Thursday, July 31, 2008

Five-O'Clock Tea

Five O'Clock Tea by Mary Cassatt

Five-O'Clock Tea

She called me to her lair for tea
purring, preening, she licks her sleeve
and looks with lost brown eyes to me.
She called me to her lair for tea.
I'm sure I must, I should, just flee.
I must make plans, plans to soon leave.
She called me to her lair for tea
purring, preening, she licks her sleeve.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

The triolet has 8 lines in the rhyming scheme abaaabab. The first two lines (ab) and the last two lines(ab) are the same, as well as the first line and the fourth.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Photographing Dogs and Other Small Animals

Our pets, warm and cuddly, bursting with cuteness, why wouldn't you want a photo of your little honey to show others or to perch on your desk in a nice frame. But where to begin. How do you get a technically good picture and one that depicts your dog's personality?

First, the setting. As usual, outdoors with open shade is preferable to sunny glare or indoors, where a flash going off presents a whole new problem of "red eye," or in a dog's case, blue or even green eye. If you must do the photo indoors, use a digital camera so you can take it to Photoshop easily and paint out the blue or green lights. The prepackaged "red eye" fix that comes with your camera software won't work on blue or green eye glare.

Some technical considerations. Choose a background that contrasts with the animal. Or use a telephoto lens which will let you blur the background. You want the animal to stand out as much as possible. Also, the exposure itself can be problematic. A very dark animal will require some overexposure to maintain details in the fur. A white animal is better under-exposed to keep its fur from be washed out.

Next, how to photograph your pet--there are a couple different options. Squirmy, fidgeting dogs aren't easy to settle down for a portrait. You may choose to photograph the animal with a family member who can control it. If you prefer the dog alone, try offering your pooch a favorite toy to keep him occupied. Whichever you choose, the next step is to get your animal's attention while you click the shutter. Use a squeaky toy, held just behind the camera, to make the dog look up.

Also, move in close. Fill the frame with your pet. Furnishings or background are not part of this story. Your pet is. So get in there and make this picture all about him. Keep your camera at eye level with the dog. You want to be down where he lives. You'll probably have to get on your knees. Make eye contact, or use the squeaky toy. Try a variety of shots, too. Think like an artist to bring out your dog's personality, looking for characteristic gestures, postures, and nuances that describe your dog.

If you photograph in digital, it won't cost you anything to take lots of shots. Even if you're using film, isn't it worth a few pennies to shoot lots of angles and try every idea? So indulge yourself, make up your mind to get a great portrait; and most importantly, treasure this special event with your animal. Our animals are with us a very short time, and a good pet portrait will be loved forever.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Monday, July 28, 2008


Head of a Boy by Peter Paul Rubens

Whisper soft songs surround your face
with baby lace
lullaby dreams
innocence streams

Whose child is this white powder rose
in soft repose
sugar breaths fill
puffs airy still

My world made quiet, wondrous, clear
one joyful tear
to spy your face
and feel your grace.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

A Minute Poem:
Three stanzas of 8,4,4,4; 8,4,4,4; 8,4,4,4 syllables. The rhyme scheme is as follows:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Walking Through Wearing Black

Lady in Black on a Park Bench by Bernhard Gutmann

Walking through wearing black

I've grown accustomed to this place.
The walls are dim
and the ambient light grayer still.
I add to it,
gladly spreading misery.
The only glimmer comes in white light giggles
that trickle in from outside
cascading, bouncing off walls
like recalcitrant children
playing tag.
But I halt their frolic
when, one by one, they bump into me.
My black cloak sucks their idiotic smiling faces in
like a black hole
eats up stars.
We'll have no giggling light
when I'm about.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Life Maximus

Wave by Katsushika Hokusai

Surf exuberant
dancing pie-in-the-sky dreams
jockeying water
knowing the unknowable
spying beyond today's shores.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

(Tanka, no rhyme necessary.
Syllables per line: 5,7,5,7,7)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fall of the Cowboy

Fall of the Cowboy by Frederic Sackrider Remington

The gun glinted in the noon day sun, and its barrel was aimed directly at me.

"I thought I could trust you," he said.

I stared back while my knees melted in a puddle at my feet and my heart rat-tat-tatted down the street. Why did I think I could two-time a cowboy? Okay, I came across a lot of cow pokes at the Red Dog Saloon and it used to be I wasn't interested. But lately I'd been feeling lonely, ever since Mr. Brinkley died, or as I liked to call him, Mr. Sugar Daddy. Once he was gone, my female needs went crazy on me. Maybe it was grief, I don't know. But I overextended myself, flirting and hanging onto every trail-worn stranger who wandered in the saloon. That was how I met both Bart and Rusty and on the same night.

I'd been careful not to let one know about the other, but they must have gotten together and compared notes. Because soon I had two angry cowboys facing each off on the main street on a sunny day in February, Valentine's Day to be exact, their hands fixed over their holsters, fingers trembling and flexing.

"You been cavortin' with ma woman?" Bart's face flushed red under his grizzled beard. His voice rang out, baritone and nasty.

"She's my woman." Rusty sounded like screeching train wheels. Even so, he mouthed the words slowly, weighing them down with gravity. 

Snowflakes fluttered from the sky making one think of children at play rather than a shoot-out. But it went on.

"I seen her first."

"Did not. I done seen her first. First thing we walked in the Red Dog on Thursday I seen her hanging on the bar, throwing 'em back." 

Okay. I've been known to drink a bit when I'm lonesome. It helps me loosen up to meet people; ergo, my cowboy problem. Their  angry tones worried me.  I worked my way further back in the crowd, stooping to keep from view.

"Yeah, we had fun that night. You and me. As I recall, neither of us played her no mind once she said howdy."

"I went to see her after. Woman winked at me as I went to leave, slipped me her room number, a note right there in my palm,  'Room 3 above the bar.' She said I was the only man she wanted." Rusty blushed.

"I went to see her, too. And she told me I was the only man she wanted."

Swinging around on their heels with such a jostle their spurs jangled, guns now drawn, the cowboys searched the crowd. Bart spotted me first which brings us around to where you came in.

"I thought I could trust you," he said.

I was scared. But I didn't intend to let them know it. "Lots of men thought they could trust me, Cowboy."

I guess he didn't expect that answer. Lowering his gun, he shot a glance to Rusty.

"You both thought you could trust me...and you could. I certainly didn't do anything to hurt either of you. I was simply a friend to you both." I blew each a kiss.

They were speechless.  

"Come on, boys...friends."

Rusty broke down first. "Ah, sure, Miss Jo. I'll be your friend."

He rushed over crying and slobbering, giving me a big hug. Bart was quick to follow. 
Buried in cowboy muscle, I managed a muffled thank you and backed away. Smiling, I watched the boys return to their poker, then I sidled up to the bar. A handsome stranger sat there, drooped over his whiskey. I hate to see sad cowboys. 

I tapped him on the shoulder. When he turned, I winked, and slipped him a note.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where I Needed to Go

Many thanks to Midwest Poet for this intriguing Challenge.

When I was too young to know the way
people took me
where I needed to go
and I enjoyed the journey
as the world spun by my eyes in colors.

When I was ten
I walked the path on my own
taking it all in with wonder
and as my knowledge grew
my eyes blazed its truth in colors.

Later, I wearied of the journey
and the colors began to repeat themselves.
I tired of their hues.
I became impatient
and unsatisfied
and thought about myself
and how I lacked new colors
and I blamed those
who had originally shown me the way
for not showing me enough
and the colors blazing in my eyes

I set people on fire
with my blazing truth.
I scorched them with my fury
and burned up everything in my path
spreading black and deadened trails.
The world spun by my eyes in darkness.

And one day I found myself alone.
Everyone had run away
and I'd burned my world down.
I was in an empty place
with my truth spent
and no spinning colors left.

So I regressed to a child again
who knew not the path
and I waited
for others to come and take me
where I needed to go.
Soon again the world spun by my eyes in colors.
As I grew older I learned
to take the path on my own again.

But this time I learned to vary the journey
and mix the colors anew into a variety of hues
to make my travels interesting
and my truth universal.
Because I'd come to realize
the hues were mine to choose
and truth was there to find.

Again the world spun by my eyes in colors.
And my eyes blazed again,
this time with wisdom.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Mob

The Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt

The Mob

People dashing, fluttering leaves
wasting in trees
branches askew
displaced anew

Confusion-driven winds of doubt
chaotic bout
of subterfuge.
Said tree shall lose.

Drained of life, branches that rattle,
senseless battle
with bitter leaves
wasting in trees.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

A minute poem: 3 stanzas of 8,4,4,4; 8,4,4,4; 8,4,4,4 syllables. The rhyme scheme is as follows:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blue Lake Rhapsody

Mallard Duck by John James Audubon

Blue Lake Rhapsody

(A huitain, 8 lines, 8 syllables/line, rhyme scheme: ababbcbd)

Kings and Queens of lake waters blue
insouciant fanning display
splendid colors, every hue
among grasses green, ducks at play
fluttering quackers, sunny day
quick steps like elegant dancers
water music, nature ballet
winds strumming in violin streams.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Thursday, July 10, 2008


bird chatter ribbons
wrap around me with lace bows
capturing my finely spun heart beats,
scattering them to and fro
across sparkling fields
like gum drops.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Before Storms

Two Men Looking at the Moon by Caspar David Friedrich

Before Storms

Before storms
a man stands alone
hiding deep in musings black
waiting for thunderous roars before
stepping back with eyes cast down.
Trouble knows his name
and speaks it.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Monday, July 07, 2008



Wide eyes
surrounded by
steps of grace, cry of wild,
God's beauty in animal's gaze,

Photo & Poem Copyright JO Janoski

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Talk

Painting by Claude Monet

The Talk

Sandy beach drowned in soaking sun
mother-daughter summertime fun.
Flowered bonnets belying gloom,
mother-daughter impending doom.
Before daughter speaks, mother's won.

No ruby lips, no ankle shows.
You're much too young for all of those.
Now sit pretty. Leave me alone.
Don't want to hear you whine and groan.
You're just too young for adult clothes.

Some day you'll come, my dear, to be
a dazzling beauty, just like me.
White grace on show within your smile,
glimmering, dangling necklace style
without need for immodesty.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My Dreams

The Tree of Crows by Casper David Friedrich

My Dreams

My dreams
soar high like crows
flee angry gnarled branches
twisted and torn by restless winds
of truth.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski