Saturday, July 27, 2019

Peace Camp!!

Peace Camp LogoWhen you work as a Youth Services Library staffer in a public library, your summers are never your own.  So, back when Peace Camp started, I was only able to help out as a visiting storyteller - ONCE!!

I retired from full time employment a long time ago - 8 years ago.  I worked most of the last 7 summers as a part time Youth Services staffer at public libraries so... Last year was the first time I could volunteer for Peace Camp. Volunteering is how Peace Camp is done.

What is Peace CampLePoCo, a local Peace and Justice organization, has run a camp for children in kindergarten through 8th grade for THIRTY YEARS!  This year was the 30th Peace Camp. For a whole week, from 9 am to 12 noon, kids meet to learn about cooperation, non-violence, mindfulness, diversity, and respect. Adult and teen volunteers lead non-competitive games - and they are so much FUN! - singing, folk dances, drumming, yoga, arts and crafts, STEM projects that encourage respect for the environment, storytelling, and anything else that can involve kids in peaceful interaction. The group I helped with this year met with a beekeeper, learned about aroma therapy, and made spinning fish, among other things.

LePoCo arranges for transportation. Camp fees are on a sliding scale. Every single adult and teen that helps with the camp is a volunteer.  Over 100 children and young teens sign up each year.

I have already blocked out my calendar for Peace Camp in 2020. If you live in the Lehigh Valley, consider helping with this worthwhile and fun program.
HUGE thanks to First Presbyterian of Allentown for letting Peace Camp use their facility from the very beginning.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Phoebe and Her Unicorn - POETRY!!

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I discovered Phoebe and her Unicorn books by Dana Simpson a few weeks ago and I am in huge like with them.  (Sister Ann insisted that people can only love other people, not things.) So I really, really, really like these clever books very much - and a lot.

D LOVES them.  She never met Sister Ann so she's allowed.

I need to share poetry/lyrics written to the tune of Gibert and Sullivan's "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" from Pirates of Penzance.  You can find these lyrics in Volume 2 of Phoebe and her Unicorn or Unicorn on a Roll.   Everything written and drawn in these books is done by Dana Simpson!

"I am the very model of a modern magic unicorn
I've information, magic and I never wear a uniform.
My entrances are heralded by trumpets and a flugelhorn.
I've eaten many bagels and my horn can write in cuneiform.

I make up for my lack of hands with magic ingenuity,
manipulating objects with a startling acuity.*
I'm also rather stunning in a way that's undeniable.
To stare at me in wonder is completely justifiable."

If you are not familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan's song, Veggie Tales does a clever and easy to understand version in this video. Enjoy and admire.

*This rhyme - alone - places Dana Simpson forever in the pantheon of poets I most admire.

Poetry Challenge - Writer's Digest

Poetry is not all that easy.  Some people, Edward Lear, for instance, made rhymes tumble effortlessly.  Poetry is more than rhyme and rhythm. As Karl Shapiro and Robert Beum state at the end of The Prosody Handbook, "...the rhyme exists for the sake of the poem, and not vice versa."

Fitting the poem to a specific poetic form, a couplet or a limerick or a sonnet, in which line length, rhyme scheme and  number of lines are predetermined is akin to solving a puzzle.  We have the idea and the image or emotion and then we find words to fit the poetic form. 

Over on Writer's Digest's Poetic Asides, Robert Lee Brewer has issued a challenge to write zejels!  Until the challenge landed in my inbox, I never even HEARD or zejels.  Brewer gives instructions on how this old Spanish, or perhaps Arabian, poetic form is constructed.  Check out the challenge here.

I love a challenge.  So, here is my entry.  Hopefully, my effort will show up on Poetic Asides someday soon.

Good or bad?

Every time I rip out a weed
I wonder - could it fill a need?
Does a cure hide in leaf or seed?

That discarded stem, root, or flower -
a blot cleared from my garden bower -
might hold calming good health or power
if left in place to spread and breed.

The foragers might find true worth
in these plants I pull from the earth -
oils to sooth or to promote mirth,
or hungry multitudes to feed.

Still I tug and tear, pull, reject
the plants that grow without respect.
There are rules I cannot reject,
that botanists, long gone, decreed.

Karen Maurer
zejel July 11, 2019