the sky

By Annette Marie Hyder

scatters sunshine by the handful today
like a king of old tossing coins
to the populace at large
and those coins float
like liquid candles
on the puddles from the storm
plash-meres that are mirrors
filled with peonies
and i want to look in every one
hold my face so that those
peonies turn to roses
reflecting on my throat remembrances
of darkness swirled with gold

The Heaviness of Stone

By Annette Marie Hyder
Memorial Day 2012

For all its marble glamor
and its steely granite allure
it is a fatal beauty
for which there is no cure.
Although there is a glory
to a hero’s pillow
beneath the sheets of history
in colors dark and alabaster
somber as ancient bones…

“It’s hard to see your father’s name
etched in stone.”
— Kevin Caulfield

Links of interest:
Warrior Writers
Combat Paper Project
Memorial Day 2011
Memorial Day 2010

After returning from Iraq, Drew Cameron co-founded Combat Paper Project, an organization which works with returning veterans to turn their uniforms
into paper, which is then used to share stories, emotions and  art; sublimating the gruesome realities of war.

From the site:

“Through ongoing participation in the
papermaking process, combat papermakers are attempting to progress from
creating works specific to their military experiences to expressing a
broader vision on militarism and society. The work reflects both the
anger of the past and hope for the future. Through this collaboration
between civilians and veterans, a much-needed conversation is generated
regarding our responsibilities to the returned veteran and an
understanding of the dehumanizing effects of warfare.”

“The story of the fiber, the blood, sweat and tears, the months of
hardship and brutal violence are held within those old uniforms. The
uniforms often become inhabitants of closets or boxes in the attic.
Reshaping that association of subordination, of warfare and service,
into something collective and beautiful is our inspiration.”
Drew Cameron

Listening to: Kate Bush

Sunday Things: Jasmine and Jennifer

Sometimes objects transcend the confines of their utilitarian objectives. It is as if they too possess souls in the form of meaning and possibilities and their souls are, in some circumstances, too large for the shell that contains them.

Imagine such an object in the form of a violin that symbolizes a young girl’s yearnings for something special and beyond what she has or is capable of at the present moment. Violins are expensive and frivolous indeed if there are budgetary restraints and considerations for things more immediately important and necessary.

But a violin that is yearned for with all of a young girl’s heart is so much more than just a violin. It is the promise of elegant dexterity in drawing forth from the polished piece cradled in one’s hands sighs and murmurs of beauty mingled so thoroughly with music that they are one and the same. It is aspiration with strings, a box crafted with wings, both friend and vehicle for a wondrous journey.

Yesterday my daughter had a special birthday celebration dinner with her step-mom, Jennifer, and family, Jude, Romeo and Andrew (I was there too!). At the end of dinner the wait staff came out clapping and singing and carrying a large wrapped present. Imagine my shock when Jasmine opened her present to her dreams come true — a violin. Jasmine is besotted with that violin!

We were driving over to Jennifer’s house after leaving the restaurant and I couldn’t help but notice the fog on the steep hillsides. It reminded me of the Smokey Mountains. “Isn’t that beautiful!?” I asked Jasmine. “Yes! Yes it is.” she breathed dreamily. Glancing over at her I saw her gazing rapturously at her violin.

I’ve been blown away every time I think of Jennifer’s getting a violin for Jasmine. Even more than the beauty of the violin itself, the beauty of the gesture is what takes my breath away.

“I used my income tax return money to buy it.” Jennifer told me. “Objects, things, they  don’t matter so much to me anymore but I would do anything for Jasmine.”

Jasmine showed me the card that Jenny got her. On the inside flap is this:

I have loved you with an everlasting love… — Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

To the most beautiful girl in the world!

Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday and in keeping with her birthday request, I didn’t blog yesterday or do much of anything but pay attention, undivided attention, to her. In doing so, I not only gave Jasmine what she wanted but gifted myself as well, with the unmitigated joy of being present in the moment with her to enjoy her scintillating presence and marvel at the beauty that she possesses — inside and out.

So, I didn’t get to post it yesterday but nothing’s stopping me today from saying on my blog:

Happy Birthday to the most beautiful girl in the world!

Link to Jasmine’s poem.

“vatican cameos”

By Annette Marie Hyder

night wraps his long arms around me
pulls me under his cloak of dreams
and lowers his lips to mine
sways me into a slow dance
that tilts me on my axis
as if i am an entire world in his arms
whispers that only with him can i see so far
into the vaults where all the stars in the sky
sparkle in their deep-space-wall-safe
the combination to which
he holds in his hands

Composition note: The titular reference is from BBC’s “Sherlock” , Series 2, Episode 1, “A Scandal in Belgravia”.

Spun Glass

By Annette Marie Hyder

Spiderwebs lace the lawn’s green thicket
looking like mouth-blown hyaline panes
and the sun traces his many fingers
of shine through every gossamer scrap
lighting up miniature bulbs of dew
strung like white holiday lights
on blades of grass and spider glass alike.

Sunday Things: Happy Mother’s Day 2012!

We all dream of flight…”

This photo, of me, my mom and my daughter, is the endpaper for my chapbook, The Consequence of Wings (On Angels and Monsters and Other Winged Things)”, published by FootHills Publishing.

(Mother’s Day 2012)
By Annette Marie Hyder

I watched you preen your wings in the sun
and dreamed of feathers of my own.
We have touched different parts of the sky
but it’s thanks to you that I have flown.

My fledgeling’s fletches are dazzlingly bright
seem hybrid especially for height
and visible in their elegant line
is your iridescent shimmer; unmistakeable

when you are an ark

By Annette Marie Hyder

water besieged and heavy
with all the cares of the world
(two by two and sometimes
multiplied by seven)
remember: you are resinous
float like hope
in the maelstrom all around you
and look for me
my heart is the dove
that will come branch in beak
with news that there is land

One of every book written

“To the making of many books there is no end…” — Ecclesiastes 12:12 NWT

Brewster Kahle is making a Noah’s Ark of sorts for books. He is collecting and preserving a physical copy of every book ever published. Earlier projects of his include the digital library internet archive. He was recently inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. The book preservation project is fascinating in how it anticipates the future. Here’s an excerpt from an article from the Huffington Post on this archiving project:

The Huffington Post reports:

“Brewster Kahle, Richmond-Based Internet Archivist, Seeks One Of Every Book Written

Tucked away in a small warehouse on a dead-end street, an Internet pioneer is building a bunker to protect an endangered species: the printed word.

Brewster Kahle, 50, founded the nonprofit Internet Archive in 1996 to save a copy of every Web page ever posted. Now the MIT-trained computer scientist and entrepreneur is expanding his effort to safeguard and share knowledge by trying to preserve a physical copy of every book ever published.

“There is always going to be a role for books,” said Kahle as he perched on the edge of a shipping container soon to be tricked out as a climate-controlled storage unit. Each container can hold about 40,000 volumes, the size of a branch library. “We want to see books live forever.”

So far, Kahle has gathered about 500,000 books. He thinks the warehouse itself is large enough to hold about 1 million titles, each one given a barcode that identifies the cardboard box, pallet and shipping container in which it resides.

That’s far fewer than the roughly 130 million different books Google engineers involved in that company’s book scanning project estimate to exist worldwide. But Kahle says the ease with which they’ve acquired the first half-million donated texts makes him optimistic about reaching what he sees as a realistic goal of 10 million, the equivalent of a major university library.

“The idea is to be able to collect one copy of every book ever published. We’re not going to get there, but that’s our goal,” he said.

Recently, workers in offices above the warehouse floor unpacked boxes of books and entered information on each title into a database. The books ranged from “Moby Dick” and “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” to “The Complete Basic Book of Home Decorating” and “Costa Rica for Dummies.”

At this early stage in the book collection process, specific titles aren’t being sought out so much as large collections. Duplicate copies of books already in the archive are re-donated elsewhere. If someone does need to see an actual physical copy of a book, Kahle said it should take no more than an hour to fetch it from its dark, dry home.

“The dedicated idea is to have the physical safety for these physical materials for the long haul and then have the digital versions accessible to the world,” Kahle said.

Peter Hanff, acting director of the Bancroft Library, the special collections and rare books library at the University of California, Berkeley, says that just keeping the books on the West Coast will save them from the climate fluctuations that are the norm in other parts of the country.

He praises digitization as a way to make books, manuscripts and other materials more accessible. But he too believes that the digital does not render the physical object obsolete.

People feel an “intimate connection” with artifacts, such as a letter written by Albert Einstein or a papyrus dating back millennia.

“Some people respond to that with just a strong emotional feeling,” Hanff said. “You are suddenly connected to something that is really old and takes you back in time.”

Since Kahle’s undergraduate years in the early 1980s, he has devoted his intellectual energy to figuring out how to create what he calls a digital version of ancient Egypt’s legendary Library of Alexandria. He currently leads an initiative called Open Library, which has scanned an estimated 3 million books now available for free on the Web.

Many of these books for scanning were borrowed from libraries. But Kahle said he began noticing that when the books were returned, the libraries were sometimes getting rid of them to make more room on their shelves. Once a book was digitized, the rationale went, the book itself was no longer needed.

Despite his life’s devotion to the promise of digital technology, Kahle found his faith in bits and bytes wasn’t strong enough to cast paper and ink aside. Even as an ardent believer in the promise of the Internet to make knowledge more accessible to more people than ever, he feared the rise of an overconfident digital utopianism about electronic books.

And he said he simply had a visceral reaction to the idea of books being thrown away.

“Knowledge lives in lots of different forms over time,” Kahle said. “First it was in people’s memories, then it was in manuscripts, then printed books, then microfilm, CD-ROMS, now on the digital Internet. Each one of these generations is very important.””

Read the entire article here.

Links of interest:

Profile for Brewster Kahle on TED
CNET reports: Internet Hall of Fame inducts first members
Excellent article in Business Standard: Too much or too little

dandy lions

By Annette Marie Hyder

with white windblown manes
roam urban and residential
shake their heads and pounce
to float away on the breeze

Links of interest:

I Love this book: Stalking the Wild Asparagus, by Euell Gibbons

Things to do with dandelions
“One person’s weed is another person’s wild flower.” — Anonymous

“Turn dandelion whines into dandelion wines” —
“Make soup and salad” —