“I Am Becoming My Mother”

“Flowers of North America” by Lou Paper

Today’s offering comes from Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison. I am currently reading I Am Becoming My Mother, her second collection of poetry. I struggled with the decision over which poem to share. I would have been satisfied with any poem in the book, but was literally torn when it came to works like “Guinea Woman,” “We Are the Women,” and “Garden of the Women Once Fallen.” I was driving myself crazy, so I decided on the one below on the basis that it is the title poem.

“I Am Becoming My Mother” by Lorna Goodison

Yellow/brown woman
fingers smelling always of onion

My mother raises rare blooms
and waters them with tea
her birth waters sang like rivers
my mother is now me

My mother had a linen dress
the colour of sky
and stored lace and damask
tablecloths
to pull shame out of her eye.

I am becoming my mother
brown/yellow woman
fingers smelling always of onions.

I am drawn to Goodison’s writing for a few reasons. Among them the cadence that makes me want to sing rather than just read the words and her masterful use of imagery, which makes the ordinary deeply striking.


About the image: The postcard above came from my swap-bot pal, EricB. I was randomly selected to receive this postcard via a giveaway on Instagram. Yay, me! The postcard was designed by Lou Papers, and was bedecked with even more flowers on the back.

Children’s Book Illustration Postcard | La vie des mini-héros

CBI 57: La vie des mini-héros. Illustration by Oliver Tallec.

From time to time the mini hero must stop being a mini hero.

Isn’t this an adorable postcard?

The postcard, featuring a mini hero, came from Valériane  (LuneDePapier on swap-bot) of Brittany, France. She rightly assumed I would love the postcard because of the humor.

La vie des mini-héros [Life as a Mini Hero] was authored by French illustrator Olivier Tallec. The books are designed for preschoolers:

Clad in bright suits that bespeak their daring deeds, these mini heroes live their daily lives assailed by all sorts of difficulty and disaster. Whether jumping rope on the playground, eating towers of ice-cream, or hanging upside-down from the ceiling, they are never short of plans and prospects! Sometimes, it’s true, they have to pause, which may be the greatest challenge of all.  –Google Books.

Tallec has illustrated more than 50 books, including the gorgeously illustrated This is a Poem That Heals a Fish. [The link leads to a Brain Pickings article filled with images from the book].

You can find out more about Tallec’s work through this brief interview: Interview with Olivier Tallec.

Until tomorrow…

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards | Dikkie Dik!

I haven’t done a post featuring children’s book illustration (CBI) postcards in a long time, so I decided to dedicate three posts this week to CBI postcards. I have more than 60 to share; I won’t get caught up this week, but I’ll do what I can.

Today’s offering…Dikkie Dik! Both cards below were sent for Children’s Book Illustration Postcard swaps on swap-bot. The cards came from Dutch swappers, Marianne and Marleen.

CBI Swap 30: Dikkie Dik. Illustration by Jet Boeke, 2017

Dikkie Dik is a series of Dutch children’s books featuring a naughty orange cat named Dikkie Dik. The cat originally appeared on the Dutch version of Sesame Street (SS). According to Marianne, who remembers fondly the stories from SS, the books are “cute with big illustrations and very little text.”

BLC CBI Swap 57. Dikkie Dik. Illustration by Jet Boeke.

The Dikkie Dik books are illustrated by Jet Boeke and written by Arthur van Norden. Though the series began in 1978 as stories told to children on Sesame Street, the books soon made their way to bookstores. There are now hundreds of Dikkie Dik stories to enjoy.

Dikkie Dik Postage Placeholder. Illustration by Jet Boeke

Dikkie Dik doesn’t look so naughty to me, but looks can be deceiving. I guess, I’ll have to read some of the stories to know for sure.

Brilliant Beginnings!

Have you ever picked up a book that reeled you in with its first line? Many books fit that description for me, so when Holly (aka hollycm6) hosted a “Brilliant Beginnings” swap for the Cup and Chaucer group on swap-bot I was all in!

Swappers were to send a postcard with a favorite first line to two partners. I received two postcards today and one a few days ago.

The first to arrive was a handmade, mixed media card by none other than the mixed media queen, Diane W (aka midteacher).

Mixed Media by Diane W. (midteacher)

She appropriately paired her handmade postcard with an Edgar Allan Poe beginning from “To Science, A Prologue to Al Aaraaf”

SCIENCE! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

Shelby (aka Shellbee8), a new swapper to me, sent a Notre Dame postcard with two classic beginnings–Charles Dickens’ familiar lines from A Tale of Two Cities and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot:

Notre Dame, Paris

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.  -Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Nothing to be done. –[Estragon] Beckett, Waiting for Godot

I received a bonus card from Holly (yay!). Happy mail dance! Thank you, Holly!

She wrote on the bookish postcard two quotes from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine–one from the introduction:

This book, like most of my books and stories, was a surprise.

And of course, the first line of chapter 1:

It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed.

I haven’t read this one, but Holly wrote a micro review that compelled me to add it to my “to be read” list:

[This is] such a beautiful, sweet book, one that makes the world a better place because it exists.

There’s no way I can pass up a book that “makes the world a better place.”

My own brilliant first line came from Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea. That book! Not only did it give me a memorable first line but it also helped me find words for my struggle with Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre:

They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did. But we were not in their ranks. The Jamaican ladies had never approved of my mother, ‘because she pretty like pretty self,’ Christophine said.

What about you? What are the first lines that kept you turning pages?

Acquainted with the Night: A Painting and a Poem

“A Yorkshire Lane in November 1873,” by John Atkinson Grimshaw

Lanai Views | #WordlessWednesday

Lanai

“In the Mountains,” Li Bai (Chinese Poet, 701-762)

You ask me what my idea is, staying in the green mountains?
I smile but have no reply, my heart at peace in itself.

As the peach blossom on the flowing water goes into the unknown,
there is another heaven and earth, not among people.

Trans. William P. Coleman


About the images: Photos from a trip to Maui, Hawaii many moons ago. The photos were shot from a yacht early one evening.