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Friday, October 19, 2012


The sky in Ohio is full of colorful leaves right now.  When I was a kid it was still legal to burn them, and the smell of burning leaves mingled with the aroma of pumpkin pie in the oven and the anticipation of Halloween around the corner made fall a happy season.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

That’s by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I just love him.  He had something good to say about everything and wrote in exclamation marks.  I thought of his poem “The Swing” first when I saw Illustration Friday’s word of the week is “Sky”…

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

I repeat that poem in my head every time I see a swing.  If you have a child in your life, get A Child’s Garden of Verses.  It will get them through every season, happy experience, and inspire their creativity.  Or, to heck with the kids.  Get that book for yourself or read it online here.  I realize poetry isn’t that fashionable any more, but sometimes it says things that can’t be said any other way.  RLS’s poems have meant a great deal to me, but sometimes I write things of my own…

A cyclone of words swirl over me
Their colors spun into a circling web
Words unspoken, unwritten, unexpressed
The energy of their feelings, of my feelings
Spin in an endlessly spiraling vortex.

I keep a file of poetry beginnings, and the above is something I wrote so long ago that I don’t remember what inspired it.  I’m much better at poetry beginnings than writing finished poems to tell the truth, but maybe it doesn’t matter?  It doesn't even matter if it's good.  It’s the art of expression, in whatever medium we choose to express ourselves.  Today I’m thinking of autumn, and this poem seems to be a verbal illustration of falling leaves in the sky.


  1. Happy Fall right back to you!!! With exclamation marks or course :) I agree sometimes completion doesn't matter as much as the art of expression. Maybe non-artists would not agree, but so what. Pretty fall picture too. I also love RLS poems, thanks for sharing a wonderful poet in your post today.

  2. Thanks ML!!! This is a good week for exclamation marks!!!

  3. Beautiful! That's what it looks like here in New England right now. And I have always appreciated RLS as well!....and Shel Silverstein, too! ;)

  4. Love the new banner too!!! Oh Yes Mit, Shel is another good one!

  5. Your words reminded me of my mom's pumpkin pie and jumping in piles of leaves hoping there wasn't any kitty poop mixed in there.

  6. I too love the poems of RLS..many memories of childhood mixed up with my own darling babies. If I ever get grandkids I will share them with them too! Your leaves must look glorious, ours are very soggy today as it has not stopped raining. Have a great weekend Linda,
    Jane x

  7. A graceful tribute to autumn, one of the beautiful seasons of the year (as a matter of fact I like them all - but most of all the changing of). Robert Louis Stevenson does speak to all of us, doesn't he? Your post reminds me of the first time I read Treasure Island as a boy. Fantastic memories... Happy fall to you too.

  8. Thanks everybody! And yeah, I did think about dog poop in the leaf pile, but I was trying to keep things happy :) Suddenly I have an urge to see if I have a copy of Treasure Island somewhere...

  9. Yay for poetry. Sharing a fall haiku I wrote:

    The sky crackles blue;
    a slow drip of leaves like wax
    from the flame of trees.

    I forgot my exclamation marks - yay for poetry!!!

  10. So lovely! Amazing illustration!

  11. Happy fall to you too! And you're a poet too - who knew!? (see what I did there?)

  12. Happy Fall. Visiting the midwest next week and hope to see the colors. We are big fans of poetry here. My son loves it, so we have lots and lots of poetry books!

  13. Thanks everybody! I'm glad I'm not the only one who appreciates poetry. Thanks for sharing your haiku Terri! I love the way haikus can paint pictures in our minds. And thanks for making me smile Abby!

  14. I used to write angry little get even poems when I was a kid. It was my way of venting. Now I put my skills to better use!

  15. I love poetry! I'm reading the poetry of Julia de Burgos right now. I'm loving the colors of your illustration, it helped to brighten my mood! :) Your wonderful at the art of expression, visually and verbally. :)

  16. I enjoyed reading your combination of poetry and art. Thanks, Linda!

  17. Hey! :) Well on the way here I discoverd A Doctor Linda Hensley and another Hensley who does diabetes stuff and one who lived in Thailand - so I am glad to be here at last :) seek and yeah shall find.

    Well youtr image is beautiful, of course - for evere the consumate professional I am jealous - like the colour chord just suits autumn to the ground.

    Of course we don't call it Fall in Oz, we have two native decisduous trees so the only things that fall are the eucalypts when they have white ants.

    Ahh the smell of burning leaves - don't you just love smells, like fireplaces and freshly mown grass.

    And RLS - we went to a lighthouse in Tahiti designed by an RLS (maybe grandfather?) - wonderful to stand in his foodtspes - even genetically.

    His poetry is very concrete.
    I like it.
    I have Kidnapped on my kindle - I keep it there just in case.

    Aharaggggah! Me hearties..

    see you
    sorry for blabbling :)

  18. Great reminder of a book that I turned to and fell into and swum out of over and over as a kid. I wonder if my mom still has it... Beginnings of poetry - hmm.... for me it was snippets of composition. Still have a melody float through my mind that arose vigorously and annoyedly on my violin when my sister bugged me. There is nothing like the scratchy irritated sound of a violin bow being dragged heavily across the strings... unless it is a poem. Hmmm. Again, you set my mind whirling in bright colours.

  19. Thanks everybody! I'm so sorry to be so slow in responding this week. I've been sick, sick, sick. Guess it's the season for it -- which wasn't in my mind at all when I put up this post thinking happy thoughts about Fall!

  20. So funny that you mention Robert Louis Stevenson writing in exclamation marks, because sometimes it feels that way when I am writing comments! (Like that!)

    Beautiful collection of red and orange leaves for Fall. But I fear winter is nearly upon us, eek! Your poem is a perfect description of falling leaves. I don't think they always need an intentional ending. :)

  21. Coincidentally, I'm partly listening to Treasure Island on CD and partly reading it. It started out good, got boring, now getting better. It's my "classic book" challenge. I think I'd rather be reading A Child's Garden of Verses. :)

    I'm not surprised that you are a poet. I feel and sense it in all of your writing.

    "...the art of expression" I like that. Everyone should feel that freedom.