"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Posts tagged “poetry

Inspiration: Weekly Photo Challenge

Inspiration.  Show what inspires you.

Vivaldi, Van Gogh, a bookcase full of poetry and another full of cookbooks.

There are those family and friends who love and encourage me.  The new baby.

But I needed a single photo tonight.  Now! A single image as a response to Krista’s WPC.

I rummaged through archives.  There were no trumpet concertos calling to me.

When I went to the fridge for some cold water there it was!  I found the new gold foil package of Irish butter, purchased earlier today and sitting on the shelf calling to me. I felt inspired.

I added the eggs in the Pyrex bowl and the little bottle of vanilla extract my friend J sent at Christmas.

The box of raspberries.

I’m out of lemons but wish I had one to add.   A slice of toast.

eggs vanilla butter raspberries 018

iPhone 6 shot in my dark kitchen with the side light by the sink illuminating the Irish butter still life, not the overhead lamp- too much glare.

Poem in Your Pocket Day – April 30th

My sister wrote to remind me that April 30th (tomorrow) is Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Don’t have a poem?

You can download one from the American Academy of Poets site right here

When I taught in a K-8 school, I had a basket of poems for the office counter with a sign, TAKE ONE.

I read a poem a day over the PA for the K-2 morning announcements for the month of April, National Poetry Month.

Sometimes the poem taker would put back the poem they selected in search of one that spoke to them.

Tonight I printed out The Pasture by Robert Frost. Put it in my denim blazer pocket.

When I was in the third grade (1960) I had to memorize and recite it at the end of the year “stepping up” ceremony.

Mary is going to have one of our mother’s favorite- Walt Whitman’s Elegy- When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed

What poem will you have in your pocket to read and share?






Buying Buttons in New York City and Learning of Rumi

This is the story of my seeking special buttons for grandbaby knitting projects, (completed and on the needles) while visiting NYC over Spring break.

My sister guided me to the button store I’d found online.

Oh no, bad news.

We got to the address and there was paper covering the windows and the security grill was down-


I can’t tell you how disappointed I felt.

Fortunately,  a man on the sidewalk  saw us staring at the storefront in disbelief and he pointed to the place next door.

Lou Lou Buttons had moved just one number over, due to a malfunction of errant sprinklers and being flooded out. Lou Lou Buttons store Phew!

Turned out it was the store owner, Ross, who invited us into the button store. And I found so many interesting buttons. They are from all over the world, Japan, France…you name it!

He said every Broadway show and  opera production has come to his store to buy buttons for costumes.

I believe it! Some people replace every button on garments they purchase, to improve and upgrade the look.

Here are the buttons I bought

and here is the owner Ross, photographed by my sister Mary. I was in the photo but the image looks better with myself cropped out! IMG_8442     Lou Lou ButtonsI took this one with more buttons in the background to give you the idea of the inventory.

When I asked about the origin of the store name Lou Lou Buttons, turns out Lou Lou is like the Boogeyman, so when a child is called in from playing outside the mother might say, “Come in now, or Lou Lou’s going to get you.”

We heard Ross tell The story of the merchant to whom the parrot gave a message for the parrots of India on the occasion of his going (thither) to trade. by the Persian poet Rumi.  It’s here if you don’t know it. Be sure to scroll down for the translation in English.

It was a day when the universe rhymed- the button store still there (just one door to the lef) cute buttons for the baby sweaters and my sister and I were enthralled as we listened to the wonderful story by Rumi. 

It’s said he’s “the best selling poet in the United States.”

Buying buttons and hearing Ross tell Rumi’s story of the parrot was a New York City experience.

We left his store with a lot more than just buttons.

Typewriter Poet at the Wedding

The typewriter is a 1941 model.

The typewriter poet, Dylan Laine, creates a custom poem for the bride and groom in 5 minutes or less.

The poems were hung on a rose laden trellis that will be incorporated in a book for Josh and Sara.

I just thought it was the coolest thing I’ve seen at a wedding lately…. so I asked her if it would be okay to blog her and she agreed.  Thanks Typewriter Poet.






Here Dylan Laine, Typewriter Poet, jots down a few words to create the poem for the bride and groom.




The typewriter poet explains how it works. IMG_9297




The custom poem she created with my words.






By Their Sidewalks You Will Know Them – Guest Poet Timons Esaias- Originally Posted 2-19-2010

First posted in February 2010 and again in 2013.  Thanks Timons Esaias Guest Poet

Sidewalk Shoveled

Tim’s Poem Came to Mind as I Admired the Concrete First Time in Two Weeks – Photographed Feb 2010

By Their Sidewalks You Will Know Them

Originally there were eleven Commandments

Moses, perhaps confused by the unfamiliar

snow, ice, and sidewalk,

botched one, and left it out.

But Buddha said that though Life is Pain,

falling on ice is gratuitous pain

and those who cause it, by neglect,

should never escape the Wheel of Rebirth;

and Lao-Tzu agreed, for those who will not

clear the path will never find the Way.

Zoroaster, in the endless war of light

against ice, demanded diligence;

claimed that those who surrender

the public way to the Enemy

have empty souls,

can scarcely be regarded as human.

The Prophet, regarding sidewalks and snow,

is silent; but his sura

Sand Drifting Against the Caravanserai Gate

is thought to apply. The condemnation there

is brutal and eternal.

Plato counted safe sidewalks as fundamental

to the ideal Republic, noting that those remiss

in this clear duty lacked all character;

and his pupil – perceptive, immortal Aristotle-

further declared, famously, that

lack of character

is destiny.

-Timons Esaias
Timons Esaias is a writer and poet living in Pittsburgh. His short stories, ranging from literary to genre, have been published in fourteen languages. He has had over a hundred poems in print, including Spanish, Swedish and Chinese translations, in such markets as 5AM, Bathtub Gin, Main Street Rag, Willard & Maple, Elysian Fields Quarterly: The Literary Journal of Baseball and many others. He has also been a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award, and won the Asimov’s Readers Award. His poetry chapbook, The Influence of Pigeons on Architecture, sold out two editions. He is Adjunct Faculty at Seton Hill University, in the Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. Program. This poem was originally published in hotmetalpoets.com when it existed.
This entry was posted on February 19, 2010. It was filed under poetry, Things in the Snow and was tagged with city scene, HIghland Park, photo of the day, photography, Pittsburgh, Poem, poet, poetry, shovel, sidewalk, snow, Timons Esaias, urban scene, winter scene.

16 responses

Too deep for me.

February 19, 2010 at 7:07 am Edit

Toni Kichi
Makes me happy that our sidewalks are clear and clean – thanks to Mike!! I couldn’t handle all those punishments! Seems like an almost normal day today!! Thanks for starting it with something special!!! Did Bill mean the snow was too deep – or the poem??!! Either way, I agree! My mind is mush (like this snow will soon be) — been in the house too long!!!

February 19, 2010 at 8:42 am Edit

All tis is great Ruth. It is like your photos and words are a diary of living through these snowy days.

February 19, 2010 at 9:12 am Edit

Too wonderful for … words?? :-) Changes my attitude on shoveling, altho I am already somewhat aware that I smile and feel satisfaction when I get to the concrete! A bit anxious now, tho, about the snow still on the bushes, bending branches low over the sidewalk leading to my caravanserai gate ……! :-)

February 19, 2010 at 9:52 am Edit

Arlene Weiner
There is a special place in hell
where, frozen in ice, only his rear
exposed to Satan’s teeth, he’ll dwell
whose sidewalk’s untouched while his driveway’s clear.

February 19, 2010 at 10:50 am Edit

joseph k
that is one great photo

February 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm Edit

Bonnie Imhoff
I know the snow is a pain, but it is beautiful. I enjoy the pic very much.

Scottish Bard’s 256th Birthday Anniversary – Just before sunset in the snow

Steve said it was Robbie Burns birthday today.  Born January 25, 1759.

We missed the fancy fundraiser for the museum last week, the Haggis and men decked out in kilts of their clan.

We missed the “not your grandfather’s ” Robert Burns birthday party in Lawrenceville and the one on the South Side with all kinds of scotch at Piper’s pub.

But we got to pay homage to the Scottish poet, just before dusk.  The end of a January gloomy Sunday.

We headed out to Schenley Park to the Robert Burns statue (by Scottish sculptor J. Massey Rhind)  and it started to snow.

Burns statue with snow front

Right next to Phipps Conservatory.

Burns statue with snow

Burns statue with plow

Burns Pedestal

Mrs. Peacock sounds like a game of clue but here is  a snippet of the article in the Mary 3, 1914 Post-Gazette.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 10.48.20 PM

For a list of Robert Burns memorials around the world, click here


“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley.
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

(To A Mouse)”
― Robert Burns, The Works of Robert Burns

                                                                                          My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;

                                                                                          My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;

                                                                                          A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,

                                                                                          My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.” 

                                                                                                                                  ― Robert Burns

from Tam o’Shanter

But pleasures are like poppies spread—

You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed;

Or like the snow falls in the river—

A moment white—then melts forever.
Line 59

“And man, whose heav’n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn
Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!”
― Robert Burns

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

Serenity (noun): The state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.   Allegheny River

knitting (1)

Vincent, Euthemia, Dorothy, Liane and Montclair Came to Mind Today

iris blooming

October 29th,  Wednesday Afternoon

Funny how the unexpected sight of something triggers a stream of consciousness.

The word Iris, the sight of these Iris blooming made me think of many things.

In Highland Park after school today, while waiting for a poet to arrive to shoot the author photo for her new book cover,

I saw these Iris.

I always think of Iris as the“end of the school year” flower but now I see they bloom in late October, too.

Vincent Van Gogh painted them.

Euthemia is always planting, growing, showing and readying Iris for her Capital Hudson Iris Society show and sale

Liane Ellison Norman wrote a poem, ” I Dug Up the Iris”  about our friend Dorothy’s Iris.

When I was young, we lived in Montclair New Jersey and walked in the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens named after the founder of the American Iris Society.


So many memories triggered by the sight of their blooming today.

October Iris

We Had to Memorize High Flight with Mrs. Stewart in the Sixth Grade

Pilot John Gillespie Magee, Jr. wrote this sonnet three months before he was killed at age 19, when his Spitfire collided with another plane on 11 December 1941.

Today when I was flying home from Panama City Florida to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania (via Baltimore), I remembered we had to memorize and recite this poem in Mrs. Stewart’s Sixth Grade at Morris Plains Borough School 1963.

True, I wasn’t the pilot but man’s ability to fly  is astounding to me.


High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.



First image shot with iPhone   The rest shot with a  Canon 50D

clouds 2


It was a great day to fly.

airplane flight2

airplane flight

Above the fruited plain……..

While Waiting for Wedding Cookies Post #2

To the bakers of the wedding cookies  for Vicci and Ben  

‘Twas Three Days Before the Wedding


While aunties and cousins are baking all day,

Kennywood’s open- people scream while at play


Upstreet the neighbors, childhood friends, drop in to chat.

They help eat misshapen rejects, reminisce and laugh.


Praline grahams, oatmeal raisin, and chocolate chip

Coconut macaroons all lovingly dipped.


Nut horns, peanut blossoms, dough rolled out, shaped and cut.

Almond, vanilla, sticks of butter, chopped nuts.


Ladylocks, pinwheels, and sugar cookies in a heart,

snowballs , biscotti and pecan tassie tarts.


Cookie tables laden, all homemade sweet treats

Pittsburgh baking traditions cannot be beat.


(Marlene is gathering the photos of Wednesday’s Cookie Baking from various members of the family.  Stay tuned)


Taken after I left the cookie bakers on Monday evening


steel phantom2




steel phantom



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