A Springtime Etheree

Butterfly and Indian Paintbrush

“Pollenaise”

Rich
tattered
shadowed bits
of sunlit life
skip, scoot and scatter
along the meadow’s edge,
tracing paths of nascent spring,
nudging lush, emerging blossoms,
swirling away on rising breezes
’til seized and held by summer’s verdant hand.

For more information on the poetic form known as the Etheree, please click HERE.
To see a performance of a traditional Polish Polonaise, click HERE.
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Published in: on May 3, 2013 at 6:32 am  Comments (97)  
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  1. Oh dear, just when we thought summer was coming, how the wind whipped around the house last night and temperatures have dropped.
    I like the title of your etheree, evoking Nature’s energetic dance until summer. As always, nicely done.

    • Georgette,

      I’ll admit it – I really didn’t have 35 mph winds in mind when I used the phrase “rising breezes”. It’s late for a front, no doubt, but my cousin in Kansas City was even less pleased to tell me last night of the snow collecting on their lawn. Personally, I’m happy to put off the summer blast furnace as long as possible.

      I couldn’t work “pollenaise” into my previous pollen post, but it seemed too good not to use!

      Linda

  2. Hi Linda, Lovely poem!

    • Thanks, Ellen. I enjoy your haiku so much (and those that you link to) but I tend toward the Etheree. What they have in common, of course, is the counting of syllables – it’s more of a discipline than I realized in the beginning!

      Linda

      • As you know, I learned of the Etheree this week from you. Many prefer to write haiku in the 5/7/5 traditional format, and many haiku are shorter now. I’m learning a lot at The Haiku Foundation, many interesting (and lively) discussions.

        Thanks for your kind words about my haiku.

        • I added a link to the Haiku Foundation in your comment for those who might be interested. Thanks for reminding me of it!

  3. Just beautiful!! I like how the words sort of roll off my tongue. We are finally in Spring here in Michigan. All the beautiful wildflowers emerging in the woods and the spring bulbs that have slept through our long winter, are up and waving in the breeze. Renews my soul!!!

    • Judy,

      Heaven knows you’ve waited long enough for those wildflowers and bulbs to do their thing. Even here, where the seasons aren’t so distinct, there’s a lushness to spring that’s hard to ignore. I love it when the grumpiest dandelion-hater in the world stops to admire the flower before throwing it out!

      Linda

  4. I guess it’s finally Spring here, for the weather certainly has been changeable! One day sunny and warm, one day cold and rainy. Mother Nature just can’t seem to decide what she wants to dish out — perhaps variety is the spice of life?!
    What a beautiful photo and the words to go with it, Linda — I don’t believe I’m familiar with that type of flower, though. What is it?

    • Debbie,

      We’re going through the same cycles of warm and cold. It’s our typical spring pattern. It’s just lingering a bit longer than it usually does. I don’t mind, since we’ll not get below freezing, but I know there are gardeners in the Dallas region who aren’t pleased.

      The photo’s from central Texas, a couple of weeks ago. If you mouse over the image you’ll see that it’s an Indian paintbrush, but it’s not the best example. I was more interested in trying to capture that pretty (still unidentified) butterfly. For a close-up of the paintbrush, click here. And for a broader view, try this.

      In the second photo you can see some bluebonnets, our state flower. One of my cherished memories is the trip mom and I took through the hill country to see wildflowers. There was a huge pasture that was half bluebonnets and half Indian paintbrush. The blue and red combination resulted in the most amazing illusion of purple – it was beautiful, and mom talked about it for years.

      Linda

      • Thanks for this info, Linda. I remember seeing Indian paintbrush years ago — only, like in your trip with your mom, it was mixed with bluebonnets. There were entire fields of them (I imagine, thanks to Lady Bird Johnson) between Dallas and Denton. I’d forgotten how lovely they were. Since I only saw them from the car, I didn’t realize how delicate-looking they are!

        • Isn’t it amazing how much variation there can be in a flower’s appearance in different contexts? I used to be taken with the large views – those fields filled with single colors. Now, I’m more appreciative of closeups, and fields of mixed blooms.

  5. Thanks so much for introducing me to the Etheree. I’ve become quite a fan and enjoy sharing it with others at poetry writing workshops. Your springtime “Pollenaise” is a delight. I might offer a tongue-in-cheek word substitution for the last line – “sneezed” instead of “seized”. Thanks again.

    • Jennifer,

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the Etheree. It seems to me a nice, elastic form. I haven’t a clue how the experts would distinguish between the forms, but I always think of the haiku as a snapshot and the Etheree as a thirty-second video.

      I’m so happy you like “Pollenaise”. That little bit of word-play makes me smile every time I read it. I’ve always known the dance as “Polonaise”, but discovered the Polish word is “Polonez”, and “Polonaise” actually is French for “Polish”. Amazing, the things we learn!

      Linda

  6. My first introduction to Etheree. I like it. The flow seems natural and your words are enticing. And, of course, I love spring.

    • Curt,

      The form’s been varied in several ways. Some people favor the “double Etheree”, where the first half replicates what I did above and then the poem finishes by working backward with an additional ten lines, ten syllables down to one. It is a form that seems to encourage flow, rather than emphasizing rhyme or strict meter.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Like you, I love spring, and wanted to “pay it some mind”, as my grandma would say.

      Linda

      • Thanks Linda. Springs breaking out all over here in Southern Oregon. A very pregnant doe just walked by.

        Curt

  7. Oh gosh, Linda, what a beautiful ode to spring, and you’ve almost got it in a perfect xmas tree shape which isn’t easy.
    I can’t just chose one favorite line. I really like your opening description of sunlight as tattered and rich

    Hah hah I enjoyed Jennifer’s comment re: substituting “seized” with “sneezed”

    An unrelated question: Can you explain how to place a link in the comments?

    • rosie,

      So interesting and fun that you saw the sunlight as tattered and rich. I was thinking of the butterfly – but of course, when I began the poem, the first lines were,

      Sharp,
      edgy
      shadowed bits
      of sunlit life…

      and I was thinking about what grains of pollen look like under an electron microscope! Forty drafts later, give or take, the focus had changed completely.

      Ah, links. If I try and explain here, the form will turn itself into a link. Instead, you can go here and find the way to do it. The first section (HTML Hyperlinks) is an introduction. The next two sections (HTML Syntax and Example) show you exactly how to do it. You can insert the URL for anything – a page, an image, or even a YouTube video. If you ever want to do that, just click the button under the video that says “share”, copy the text that’s highlighted, and insert it in your link.

      If you have any trouble, just drop me an email.

      I’m glad you like the poem. It does look pretty on the page, doesn’t it?

      Linda

      • Many thanks for the link Linda.
        Hah! so that’s why I’ve never been able to get a YouTube video to show up in my comment!

        • If you want to LINK to the video, use the instructions above. If you want the video itself to show up, there’s a different way to do it. You can find that on the WordPress Support Pages.. Pretty much everything I know about this stuff I learned from googling various subjects or from the WP forums and support pages.

  8. Poor battered butterfly…for some, springtime is a lot of work…

    • Martha,

      No question that there’s work to be done! But the butterfly seemed pretty happy. It was interesting to watch. It never landed, but hovered like the hummingbird moths I’ve seen The reason one set of wings looks so blurry is (ahem) inadequate photography.

      It really was something. I’ve never had a butterfly allow me to hang around and watch it probing flowers with its proboscis. I swear I heard it slurping up all that sweetness. ;-)

      Linda

  9. Emerging blossoms swirling away on rising breezes. This is why you are a poet. Who else could put these words together with such imagery and majesty.

    • jeanie,

      Oh, there are lots of people who put words-in-praise-of-spring together with equal creativity. That’s one thing spring has going for it – even the words themselves (blossom, breeze, sunlight and shade) have such positive associations it makes people feel good just to read or hear them.

      But I’m glad you liked the poem. I mentioned on another blog that I really like the easy, unforced unfolding of spring. That’s part of the feeling I was trying to capture – like this wonderful combination of kitty and Lao-Tzu!

      Linda

  10. “A Springtime Etheree” brings spring round to all places still cold;
    very nice write…

    • Lindy Lee,

      I can’t help laughing. Every time I start typing your name, I end up with Linda Lee, hear my mother’s voice and have to start again.

      There surely are places still cold – cold, snowy and a little icy in some cases. I hope spring comes for them soon, as I know how winter can drag at the end. In the meantime, at least we have words and memories.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for saying so!

      Linda

  11. I’ve read many etheree – including your lovely one here – but have never been able to write one myself.

    • Val,

      Isn’t it strange how some forms seem to fit us, and others don’t? It’s not very highbrow, but I can spit out limericks on a dime. Etherees are fun. But haiku? Very difficult for me. A few have sprung to mind full-blown, or with only an adjustment needed here or there, but I have a very hard time setting out to do one of those.

      I’m happy to see you – I’ll be by to see if you’re off your blog break now.

      Linda

  12. H washed the pollen off the deck and porch floor today. I’d planned to snap some photos of the pollen as it swirled away, however, considering my ridiculous lungs, I decided to be prudent and stayed inside until he was finished.

    Your poem is beautiful. Spring makes us poetic, doesn’t it? Even those of us who cannot write poetry feel it in our hearts. Thank you.

    • Bella Rum,

      You’d better stay away from that stuff! We’re getting used to you being back in the land of the living, and rather enjoy it.

      After weeks of being oh, so smug, thinking that I’d avoided problems this year, something has blown in. I think the trees are done with their little extravaganza, so it’s probably the oleanders or waxleaf ligustrum or some such. On the other hand, the way the north wind’s been blowing, it could be snow mold from Saskatchewan.

      Spring does tend us toward poetry, I think. The season seems to call for a lighter touch. Maybe spring poetry is the literary version of salad. Who wants pot roast in May?

      OH! You have to go and look at this looper larva. I think you know some of his kinfolk!

      Linda

      • Those guys are something. Ours are almost finished, but I did bump into a few of them when I was walking around my yard a couple of days ago. They hang from the trees on their threads, and if you don’t pay attention you’re suddenly face to face with them.

  13. Oh they do lead us a dance don’t they? Especially if you’re trying to capture one with a camera – I’ll bet from a distance the whole scenario looks like some sort of elaborate ballet.

    • The Bug,

      I don’t know if you would have called it a dance if you’d been watching me trail this thing, but you surely would have been amused! I’m more and more in awe of people who can photograph these creatures. Sometimes I’m just not patient enough, I know that.

      I did better with the churches I’d gone to see. They don’t move around so much – although I managed to cut the cross off the top of one steeple in every single photo. Sigh. I’ll just have to go back and spend another day.

      I was thinking about your bag today, and the crocheted afghans my mom and her friends used to make. One lady made one of linked butterflies instead of squares.It was gorgeous – have you ever seen one of these?

      Linda

  14. What a sweet Etheree! Haven’t tried my hand at it yet! It’s unseasonably cold here, too. Brrrrr!

    • Bayou Woman,

      And yet, there’s a sign of a normal spring here for the first time in two or three years. I’ve started seeing a few love bugs – not many, and not enough to get truly excited about, but there they are. For years they were a bane of my existence as a varnisher. They love the smell of fresh varnish, and will fly to it. But they just disappeared about three years ago, along with the cabbage heads. I never thought I’d be glad to see them, but I am.

      Now, I’m wondering if the flocks of birds that have appeared and are lingering aren’t an indication that the insect population as a whole is recovering/increasing. They’re no doubt sensitive to the colder conditions and snow farther north – I’ve seen robins linger a few extra weeks in the past when things still were tough there – but I have a feeling that some of these changes are good.

      The trout and reds still are far up in the bay – at least they were a week or so ago. I don’t fully understand fish movement, but I know the fisher-folk are frustrated and ready for “real spring”, too.

      Linda

  15. Linda, you are excellent at what ever you choose. I am astounded by your talent. I enjoyed reading the explanation of the poetry. Bird pics are beautiful.

    • Yvonne,

      I’m so glad you saw Judy’s photos and read about the Etherees. I think that entry may have been posted during the time you were having your computer problems. I’m glad that frustration is over for you, too.

      But trust me – I’m not excellent at whatever I choose. If I chose to devote myself to drawing and then posted the result, I’d have to tag every single entry as “humor”! I’m truly bad with a pencil or brush.

      I suppose part of the trick is finding something we enjoy and have a knack for, then working to develop that. There aren’t enough years in a lifetime to become proficient at everything – very few have the multiple talents of the Leonardos of the world!

      Linda

      • No matter linda, You are modest and that is good but you write so well. Extremely well. In the writing department you have really honed your craft- in my opinion you have. There are few people that are multi-talented and I don’t know of any super duppers that are living. However I think you have a way with words and that is a gift that you have received from someplace. I often call it a God given talent. I think everyone is most likely born with a special talent for something. It’s up to that individual to realize that talent and then to hone it into a skill.

        The poor and the down trodden- all of those people have some kind of talent. They’ve just not had any direction to find what they can do. Such a sad situation. If all individuals could find that motivating factor I imagine our world would be a truly wonderful world and not one of war, violence, greed, poverty, and the list goes on.

        I’ll get off my soap box now. :-) ~yvonne~

        • You really hit on one of my “buttons” with your comment about everyone having a talent, including the poor and less fortunate. Lack of direction is one problem, but there are others. Finding a way to develop a talent in the midst of just scraping by is another. When anyone comes home from work at the end of a long, hard day, just getting supper can seem like an insurmountable problem, let alone nurturing a talent.

          And when the community around you thinks nurturing talent is stupid – well, that’s another problem.

          It’s really worth thinking about. I like your soapboxes!

          • So right Linda. I should have written more but with your smarts I knew that you knew (redundancy here) that yes, there is a lot involved when one is poor or born into poverty that is virtually inescapable. That is where good schools and adequate teachers are needed, good social programs for young people and the old as well. The list of ills in this country and others as well, is endless. I have often wished that I could wave a magic wand and make things right for those individuals who don’t have a chance at life. By that I mean the on-going situations of being poor, neglected, abused, starved, and so forth. Only a few will ever escape. The cycle is continued. I’m afraid that I have run off the rail here. Your blog makes it too easy for me to vent. ~yvonne~

            • But some people can escape – not only poverty but violence, degradation and so on. My own parents were able to do so. I wish I’d understood the depth of their accomplishment much sooner.

            • None of us know or apprecaite what our parents had to overcome as they were growing up and as adults continuning the need to hurdle obstacles from the the past.

  16. Oh, this verse is just so fancy smancy. It is blooming just like all the flowers now. Pretty (and) impressive.

    Great picture of the butterfly – the color of the wings and the paintbrush are such a contrast.
    Sure has been windy today – but gotta love the temperatures – cool in May! Outstanding.

    • phil,

      I haven’t heard “fancy-smancy” in years! In Iowa, the phrase was “fancy-schmancy”, but it’s a small distinction. Sometimes it was used as a gentle criticism (“Oh, she thinks she’s so fancy-schmancy”) but it was generally a term of approval. So, thank you!

      I’ve decided the butterfly is some kind of black swallowtail, but that’s the best I can do. I really loved the almost-teal blue. Half of the photos showed this color, the other half were a darker, more pedestrian blue. I think it must have been the way the sunlight was striking it.

      Windy? Oh, my. I went over to Davis Road yesterday, thinking I’d work on a floating dock over there. Fat chance. The ramp down to the dock was hanging from its hinges, practically straight down. It looks like the water’s back up a couple of feet this morning, so it’ll be a working weekend.

      But you’re right. People farther north are sick of the cold, but I know what’s coming. I’ll celebrate these cooler temperatures as long as they want to stay around.

      Linda

      • Wind turned and water back today.
        Thought you’d get a giggle over the phrase – don’t really know how it’s spelled…used to be people wouldn’t consider “slang” worth writing down?
        Gorgeous weather today – catch up with you when it’s damp

        • Interesting point, about so much of our slang not being written. I suppose anyone who wrote midwestern (or EastTex) dialogue would have made use of it, but of course we never could include such things in our school work. Today, I suppose it would show up in the urban dictionary or some such.

          It was a beautiful afternoon, and looks good for the next week. I’m going to get my mind right and see how much I can accomplish before next weekend.

  17. For some reason whenever the word nascent pops up with emerging spring I think of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s…Renascence…and think of those rains washing her grave away..emerging and relishing the fragrance of the orchard, earth’s beauty and life. Stuck indelibly I’m afraid!!

    I always love your etherees and think that poetry form is quite expressive!!

    That butterfly is so unusual and looks rather goth for spring I do think!

    • Judy,

      I love your description of the butterfly as Goth! I just said to phil, above, that I thought it’s a Black Swallowtail of some sort, but now that I look at it again, I doubt it. I suppose the time has come to get a butterfly book and a flower book to go with my bird book. The internet can be helpful, but searching can be a bit of an art, especially when we have no context. Besides, I like thumbing through pages.

      I’d never read “Renascence”. My goodness – that’s quite an imagination she had. I’m glad the rains showed up. I was feeling rather claustrophobic about midway through. But I did like the last two lines:

      “And he whose soul is flat—the sky
      Will cave in on him by and by.”

      And I just laughed at this:

      “For rain it hath a friendly sound
      To one who’s six feet under ground.”

      Unaccountably, those lines resuscitated the terrible little verse from the playground. Remember? “The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout…” And so on. Ghastly, and we’d recite it over and over and scream with nervous laughter!

      No worms for us! Have a beautiful spring weekend, with plenty of sunshine and flowers.

      Linda

      • “Renascence” you might say was the rain that washed away Millay’s grave. She was a person in poor circumstances and there were few prospects for a brilliant girl in her situation and she passionately wanted to break free of those limits. She wrote the poem at the age of 20 and submitted it in a competion. It did not win (should have) but the poem brought her great attention and benefactors who helped her get into Vassar. It is my favourite of her poems and as you note above reflects a great deal of youthful exuberance , even humor, along with the longing.

        Millay is best noted by some for this little poem and the phrase she coined:

        My candle burns at both ends,
        It will not last the night.
        But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends,
        It gives a lovely light.

        When I read her biography some years ago I just had to hear that ‘contralto’ voice the author kept describing..and even did find a clip on you tube of her reciting one of her poems. Apparently it surprised people as she was very petite in size if not in personality.

        You had to bring up the ‘worms crawl in, the worms crawl out”…it was the ‘jelly between my toes’ part that convinced me I’d rather be cremated and have my ashes in the ocean. Oh yeah!!

        • That ditty about the candle was one of my mother’s favorites. She often quoted it to me in my younger years, in a wholly cautionary tone.

          I found more of Millay’s poems on youtube, including the one about the harp weaver. I don’t know – I was pretty much scarred for years by the story of the Little Match Girl. I think it’s a good thing I didn’t find Millay when I was younger.

          I thought you’d remember that song! I didn’t know until tonight that it was sung by soldiers in WWI. I’d always assumed it just popped up on a playground somewhere, and spread like the measles. We sang it at camp, too – always at night, and usually on a camp-out, way out in the dark, far away from anyone…who…could save us…!

          • Gosh…camp…those were the days…ghost stories and urban legends!!

  18. Just what I needed on a chilly, grey day. Despite our over- early spring weather, Mother Nature seems to be trying to turn us back towards winter. Hubby even turned the furnace on early this morning, to knock the chill out of the house.

    • Gué,

      This has been one of “those” weeks for us, too. I think it was Wednesday night I finally had to turn on the air conditioning for the first time this year, just to get the humidity out of the house. Then, by early Friday morning, I had to turn the heat on the get rid of the chill. Tonight it’s beautiful – a pretty sunset, still warm enough to have the windows open and a light breeze. I suspect I’ll be shutting windows before dawn, though.

      It has been such a strange spring, but I saw something wonderful this week – the love bugs are back! I haven’t seen many, but I’ve seen a few. It’s been two or three years since they’ve made their semi-annual appearances, and I’ve been a little worried about it. I’ve noticed many more lizards this spring, too, and there definitely are more, and more varieties, of song birds coming through.

      I can’t help but wonder if our drought in 2011 didn’t knock things out of whack. It took forever for the fish, insects and such to come back after Ike. Whatever the answer is, I say happy spring to the creepy-crawlies, too!

      Linda

      • I spotted a love bug on the front door a couple of days ago.

        Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen many this past few years, either. Not in the numbers that usually give rise to a blurb on the local evening news or something in the paper.

        • Not to mention good business for the local car washes!

  19. Writing to a verse form can be a tricky proposition, but it’s a nice exercise in word choice and rhythm. Pollenaise, despite not being a real word, is a mot juste – and a delightful image all by itself. The poor butterfly looks bedraggled and decidedly the worse for wear. Pretty much the only butterflies I see are the Cabbage Whites, which always make me think of my angel cat, Shadow, who did the butterfly dance on the window sill trying to catch one through the glass. I’ll have to try my hand at an etheree.

    • WOL,

      Ha! Not a real word, you say? There are 3,260 entries on Google! Photographers on Weather Underground and Flickr have used it, not to mention composers, mixed-media artists, Twitterers, Facebookers and one columnist for “The Charlotte Observer”. If we keep at it, we may get it in the OED.

      The butterfly was a bit ragged, no doubt. Still, while the collectors head out in search of perfect specimens, I take my average photos of tattered butterflies and remember this perfect quotation from Annie Dillard:

      “I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them…”

      Gosh, I love that. And you should give the Etheree a try. One reason I like them is because it’s an easy form to take with me to work. All I need is a little notebook and a pen, and I can sand syllables to fit along with the wood!

      Linda

  20. I’ve lived in Austin since 1976, and I don’t recall ever having a spring as breezy as this one. In addition, the weather has been unusually cool, and yesterday’s official low of 37 was a record low here not only for the date but for any day in May. Are you experiencing similar things where you are near the coast?

    As for pollenaise, I like the play on words, of course, but I have to say that pollen definitely does not put allergic me at aise (which is the French word that has become ease in English). And by coincidence I saw Michael Pollan interviewed on television yesterday. Isn’t that a great name for someone who writes about plants?

    • Steve,

      We are experiencing the same. The fronts have been so closely spaced that the usual 2-3 days of calm between gusty north and south winds just hasn’t happened. It’s been blowing pretty steadily. And yesterday’s low of 42 broke the Houston record for May. I’m tired of the wind, but don’t mind the cool weather at all. I know gardeners aren’t pleased, but I’m happy to put off working in the heat as long as possible.

      Interesting about “aise”. When I titled this, I wondered about the suffix, since “pollenaise” lead directly to “mayonnaise”, “Hollendaise” and “Béarnaise”. I’m not sure Sauce Pollenaise would be such a nice addition to a spring dinner.

      And now I find that Michael Pollan writes about not just plants, but food! I made a run through his site, and was particularly attracted by this, about his “Food Rules”.

      “Michael Pollan’s Food Rules began with his hunch that the wisdom of our grandparents might have more helpful things to say about how to eat well than the recommendations of science or industry or government.”

      Well, yes. I’ll be reading what he has to say. I realized how much my own eating patterns had changed when I no longer had any use for grocery store coupons. I notice they never provide coupons for asparagus, cherries or salmon. ;-)

      Linda

  21. Have you ever tried any rhopalic lines?

    • Tried them? I’d never heard of them. One thing about syllable-counting verse is that, for good or for ill, it highlights speech patterns. An example of a rhopalic sentence on the linked page was, “Hope always solaces miserable individuals inconspicuously”. “Miserable”, of course, has four syllables – but I pronounce it with three. “Individuals” has five, but tends toward four when I’m not paying attention – that “…uals” is the culprit, of course.

      When I speak publicly, I’m far more precise – as befits a formal setting. But in daily conversation? Not always. It’s an interesting “speech to text” question, as the number of syllables assumed can change the tone of the sentence or verse.

  22. You are always introducing me to new things, Linda. One of the many reasons I read your work. Beautiful.

    • Emily,

      The Etheree is new to me, as well. It’s been a year of learning new forms. Of course, part of the joy of learning something new is sharing it with others – I’m glad you enjoyed it. I just was thinking. Maybe there needs to be “Elliot’s Etheree”.

      “The
      new one,
      Elliot….

      You’re the one to finish this one!

      Linda

  23. Many thanks for this introduction to the Etheree! Alas, I’m reading through tears, as I tend to do in Spring. I’m not complaining though. Soon enough fall will be upon us. I quite enjoy your poetic word play and hope to see more!

    • Allen,

      I’ve joined the army of the afflicted, I fear. The trees don’t seem to bother me as much as some of the flowers that are coming out now. Still, it’s completely worth putting up with the aggravation to enjoy the pleasures of the season.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the Etheree. It’s a form that’s fun to mess with, especially when there’s a word like “Pollenaise” that needs a home and a two-room cottage seems more appropriate than a castle!

      Linda

  24. Simply exquisite. You’ve somehow managed to beautifully and artfully capture a very elegant and complicated natural process in only a few words. Few can do this with such grace. Elegant.

    • WildBill,

      You know how these natural processes work as well as anyone, so I’m particularly appreciative of your comment. I often think of Audubon, who combined scientific knowledge, acute observation and artistic skill in a breathtaking way.

      Writing about nature requires the same, I’ve begun to think. “Pretty flowers!” or “Nice butterfly” is a perfectly fine place to start. But a little observation and knowledge never hurt. And a lot of patient observation and some serious study are ok, too.

      Thanks for your kind words!

      Linda

  25. Beautiful! It blooms with springtime reverie. As for the Polonez I opened it while still listening to Dire Straits and had an interesting mash of music.

    • belleofthecarnival,

      Hmmmm…. I wonder how that Polonez would go with Def Leppard? Actually, after stopping by your place I did a little research and discovered several site that included Van Halen and Bon Jovi with the “hair bands”. I didn’t have a clue – I just like the music. I made a trip down the intracoastal years ago with Van Halen’s “Diver Down” as the sound track. It was remarkably fine sailing music.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the poem!

      Linda

  26. What a beautiful picture you have painted with your words!

    • Thanks, montucky. Since I’m not so good with the camera, I have to find another way to capture spring’s beauty!

  27. Oh, I didn’t know anything about etherees until your lovely springtime piece. I can almost see the dancing breezes. And the title made me smile and poke around until I could find the original spelling ;-)

    • nikkipolani,

      I loved that little bit of word-play. I had to come up with the poem just so I could use the title! I thought there might be a few people who didn’t know about the polonaise, so I included a link for that, too.

      Since the poetic form was named after Etheree Taylor Armstrong, I tried to find out the meaning of the name. No luck there, but I did find that her home state of Arkansas has the most people named Etheree. Whether that’s because people are naming their children after a poet from their state, I can’t say. Maybe Etheree got her name because it already was common. But it’s very interesting!

      Linda

  28. Beautiful, as always.

    • Thanks, Maria!

      I thought of you when I posted it – your butterflies and beautiful flower photos. This photo isn’t anything like yours, of course, but it tickled me to do as well as I did with that hungry butterfly.

      I’m so glad you stopped by – you know you’re always welcome!

      Linda

  29. Wonderful image and poem, Linda! I’ve loved haikus (and especially Matsuo Basho) for a very long time… and now I have etherees, as well.. Your link backs have taken me on an interesting journey, too.

    • Andrew,

      I saw that you’ve been poking around a bit in the archives! I’m eager to see what else attracted your attention.

      I’ve found that haiku lovers often are attracted to the Etheree. When I first tried my hand at haiku and then Etherees, I was surprised by how much could be done with the forms. They’re lots of fun.

      I heard on the news today that it’s nearly time for the seventeen-year cicadas to emerge. Basho had something to say about those:

      A cicada shell;
      it sang itself
      utterly away.

      Linda

  30. This is lovely. The poem is wonderful and the photo is enchanting.

    • Thank you, Carol. I was happy to be able to show the wonderful colors of the flower and butterfly, even if the detail isn’t so clear. Now, all I have to do is identify the butterfly – not so easy, I’m finding!

      I was thinking about your ocean photos, and wondering whether butterflies get along well with water. I discovered that they can’t drink from running water, so the best way to offer water to them is in shallow bowls with some sand, and just enough water to keep the sand moist – like a beach!

      Linda

  31. Lovely and new-to-me form … Happy Spring!!!

    • What a treat, Becca – to introduce you to a new form! I suspect you’ll find playing with it a treat, too.

      I was thinking about our discussion about photo effects, and went snooping on my desktop. You might want to give Photoscape a look. It has the cartoon effect you used to such good effect, and several other effects that aren’t included in PicMonkey. It’s a free download, too, so it’s worth having for even two or three different effects.

      Happy Spring right back – the love bugs arrived today in great swarms, so for the first time in three years we have a real spring!

      Linda

      • Oooh a new program to check out … THANK YOU!! :D

  32. Your poem describes that spring feeling exactly! Lovely. And Darth Vader in butterfly form :) It’s all just so bounteous isn’t it? I keep saying ‘how did that happen?’ as another flower pops up and ferns uncurl and shoots race skywards. You’d think you’d get used it but it’s always a surprise.

    The etheree is new form to me too, the rhythm is great. I may give it a try as I’ve just started on trying some poetry.

    • thinkingcowgirl,

      Yon butterfly could have a bit of a dark and dangerous feel, couldn’t he? At first, I was captured by his beautiful color, but now that I’ve had the Goths and Vader introduced into the conversation, I can’t help seeing him in an Edward Gorey-esque way, as well.

      Even for those of us who don’t have a proper “winter”, spring has its surprises, and it’s always a delight to see them: calves in the field, wild wisteria, the migratory birds that are here only for a day or a week. But it was 90F yesterday, and I began to sweat for the first time this year. Summer’s coming!

      I think you’d have fun with the etheree. It’s really such a lovely little container – you can pour a good bit of beauty and meaning into it.

      Linda

  33. What a beautiful piece… And the combination of the image, so very bittersweet, and your words, show how chaotic and difficult the process of Spring truly is.

    • FeyGirl,

      You’ve brought up something that hasn’t been mentioned yet – the chaos of spring. We use the phrase “a riot of color” so easily, and yet don’t really think about it. So many plants are pushing up, seeking their place in the sun, and as for the animals and birds – well, we all know what it’s like for them as they get about the business of reproducing.

      I have one poor boy pigeon I watch every morning and evening. He’s tried to get several girls interested, but no luck so far. My goodness – he bobs and spins and dances in a frenzy, the very definition of chaotic and difficult! I hope he has some luck soon. He’s wearing me out!

      Linda

  34. Beautiful. You not only create poetry with prose, you make poetry alive.

    • finelighttree,

      i’m so glad you enjoyed my little bit of fun. There’s nothing quite like the pleasure of arranging and re-arranging words to let their life shine through!

      Linda

  35. Linda, this is beautiful!

    As much as I love nature’s rebirth each spring, I wonder if it would be possible for plants to carry on their reproductive activities without messing with my sinuses. It seems rather rude.

    Maybe I could write a “pollen-nasal” etheree?

    • Claudia,

      Have at it, girl! The possibilities for cleverness (and maybe a tiny bit of snark) are there, and there’s no question hundreds of thousands of people would appreciate your poetic efforts. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a couple of rainy days. Not only is the water good for growing things, it helps to wash that last dose of pollen out of the air, and we’re all ready.

      I’m happy you liked the poem. It’s been so cool it’s hard to believe we’ve come to mid-May already, but we have. Spring’s slipping away, and summer’s just around the corner. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about a summer sonnet!

      Linda

  36. This is a lovely, visual piece of writing.
    Here in Pennsylvania we are having an actual spring, not one of the more typical, global-warming induced practically summer springs of the past two years – nope, it remains cool and sunny here…I am finding myself anxious for summer’s arrival and have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy this season as much as I do the others!

    • everythinginbetween,

      We’re having a marvelous spring, too. I’ve had to turn on the AC a couple of times to deal with the humidity, but otherwise it’s been blessedly “normal”. Like you, we’ve had those plunges from March into July the past two years, and it wasn’t any fun. But May is acting like May, and we’re all in full rejoicing mode.

      I don’t do much poetry, but it can be such fun. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Linda

  37. “…skip, scoot and scatter…” I found myself reading that phrase over and over. Spring is finally beginning to get going here, too.

    And thank you for that video. I love, in some inexplicable way, the collaboration of musicians who perform, in near anonymity, for the art rather than the acclaim. What a welcome contrast to the self-absorbed and fame-thirsty celebrities who seem to dominate our media.

    • Charles,

      Funny – yesterday afternoon I was thinking about how expansive that phrase “…skip, scoot and scatter”…” really is. It went through several incarnations, and now it not only can include flower petals and butterflies but also the baby lizards that are scooting and scattering all around my front steps these days. I’ve never seen so many – perfectly formed replicas of the adults only a couple of inches long. They’re a part of spring, too.

      I suppose I could have used “slither” but the image wouldn’t have been quite so pleasing.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the video. I thought it was wonderful.

      Your comments about anonymity vs. acclaim make me think of my two experiences of monasteries. One was in Utah, one in Liberia. While my own beliefs differed in some regards from those who lived there, I was moved by their absolute conviction that their life of work and prayer, hidden away from the world, was valuable for its own sake – not only for them as individuals, but for the world as a whole.

      It’s the same with artists, methinks.

      Linda

    • Here’s a smile for you, Charles – Speaking of hidden… I just glanced at my google search terms list. There are currently 27 searches involving “pollen” and “personification”. Hidden away in the depths of our school system, there’s a teacher who’s made an assignment!


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