poignant song, sermon, poem, or book--when the message conveyed feels like it was created just for me, it is a forever gift. Through these years, the lyrics to “Mercy Me” have brought tears, smiles, and insight. Good art serves. It’s useful. And it’s a very personal thing. Below, I use all the lyrics to "Mercy Now" to create a small picture essay of loss and love and, finally, hope.

My father could use a little mercy now
The fruits of his labor fall and rot slowly on the ground
His work is almost over it won't be long, he won't be around
I love my father, he could use some mercy now
Dad Helping Annie Create Art in Fifth Grade
My brother could use a little mercy now
He's a stranger to freedom, he's shackled to his fear and his doubt
The pain that he lives in it's almost more than living will allow
I love my brother, he could use some mercy now
Jim and his oldest sister, Mary Rogers Gordon, celebrate
his long-anticipated college graduation in December 2009.
My church and my country could use a little mercy now
As they sink into a poisoned pit it's going to take forever to climb out
They carry the weight of the faithful who follow them down
I love my church and country, they could use some mercy now
First Christian Church, Columbia, Mo.
A Home Away From Home
Every living thing could use a little mercy now
Only the hand of grace can end the race towards another mushroom cloud
People in power, they'll do anything to keep their crown
I love life and life itself could use some mercy now
An Accidental Trap
Mom and I quickly granted mercy to little Rocky, setting him
free and watching him scamper through the pasture.
Yeah, we all could use a little mercy now
I know we don't deserve it but we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance dangle 'tween hell and hallowed ground
And every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now

Finally, here is an opportunity to hear Mary sing these beautiful lyrics with her spectacular voice. I know, you know, we all know--we could use some Mercy Now.