A Poem for a Thursday #50


Today's poem is another one by Mary Oliver just because I like it. Sometimes I look for poets and poems that are new to me and sometimes I go back to ones that have become favorites. I don't think I have read a poem of Mary Oliver's that I haven't liked.

Don't you imagine the leaves dream now
   how comfortable it will be to touch 
the earth instead of the
   nothingness of the air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don't you think
   the trees, especially those with
mossy hollows, are beginning to look for

the birds that will come-six, a dozen-to sleep
   inside their bodies? And don't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
   the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond 
   stiffens and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
   its long blue shadows. The wind wags
its many tails. And in the evening
   the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way. 

Song for Autumn
Mary Oliver

Reese has a Robert Frost poem this week.

Crafty Things//A Refinished Table


I finally did it. I refinished my kitchen table and covered it in book pages. It isn't perfect and if I did it again there are things I would change but, all in all, I am very happy with it.

My table had a very damaged surface so something had to be done with it. I thought about just painting it but then I came across a tutorial online with gorgeous photos of a table covered in pages. I fell in love. I have quite a few books that have fallen apart and I have been using them for various crafts. I won't deliberately destroy a book but ones that disintegrated on their own are fair game. I used On the Banks of Plum Creek because I love the illustrations and the book is a huge part of my reading history.


It is surprisingly hard to take a photo of the finished product. It actually looks nicer in real life. I am hoping it holds up well. I used two cans of spray polyurethane in the hopes of making it very water-resistant. We shall see. I still need to spray paint the chairs so they match the table legs but I will get around to that eventually. The difference in color is barely noticeable anyway.

My husband is pleased I am happy with it, my daughter has decided she likes it, and my son is driven crazy by it. He says if I had to cover the table in book pages couldn't I at least put them in order and neatly next to each other so it can be read. The randomness of it bothers him.  I said it looks more artistic this way but he isn't convinced.

I have a lot of other books that have fallen apart. Does anyone have any other craft suggestions for me?




A Poem for a Thursday #49

Photo by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash
Carl Dennis is an American poet who has won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He writes of  "quotidian, middle-class life, but beneath the modest, reasonably lighted surfaces of the poems lie unexpected possibilities that create contrast and vibrancy."

Today as we walk in Paris I promise to focus
More on the sights before us than on the woman
We noticed yesterday in the photograph at the print shop,
The slender brunette who looked like  you
As she posed with a violin case by a horse-drawn omnibus
Near the Luxembourg Gardens. Today I won't linger long
On the obvious point that her name is as lost to history
As the name of the graveyard where her bones
Have been crumbling to dust for over a century.
The streets we're to wander will shine more brightly
Now that it's clear the day of her death
Is of little importance compared to the moment
Caught in the photograph as she makes her way
Through afternoon light like this toward the Seine,
Or compared to our walk as we pass the Gardens.
The cold rain that fell this morning has given way to sunshine.
The gleaming puddles reflect our mood
Just as they reflected hers as she stepped around them
Smiling to herself, happy that her audition
Went well this morning. After practicing scales
For years in a village whose name isn't recorded,
She can study in Paris with one of the masters
And serve the music according to laws more rigorous
Than any passed by the grand assemblies of Europe,
Laws I hope she always tried to obey. 
No way of telling now how close her life 
Came to the life she hoped for as she rambled,
On the day of the photograph, along the quay.
And why do I need to know it when she herself,
If offered a chance to peruse the book of the future,
Would likely shake her head no and turn away.
She wants to focus on the afternoon almost gone
As we want to focus now on breathing and savoring
While we stand on the bridge she stood on to watch
The steamers push against the current or ease down.
This flickering light on the water as boats pass by
Is the flow that many painters have tried to capture
Without holding too still. By the time these boats arrive
Far off in the provinces and give up their cargoes,
Who knows where the flow may have carried us?
But to think now of our leaving is to wrong the moment.
We have to be wholly here as she was
If we want the city that welcomed her
To welcome us as students trained in her school
To enjoy the music as much as she did
When she didn't grieve that she couldn't stay

In Paris
Carl Dennis

Brona has shared a poem by Wislawa Szymborska this week and Reese has one by Auden.

Book Purchases


My daughter has discovered a love for thrift shopping. She spent years rolling her eyes at my secondhand purchases and then suddenly decided thrift stores were full of cool, vintage things.  I am pretty sure a subreddit is responsible for her change of mind. There is absolutely no chance she suddenly realized her mom was right all along. Last Saturday she asked to go to Savers to look for vintage clothes. I was happy to oblige even though few things will make you feel as old as realizing that the "vintage" clothes your 14-year-old daughter is looking for are the very same clothes you wore in your teenage years. I know all clothing styles eventually cycle back but it is odd to see the 1980s returning. We both had fun trying on all kinds of random clothing items, and she decided to buy one very 1980s sweater, and then we went and browsed the book rack.


I bought a few books. I don't usually do too well finding books at this Savers but someone with similar reading taste to me must have just donated some books and I hit the jackpot. I found two British Library Crime Classics. I almost never come across those. I practically started jumping up and down in excitement. I am sure my daughter would have loved that. Parents are so embarrassing. I also found two more books with very pretty covers. They obviously came from the U.K. since the price on the back is in pounds. I have read Cold Comfort Farm but I didn't know this book existed. The Edmund Crispin book is familiar but I don't think I have ever read it.


I also bought a copy of War and Peace. It was never a book that appealed greatly to me but then Hamlette at The Edge of the Precipice wrote a review that got me interested. Maybe I will get around to it during the winter. The Georgette Heyer is because I am trying to complete my collection. I might actually own this somewhere but I can't be bothered to look right now. My daughter bought a couple of Redwall books and we picked up a Star Wars book for my son.


I also had a few books show up in the mail. The Mignon Eberhart is because I can never have too much vintage romantic suspense in my life. The book of essays about Jane Austen was recommended by Girl With Her Head in a Book. I can't find the specific post but her whole blog is very good. Go read it if you don't already. I bought In Search of London because I am slowly working my way through H. V. Morton's books. I greatly enjoy his travels around the U.K. I wrote a post about one of his other books here.

I think my daughter's new interest in thrifting might be bad for my book purchases-or good, depending on how you look at it.


This was my other purchase at Savers. Ignore the fact that the mirror isn't clean and the photo is pretty bad. My grandmother had a mirror very similar to this and I always loved it so when I saw this I had to buy it. I have no idea where I am going to hang it but it is still making me very happy.

A Poem for a Thursday #48

Photo by Tom Rumble on Unsplash
Our neighbor got a dog. It barks. It barks a lot. Last night it barked for 95 minutes straight; yes, I timed it. We have tried talking to her and she just got angry with us. We have tried contacting animal control and they just ignored us.

I am ready to move. If anyone has a little farmhouse in the middle of nowhere we can rent that would be great. It has to have no neighbors. Though my husband says we could build a house in the Sahara Desert and someone would buy the next dune and move in with a yapping dog. Probably true.

Billy Collins wrote a poem about a barking dog. Here it is.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking.

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius. 

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House
Billy Collins

Reese is sharing a Dorothy Parker poem today.

Rereadings by Anne Fadiman


I love Anne Fadiman's writing. Her love of books spills out from the page and she frequently puts into words the things I have just thought. I am slowly working my way through Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love and while it does not have as much of her writing as I would like it is still very enjoyable. I particularly liked her introduction where she talked about reading a beloved book of her childhood aloud to her son.

Reading a favorite book to your child is one of the most pleasurable forms of rereading, provided the child's enthusiasm is equal to yours and thus gratifyingly validates your literary taste, your parental competence, and your own former self. Henry loved The Horse and His Boy, the tale of two children and two talking horses who gallop across an obstacle-fraught desert in hopes of averting the downfall of an imperiled kingdom that lies to the north. It's the most suspensful of the Narnia books, and Henry, who was at that poignant age when parents are still welcome at bedtime but glimpse their banishment on the horizon, begged me each night not to turn out the light just yet:  how about another page, and then how about another paragraph, and then, come on, how about just one more sentence? There was only one problem with this idyllic picture. As I read the book to Henry, I was thinking to myself that C.S. Lewis, not to put too fine a point on it, was a racist and sexist pig. 

What does one do when your much-loved book does not fit in with your grown-up, current-day values? How do you present it to your child? Fadiman started discussing the book with her son and this is what happened.

Henry shot me the sort of look he might have used had I dumped a pint of vinegar into a bowl of chocolate ice cream. And who could blame him? He didn't want to analyze, criticize, evaluate, or explicate the book. He didn't want to size it up or slow it down. He wanted exactly what I had wanted at eight; to find out if Shasta and Aravis would get to Archenland in time to warn King Lune that his castle was about to be attacked by evil Prince Rabadash and two hundred Calormene horsemen. "Mommy," he said fiercly, "can you just read?" 

Henry, like many children, immersed himself in the action, the adventure, the sheer excitement of the story. But when we reread we see things we missed before. Does that always change our love of the book? I'll let Fadiman answer.

Still, C.S. Lewis treated girls and Calormenes as inferiors, and I could not get that out of my mind. For a while, the knowledge of his small-mindedness wrestled uneasily with the pleasure I took in his book. By the time I closed the last page, however, I found that the pleasure, without conscious instruction from me though doubtless with some abetment by Henry, had clearly gotten the upper hand. The book's flaws were serious but the connection was too strong to sever. 
And why shouldn't it be? The same thing happens with our parents. They start out as gods, and then we learn that they committed adultery, or drank too much, or cheated on their taxes, or maybe they just looked awkward on the dance floor or went on too long when they told a story. But do we stop loving them?

 I have only read a couple of the other essays in the book and they are very good but I do wish I had an entire book of Fadiman's writing. If you haven't read Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader then go find a copy right now. It is a joy and a pleasure. I wrote a post about it here.

A Poem for a Thursday #47

Photo by Stéphane Juban on Unsplash


William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet who lived from 1865-1939. Yeats was very involved in politics and was appointed a senator of the Irish Free State in 1922. His poetry frequently reflected his pessimistic attitude toward the state of politics in his country. Yeats was also a playwright and he was one of the founders of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Yeats won the Nobel Prize in 1923.

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 

When You Are Old
William Butler Yeats

Reese is sharing a poem on her blog, Typings.