Smoking Pipes, Sour Cherries and Blackberry Honey



Today’s challenge from The Daily Post on WordPress is a photo challenge from Ben Huberman. Share a photo of something rare, a family heirloom for instance. I first thought of a wonderful honey I had back at least two decades ago, blackberry or blackcurrant, from Chilliwack River Valley in B.C. We brought it home to Ontario and I hoarded for at least 10 years.  We were on the last jar when we headed west again, and managed to find the seller at Granville Island Market.  I also picked up some Fireweed Honey and a couple of other flavours. More recently I’ve been able to order online, but the flavours are different. Still wonderful, but with honey bees in danger of disappearing, truly a rare treat. These are not blended honeys, and they last a very long time.

Honeycomb of Western honey bees (Apis mellifer...

Honeycomb of Western honey bees (Apis mellifera) with eggs and larvae. (Wikipedia)

Ben posted about sour cherries, and that brought another memory: driving from Montreal to Kitchener Ontario AND back to Montreal the same day, about 13 hours total, to buy buckets of sour cherries, not available at the time in Quebec.  My late husband bottled them in brandy. They too lasted for years.

Then I remembered something else that John left me when he passed. Two smoking pipes. They’re quite old, and rather interesting, although the market for them is certainly much smaller than it used to be. One is, according to what I was told, a lady’s pipe, and the other is a devil’s head.  Although neither is worth a fortune, they would sell for a few hundreds each. But perhaps only in the U.S. market.  I did not sell them though, and they are a bit of a conversation piece. On the lady’s pipe, you can see the ribbed stockings.  She would have been smoking a cigarette or cigar, but that piece has unfortunately been broken off.

Photos C.Stephen












Ten or Fourteen Things Saying Summer

In response to a Discover prompt seen on The Daily Post, The Poetry of List-Making, I offer my list, although not quite ten things…  Go here to view the challenge and participate.

This is my list poem:

Ten or Fourteen Things Saying Summer


Perfectly ripe berries

The sweet flesh of a white peach

English: White peach and its cross section iso...

White peach and its cross section (Wikipedia)

Garden centres at the supermarket

Dandelions carpeting the lawn

Shouts from my neighbour’s pool

Yellow ears of crisp corn

Deep red field tomatoes bigger than baseballs

Shorts, sandals, ceiling fans

The town street bazaar

Black-eyed Susans, Petunias, the scent of roses

English: Overflowing petunias.

Overflowing petunias. (Wikipedia)




Carol A. Stephen
August 17, 2016


<a href="">The Poetry of List-Making</a>

NaPoWriMo 2016 FPR Impromptu 30




For the final day of NaPoWriMo, the prompt is a relatively simple one, and there is a tool to help with the task of assembling the word bank. This one comes from Douglas Luman, who is a wizard with tools to help with quite a few of these Oulipian style constraints. Today’s tool is phonewords, and it is a neat one. You select a phone number (7 last digits)  and a source text for the tool to perform its magic upon.  The tool generates a bank of words, every one made from the first letters that appear only for those 7 numbers from the telephone dial.

Head on view of a Rotary Phone

Head on view of a Rotary Phone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used a second tool after that, the tautogram tool, because the word list comes as is, and I find it easier to stick with the list if I can check off the words as I use them. It also makes it easier if they’re in alphabetical order. The tautogram helps with that. There is also the sort tool. Depends whether you want strict alpha order or not.  Maybe overworking myself to do that, because writing the poem itself seemed to go much faster.  Here’s a link to the full description from Douglas over at Found Poetry Review.

Out of Time


Calm among the dead he fell,
head high, a man made mad,
one blackened hand coming back
out of the night, the final knock
to beat a man to nothing.


In the half light of a violet moon,
half human men tumbled dead,
nothing left of them but blind face,
bad back, black teeth and blood.
Each naked in a hole five feet behind
the lamentation of the living
and the tolling of teatime



Carol A. Stephen
April 30, 2016

240-5386 Project Gutenberg

  1. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

NaPoWriMo 2016 FPR Impromptu #29




The prompt for the 29th day of National Poetry Month comes from Beth Ayer, senior editor at Found Poetry Review, and what an interesting challenge it is! Here’s what she asks:

The Prompt

In the spirit of heading into darkness after all things unseeable and obscure, write a poem using a text that is inexplicable to you. Could be quantum physics, thermodynamics, mathematics, aeronautical engineering – or something else altogether that to you speaks in incomprehensible language. Choose a text or texts and begin selecting words and phrases as they spark associations. Write a poem using the collected words and phrases. Let your imagination fire, and don’t worry about what these terms mean in their original context.  You can read the entire post and find links to other poet’s poems here:

So, seems straightforward, but I couldn’t think of a topic and I’m already a day behind. I grabbed my Dictionary of Science, only to at last see the subtitle: “Scientific Terms Explained in Everyday Language”.  I thought it might still work, so I opened it randomly. “Heart Attack.”– well, no!  I think that’s not quite in the spirit of this challenge.  Then I spotted Entropy.  Knowing how my brain shuts down at the mere whisper of “Physics” I thought it might work but once into a first draft, I realized neither Entropy nor choice 2, Plate Tectonics, were working by using this dictionary or the first poem.  But here it is because it comes in again later:

English: Colors indicate age of oceanic lithos...

Colors indicate age of oceanic lithosphere, lines represent tectonic plates, world map. (Wikipedia)

The Entropy of Plate Tectonics

Everyday language, untranslatable.
Suppose a water drop, falling
from the spinning arm of dishwasher
reaches entropy.
In its dying moments it
oscillates, unstable, jealous of the big bang.

Precipitates sympathetic movement
in not-quite-dry dishes. Proximity
takes over,  and the plates succumb,
but the friction dissipates the drop.
In the cupboard, the china shifts,
a clatter as dinner plates slide from the shelves
to shatter on the floor in a vibration of electrons.
while the drop dries up, whimpering.

Is this plate tectonics at maximum entropy?

Carol A. Stephen, April 30, 2016

So, I chose two short pieces from Wikipedia, one on entropy, one on plate tectonics. I wanted to use a tool to remix the source text, but is not available right now, but fortunately Amanda Earl had used one which reminded me about The Lazarus Corporation Cut-up/Mixing Tool.

The first poem from that source

Remixing the Entropy of Plates

Non-isolated by a motion
the new seafloor transfer of heat
can be used by its own kind of crust,
convergent, reversible or irreversible,
Is reversible or irreversible.

The third law underlying asthenosphere:

  • density variations of a pure plate of entropy
    the globe remains crust, broken
    topped by its τεκτονικός “

The seafloor, spreading a relative conveyor belt
of force and drag by tidal forces of the Sun, lies.

Measure molecular disorder, the amount of lithosphere,
of the globe. Thick tectonic plates are spreading
the change that information changes:

  • the  joules per kelvin, given its T,
    is the absolute temperature of need
    the physical dimension of energy
    is the shell of a Moon.

Where plates meet,
convergent, divergent, or transform.
Converge, diverge, or transform,
the lithosphere is rigid zero to 100.
The final condition.

Carol A. Stephen, April 30, 2016

Ok, so yeah, just ok.  But I wanted something else, the off-the-wall moving away from original meaning kind of poem.  So I took both poems and ran them together through the remix tool.  I did some editing to carve out the final poem here:


The Molecular Whimper Oscillates


Crust, topped by its broken shell of a Moon.
Of a Moon.  Where plates crust,
converge from shelves to shatter on the floor
in a vibration, jealous of the big bang.
The big bang,  precipitates its dying moments.
It oscillates, unstable.
Oscillates. Whimper.
The entropy of plate seafloor
transfer of heat can be relative.
Convey force. Change that information changes:
the joules Tectonics language, untranslatable.
Everyday language, untranslatable.

Suppose thick tectonic plates are spreading the arm.
Dishwasher reaches entropy in water drop, falling
from the spinning clatter as dinner plates slide τεκτονικός ”
The seafloor is In the cupboard,
the china shifts, used by its own kind, takes over,
and the plates succumb, non-isolated by a motion.
The new whimpering. The new whimpering.
Is this plate tectonics, density variations of
a pure plate of entropy diverge, transform,
the absolute temperature of need., the sympathetic
movement in not-quite-dry dishes.
In proximity.

While the drop dries up, rigid zero to 100. Zero to 100.
The final friction dissipates the lithosphere.  The globe.
Reversible or irreversible. Reversible or irreversible.
The tidal forces of the Sun lie. The Sun, lies.
Measure molecular disorder, the.
Molecular disorder, the.

Carol A. Stephen
April 30, 2016

English: Moon view from earth In Belgium (Hamo...

Moon view from earth In Belgium (Hamois). (Wikipedia)