Saturday Songs, and Poems in the Park

You and your crazyIt’s rare that I actually take a Saturday off, and so waking up slowly, coffee in hand I found myself reviewing some old videos, wondering why I’ve let some of them survive, when the recording quality was so bad. But sometimes it’s just the beauty of a live moment captured, not posed for, that really moves me.

Recently at the Cross Keys Poetry’s Art in the Garden (which ended up inside the library due to Thunderstorms), the theme was related to cats, and so for my contribution to the evening I recited Theodore Roethke’s “The Kitty Cat Bird,” a poem I did not yet know by heart back in 2012 when this poem was recorded.

This morning I stumbled across this video from three years ago. We might have been a bit flat, but this was my crazy family with chalk and guitar celebrating a Saturday of National Poetry month in the local park on King Street, across from the library, before I worked there. In many ways it was not unlike a normal day on the porch or anywhere with our crew. We  weren’t planned or poised; we were just enjoying ourselves on a sunny day in April. So here we are, without makeup and off key, but happy.

The poem in chalk was a bit from Dr. Seuss, “Oh the Places You’ll Go.”

Rufus Wainwright Sings Sonnet 20, Happy Birthday to the Bard

Rufus Wainwright en un concierto en Madrid en ...

Rufus Wainwright , Madrid ,2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not only is it St. George’s Day today, and the night before Poem-in-your Pocket Day, but it is also the birthday of William Shakespeare. Well, it may not be the exact day, but it’s pretty close since he was apparently baptized on the 2 6th of April. Willy would be 450 years old today, but you probably already know that since the internet and airwaves have been full of Shakespeare quotes all day.

So in honor of the Bard we bring you a sonnet, only fourteen lines so it’s the perfect size to take with you on PIYP Day tomorrow. This one was sent to me by a good friend today and I thought it might be a unique way for us to celebrate here on the blog. I’m not sure if I’ve had any of Rufus’s music on the Dad Poet before, but I definitely should in the future.

You’ll find the text below this video of Rufus Wainwright who put the sonnet to music. According to my friend Jody he did about 10 of these for an opera company in Germany but only recorded a small handful of them. She was lucky enough to hear him play all of them at Carnegie Hall two years back, just Rufus, the piano and William Shakespeare set to music. Would love to have been there myself.

Happy St. George Day; Happy William Shakespeare Day and Poem-in-your-pocket Eve!


A woman’s face with Nature’s own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all hues in his controlling,
Much steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.

–William Shakespeare

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Flashback Friday, Matthew MacFadyen Does Poems


Matthew Macfadyen (Photo credit: mundo Floser)

I know, the recent trend is Throwback Thursday, but as a poet, I just cannot do it. Too many other meanings to “throwback.” When I was a kid dad took us fishing, and the fish that were too small got thrown back. I cannot help associate throwbacks with things that are not worth keeping, things that must be tossed away as insufficient. Sorry, that’s how my mind works, despite the latest lingo.

I prefer to Flashback, old-fashioned as that sounds in the oh-so-hip world of the interwebs. Be happy that I don’t Flashdance. That would be a disaster, though it would probably be a viral sensation: Poet/Blogger Flashdances to Yeats! Now, that’s an idea. . .

Anyway, yesterday it was a delightful discovery to me to find a video of Samuel West performing a Tom Vaughan poem called “Proposal.” Click back and check it out. It’s only a minute and it’s a treat. Hopefully I’ll be able to find them on CD somewhere. If anyone sees the source on Amazon or Ebay or such, please let me know in the comments.

Mr. West got me thinking of these little clips I shared a couple of years back of Matthew MacFadyen dramatizing poems. And let’s face it, Matthew MacFadyen is not a Throwback. He’s what we call in technical fishing terminology a Keeper. There are more to this series, but the only ones I can find on YouTube are the following three, a heartbreakingly beautiful reading of Yeats, an uplifting interpretation of a Shakespeare sonnet, and a fun portrayal of a William Carlos Williams piece.



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A Thursday Love Poem, Samuel West Makes a “Proposal”

It’s the third Thursday of (inter)National Poetry Month and we have yet to indulge ourselves in a Thursday Love Poem. Well, we are overdue, aren’t we? We started this occasional feature back in October with the poem which serves as its flagship piece, “Thursday,” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. If you want to get an idea of what a Thursday Love Poem is here on the Dad Poet, just remember the example Vincent set.


AND if I loved you Wednesday,
Well, what is that to you?
I do not love you Thursday–
So much is true.

And why you come complaining
Is more than I can see.
I loved you Wednesday,–yes–but what
Is that to me?

The Thursday Love Poem is often not a love poem at all, and when it is it’s certainly not a Valentine’s greeting card verse. Tonight we have a piece written by Tom Vaughn that fits the bill, called “Proposal.” It is performed here by Actor Samuel West. I don’t know the name of the actress, but I’d like to find out. What she does with her eyes in this one minute sketch is award material. I’ll have to do some research to find where this came from.

As usual you will find the poem printed below the video. For a bit more fun, be sure to click on the link in the poet’s name above. I think you’ll enjoy reading his bio, not to mention other poems.

Don’t forget the Related Articles at the bottom of this post! Mine are never auto-generated; I always hand-pick them in order to give you the most bang for your Dad Poet Bucks. This time you’ll find links to three other Thursday Poems you might have missed.


by Tom Vaughan 

Let’s fall in love — 
In our mid-thirties 
It’s not only 
Where the hurt is. 

I won’t get smashed up 
Should you go 
Away for weekends — 
We both know 

No two people 
Can be completely 
But twice weekly 

We’ll dine together 
Split the bill, 
Admire each other’s 
Wit. We will 

Be splendid lovers, 
Slow, well-trained, 
Tactful, gracefully 

You’ll keep your flat 
And I’ll keep mine — 
Our bank accounts 
Shall not entwine. 

We’ll make the whole thing 
Hard and bright. 
We’ll call it love — 
We may be right.


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April Snow and Some School Bus Poems

English: Picture of a Flip Mino HD video camera.

Should I add a donate button so I can upgrade my equipment?

Actually, I think we escaped this year with barely a flurry. Wait. I may be speaking too soon, the forecast I’m looking at on my tablet has rain with a low of 28° F this Tuesday and a slight chance of a flurry. And that’s despite a ridiculous summer preview today with a high just over 80. Sigh. I am hoping the rest of the month is just spring. I need some spring, and I have no desire to skip ahead to summer already. Let’s not wish my time away prematurely, alright?

So I mentioned before that last Sunday I was the guest poet at a local historical spot called The Joseph Priestley Memorial Chapel. They do a secular service of music and poetry on the first Sunday of each month and I was lucky enough to be asked in for National Poetry Month.

There was some lovely music on the old pipe organ and the piano by Hope Kopf. We enjoyed readings from the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Sara Teasdale. Sara couldn’t be there in person though, something about the award having been given in 1918, but my heavens, George Manning, the gentleman who stood in for her, has a marvelous and resonant reading voice!

Next month it will be my dear friend Ann Keeler Evans reading at Priestley. I’ve featured Ann here several times before, including this fantastic street poetry reading for the International Day of the Girl. If you’re in the area, I’ll sit in your pew (That sentence looks far worse in print than it sounded in my head).

In the following video clips I cut out a couple of poems and much of the babble, though there really wasn’t much of that. I’ve attempted to give only a little background, and let the poems speak for themselves as much as possible. Mostly I read from the manuscript I am submitting around for an upcoming chapbook called The School Bus Poems. The second video is a little longer, but the two of them together will take up less than ten minutes of your time. Thanks for indulging me.

It was a fun morning, and one of the first really beautiful days of spring here. No snow, but yes, lilies and crocuses were starting to bloom, right out front of the chapel. So the opening short poem was quite appropriate. I apologize for the background noise, as it is still only a little Flip Mino camera I am using. They don’t even sell those things anymore!

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