Two Roads Diverged in a Green Wood

We were on our way to a First Communion Party a week ago and my Daughter- in-Law was driving. When we saw the two branches of road in front of us, The Road Not Taken, the poem by Robert Frost, came to mind. Yes, these woods are a new Spring green, not a yellow wood, but poetic/blogging license?
When I went to find the actual poem I found this interesting Paris Review article by David Orr*.  Here’s a quote from his article, The Most Misread Poem in America (click here )
Go to the article and read about a 2008 New Zealand Ford Co Car Commercial which uses the poem without even giving credit to Robert Frost! If you want to consider the variances in interpretation of Frost’s poem you will find the article enlightening.
“Given the pervasiveness of Frost’s lines, it should come as no surprise that the popularity of “The Road Not Taken” appears to exceed that of every other major twentieth-century American poem, including those often considered more central to the modern (and modernist) era.”   
 Author Orr listed the GOOGLE stats of searches to prove it!  Who knew this particular was so popular?
Parts of verses still stick in my mind and when I saw this scene in the woods, they came right up. When I was in grade school, we had to memorize a poem a week and recite it from memory.
    The Road Not Taken 
                                                   by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(By the way, we took the right of the fork)
*from the article
David Orr is the poetry columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is the winner of the Nona Balakian Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, and his writing has appeared in The New YorkerPoetrySlate, and The Yale Review.
 

McWalker Yarns Hosted a Poetry Reading in Millvale

Thursday evening in Millvale, Amy McCall, owner of McWalker Yarns hosted poets Sheryl St. Germain and her former MFA student at Chatham U, Michael Bennett.

The yarn store was a wonderful backdrop for Sheryl St. Germain’s reading. Surrounded by skeins and skeins of colorful yarn, Sheryl read her powerful essay (from Stitching Resistance:  Women, Creativity and Fiber Arts  edited by Marjorie Agosin). She told of the role crochet has played in her life since childhood, but focusing on how crocheting with yarn helped her cope while parenting a son who was in trouble with alcohol, drugs and the law. She also read poems about her son’s dying of a heroin overdose from her book The Small Door of Your Death.  Her words touched the audience as she described the helplessness and grief, her numbness, as she centered herself every evening after a long day- crocheting an afghan for her son.  The repetition of hook into yarn loops as a meditation, an ease from depression and the stress of hopelessness. A healing.

 

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Pittsburgh native Michael Bennett read his poetry first and opened for Ms. St. Germain.  Michael  has worked for three years with Words Without Walls program, teaching incarcerated Juvenile offenders, teenagers being tried as adults.


Cellist David Bennett and McWalker Yarns supporter introduces the poet and provided delicious desserts  by Millvale Baker Jean-Marc Chatelier


New Orleans native Sheryl St. Germain has published six poetry books, two collections of essays, and co-edited two anthologies. The Small Door of Your Death, a collection of poems about the death of her son from a heroin overdose, appeared in 2018 with Autumn House Press. A forthcoming book, Fifty Miles, is a collection of essays about healing that include a couple of essays about working with yarn. Sheryl directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chatham University where she also teaches poetry and creative nonfiction, and is co-founder of the Words Without Walls Program . She was named Louisiana Writer of the year in 2018. Sheryl is an avid and accomplished crocheter, and a much less accomplished knitter. See: www.sheryl-stgermain.com/ for more information.

 

Desserts  created  by  Jean-Marc Chatellier French Bakery

A Tribute to Jimmy Cvetic

Remembering Jimmy Cvetic  (click for article by Rich Lord)

Vietnam Vet, Police Detective, Boxing Coach and Poet.  Poet is how I came to know him over the years, hearing him read at Hemingway’s Café in Oakland where he organized the Summer Poetry Reading Series for decades. He had an incredibly generous spirit. No one will be able to fill his shoes. He wrote the following poetry books:The Secret Society of Dog, Dog Unleashed, Dog is a Love from Hell, Dog Days published by Lascaux Editions.

Jimmy Cvetic   

September 8, 1949- February 15, 2019

Jimmy with Franco Harris on August 17, 2017 Little Italy Days in Bloomfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh PA.  I photographed them after Franco played in a Bocce game on Cedarville Street.

Click here to read Jimmy Cvetic in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Saturday Poem : Another God Poem

 

By Their Sidewalks You Will Know Them

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.

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16 responses

Bill

Too deep for me.

February 19, 2010 at 7:07 am Edit

Reply

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

Reply

Dorothy

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

Dorothy

February 19, 2010 at 9:12 am Edit

Reply

erica

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

Reply

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

Reply

joseph k

that is one great photo

joseph

February 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm Edit

Reply

Bonnie Imhoff

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

POST NAVIGATION

7 THOUGHTS ON “BY THEIR SIDEWALKS YOU WILL KNOW THEM – GUEST POET TIMONS ESAIAS- ORIGINALLY POSTED 2-19-2010”

Historic South Side Presbyterian Hosted Poetry Reading

What is so rare as a day in June?

Friday June 10th

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Poets Mike James, Roberta Hatcher and Timons Esaias

IMG_0257Book signing after the reading

Note:  Roberta Hatcher’s book cover of French Lessons is shown in postcard form above- Watch for information about upcoming Book Release Party  Finishing Line Press

Mike James drove up from Chapel Hill to read and he has a new book, Peddler’s Blues forthcoming (August) preorder at Main Street Rag Press

Timons Esaias    2015 Louis Award winner  On Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25, from 7:00pm to 10:00pm, get your autographed copy of the book directly from Timons at In Your Write Mind, Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA. or click his name to buy from Amazon link. Published by Concrete Wolf

IMG_0268Poets  Michael Wurster mentor, poet, teacher, Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange founder,  (front right)

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Michael Wurster and host Pastor Kathy Hamilton-Vargo

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 10.38.23 PM.pngThe Poetry Reading was Sponsored by The Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange and hosted by South Side Presbyterian Church.

 

The Satisfaction of Sock Knitting

knitsocks

A Handknit Sock

There’s a math to it. The cast on. Count
the multiples of four.
Last year it was hats and cowls.
This year, socks.
I want to try the fish lips kiss heel.

It’s a simple thing. How a sock is knit.
You start with yarn.
Needles as slim as toothpicks.
Terms like toe and gusset and cuff.
My friend says, "it’s too much work."

There’s a rhythm in the repetition.
The making. Clockwise circles.
Some throw, some pick.
Row after row after row.
In time you get length and warmth.

There’s the calm you long for,
around and around and around.
Turn heel for a path to Zen.
You think of those you love.
The grandmother who taught you.

The wet squeezed out,
pairs hang to dry. Later fold
their softness, admire the colors,
ignore imperfections.
Find comfort, hidden in shoes.
My squishy hand knit socks.

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?

poem

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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

 

 

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The typewriter poet explains how it works. IMG_9297

 

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The custom poem she created with my words.

 

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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.

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

Quotes

“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

My Conversation With God – Guest Blog

 

My conversation with God 7/13/13

I don’t want to talk about the Treyvon Benjamin Martin story

Because it’s been told before        because I know how it ends

black boy      dead boy        no boy wins.

And you,

you were supposed to be watching

keeping him from harm.

His mother prayed and prayed    and

you said you would       she believed

you could

he was the one in the hood

and you just didn’t.

Maybe you looked away for a second

got distracted,

heard thousands calling your name

so much you couldn’t hear him

couldn’t decipher it from the voices

the noises,

maybe you confused it with a cheer

when the field goal was good,

or a hymn        that was really loud

maybe you didn’t like what he had to say

all young and un-educated like.

but really,

how long would it have taken,

how long did it take

for you to call

for him to leave,

join you,

be rewarded

such a short time

in your care.

Was it just too dark that night?  Was he just too dark that night?

They say he looked like all the others, “all the other punks that get away”.

 

 — a poem by Cj Coleman

Cj teaches in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, is a Western Pennsylvania Writing Project Fellow (U of Pittsburgh) and a member of Madwomen in the Attic (Carlow University)

Cj emailed me this poem and I found this photograph in my archives to accompany her words.

Hoodie Day March 30, 2012
 Hoodie Day March 30, 2012                 Pittsburgh Public Schools
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