Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post-Christmas poems - as 2011 exits


five turtledoves
on an iron fence~
the light rain

streets jammed
with abandoned vehicles
because of the snow

after I break the ice
in the bird bath
bluebirds stop to drink

finch and bluejay
coloring the grayness
of winter

icicle lights
real icicles

an icy day
the feeder nearly empty
of seeds, but filled with birds
c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve............

Pat Laster & (grandson) Billy Paulus--from central Arkansas USA--wish all a Merry Christmas/ Happy Hanukkah/ Happy Holidays/ and all other phrases of the season. pl

Christmas Eve -
teenagers hanging stockings
for their parents

--by Dorothy McLaughlin, NJ
from Connecting Our Houses-1997

Christmas eve
three-alarm chili for his

--from Poems for December: Found & Otherwise-2002

never chips and never breaks
can't be repossessed

-idea from M. Oakley, ADG
--from Dynamic December-2003

blowing in the wind
of the freeway traffic
Christmas gift wrappings

--from a branch of red leaves-2005

Christmas Eve silence
evening tea
and Perry Como

--from in front of the moon-2010

c 2011 Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Inexorable passage of time

Only 16 days left in 2011. Is that a good thing with you or an unhappy situation? It's probably no good dwelling on what should'a, could'a been done, or done differently, because we can't get it back. Except in our memories. Here are some poems from 2010's in front of the moon.

blue heron
feasting on beetles
in the old pond

one week till winter
a sparrow
in the birdbath

all night long
the neighbor's windchime
outside my bedroom

six trees in the hours
"a little bit of Christmas
in every room"

--Todd Raney, Little Rock,
homeowner on the Quapaw
Quarter Christmas Tour

nearly Christmas
among table ornaments
cough medicine

my late dad's script
on the Christmas greeting
was my brother's

the lead goose
of a lopsided vee
honking . . . honking

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Aaaaah! December with all its poem prompts


to take down autumn's decor
and get to Christmas

"A Warm December 2nd"

I gild
gourds and paint two
boards, repot oxalis,
mums, then nail roof tacks to secure
the screens.


There once was a writer named Rhon
Whose sentences never ran on.
The harder she'd trot,
The behinder she got,
But call her a sluggard? non non


With all
the rain, you'd think
window-sill, under-eave
plants would be wet. But they all look


snow still falling
but only from the trees
a lone cardinal


one of the new cats
steps gingerly
the snowy grass

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Early morning poems

sounding frantic
this early morning

suddenly darker
this early morning of fall
windier, colder

at the suet feeder
brightening the morning

during the morning
the birdbath water
turns to ice

winter morning sun
backlighting a branch
of wind-blown oak leaves

cold windy morning
jay eating beautyberries
near the full feeder

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, November 24, 2011

(I really can spell "can't"....)

After I saw my spelling gaffe in the previous post, I tried and tried to "edit" the "y" out, yet when I clicked on View again, there it was! Forgive. Makes me humble and contrite; I should have caught it earlier. pl

One last breath of autumn before the Christmas rush

Tears came
for the first time
as I read of sailors
lining up for 15-minute
phone calls

to wives,
sweethearts or Moms
from their duty stations
on the USS Roosevelt
warship. (2001)
I broke
with tradition
when I left their father
so I can'ty complain that I feast
alone. (2002)
Thanksgiving, a
young man stands in the grass
by a stoplight. His sign: "homeless,
hungry." (2004)

Dad gets
child number four
from ex-wife number two
for the Thanksgiving Day visit
with him. (2005)
on two fingers
in the first few minutes
of preparing for Thanksgiving
dinner. (2001)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nearly Thanksgiving


'depleted foliage
from a waning autumn'
he fishes for bass
[from a picture by William Moore,and part of the caption, ADG. This is called a 'found' poem.]

on my day off
I sit on the porch
revel in the rain

every leaf gone
from the once-brilliant

speckled maple leaf
blows over my shoulder
onto my journal
'write about me' it beckons
'so my life will mean something'

all paws in the dish
gleaning for leftover bits
the lone kitten

bumble bee
into the bucket of pears

a foggy morning
the sun sending starburst rays
through the tops of pines
[ADG picture, B. Krain]

northwestern cloud bank
layers of pinks and blues
of the lightest hues

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day --a poem


It's Veteran' Day, and in my mind
I see the flags and guns aligned,
parading down the thoroughfare,
cheers and chanting everywhere.

With wholeness gone, but proud and free,
from wheelchair, an amputee
waves tearfully, perhaps through pain,
and hopes it was not all in vain,
his sacrifice.

Memories--still vivid--swirl,
blitzing those who served at Pearl;
the Rangers now, though all old men,
smile proudly as they think again
of Normandy.

Gunner's mates, ensigns and chiefs
remember all their various griefs
and hells, awaking still to screams
of slogging through the swamp in dreams
of Vietnam.

Returned to glorious accolades,
the troops of Desert Storm parade,
proud of their work in blinding sands,
defending Kuwait's borderlands
on Persia's Gulf.

And in my mind's projection room,
I hear the drum's resounding boom,
reminding me of sacrifice,
of pain and death: the awesome price
of freedom.

c 2011 Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Deer hunting season - early November

A Haiku Sequence
by Pat Laster

I. rigs' slow migrations
this early autumn Friday
deerhunter hopefuls

II. chill, misty dawn
Lord-God peckerwood clucking
in the distance

III. unscattered darkness
clumping in leafy places
the patter of acorns

IV. doe slips from shadows
faint sound of gunfire
across the morning

V. solitude
where the doe had been
distant clap & boom

VI. rainy Monday
smattering of rigs heading
back to routine

--haiku-ized from an Arkansas Times column by Bob Lancaster published during November of 1997.

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, October 27, 2011

From the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow (Arkansas)

Some of these poems have gushed up from wherever such things lie. And some have been formed from news articles or photos.


"Christmas Eve"

a failed attempt
at suicide--the Madoffs
after the news broke


"Later, perhaps"

We burn
our macramas,
those stifling body veils.
The flames resemble thin, frilly
neck scarves.


"In the Mountains"

in the Ozarks
during the autumn? What
a shame! But, geez! It's 28



Last night
the fan sounded
like a bullfrog in pain.
I sprayed some Skin-So-Soft on it.


"At the writers colony"

of a Dairy Hollow cow
watching as I write


"Late October"

second 4-cup
pot of flavored coffee
on this cold and rainy Ozark

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Atmosphere of Autumn

The sweet
odor of sawn
lumber drifts from neighbor's,
adds to sparkle of just-watered


pretty flower,"
I say to the pink bloom
that faces me when the swivel
stops. "Hi."


"Who Taught Who(m)?"

The cats,
outside all night,
head-butted at their food
dish. Did athletes learn this action
from pets?


in the metal jaw
of the clipboard ...sizeable
sheaf of manuscript
--idea from Hotchner, Papa Hemingway, p.72

(* a designation of my own)

"Occupy Wall Street"

he is skilled, jobless
and pessimistic, yet he
whips out an iPhone

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If I could stay outside all cool autumn days...

At times--
like fall--I wish
the swing faced north, where reds
and oranges of sassafras
flame forth.

out the concrete
square of the porch pillar
holding up the roof. Househunting

Back from
mailing month's bills,
I point to zinnias, say
"Water those;" to potted mums, say
"Plant those;"

to pears
on the porch swing,
"Peel those." But I head back
into the house where more projects

(an Etheree)
one yellow
butterfly-- both
ravenous?--sip from
the yellow zinnia plant.
I move in with a camera;
they flit this way and that, but soon
re-alight on their sustenance, like
feral cats dancing around the food dish.

A trip
for the paper,
then to retrieve the blue
beer can some fool threw in my yard,
I see

the pears
dotting the ground
and say, I must gather
them today! The wild asters full
of blue

the colorful
sassafras remind me
why I didn't destroy them when
I mowed.

does; babies see;
kitty tries but can't quite
make the jump from rock to birdbath

The next
time I look, both
kitties are on the edge
of the concrete basin. I move;
they jump.
c 2011, Pat Laster dba lovepat press
Check out my first novel, A Journey of Choice, on Amazon, B&N or iUniverse

Thursday, October 6, 2011


to the deceased
in obituaries
is becoming more commonplace

The sad
hanging basket
of Mom's old begonia
finally showing some delicate
pink buds.

at Gettysburg
found Civil War bullets
while cutting a fallen oak on
Culp's Hill.

shells still viable all
these decades since the Vietnam

bears outnumber
folks in Norway's Arctic
Svalbard. Bear attacks killed one lad,

Some folks
are making good
money stealing copper
from churches. Have they no respect
for God?

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"It's the little things we do ..." - Willa Hoey*

(*from The Joy of Words published by the Ferguson Publishing Co. 1960, Chicago.)

Here are some little poems of mine. Some were inspired by news articles; some by nature around me. Enjoy.

shaking the porch
(made of concrete) that holds
the swing. Too close for me; I go

of nuclear
technology are cause
enough for Japan to reduce

cool in the shade
should I mow now
or wait till evening?

At least
one racehorse barn
as well as the chapel
were damaged by a tornado.
Some folks

might yell,
"Divine judgment!"
but it won't do any
good. "Just a twist of nature," the

on the placid lake
of her painting

"...frozen under
optimum conditions
to have one more chance."

at the feeder
ant on my arm

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Autumn in the wings

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn 2011. It was cool enough today in the heartland to work in the yard. Although two and a half hours' work on a two-acre homeplace would be hard to spot by anyone else, I know--and my body feels it--what I accomplished. Here are some unpublished, September-generated poems from years gone by.

new eyeglasses
receding sky-dot a crow
not a floater
~~~ (1997)

five years today
of living in this town
feel I now belong
~~~ (2001)

three days
into autumn
55 degrees
~~~ (2001)

black and yellow
butterfly feeding
on orange lantana
~~~ (2008)

the 90-year-old
choosing mint-julep blue
for her new carpet
~~~ (2002)

a small patch
of green grass around
the watered dogwood
~~~ (2000)

pear parings
back to the earth
feast for bees and gnats
~~~ (1997)

night bugs
observe rests, too,
during their songs
~~~ (2006)

c 2011 Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, September 15, 2011

More September shorties

the McCourt brothers
leaving Angela's ashes
in the pub

flashing my lights
at the hungry crow
its early breakfast

lazy Saturday
during an all-day soaker
the boys building dams

leaving plenty
of the windfall pears
to gleaner bees

at the last second
working cop with a solo
throws on his choir robe

the day-long rain
highway's new surface overlaid
with pine needles

over the bed
of petunias

in the dewy grass
child's Sunday shoes

first cool snap~
the owl calling
just before dawn

cicada at noon
on the mountain trail
the end of summer

newly mown grass
a branch of the spirea

the Race For The Cure
because of the cause

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September Cinquains

by Pat Laster

For any new wanna-be poet who might be reading this blog for the first time, the cinquain--for my purpose--is a syllabic pattern of 5 lines punctuated as appropriate, with 2-4-6-8-2 syllables. Ending each line with as strong a word as is possible is desired. Titles are used to add more information if needed.Cinquains (sin-kanes) allow more wiggle room than haiku or senryu or tanka, which have stricter parameters. Here are a few of mine. Only two have titles.

Two red
pickups scream past
my homestead, followed by
the "wheeah, wheeah" of the small
fire truck.

of Liberty
closing for a year while
safety renovations are in

"100 Years Ago"
feature's full of high-temp
stories. People slept on porches,
in yards.

outta Dodge, er,
cities on the East Coast:
people who respect storm Irene's

"Too Close to Home"
Who would
murder someone
seventy-plus years old?
No one is immune these days to

year-old wanted
to learn Karate to
stay in shape. A broken foot stopped
that "kick."

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Suddenly September

nearing Labor Day
the Encore azalea blooms
and a gardenia!

still, breeze-wise
but lots of noisy pickups
on the way to work

not seven a.m.
the school bus stopping for kids
interrupts traffic

"Cool Mornings"
If I
didn't insist
on reading the paper
the first thing each day, I could do
yard work.

the first failure
in 44 supply hauls
the Soyuz shuttle

Two days
into the school
year, the principal shot
and killed. Even private schools not

about football
and Gatorade flavors,
soldiers photograph Arlington
grave sites.

the governor
who eased car-tag renewal?
his license expired

c August 31 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adieu to August--a potpourri

the only human word
on the trail

quiet, 3-block street
a short cut used for
dirt-hauling dump trucks

on the last page
of my journal ... flagging
story ideas

riddle: a yard full
of dogs, but none bark
or bite? (plaster casts)

first love ...
the way a new book's pages

a fine line:
being there for someone
and being used

Eureka Springs:
the tolerant town that lives
on tourism

Alzheimer's victim
murdered for the Cadillac
she couldn't drive

c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A respite from the dog-days of August

"Debt Default"
at the last minute--
as everyone knew it would--
DC inked a deal

reading the paper
behind the porch post, away
from morning's sun rays

monument to stubborn faith
in word power

clili for breakfast
the 16-year-old
who stayed up all night

60th birthday
his goal: running from Ola
to Little Rock

since yesterday's rain
the dove calls more often~
roar of a bike

dewy grass
at the edge of the porch
stops the cat
c 2011 Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Poems amid the heat of August-'eleven

a lone yellow zinnia
that came up from last year's seed
perky in the heat

humidity climbed
as the mercury dipped
Dow Jones plummeted

"Presidential Easing"

holes in Arctic
seabed by drilling wells
granted conditionally to
Dutch Shell.


wooden benches
brimming with spectators
the only noise in the courtroom
when Jeffs,

was convicted
of assaulting two young
girl brides and "teaching" them how to
"please God."

board, brought down from
the attic, held a shock:
a crease in the foam padding hid
mouse pills.

on one section
of a Provence beach banned.
Scofflaws risk a fifty-dollar

only three blooms
but two-dozen pink buds
on the birthday plant

c August 2011 by Pat Laster
dba lovepat press
See or B&N for my first novel,
A Journey of Choice

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

WARNING: The last post jumped off my screen before I finished or corrected it

Don't ask me how or why? I edited it after I discovered it, but the PUBLISH bar ignored me. When I finally got to the VIEW BLOG, it was NOT the corrected version ("ealy" instead of "early," "drom" instead of "dorm," )etc. I couldn't figure out how to erase the darn thing. So here is a disclaimer. I DO know how to spell. pat laster

August poems

punching holes
in the darkness
(from a sermon
by Tom Frase)

an August cool snap
sitting outside for the first
time since ealy June

a cool snap~
robins on the crispy lawn
searching? finding?

the drom rather than clean out
the modly AC

dove hunting for sport
the universal symbol
for peace . . .
(from Tad Bartimus)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Computer woes worsen before getting better

After the third trip to two computer "fix-it" places, I called Microsoft/contact us. The first girl was helpful and talked to me from Panama City, Panama. The second--she forwarded me--was a man "30-minutes-from-Buffalo" who gave me the number of the place that would absolutely solve any problem I had. BUT, he lied. First, I had to pass the robot answering machine, and when I couldn't say that I was both on my computer (I was) and had the activation wizard in front of me (I didn't),he said he couldn't help and hung up on ME! I called again and kept punching the "0" until I got a real person, but I couldn't understand anything she said except "Maam" which sounded like "Mahm." I finally had to hang up--about at the end of my rope (pun intended).
I ordered an Outlook Office 2010!!! It's installed, tho I had to uninstall my Office 07 and two other related programs, BECAUSE I ordered 64-bit and those had 32.
I haven't yet checked to see if I can work on my files. If I can't, I'll probably do something really drastic!!!!!!!
Meanwhile,some poems.


The grave-
yard's being split
between Senate districts.
Living leaders fuss, but the dead
don't care.

taxis, four-lanes
deep as far as the eye
can see, block streets in Greece--drivers
on strike.

The wind
blows fierce, hies all
my rugs away--those old
ones cov'ring inch-wide gaps in porch

dead-animal smell
shriveled earthworm on the walk
and yellowed hosta
this 3-digit weather
requires watering--or death

c July 2011 by lovepat press

Look for A Journey of Choice (by Pat Laster)
at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Monday, July 18, 2011

Computer woes - worse this time than before

After he saved all my information on a thumb drive, Mr. Tech wiped my computer clean.
I spent an hour this morning reading on in Roy Blount Jr.'s Alphabetter Juice while the recovery drive restored my stuff. Yet, I still can't access my up-link account or my document folder, and I only found this "favorite"--my blog-- by "googling" it on my browser. The list of "favorites" is gone. My myriad newspaper columns appear to be gone. Oh, I hope they are somewhere on that thumb drive.Guess I need to call Stephen who repaired the computer after Julian only thought it was repaired. It cost me nothing the second time but a Lexar thumb drive to back up all my files. Then Stephen wiped it clean--as clean as if it came from the factory, he said. (He was amazed that I had no back-up discs. Tsk, tsk.)

July 8.

treetops and roof vents
moving this summer morning
cool in the shadows
cat joins me
on the picnic-table bench
his white paws so white
July 11

in the freshly
filled birdbath on this mid-
summer, 3-digit temp, humid
a slight July breeze
the gift Mandevilla
swivels slowly
the AC broken
why do I swelter with two
fans in the attic?

July 13

all of a sudden
a north wind furls the flag
cools my shoulders--
and just as quickly
is gone
eighty-two degrees
at six o'clock a.m.
a dove calls
July 14

earth-shaking thunder
preceding the needed rain
during this mid-summer day--
afterwards, a full rainbow
arcing the southern sky
dropped ten degrees since this
time yesterday when a t-storm
roared through.
A cup
of fresh coffee--
half caff and half decaf--
with a packet of sweetener, tastes

c July 18 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press
Look for my novel, A Journey of Choice, on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Monday, July 11, 2011

Still July; still hot in central Arkansas USA

"Former Hospital Employee"

his cable bill
with funds he netted when
pawning wedding rings from a dead
patient. [from the newspaper]

waking myself
and my bunkmate
by dream singing [actual]

an east breeze
furling the flag
cooling the swing [actual]

"In a Distant Galaxy" (a Sen-News pattern)

the flash: a black hole
sucking in a sun-sized star
that wandered too close [news]
in New Zealand,
scene of yet another
earthquake, trapping two folks inside
a church. [news]

"Queen Calico"

by grumbling deep
in her throat when hissing
didn't work, caused a Moor* to back
away. [actual]
* one of the 4 black feral cats who like our catfood

early morning
a bird screeches
from downriver [actual:Cherokee Village AR]

c 2011 by Pat Laster, dba lovepat press
Visit my prose blog, Pitty Patter at

Monday, July 4, 2011

July--half the year gone already

Each year, JULY spawns many poems.
Here is a sampling.

a few clusters
of crepe myrtle above vines
left for privacy
drinking from the birdbath~
mid-July cool spell
small black butterfly
lighting on the purple bloom
of French mulberry
following the loud
'chit' of a bird, I tiptoe. . .
a brown thrasher eats
hearing planes
but not seeing them
through trees' canopy
fourth generation
of cats too wild to catch
cavort in my yard
early July
morning temp low enough
to sit outside
smell of a dead animal
spoils the ambiance
c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Praying for rain---

first day of summer
passing the pungent smell
of the white lilies
~ ~ ~ ~
I give
up, like Richard
Allin did with squirels.
Since the feral cats didn't leave

my trip
and the tame ones
won't come inside after
they boarded for 10 days, I feed
them all.
~ ~ ~ ~
AT 75

They say
I'm aging well.
"Such pretty skin," they say.
What they don't know is makeup hides
brown spots.
~ ~ ~ ~
mom & baby cats
cavorting in shaded grass~
heat wilts the 'mums
~ ~ ~ ~
eating tomatoes
from Mississippi . . . bought
on our way back home
~ ~ ~ ~
3-hour birthday lunch
4 friends basking in one's
~ ~ ~ ~
c 2011 by Pat Laster (author of A Journey of Choice) dba lovepat press

Monday, June 20, 2011

More summer shorties

spoiled by malfunctioning
public address system, until
the names.
~ ~ ~ ~

eyelids, floaters,
like specimens on slides,
enter stage left, wander across
the screen.
~ ~ ~ ~

Raucous mother
lesson over,
I can resume my seat
in the warming sea-air breeze of
the Gulf.
~ ~ ~ ~

Early Morning
nearing thunder
drives me from the front porch.
In fifteen minutes, it is light
~ ~ ~ ~

neat shelves of bread
on the only standing wall
after the twister
~ ~ ~ ~

eyes closed
facing the eastern sun
after last night's storm
~ ~ ~ ~

c 2011 Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Monday, June 13, 2011

Poems spawned in the Pensacola Beach area

At the high-rise condo

too many trips
to refill my coffee,
I nose around the cupboards, find
a mug.
6:30 a.m.

At this
hour, only dog
walkers, bicyclists
and joggers out in Florida’s

the Florida dove
pole-sits. . . below, sea breezes
cool a parking lot


A cloudless sky
in Fort Pickens
the day granddaughter
graduates eighteenth
in her class of 300+,
her AP-weighted GPA
over four-point. Her father—
my first born—proud as punch.

Swallows dive,
a dove climbs, then floats
to a tennis court fence.
Sea breezes sound like the ocean.

How can he be sure?

My baby is forty-one,
her first-born,
a newly-legal adult,
enjoys his “social”drinking.
“I know my limit,” he says,
but he’s so new at it,
how can he be sure?

c June 13 2011 - Pat Laster
dba lovepat press

Check out my new novel,
A Journey of Choice
available at online book sellers

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Been to Florida for 10 days

Be back soon for an accounting of the trip. pl

Friday, May 27, 2011

Poems for Memorial Day

atop a soldier's gravestone~
mower works nearby
springtime comforts
even as it embitters~
a fallen soldier
"memory knows
long after knowledge
has forgotten"
(from an editorial May 8, 2004 in the AR Democrat Gazette on the death of Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Wm Kordsmeir)
at the computer
on Memorial Day
finishing my speech
sometimes, a florist
the only connection
with their dead loved ones
(from Jay Grelen article, ADG 5.26.'05)
unknown faces
of the 21 riflers~
first war casualty
(Johnny Michael "Mike" Spann)
a sea of death
where "all gave some, some gave all":
(from a newspaper article, 12.14.'01)
ten cannons
scheduled to take part
in the reenactment
(at Chalk Bluff, AR, 5.3.'03)
c 2011 Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mid-May's Macrocosm

divebombing feline Greye
he bats her away

checking the acreage
psst, psst, psst from the old tree
must be baby birds
no wonder mother mocker
divebombs the yard cats

a shaggy-bark tree
near the swampy bottomland
a white-tailed deer

basking in the clean
smell of this old house
after Mother's Day

her brave smile belies
a fatigue noticeable
in the way she sits

tornado debris
drifting down
without prejudice
[idea: S. McCrummen]

as the waters
encroach, the farmers plow
their acreage. Pure doggedness
shows hope.

since casinos
were closed--could try their luck
at Southland Gaming Park in West
c May 2011, Pat Laster
dba lovepat press

Friday, May 13, 2011


...who invented the Etheree poetry pattern. She lived in Malvern, Arkansas. Below is a sequence of three etherees, one mirrored. This was written for a contest about any unnamed Arkansas poet. Can you figure out the pattern?

Counting syllables
by Pat Laster

give up
my first born--
well, maybe not––
if I could create
a poetry pattern
like she did––accepted by
writers, editors, publishers
around the world. I wish I’d known her,
but hearing her son speak will have to do.

The pattern looks so easy––it’s unrhymed,
syllabic, but, the poet warned, it
should have rhythm, meaning and
those images that poets’
senses find. Or it must
carry undertones
of a second
meaning, some

how many
poems in this
form, in this pattern,
subscribe to her second
rule? When blue jays peck suet,
and kittens cavort nearby, how
can anyone in her poetic
mind not get confused counting syllables?
c 2011 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Friday, May 6, 2011

Poems for May

the first spring mowing
stands of white clover and blue
lyre-leaf sage left
on the headstone
of an unknown soldier's grave
a mockingbird
faint scent of cedar among
the uprooted trees
two goldfinch
at the new thistle feeder
of my former home
quiet Mother's Day
past the deck, the unmown yard
remaining so
beyond the glass door
cottonwood fluff, a red wasp~
still the rivers rise
c 2011, Pat Laster, author
A Journey of Choice

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

After the storms, how do we pray?

It is quiet now except for local traffic, which never stopped even during the several nights of thunderstorms. Though more storms were predicted for today (Wednesday), before noon the clouds rolled away from the sun, like the stones rolled away from the tomb at Easter. The sun was a welcome, welcome sight.
At 2:30 a.m. last night, the ringing phone woke me. Probably some drunk from the VFW calling a wrong number, I thought, but padded in to answer it. After three rings, it stopped, but as I turned to head back to bed, it rang again. Collegian-grandson/ward answered, his voice sounding like sandpaper. "Grandma... the power's off here (Henderson State University, Arkadelphia AR) and I can't sleep without a fan; it's too hot. Can I come home and at least get six hours of sleep?"
I said yes.
"I won't wake you when I come in," he said.
After hanging up, I turned on the porch light, unlocked the screen but kept the door locked, turned on the fans in his room, left a hall light on, closed my door, and prayed, "Lord, he's yours now," a prayer I lift each time he drives away from anywhere. Of course, I believe Billy is God's wherever he is, but especially on the highway.
This morning, sure enough, he was piled up in his bed, the AC and two fans going. Not too much later, he came to the door--I was reading the paper on the front porch swing--and said morning classes had been canceled and he was going back to sleep.
At noon, after bell rehearsal and while I was at the dollar store, he called saying even though afternoon classes had been canceled also, he had a choir rehearsal at 2 for the final concert of the year on May 2.
He must have passed the store while I was inside. I prayed once more, "Lord, he's yours again. Have mercy."
But what does one pray when entire towns are wiped out by tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes?
Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Couchwood* in mid-April

I sit in sight of both perimeters:
as I look left, the road, a fence row once;
and on my right, a chain link fence, unseen
by decades-growth of privet (used to be
a sweet gum climber--we'd go to the top)
and honeysuckle-wrapped crape myrtle, all
so dense, a day of clipping, pulling work
would add a like amount to burning pile.

I used both batteries to weed-eat grass
around the shed where tansy, lamb's ear thrive,
and filled a barrow high with last year's stalks
and this year's spreading grasses. Still some light,
I bring a chair out, tea and journal. Cats,
like whispers, maunder here and there. I find
four kittens! They'll soon leave this hill. A trip
to Doctor Pat-the-vet will be their end,
humanely. Insects force a close to this
as darkness of the spring-leafed trees absorbs
the waning, cloudy light. And so good night.
~~ c 2011--Pat Couch Laster dba lovepat press

* the name I gave the old homeplace where the Couches have lived for four generations.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April poems from earlier years

tulips tightly closed
after last night's thunderstorm
her two lips tight, too
(Haiku Headlines)
Easter egg hunt
the strong whiff
of honeysuckle
(Parnassus Literary Journal)
the family scattered~
Easter lunch for two
at Taco Bell
(MSPS Spare Mule)

April rain
between me and the mountain~
snug writer's digs
( Calliope)
redbud in full bloom~
poet colleague discovers
he has lymphoma
( Hot Springs AR Sentinel Record)
an apron full
of fallen dogwood blossoms
on Easter Monday
( Haiku Headlines)
c lovepat press 2011
Pat Laster

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Like dieting and exercising, three days is max

I do believe I am better, expletive-wise. And thanks to those two friends (you know who you are) who have read the two previous blogs, commiserated/ expressed shock, tsked-tsked, etc.
Like dieting and exercising, three days is max for me for any kind of new discipline. Although I did get to March 26 in my daily Lenten readings before I moved to another reading spot. That's seventeen days of following a new regimen--probably a record.
Speaking of regimens, it may be a matter of choice. For every day since I can remember--except when I'm out of town/ state or have an early-morning meeting, I read the daily paper, a notebook at my fingertips to jot down interesting tidbits.
Each day,twice a day, I feed the feral cats that have adopted this place.
Perhaps it's a matter of priority. Sure! That's what it is! Now, to make the extinction of "bad words" a high priority.I'll work on it.
But in the meantime, I've run out of quarters.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I've lost count, but I'm improving, swear-wise

The day after last week’s post, I did so well, even tho I spilled coffee down my white terry robe.
All day, I refrained from ugly words. While I was lying down mid-afternoon, I heard a noise from the chimney opening above the gas log fireplace. I rose to investigate. No openings in the chimney, but soon, one of the feral cats—the pregnant one—jumped out of the darkness above the fire unit (only the pilot burned, of course, on this warm, but breezy day).
Well, when I saw the cat, I swore. Thinking it may have been 'fixed' Boots who hid from me there, I called and the gray interloper scrunched out of the corner where she was trapped (how strong these little things are when frightened!) and flew out of sight. I followed her to the kitchen. She had jumped into a screened-in but open window, and before I could opwn the door for her to escape, she had pushed out the screen and fled. Second swear. I had to go out and reinsert the screen into its guides and secure it at the bottom. As I said, these boogers are strong, pregnant or not.
I found a way to use the quarters I've collected in my effort to 'give up' swearing: by purchasing items most needed by children and families in the Methodist Family Health program's "Get Up and Give" (not give up) collections:
socks, underwear, diapers, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, paper towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, books, coloring books, crayons and markers, board games and backpacks and duffel bags.
And at the same time, I'll guard my mouth continuously.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lenten "swear" jar full of quarters

I knew I needed to clean up the exclamatory words and phrases I'd gotten addicted to, but until I started "watching" er listening and monitoring them, I hadn't realized how much they had invaded (I had let them invade) my solitudinous conversations. Having cats--inside, fixed--and outside, feral, keep me speaking.
When aged Elizabeth Calico messed up the bathroom rug that I'd just washed, she got a good cussing, poor thing. I should have known that giving her a different food would upset her digestion for a spell.
I could give more examples, but excuses won't help. Blaming it on my dad is cowardly. So is rebelling against my mom's upbringing.
Does swearing make me feel better? No. Although, sometimes after trying to open a jar or screw in a lightbulb or some such task, it seems that after I swear in frustration, I can do it easily. Nah... another excuse.
Maybe next week, I will have a better report.

~~Pat Laster dba lovepat press c 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday means Lent, which means...

With a smudge of burned palm branch ash on my forehead that--since I couldn't see it--I'd forgotten about, I visited the local dollar store on the way home from church. The sermon dealt with--partly--doing our acts of penitence in private. Yet here I was (inadvertently) flaunting (a Matthewean 'no-no') such an act in public. When I realized it--at checkout--I fiercely rubbed the oily, ashy bit off my forehead, laughing with the checker. "I figured that's where you'd been," she said.
Is the fact that I forgot the ashes of the supposedly meaningful, emotional act of contrition in such a short time telling on me? Is it my habit to breeze through worship each week as a choir member (and in two Sundays as the interim organist/ director) immediately forgetting the symbolism, the strength that corporate worship inspires, the prayers for the ill, the bereaved, the hurting--am I really so jaded with age and (ahem) experience that my acts of piety are JUST and ONLY that? God forbid!
I doubt I will "give up" or abstain from my eating habits, but perhaps I can guard my tongue a little better. How about a quarter in the "swear" jar for each infraction? Or a dollar? Plus, extra prayers for patience.
How will you observe Lent?

~~Pat Laster dba lovepat press c 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March marches in--mild but cool

a cardinal
the camellias
Saucer Magnolia
Arkansas' 'cherry blossoms'
gracing the Capitol
warm March Saturday
writing in the front porch swing
squirrel and birds distract
breeze turns to wind
unfurls my journal pages
moves the windchimes
beak full of dry grass
the bird drops it and flies
could a cat be near?
midmorning in March
neighborhood finally stirs
except for my sons
waking up grumpy
the teenager now singing
as he showers
Pat Laster dba lovepat press c 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book comments keep coming!

l. To my friend and colleague, Pat Laster, Just finished reading A Journey of Choice. Good job on bringing these characters together. They blend into a story that ends in a fast-paced, satisfying style. Your title is appropriate. I think the book needs a sequel. Your last chapter practically leads into the beginning of another episode. Write it!
Your friend, Freeda Baker Nichols
2. Billie Ferguson, Benton, called the book "interesting--the different points of view." She'd never read a book like that. It kept the characters straight along with their inner feelings. She, too, said, "It has sequel written all over it."
3. High school ('54) classmate Marie Zoellner said, "I cried; I didn't want it to end."
4. High school ('54)classmate Mildred Craig left a voice mail: "If anybody'd told me I would go home on a Saturday, sit down with a book and read 70-something pages, I'd have told them they were crazy! But I did and thoroughly enjoyed it. I only stopped because I had things to do."
I thank all who read and commented on my first novel. I DO have a folder marked "Sequel" and a computer document titled "Liddy Grindle's first Christmas..." PL

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February: short month; short poems

hawk eyeing the squirrel
it followed to a cypress
squirrel eyes the hawk, too

(picture by Rick McFarland,
Arkansas Democrat Gazette)
yesterday, plucking
6-inch frozen stems with buds
now, yellow showing
without those who care
no reason to make
snow ice cream
cat sitting in snow
black on white
next glance, only white
cat stalking leaves
not quite buried
by the snow
cardinal, bluejay
bright against snow-laden gray
of bare branches
five inches of snow
yet she bundles up and car crawls
five miles to the gym
on the snowy heap
of garbage a handful
of wilted jonquils
c 2011 - Pat Laster, dba lovepat press

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chester drawers or chest of drawers?

In last Thursday’s Saline Courier was an account of a woman whose father “had passed” and who gave a great number of furniture items to a burned-out family. The reporter is a young woman who seems to be a go-getter—always involved in the newspaper’s sponsoring some charitable event or another.
In the list of items given to the newly-bereft family was “chester drawers.” I yelled out an “Oh, my gosh! I’m not believing this!” and immediately wrote the phrase in my journal.
“Chest OF drawers, sweetie,” I said to her, though she was not in my dining room, “chest OF drawers.”
I Googled (I know some hard noses who will sniff at using that as a verb, but it is SO right; somehow ‘I search-engined’ leaves something to be desired.) “chester drawers” and—I’ll be switched—several sites came up.
The first one I visited was eBay where a twelve-inch, hard record was for sale at $9.99 or best offer. The performer was Chester Drawers; the song, “Rock the Turntables” and the source was shazamsrecords.
Chester Drawers was a real person? Oh, sure, like Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans, I supposed. Yep, er yes! Next in the list was Eddie Bowman aka Chester Drawers. This site (eBay again) advertized a book, “Crazy Cat,” for $15.99, o.b.o.
Then there was Chester storage. A furniture company, Chester, made accent tables. On Shopzilla were links to stores selling chester drawers, but all entries and pictures were drawers, and chests, not chester drawers.
I returned to Eddie Bowman’s website. A picture of a sort of hillbilly type with a funny hat, large spectacles, mis-matched, gaudy shirts over overalls and topped with a LOUD tie—he was a Mr. Greenjeans type.
Here is what I learned. “Eddie Bowman, better known as Chester Drawers by people around the world (Have I been hiding under a rock all these years? Who else has heard of this singer?), has been writing songs for many years. Living near Branson, he has also been a professional entertainer and comedian.
“Eddie has entertained people and children from all walks of life all across the US. He is most famous for his children’s books, especially his “Silly Song Series.” All of Eddie’s children’s books are on the national readers program, Accelerated Reader. He has also written three additional humorous and inspirational books.”
Next, I investigated what looked like either a thesis or a position paper, 17 pages with tables, graphs and pictures on “the bureau question: what do you call it?”
Last, I found “100 most often mispronounced words and phrases in English,” ( which I added to my favorites list. Here is the item: “DON’T SAY: chester drawers;DO SAY: chest of drawers. COMMENT: The drawers of Chester is a typical way of looking at these chests down south but it misses the point.”
Who’d a’ thought a person could learn so much about one phrase? Certainly not me. So, is Miss Reporter correct or not? Do you say “chester drawers”?

by Pat Laster, d.b.a. lovepat press c 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Additional observations - A Journey of Choice, Pat Laster

A note card: "Jan 3: Dear Pat, I have finished reading 'A Journey of Choice. I could hardly put it down to do my work. It is so very well written and entertaining. Thanks for letting me know it was published and how to order it. Love, Joan B." (Malvern)
A phone conversation: " I like the dialogue. I liked the thoughts and especially the thoughts about happiness. I stopped once and said, 'I know this person.'" - Beverly L. (Benton)
An email: "Dear Pat: I have your wonderful book here and am really enjoying it. I intended to read it only early in the day, but last night I couldn't help myself and brought it to bed. I want to go slowly and savor every word, you see. It's a fine story, memorable heroine, beautiful language. I was wondering if you had finished it. Congratulations. Dot McL. (Somerset, New Jersey)
Another email: "I finished the book (2nd time) Monday evening.I read it as if I had never read any part or parts of it - and WOW! I enjoyed it twice as much!" Jeanie C. (Hot Springs, member of the former Steel Magnolias, a writers' group from central Arkansas, who was privy to the earliest chapters.)
A third email: "I just finished your book this weekend... Nice twists and unexpected things. I very much enjoyed it." Vicki K.-S. (Eureka Springs)
_ _ _ _
Re book signings: Thirteen folks bought books during the Saline County AR library book signing events during late January. Thanks to all those and to the ones whose comments are above. pl

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow time: how to beat the cold

by Pat Laster, author, A Journey of Choice

How ‘bout that snow??? Oh, wait. That’s how I began a previous post. Tsk, tsk! So I’ll piggyback off Paul Greenberg’s annual Arkansas Democrat Gazette offering by responding to it.
To wit: Longjohns. I don’t wear longjohns, though I sometimes wear pajamas under my fleece pants. Does that count?
Fireplaces. Though mine burns gas rather than wood, it still radiates heat into the room and gives the nostalgic hint of the real thing. Except for the aroma. Last week when grandson Billy and his friend Sam played in the snow, they left boots, shoes and gloves on the hearth to dry. Talk about nostalgia. I almost cried. I DID take a picture for proof.
Bathroom heaters. Never take them out, Greenberg says, but I didn’t have a choice. When the gas line had to be re-placed, the inspector, well, inspected, and demanded that the ancient wall heater go. “Old Ark-La,” he said, dismissively, and out it came. A portable electric heater warms the small room enough for baths.
A goosedown comforter. I’ll take whatever fills the comforter that covers my bed—the pricey one I found at Tuesday Morning last year. Billy took my previous one and I couldn’t stand to hear him whine that he needed it for keeps.
Exercise the mind; turn off the teevee (sic), which Mr. G opines is a good idea any time of the year. Amen to that—for myself. In a rocker pulled close to the fire (see above), feet on a footstool, and a throw (see below) over my legs, I tackle another in the Oxford Anthology of Short Stories borrowed from the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow.
After my novel came out, I decided to work on short stories, so I brought the book home and have been slogging through it. Now, I try to read at least one, sometimes two if they’re short, every night. Any unknown words—and there are many—I transcribe in my chair-side journal to look up the next day. I go online to see reviews and essays about the stories I read the night(s) before. I’m using my mind all right. Pushing its limits perhaps, but I keep at it.
Back to P. G.: Sweaters. Galoshes. Gloves . . . “Do I have any boots?” Billy asked before he and Sam went outside. “Where are those I used to wear?” He’d outgrown those about five years ago and hadn’t needed them since, so he didn’t have anything but his regular sneakers (see Fireplace above). Gloves I had, so Sam used them; BJ found his, but went out bareheaded, though somewhere amongst all his clothes he has a new Old Navy cap.
Galoshes remind me of those horrid yellow rubber boots that I had to wear as a child. Guess what? In TJMaxx recently, I saw some high-top yellow boots! (What do they say? ‘What goes around comes around’?)
I’ll add something Herr Greenberg didn’t mention: throws—those large squares meant to be thrown over your shoulders or—as I use them—over your legs. My relatives were fond of giving our late mother throws so that I inherited at least a half dozen. Plus those I’ve received since becoming the eldest--the matriarch. I keep one on every chair, the sofa and the love seat, wherever people sit.
Another way—not in Mr. Greenberg’s list––to keep warm during this cold spell/ season is to read John Greenleaf Whittier’s Snowbound, a seven-hundred-fifty-nine line poem, and be thankful we don’t live in New England where winters are much, much worse than in central Arkansas.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Big Snow for Arkansas

by Pat Laster, author of A Journey of Choice


after many years
snow togs again
drying by the fire
pair of cardinals
caught in a snow-covered pine
for a news picture
under a blanket of snow
reads 22 degrees
a cat lying
in a cleared-out place
in the snowy yard
snow caps
on clumps of beautyberries~
cat sitting in sun
swing full of snow
while the sun shines,
the wind pushes
still icy patches
where the trees block the sun
road clogged with semis

c 2011, lovepat press

Happy 41st birthday to my last-born, Annamarie

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hard to move forward when the past clings

by Pat Laster (author, A Journey of Choice)

How ‘bout them Hogs? I typed that opening before the Sugar Bowl game. Back to the keyboard during halftime with the Hogs ‘way behind. How ‘bout them Hogs? I ask again. We’ll see, won’t we?
During the first half, I went through my sewing sack and set aside ribbons, shoe strings, loose buttons, sewing AND machine needles, and various other items I would never use. Those things will go to Goodwill or the Habitat Restore.
I kept three pair of tiny scissors, a seam ripper that I’ll never use, 4 thimbles—one a small beat-up metal one that I’ll “give” a fictional history, and another advertising Sweet Rose Flour. Anyone with information about that company or logo, I would love to hear from you (
After that, I used navy thread for hemming three pairs of fleece pants, and rose thread for a pair of red ones. Not a bad accomplishment for one evening. I felt almost old timey––doing handwork, rocking in front of the fire and listening to my late Daddy’s radio.
How ‘bout them Hogs? They weren’t up to snuff; too little too late; all tuckered out; something.Ohio and Terrelle Pryor, you know. But the Razorback Nation's gotta put it behind us and move forward, as surely many losing coaches told their players.
I’m having trouble moving ahead. I used all the plastic tubs on the place for Christmas paraphernalia and still needed more. I tried to move ahead to the next season by stripping the Christmas table linens (oops! it was flannel-backed plastic!). That went fine, but the cloth I pulled down to replace it was too large for the table.
I refolded it and opened the largest buffet drawer where other large cloths lay. Under those three cloths were old boxes, gee-gaws, and loose pictures. I could do nothing but lay the cloths on the table and go through the boxes. Boxes full of the past. My maternal grandmother’s past, those things that Mom inherited that became mine. One box contained quilt blocks, another––lined with a cloth that I did not take out and look at––held small perfume vials, porcelain figurines, keepsakes from someone to someone else.
I poked through every box, every card, every clipping. I laid out those things collegian grandson Billy needed to see––clippings of mine and his Papa’s wedding, my engagement picture––recital programs, graduation invitations and church bulletins. Even an invitation to one of his birthday parties.
I called my aunt, the only living daughter of Grandma Severn and she said she’d done the same thing not long ago, and no, she didn’t want what I had. We laughed and wondered if any of our children or grandchildren would cherish them as they matured into the family lore and traditions. We both hope and trust so.
My grandmother came from Kansas and many of her relatives still lived (and live) there. One yellowed clipping dated May 13, 1954 was from The Anderson Countian. On page eleven, Welda news continued (“Additional Welda”) for fifty-two and a half column inches!!
I know folks love to read about the happenings in their area and to look for their names, but this clipping seemed a bit much. I’d like to see an issue of that paper today if it still exists. [Checking online shows that yes, it still exists and so do two other papers! Who said newspapers were vanishing?]
Here are some excerpts: “The senior class and their sponsors...returned from their sneak trip...Among points of interest visited were Rockaway Beach, Lake of the Ozarks, Bridal Cave and Bagnall Dam.”
The practice of listing every name mentioned as “Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So” took up many column inches. Other items included people who were dinner guests of their parents, those who were “Sunday evening visitors.” A little boy from Colorado “spent Saturday night with his cousin...”And “Little Norma Jean Owens returned home with her grandparents for a visit.”
Seven-and-a-half inches were given to a report of the Methodist Women’s Society of Christian Service (now UMW).
Such detailed descriptions! My final example (and from only the second of six columns) involved the name of my grandmother’s sister Cora’s folks, to wit: “A pot luck supper was held at the Lowell Brecheisen honor of Mr. Louis Brecheisen who will be inducted into the army Friday.”
Like “them Hogs,” I gotta put the past behind me and move forward into whatever the new year holds.
c 2011 lovepat press

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Welcoming the new year with appropriate poems

In Patrick McDonnell's comic, Mutts, on January 3, I felt a connection so I made it into a cinquain pattern. This is a found poem.
for two-thousand 'leven:
he resolves to "take more naps. Z-"
Me, too.
New Year's morning
for breakfast, the last
of the Crackerjacks
noon on New Year's day
napping ... my collegian, too,
sleeps this day away
eight hours
into the new year
two new poems
eighteen degrees
the faucets dripping
against frozen pipes
January fourth
warm enough to work outside
but for the north wind
Epiphany's feast:
a last blueberry muffin
from Christmas breakfast
c January 2011
lovepat press and
Pat Laster, author of
A Journey of Choice