Thursday, December 31, 2009

Around and about New Year's

December 31 -- any year

fevered child restless
as New Year's Eve darkens
phoning regrets
on top of the ice
New year's Eve
eleventh hour~
click of wall clock's second hand
ticking toward new year
New Year's Eve
a syncopated ticking
of the kitchen clocks
January 1 - any year
23 degrees
first day of the year, I read
Season's spring haiku
(for Carolyn Thomas)
January first
each dated tree ornament
a year older
old calendar with new
full of things to do
New Year's project:
finding the stuff I stashed away
before Christmas

c lovepat press 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

A couple of old poems, one for Christmas

In July of 1984, after 24 years of marriage and four children, plus a recent Master's degree in Music Education, I filed for divorce. Two events made the act seem egregious at the time. The day before, we had seen our 17-year-old daughter Jennifer depart by air to Germany as a year-long exchange student. I hadn't told her my plan. The day I DID file was our first-born son's 23rd birthday.
We all lived over it, thought there were some rough spots. During this time, I was teaching music and gifted ed. As part of my post-graduate studies, I took a university course, Writing Across the Curriculum. It, too, changed my life, and I began writing poetry as a result.
A local poet presented me with a book by another local poet. Poetry Patterns by Anna Nash Yarborough of Benton AR was my "bible" as I learned.
The following two poems were a result of these events.


Jennifer's going to Germany;
I wish I were going, too.
Just think of all the things she'll see;
Jennifer's going to Germany.
Will she take time to write to me
and tell me of everything new?
Jennifer's going to Germany;
I wish I were going, too!

An untraditional
Christmas this year, I promised,
knowing the family, which used to be
intact, if not tranquil,
would be split, with the youngest
sibling here, the oldest in Germany.

When people said, "How sad,"
I screamed inwardly, Not so!
Untraditional, yes, but not bereft
of memories we had
in past years. Christmas will go
on, even though few traditions seem left.

c lovepat press, 1992

Monday, December 14, 2009

December haiku and senryu

Father John, 80
sending 2800
cards - to keep in touch
20 degrees~
one...two...three bluebirds feasting
on beautyberries
winter solstice~
the rhythms
of the noisy fan
winter solstice~
"change within
the eternal constant"
(from Hal Borland's Sundial of the Seasons)
70 degrees
in mid-December ... sparrow,
then cardinal bathes
dewdrops decorate
the dogwood's bare branches
six days till Christmas

c 2009 lovepat press

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stopping to look through old Christmas cards

O ld Christmas cards--
L ovely pictures: wreaths, angels, Santa--some
D azzlingly glittered, stylized or serene. Fronts

C ut away from messages--unless
H andwritten and signed notes appended.
R eading them these ten years later,
I travel mentally to places we lived--
S ome years in Arkadelphia, some in Benton. I
T hink of friends who've since died; several
M essages from a poet now in assisted living--
A ll notes set aside to add to
S crapbooks with memories on every page.

C ards become dated,
A lthough
R emembrances
D o not fade-- yet.
S tream through my heart, O friends. Stay.

c Dec 5 2009 lovepat press

Wednesday, November 25, 2009



wire-frame Santa
lighting up someone's yard
on Thanksgiving night
Halloween treat
for Thanksgiving dinner:
jack-o'-lantern pie
Thanksgiving Friday
sinks and countertop littered
with dirty dishes
the 19-year-old
finally graduating
to adult's table
only serious
cooking I've done all year
on Thanksgiving
c lovepat press 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

In response to Dot Hatfield's latest blog entry


The pickup's tires
on the gravel
He pulled
the dull metal
sparse as a skeleton,
from the truck bed
bouncing the tiny tires.

Sans rubber
hand and pedal grips,
worn dry and brittle
till they fell off,
the way retreads
split off semis,
it was beautiful.

Dared I hope?
'Oh, daddy,
thank you!'
I jumped on his neck.
It would be
the last time
I ever kissed him.

c 10/18/97 lovepat press

Monday, November 9, 2009

Haiku for mid-November

Nov 9

scored high in listening
now the child hears monsters
under his bed
even the stamps match
the burnt orange cover
of the fall issue

Nov 10

the first frost
home-run ball lost in the weeds
now visible
first frost
the coarse-weave blanket
holding my warmth
the delicate peach
a girl child in the family
after fifty years

Nov 11

visit to vets' home
the child asking
"Where are the snacks?"
crisp autumn winds~
praise all veterans who fought
for our liberty
the little girl
and her doll
among the veterans
from November Nuggets (2003), at the sound of geese (2006), before the frost (2005), c by Pat Laster

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More variations: Xerxes and Dorsimbra patterns

Find something useful you can do each day,*
lovingly, lovingly,
which alters and improves a life.
For people needing advocates
to smooth the way and help them through,
become a sympathetic friend.

Some thoughtful deed to make a life less blue:
a cheerful note, a gay bouquet.
Forget those useless yesterdays,
and volunteer your services:
a ride to town, a meal brought in.
Help the sad ones longing to be treated


Find something useful you can do each day*
that isn't subject to the world's review--
you need a useful task to lift dismay,
a project you can throw your heart into.

For people needing advocates
to smooth their paths
and help them through,
become a sympathetic friend.

A smile, a phone call or a get-well note,
a trip for groceries or a meal brought in--
To make the earth a better place to live,
find something useful you can do each day.
c lovepat press 2009

*first line of a villanelle

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Latest poems -

August 31 09 - Two Haiku

last day of August
almost too cool to sit
outside in shirtsleeves
last day of August
still one red bract
on the poinsettia
September 1 - Haiku

a cool day
white-breasted brown thrasher
Sept 2 - Senryu

tree cutter's helpers
play with my son's tetherball
awaiting their chores
Sept 3 - Cinquain

daylight, I pad
through the dining room, see
cats in each window wanting their
Sept 9 - Senryu

Buzz Lightyear
back on earth after his stay
in space
Sept 11 - Haik-Sen

shuttled astronauts
circling the world again
due to bad weather
Sept 21 - Haiku

first day of fall
early-morning sun shining
but without the heat
Sept 22 - Haiku

Norfolk pine
festooned with raindrops
ready to fall
October 1 - Senryu

October first
finding box of summer clothes
still in the attic
October 2 - Haiku

the lone pink quince bloom
this early October
now in 'mum bouquet
c lovepat press 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Theme and Variations

Theme: A Traveler's Meditation (an amphion pattern)

God's handiwork is all around:
bright red leaves,
wheat in sheaves.
Fertile farms where flocks abound;
shaded cows
chew and drowse;
mountains' multi-colored dress;
draped in shrouds:
God's bounteous works are limitless.

Variation I Highway 23 in Autumn (a Neville pattern)

God's handiwork is all around:
in scarlet, yellow leaves
and golden wheat in sheaves.
Sun-burnished pasturelands abound;
leafy groves shading cows
that switch and chew and drowse.
God's goodness--in all life--profound.

Variation II Same Time Each Year (Neville)

The autumn beauty's everywhere--
magenta, scarlet leaves,
bronzed stands of wheat in sheaves;
sun-burnished pastures, fragrant air;
umbrellaed groves whose boughs
shade drowsy brindle cows--
Creation's annual fall afffair.

Variation III Autumn Song (pantoum)

God's handiwork is all around
magenta, scarlet, yellow leaves;
sun-burnished pasturelands abound,
Cut, ripened wheat stands bronzed in sheaves.

Magenta, scarlet, yellow leaves,
umbrella groves of sassafras,
Cut, ripened wheat stands bronzed in sheaves--
a visual banquet unsurpassed.

Umbrella groves of sassafras,
a camouflage for brindle cows,
(a visual banquet unsurpassed)
which nonchalantly chew and drowse.

Like Garland's fresh-shaved stubble, gold,
sun-burnished pasturelands abound,
and I sing with the oriole,
"God's handiwork is all around."

Variation IV An Autumn Minute (a minute pattern)

The autumn beauty's everywhere--
in fragrant air,
magenta leaves,
bronzed wheat in sheaves.
Sun-burnished pastures stubbled gold,
lone oriole,
umbrellaed groves
--bovine alcoves--
a visual banquet unsurpassed,
a rich repast.
All senses share
fall's love affair.

c lovepatpress 2009 from the chapbook, variations, 1995

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three Limericks

A Cure

There once was a lady named Bess
Afflicted with dread PMS.
She gave herself ease,
Ate yogurt and cheese;
(More calcium kept down distress.)
c lovepat press 2009

In Eureka Springs

There was an old hotel, the Crescent
Which housed a ghost, Michael, senescent.
He made my bath water
First colder, then hotter.
My middle-aged skin's now pearlescent!
c lovepat press 2009

Dee Mac Dee

There once was a classmate of mine
Offended that I would drink wine.
"I'm speechless!" he said,
"You're much too well bred."
I pushed him in Lake Norrell's brine.
c lovepat press 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Last night I couldn't sleep a wink --
reaction to your call
that she was over with the drink,
the pizza, sons, and all
her helplessness (the gall!)
has kept my spirit from its rest,
so that today I walk the hall
and wish 't were I who'd been your guest.

Why do I worry so, you ask.
"I've told you you're the one.
You think my protestations mask
some silly, willy-nilly fun
to keep your psyche quite undone?
I told you I love you the best;
now of your jealousy be done,
for only you shall be my guest."

(For this ballade to end up whole,
it must include another verse.
French forms--factitious--must cajole
both form and content into terse
but lucid stanzas. I immerse
my jealousy in words to wrest
catharsis from a chafing curse.
Aha! 'tis I who've been the guest.)

For seven years this poem's lain
unfinished in my writer's chest.
But time has exorcized the pain:
you married her, SHE'S been your guest.

c lovepat press 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

September already?


While walking at the park today
I came upon this scene:
Some four and twenty blackbirds
had lit upon the green.

The flock was pecking seriously
at something in the ground.
And as I kept my pacing,
I wondered what they'd found.

When I came by the second time,
not one bird was in sight.
Had something in the atmosphere
caused them to leave in fright?

Third lap, I saw a silhouette;
I thought of "Aura Lee."
The birds were perching high atop
a blackened willow tree.

c lovepatpress 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Before August 09 is history, some more poems

8.2 - Cinquain & a third

A flock
of noisy geese
fly northward to the pond
just out of sight. One trumpets--in

or else
is insisting
on its own way.
8.5 Haiku

a summer lunch
seed-freckled tomato juice
in the saucer

8.10 Senryu

the library
now into speed dating

8.15 Haiku

first faint purple
of beautyberries
Ides of August

8.17 Haiku

mid-August...just now
seeing a Christmas bauble
in the Norfolk pine

8.20 Haiku

rain slackens
and roosters quiet down
then a dove calls
c lovepatpress 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thunderstorm in progress - a cinquain sequence

At seven-thirty on a summer evening

I sit
out on the porch
under the light to hear
the rain. When I look up again,
it's dark.

The wind
chime clangs. Thunder
shifts north and a power
outage darkens the porch for one

Where is
the lightning bug
that flew in from the rain?
Hopefully hidden in fronds of
a fern.

c lovepatpress 8.18.09

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Elegy and Eulogy for a dog that died in our yard

I didn't realize that you'd been killed --
and in my yard, no less,--until the man
who volunteered to mow the lawn in trade
"for any small donation to our church
youth fund," came to the door and said, "I got
it done to edge of yard, then came upon
this yellow lab a'layin' there. I lost
my lunch; I'm goin' home." The young man jerked
his thumb toward edge of yard beyond the pole
(electric pole). I handed him a check
made out to Baptist church where he led youth,
then followed where he gestured. Sure enough,
a full-grown dog lay dead between the road
and grove of sassafras that lines the edge
of our northeastern acre. What to do?

The owner surely'd combed the roadsides, called
his pet by name ("Here, Stella! Biggun! Boy!");
or whistled even. Nothing ... Buzzards? ... No.

And three days passed. By now, the beast began
to smell; the odor unmistakable,
of death. The stench was overpowering.
I had to figure something out. That box
of baking soda -- would it help? I held
my breath and dumped it on the carcass. For
a while it worked, and I could water plants,
weed eat and gather fallen branches. Soon,
the smell returned. This time, I bought some lime
(some pickling lime --would that work just as well?)
and emptied it upon the rotting flesh
that melted under maggot mandibles.

The grass grew higher, hid the animal
from passing traffic. County-road men had
no leave to move it since it wasn't on
the road(!). Today, it's lying still (two ways
of looking at that phrase). More soda's bought
and waiting ... Waiting ... Lessons to be learned?

If there's a next time, push the dog into
the street and call the road department.
c -patlaster 09

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A few new, short poems for August

With Dad's
old tools, I wrest
squeaky nails, rusty screws
that held massive rods for ancient

On Seeing a U-Haul Trailer in the Funeral Home Parking Lot
her final service
son's U-Haul packed with her things
ready to take off

opening the screen
both the cat
and the fly exit

thunderstorm brews
early morning looking
like late evening

ice cream social
rained out yet again

Friday, July 31, 2009

Last day of July 09

Since I can't get Pat's patter to give me a NEW POST bar, I'll have to go with this new one, pittypatter. Still at blogspot. For those who read the latest Pat's Patter, with the list of surnames? Here is a portion of a novel chapter using as many of those names as possible. The words used are in caps in this venue. Just an example of how I use the newspaper in writing.

"While he was gone, I looked in his wagon. There were several bottles of salve made of BUFFALO BUSH BERRies for BURNS, KEY rings with little HORNS blown by clowns with JOLLY on their shirts, a WOLF pelt, a MAY issue of Saturday Evening Post, a STERN-faced doll with a GRAY and WHITE outfit that reminded me of a fierce nun."

Places in central AR have had 10 inches of rain during this month, but it is sunny today. Wettest July since the late 1890s, I read this morning. Of course all the rain means the grass grows faster, so my acre is ready to mow. Here I go. Later, pl

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The ether must have eaten my other blog, so here's a similarly-named one

I could get to my latest post (July 11) but could not find a way to compose a NEW POST. Have a note in to Pappy and Dot to advise me on how to continue with pat's patter. In the meantime, since I have activated a year-old g-mail account, I have better access in some ways. It took not even a password to begin this one.

Finally sent off four entries to WCCW's fall contest, two prose pieces and two poems. AND $14! Which is the highest contest fee around these central AR parts. The Poets' Roundtable of AR only charges $10 for 30 or so contests. This is for members; it is a little higher for non-members (See www. Poets'Roundtableof AR for the website).

Now that my entire life isn't consumed by those two new writings --one 2200 words, the other 1,000 words--I seem to be "unemployed." Of course, I could work on my forever-in-progress novel. Or I could clean off the shed porch for a family get-together this Saturday when my Florida son, who just turned 48, comes over with his dad and local siblings/ niece and nephew.

I could weedeat around the red-mud/ white rocks slash at the north edge of the property where ATT dug a trench for fiber optic lines, covered it over, but left it piled up with a large flex pipe exposed. They have several similar places in this neighborhood and along Salt Creek Road, I noticed.

There are several other cleaning-related jobs I could do, but somehow, I'm not in the mood. Or the deadline isn't here yet. So I'll update my blog, Dear John an e-mail correspondent, begin next week's (Amity) STANDARD column, or just sit on the porch and read.

Hmm, that last option sounds like the best. Later, pl