Sunday Sonnet

Today’s poem is taken from The Penguin Book of Women’s Poets. Back in the 1980s, I worked at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library & I used to borrow this book all the time – it was a major influence on my poetry at the time. A few years ago, I found it at a used book store & immediately scooped it up. It remains one of my favorite collection of poetry.

This sonnet is by Louise Labé. She is one of the greatest poets of the French Renaissance.


Labé, Louise. “XX”. The Penguin Book of Women Poets. Edited by Carol Cosman, Joan Keefe & Kathleen Weaver. NY: Penguin Books, 1979. poem found on page 110.

Saturday Caturday

The cats have been sleeping on my bed lately. It’s their new favorite place to snooze.

photograph © polly macdavid

Why Do Writers, Painters, and Other Artists Bloom Late?

The thing is to never give up.


deep pink proteaAlthough talent in the arts most often shows itself early, because it takes so many years to develop their talent and become highly proficient in the arts, people who will become expert musicians, painters, performers, and writers can expect to be late bloomers. Artists who perform at a high level do not demonstrate remarkable talent in short order.  They are not usually in their twenties or thirties, but in their forties, fifties, and sixties. All spend many years developing the knowledge, attitudes, and skills that will eventually enable them to be recognized for their mastery. All arts involve learning form and the art’s devices, and the need for control, craft, revisions, and structure–time consuming efforts.  All begin by imitating existing techniques they have studied.

Harriet Doerr’s first novel was published when she was seventy three, and won the National Book Award.  Playwright George Bernard Shaw and novelists Sherwood Anderson and…

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Sunday Sonnet

Today’s poem is from The Reality Street Book of Sonnets. When I Googled the poet, I was very sad to find out that John Gibbens had died of cancer in 2015. He wrote numerous books of poetry, as well as writing songs, and working on Fleet Street as a sub-editor.

I think this poem is brilliant.

References. Gibbens, John. “From Underscore”. The Reality Street Book of Sonnets. Edited by Jeff Hilson. Hastings: Reality Street Editions, 2008. poem found on page 249.

Saturday Caturday

I’ve been out & about all day … it’s a lovely day here in Buffalo, NY. Just 80 degrees & sunny & a great breeze off Lake Erie. I’ve done some shopping & had a great Sahlen’s hotdog cooked perfectly on the grill & a few Labatt’s Blues. Now I’m home … & I just noticed that Radar was playing with something … that he really shouldn’t be playing with.

A wasp.

I was like, how did this get in my apartment? & then I saw my door to the balcony & I was like, OH OK …

Certainly enough room for a wasp or any other insect to work their way through that space!

I wonder how long he’s (she?) been in my apartment. Maybe not that long. I think the cats would have been playing with him for hours & killed him & eaten him long before I got home. Or worse … gotten stung! That would have been terrible!

But obviously … the wasp had been in the apartment for a while & the cats hadn’t noticed him. They were probably sleeping. They probably didn’t notice the wasp until I got home & woke them up. I was home about an hour before I noticed them with the wasp.

Radar must have been able to get the wasp onto the floor somehow … probably hit it down with his paw. He’s got great paw-eye coordination.

This is Radar deciding what to do next with the wasp. I’ve seen Radar with mice & other insects – he’ll take his sweet time with this decision. At least an hour.

Bobby watching Radar play with the wasp.

Of course I couldn’t let this go on. Wasps have a nasty sting – even when they’re dying – especially when they’re dying – & of course a cat doesn’t know this. But I know this. I’m allergic to wasps & bees. I was stung by a wasp when I was ten & almost died. I didn’t want Radar to get stung. I don’t know if he was allergic or not but who wants to deal with a cat who’s been stung by a dying wasp? & it’s the weekend. That means going to a ER Vet & that’s a HUGE cost, not counting what Uber would soak me.

The wasp wasn’t dead but it was hanging on. Radar would have played with it for hours. I got a paper towel & picked it up – very carefully – & then crushed it with a plate – & put in the garbage.

Of course Radar is now all upset because I took his toy. He looked for it long after I put it in the garbage.

I gave Radar & Bobby some cat treats & they’re OK now. Cat treats always work. Radar settled down on the packing paper in the spare bedroom & now he’s sleeping. I’m so glad!

all photographs © polly macdavid

Francois de Fleury: the Most Badass Engineer of the American Revolution:

A great read.

The Angry Staff Officer

Hey, Army Engineer community, pull up a chair, we need to have a little chat about how we talk about our own history. Somehow, we always let the infantry, armor, and field artillery take center stage when it comes to talking about badass historical figures. We just sort of sit back and mutter, “Well, we built the roads you all use,” and get silently drunk in the corner. As usual. We’re like the Hufflepuffs of the Army, if Hufflepuffs were alcoholics with a severe predilection for explosives and heavy equipment. It’s almost as if we’re reluctant to get excited about our own profession. Suffice to say, we don’t talk about our own heroes enough. And oh boy, have we got a badass engineer to talk about today.

François-Louis Teissèdre de Fleury, born in 1749 in Provence, France. He arrives in America in March of 1777 with a contingent of other…

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12 Steps to a spiritual awakening


Words from Walden

I hope this series teaches you something about yourself. It helped me re-learn what I already knew, but had escaped me for some time.

After ” Waking up ” my existence was set in a whole new world. I felt like Aladdin peaking at what life inside the kingdom had to offer. The difference was that I was now living in a kingdom of my own creation.

After I realized I was not actually dreaming or flying on a magic carpet I started to research and explore exactly what was happening to me and why. What I found were many different books, articles and, posts about the 7, 10, or 12 steps of a spiritual awakening.

The most fascinating aspect of these symptomatic steps was that the majority of them had actually happened to me. What I once would have dismissed as Woo-woo or Pollyanna was no longer just someone…

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The Rise and Fall of the French Royal Mistress

I love this kind of history.

Age of Revolutions

By Christine Adams and Tracy Adams

When Louis XV of France elevated Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, later the Marquise de Pompadour, to the position of royal mistress in 1745, courtiers were shocked; the Duke of Luynes wrote that she could only be agalanterie(fling), not a mistress. It was inconceivable that a woman from a bourgeois background, “whose mother is named Mme Poisson” (French for fish) could be the nextmaîtresse déclaréeof the king.[1]But while the tradition of choosing the royal mistress from among aristocratic ladies of the court came to an end with Pompadour’s elevation, she stepped into a position that had, by the eighteenth century, a long genealogy. Rulers throughout the world had always had extra-conjugal sexual partners; history is replete with stories of powerful mistresses and concubines.[2]But only in early modern France did the royal mistress become a tradition, a quasi-institutionalized political position…

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Sunday Sonnet

Today’s poem is by Mary Robinson, a prolific British poet of the eighteenth century. She was also an actress, a dramatist & an all-around celebrity. She published fourteen volumes during her lifetime; two books were published after her death at age 43 in 1800.


Robinson, Mary. “Sappho and Phaon 24”. The Art of the Sonnet. edited by Stephen Burt & David Mikics. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010. poem is found on page 100.

Marvel Trivia: Was Paul Simon’s 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover intended as a Tribute to Marvel Comics?

OK … I am not a comic book person per se … but this is an interesting take on a top forty song that we all know. Had to share.


This is a question that I have been pondering for a while – maybe I have too much time on my hands -However, if you listen to Paul Simon’s hit song from the 1970s – It goes like this: Slip out the back Jack ( JACK KIRBY? ) make a new plan Stan ( STAN LEE? ) no need to be coy Roy ( ROY THOMAS?) Hop on the bus Gus ( PAUL GUSTAVSON ? ) drop off the key Lee ( once again STAN LEE? ) Paul Simon has never mentioned anything about this himself , but it seems to me that he may have intended these lyrics partly as a homage to the writers and artists of Marvel Comics. What do you think?

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