Friday, December 28, 2012

Snow Slows Things Down

by Pat Laster

back to the ballpoint--
all the hi-tech equipment
down with the ice storm

stranded at the Inn--
while waiting for the snowmelt
we use the hot tub

Snow so
thick on tree limbs
between, the neighbor's house
is invisible--six or more

maple branches
are completely tinseled,
icicled and wind-swayed--like some

what a pity!
the big beautiful snow
and no camera

"Power Outage"
but trying not
to open the fridge. I
nosh on peanut butter and

ecstatic grandchild
visiting from Florida
sees Arkansas snow!

"White Christmas, begone!"
Snow blown
against the north
storm windows remains days
after the first, ice-first  storm of

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Tis the Season

by Pat Laster

in earlier days
I was the one who caroled
now I'm sung unto

three nests
in the vine-covered tree
a lone red berry

heavy snow
closing the trail
quieting the woods

only a few more
"Behave yourself" days
until Christmas

fourth night in a row
the 10-year-old thanks me
for his supper

pipe-laying project--
the creche almost hidden
with dirt piles, debris

Blessings on one and all this joyous season. PL

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Gifts of Friendship-- four cinquains

by Pat Laster

I dip
your biscotti
gift into my first cup
of coffee--consider our long

With my
second cuppa,
I eat a slice of your
poppyseed loaf--and think of our

I play
the music box
gift, enjoy both music
and sentiment--and think of our

As I
place each Christmas
stamp--your very welcome
gift--I consider our long, long

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press, Benton AR

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas is coming

by Pat Laster
new holiday towels
wisps of clean gray hair now red
in the shower drain
ancient ceiling fan
on its lowest speed
saying, wrong, wrong, wrong
Trip back
from paper box,
the cat uses stepping
stones, while I am left to walk in
wet grass.
I rue day's schedule
that takes me out of the house--
winter winds gusting

trimming Christmas tree
child delights in ornaments
made when he was two
took no hostess gift--
she thanked me with a bottle
of homemade wine
picking up
everything on my list
even without it

lining windows
with glitter drape ... now glitter

c 2012 by Pat Laster [friend me on Facebook--Pat Laster, Benton AR]

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The first heavy frost: haiku sequence

by Pat Laster
rocking the feeder--
first heavy frost
first heavy frost--
a lone yellow maple leaf
fluttering downward
first heavy frost--
the pinkness of roses
and azaleas
first heavy frost--
the burning bush fiery
in morning's sun
first heavy frost--
a thin layer of ice
in the bird bath
first heavy frost--
inside this old house
all heaters humming
written November 28, 2012
c 2012 by Pat Laster, Benton AR

Saturday, November 24, 2012

An extraordinary Thanksgiving weekend

by Pat Laster

         A traditional gathering of family--three generations--boasted several once-in-a-lifetime happenings: a sibling turned 70; another sibling and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary; a third sibling from Virginia flew in for the occasions; a newly-married, second-generation couple were added to our midst, and a family flew in from Portland, which included the third generation, aged (nearly) two.
          The daughter-in-law of the nearly 70-year-old colluded with the hostess--another sibling--to plan and carry out a surprise birthday party. It worked beautifully.
          Plus, the Thanksgiving table was side-to-side, end-to-end dishes of food--for the meat-eaters AND the vegetarians.
          That night, before retiring, I read two issues of a haiku publication and whenever a thought or image or idea came, I wrote my own. Some of them follow.

morning sun
outline of a maple leaf
on my windshield

the Enterprise clerk
rubs something across
the twenty-dollar bills

the only one
of our group who likes
flavored coffee

we sing the blessing
and record it for the one
who is missing
   later, he reports
   that it brought him to tears

slow-cooker compote
forgotten during dinner--
an autumn shower

Thanksgiving evening
while the dishwasher runs
she solves Sudoku

one side of the room
I read and write haiku
sister tries to sleep

even asleep
a tune running
through my head

c 2012 by Pat Laster, Benton AR USA

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Autumn haiku/senryu

by Pat Laster
fields now white with frost
soon return to green and brown
with the autumn sun
under colored leaves
the last windfall pear
badminton at dusk
noises from the sweet gum
scare us inside
from sleeping-bag warmth
your coffee perks me awake
time for the boat ride

eyes wide
to take in the dark sky
around Jupiter

drifting past
silent cliff and branches
a lone canoeist

the sound of rain
but none falling
only the leaves

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Arkansas Highway 23 (Pig Trail): New England and the Carolinas have nothing on the Ozarks in autumn

Preparing to return to the "valley" of Central Arkansas
(cinquain sequence)
by Pat Laster

As on
the first morning,
on this last one, I dress
warmly, but not bundled --like on
that cold

in October.
Now the clocks are turned back
and I sit on the porch once more,

in fall.
There goes a squirrel
across Spring Street. A bird
chitters. Farther up the mountain,
a crow.

upon layer
of ancient limestone keeps
the mountainside at bay and safe
for our

Maples, redbuds,
 gums, oaks and hickories--
fiery in fall colors--contrast
with pine,

Ivy, clinging
like a needy woman,
will eventually kill its host.

will spring
into the space
like children when parents
die. I can imagine being

of this
piece of Eden.
Alas, all things must end.
I bid Dairy Hollow goodbye

next spring.
Writers who come
after this, treat yourselves;
great heights of creative spirit

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press, Benton Arkansas

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Even writers have fun on Halloween

Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow, Eureka Springs Arkansas. L. to R. Pat L. and Dorothy J., central  Arkansas; Talya B., Dallas and Fayetteville; Tom S., New Hampshire. The photographer was another resident, Joan B. from Ontario.

Cinquains for autumn

weekend: Ozarks'
cold snap means bundling up
for outside activities--like
story maple--
mostly green with yellow--
will soon add its oranges to
out the Ozarks'
brightness--for shame!-- its glare
on my computer distracts from
The first
biker I've heard
during this writing stint--
It's the weekend, so it won't be
the last.
I joined
Facebook after
saying I never would.
Does peer pressure exist among

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press, Benton Arkansas

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Is my hill haunted?

by Pat Laster 
Three more
black cats, the same
size as the two who claim
this hill, showed up for breakfast. I
shoo-ed them,
but they
didn't go far,
turned, sat as if to wait
till I left. By then, the breakfast
was gone.
Halloween. My
own free decorations:
on two windowsills, black cats sit
nearly Halloween
egg cartons and tissue rolls
parking lot litter
bright jack o'lantern
guiding goblins' path ... alas 
rainy Halloween
calico crouching
in the trick-or-treat bag
her shining eyes
red lanterns
strung along the dark cavern
of the spook house
c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Friday, October 19, 2012

October's beauty

morning sun
on the reddening dogwood
shining with dew

torrential rains
washing away months of drought
my leaf-clogged drain

running back uphill
the leaves I just swept

wind chimes moving
but mute
finally, the rain

two-dozen sips
by the robin ... even with
honeybees around

in the silence
between passing cars, a bird
sings from a dead branch

a dragonfly
on my chair ... beyond,
a dogfight

on the highwire
with its bushy tail

a black cat
toddles through my pole fence
to the place with dogs

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Verna Lee Linxwiler Hinegardner, 1919 - 2012
Requiem for a poet
A poet is dead
and unsaid words
hover restlessly
like birds gathered
on the edge of the nest
feathered to fly.
Your words--
sometimes they scowl
like midnight owls
sometimes they chatter
like guinea hens
sometimes they prowl
like hungry hounds.
Today, your words
echo re-echo
grinding a groove
in my heart.
I need more words.
Humbly I plead:
one more poem, dear poet,
to muffle silence.
--VLH, published in The Saline Courier, Poets Forum edited by Don Crowson October 11, 2012
Daughter - age 5 - Golfing with Daddy
Aren't you glad that I came, Daddy?
Won't we have a lot of fun?
Can I wear your golf hat, Daddy?
I can't see inside the sun!
Let me splash the water, Daddy,
Just like you did with a ball.
Look at all the tulips, Daddy!
Can't I pick some?      None at all?
Can I dig a tunnel, Daddy,
Just like you did in the sand?
Let me rake the sandpile, Daddy.
Hey, you jerked my little hand!
Daddy, I can't find your golf ball.
Is it still up in the tree?
Oh! You said a bad word, Daddy.
Wait till Mom hears that from me!
I don't want to go home, Daddy.
You are going the wrong way!
Can I drive the golf cart, Daddy?
Can we play again some day?
--VLH, published in Seven Ages of Golf (for Women), 1980
Mosaic pieces in this book
are steps I took
along the way
to reach today.
Each piece of life, when put in place
has helped me face
what's yet to be.
Soon, now, we'll see
the final picture my life drew
and I'll show you
my wants, my needs,
my words, my deeds.
--VLH, from the front cover of her last book, Mosaic, published 2011
Verna Lee never copyrighted her books. "Reprints Appreciated" she always said.
For more information on Verna Lee, see my Pitty Patter blog for 10.11.12 and go to (Conway AR) for an obituary. Also, she is included in the Central Arkansas Library's Online Encyclopedia.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Obeisance to October
by Pat Laster

with the needed rain
the struggling zinnias
revive until frost

maple leaf drifting
into ascorbic water
for peeled pears

scenic ridge
full of color last Monday
this Monday, all brown

welcome rain
the dogwood seems to glow
with redness

sycamore's mottled bark
showing through dying leaves
blustery north wind

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, September 27, 2012

by Pat Laster

handsome widower
exults in turning 80
if I ask him out
will he take it the wrong way
I weigh the pros and cons

1:30 a.m.
son comes to my room, asks
"Where's the poster board?"
    teens must think moms
   are magic--or mind readers

nowhere to go
deer in the town surrounded
by water
   what to do? an urban hunt
   with bow & arrow? O, Lord

washing up
after the autumn planting
inchworm on my neck
   those were azaleas, inchworm,
   not marigolds!

waning gibbous moon
after the ice and snow melts
a power outage
   as I transcribe this poem
   the light returns

in my dream
he removes two birds
from my brow
   we face-nuzzle
   no words needed

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It’s That Time Again!

by Pat Laster
 first leaves first leaves
yielding to autumn:
the small red sumac
--Dorothy McLaughlin, New Jersey
September 19 in our co-written flip calendar,
Connecting Our Houses, published 1997
(an Etheree)
wiper sports
a leaf, yellow,
maple – a ticket
like one a policeman
might tear off and deposit.
No, this is from Mother Nature.
As if regretting the hot summer,
she leaves a portent of the days to come.
the sunset
through vibrant leaves
their colors blending
a red sweetgum leaf
caught in the camellia~
dishwasher whirring
bountiful harvest
one leaf and one pear still hang
on the tree
the bare gingko tree
its golden leaves allowed
to lie undisturbed
rushing outside
at the sound of geese ~
the fiery sassafras
© 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ruth Flint Miller, 1790-1830

Two Dorieces about the same woman

Ruth Flint Miller,
wife of the first
governor, stalled.

Pioneer she
wasn't! She could
not bear going
to a wild place.

Seven children
are a handful;
try moving them
to Arkansas!

"Thanks, but no, thanks!
I'll stay where it's
safe and secure
among my kin."

My husband went
to Arkansas
as governor,

I shuddered: that
wild place, and our
seven children?

Repugnant! I'm
no pioneer!
New England's my

I'm completely
happy to be
a stay-at-home
wife and mother.
Information from Anne McMath's First Ladies of Arkansas

The Doriece poetry pattern was created by the late Maggie Aldridge Smith of Siloam Springs AR. The subject is a woman, the stanza form is four lines of four syllables each. Four stanzas comprise the pattern. It can be rhymed or unrhymed.

These poems written August  1990, published in my second chapbook, Variations.

c 2012
by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thoughts and poems of a haikuist during a Disciple 2 Bible Study

by Pat Laster
Benton Arkansas

no-good nephew Lot
chose all the fairest farm lands
let's see how he fares

"Sarai's my sister,"
Abram told the Pharoah
to save his own skin

"I couldn't help it!
When God said I'd bear a child
I had to laugh!"


Read all of Jonah?
I exclaimed at midnight
... 48 verses

"OK, OK! I'll
do it your way, Lord; just
lose the big damn fish!"

c 2012 by Pat Laster

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lunbering, logy Isaac wreaks havoc- poems written while viewing an online photo gallery

by Pat Laster

Isaac, two men
sit under a tree, watch
waves while they are still quiet and

a fallen tree
and water decorate
the marina parking lot. Blame

buckets of mud
from a hillside dwelling,
the barefoot man steps gingerly

passes, leaving
heavy showers causing
mudslides, yet one more disruption
of life.

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cats keep me company

Greye (near) and Boots
Dealing with Greye while sitting outside during an early mid-August morning
"Make up
your mind!" I tell
the cat, poised at the door.
"I'm not retired just to serve you,
old man!"
"Stop it!"
No sooner out
than the cat meows to
go back inside. "I'm not moving--
not yet!"
Three senryu
playful longhair jumps
at the hem of teen's skivvies
while he's still in them
pesky cat
pawing around
in my purse pocket
I open new cheese
for the last two crackers~
cat arching his back
A cat poem by the late Hazel Gaither, Arkadelphia:
"To A Cat"
You never even lift a claw
Or catch a pantry mouse,
Yet you enjoy a pampered life
And dominate this house.
I marvel that you sway us so,
And question: "What's he got?"
You answer with your mystic eyes:
"Charisma, dear, that's what!"
c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, August 16, 2012

(Some of us don't go) Back to School

"Not This Year--We've Retired!"

five years between
them, two retired teachers
don't go through the first-day-of-school

first day of school~
blue morning glory atop
the clump of kudzu

"No sidewalks to School"

High school's
six blocks from home,
but I drive twenty blocks,
merge with cars from three schools on the
first day.

second day of school~
child's new retainer thrown out
with his lunch trash

"Unchanged Voices"

At two-
thirty, I hear
children pass by the house.
But no, it's junior high football

"Empty Nest"

of Billy, now
gone off to college: two-
-inch locks of brown curls still litter
the porch.

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Parched Peanuts

The memory of peanuts spawns a smell
that emanated from my grandpa's barn--
those dried and dusty weeds had hung from nails
since Grandpa sent us out to harvest them.

Like fresh-cut wood, they had to cure and age
till dry and ready for the fire. We shucked
the earthy goobers--really roots--from stalks
of mother plants who'd done their job: produced
their offspring; suited now for compost, or
for burning.

                     Laid in sieves of screen, the nuts
were shaken till all flecks of musky dust
fell through. We took the first clean pan of them
inside for Grandma's cookie sheet. The stove
was hot. She set the oven gauge to warm;
alarm for thirty minutes. When she popped
them out, she used a pancake turner, flipped
the cooking nuts.

                             "Another half-an-hour,"
 she said, "and they'll be done." They disappeared
again in oven's darkness. We stayed close
to kitchen door, inhaling fragrances
that--unbeknownst to us back then--would stay
with us forever.

                            So they did; our kids,
now grown, insist on bowls of peanuts parched
in Mama's modern oven. Nothing beats,
they say, the smell, the click of shell, the taste
unique that conjures sweetest memories.

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Where did all the flowers go? (after Pete Seeger)

by Pat Laster

"Ain't it awful, the heat--ain't it awful...
from Kurt Weill's opera, "Street Scene"

Still too
hot for outside
work, so my flowers will
probably die. It's either them
or me.

Wind chime's
paddle moves but
not enough to set off
its tubing. Beyond, cat on my
new car.

"Rain as my Muse"

I sit
on the front porch
during a thunderstorm.
Like the plants sucking up water,
I wait,

in this morning
coolness, direction for
the next development in my

Why pay to lie
in a tanning booth with
heat lamp above? Spread a pallet


A huge
blue jay zooms toward water,
sees the cat nearby, flies off, still
(1st place, Siloam Springs, 2007)

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A goal for 2012 is to paint all kitchen and back-hall cabinets & drawer fronts (now chocolate) and shelves (yellow)--to beige. This picture shows both an unpainted section and three of the painted ones. It's already July; I'd better get busy on the rest.

Poems about the old homestead

first-time homeowner
at age 71
--a heady feeling

"So It Goes"
I work
the whole morning
in the brush & brambles
with not one scratch on old, thin skin
of arms.

I scrape my arm
on the countertop edge,
gouging the skin. Blood spurts beneath,
on top,

like blood
does when aspirin
(low dosage but daily)
is consumed. (Doctor's order!) Quick!
 Band Aids!

trash hauler's motor
vibrating the thin windows
of this old, old house

living here 6 years
before ripping out
the old shelf paper

through the bare window
of the old house on the hill
a computer screen

"It's About Time"
faded-to-gray mailbox
flag with red, sparkly fingernail

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Grandson Billy wetting down the oaks before burning the massive brush pile earlier this year

A few poems for the dry and hot season the nation is currently in.

so hot for so long
the beautyberry leaves
curl and brown

electric meter's
unending circle's
this summer

mid-summer heat
dairy cattle udder deep
in the stock pond

hellphase of summer
incandescent skies
forcing me indoors
(from Arkansas Times)

determines my
day's schedule in some ways:
No rain? I water the plants; too
much sun?

I move
out of the swing
to the shade. Too hot? I
retreat inside to the AC's

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, July 12, 2012

While vacationing in Tennessee and on the way home to Arkansas

 Cherokee Village AR woods, but very well could be those at Fairfield Glade TN

sleeveless in summer
the skin on my upper arms
really my mother's
3-digit days,
the welcome cold front drops
 the early morning temps to the

when does a sapling
become a tree and a creek
become a river?

bare upper branches
along the wooded roadsides
makes me wonder

child's question: more trees
or more people? Tennessee
gives trees an edge

spiky trunks
bared by an earlier storm~
green fields of milo

a patch of brown leaves
on the tree's small branches
its first summer

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Observations from Fairfield Glade TN - sisters' trip

Three of the four sisters on last year's trip to north central Arkansas. R.: Carolyn, Barbara, Pat

This week ends the Couch sisters' 13th annual summer trip. Our adventures began in 1999 on the Cumberland Plateau out of Crab Orchard. This year, we revisited Tennessee in the same general area. Some poems written during the week follow.

a resort condo
in the Tennessee forest
bird and insect song

ambience marred
by ACs' drone

"Cream-a-holic sister"
all four creamers
from the motel's breakfast
in one cup of coffee, she drives
for more.

"For once, a cool morning"
Far off
thunder during
the night. Somewhere, perhaps,
a respite from prolonged heat of

sounding puny
against the crow's raucous
call, but with the cool temp and breeze,
who cares?

"Seeing moss on a tree knob"
assistance, one of us
remembered that moss grows on the
north side.

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Memories of an earlier sisters' trip

COUCHWOOD - early spring 2012
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

          Previous to our taking off again for the Cumberland Plateau in mid-Tennessee, here is a sequence from the 2005 trip to Table Rock Lake/Ozark Mountain Resort (southern Missouri) in early July.

this state's clouds
different from the ones we left
~Fourth of July eve

5:00 check in
four sisters converge
at 5:01

catching up
on each one's life~
later, the presents

too tired
too excited
to sleep

many trips
from parking lot to condo
four sets of sore muscles

third cup of coffee
on the mountain cabin deck
still, my sisters sleep

on vacation
to relax ... why so tense
this second morning?

oaks surround the deck~
thinking of my ex-house
among the dogwoods

finally finding
a break in the trees
to view the fireworks

during the entire
fireworks extravaganza

late on the Fourth
still intermittent fireworks
throughout the city

even the birds
late with their singing
day after the Fourth

a yellow jacket
hanging around
the resort trash can

I read poetry
on the condo/cabin deck~
a large red ant

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A story told in Etherees*


bought new
sheets for my
bed in case you
suggest we might be
more than correspondents
when you drive across three states
to attend that farm convention.
Alas, you bring another woman,
so my virginal bedding remains so.

After your tongued goodbye kiss last year,
you seem surprised at my light lip peck
tonight. No one but Dilly sees,
Mary having already
entered the meeting room.
Later, you warm up.
we visit

"Losing Mary"

year's worth
of letters
sent back and forth
via the P. O.
should entitle us to
at least a modicum of
easy familiarity:
sitting together at meetings, meals--
Who cares if folks  think we are an item?


sat between
us--gathered once
more to drink a toast
and say goodbye. What force
caused you and me to sit back,
stretch an arm behind this person
at precisely the same moment? Our
fingers touched, then eagerly entwined.

"AfterThe Dance"

sparkling eyes
made so by male
attention, red wine,
and the last occasion
to hold someone and be held,
unfettered, like Cinderella's
ball, the prince, the possibilities--
But in the reasoned light of day, all ends.

c 2012 by Pat Laster

* The Etheree syllabic poetry pattern was created by the Malvern, Arkansas, poetess, Etheree Armstrong. By the end of the post, you have figured the syllabic pattern, which can be reversed, as in the second poem. Since Karen Hesse writes stories in free verse, why not a story in Etherees?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June is a good month for haiku

    Birds, bees, flowers, gardens, water fun, occasional cool mornings--all perfect fodder for haiku and cinquain.

the neighbor's garden--
a spot of yellow
in the squash row

freshly-filled birdbath--
a dove on the ground nearby
and here comes the cat

Bright white
is the current
color in the flower
bed--gardenias, tansy and now,

of water, like
a lacy ice sculpture
rise behind the vested, intense

the blooms it sips from
bending, bending

the mid-June rain--
in the porch swing
making my own breeze

a gardenia bloom
inside. . . its fragrance stronger
than even hyacinths

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Friday, June 8, 2012

Before and during a writers' retreat in Piggott AR

After a respite of fourteen months during which I miss three such meetings, I finally get back to the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum Educational Center's June 2012 writers' retreat. A new mentor, Dr. Rick Lott, from ASU, was recommended by Dr. Rob Lamm, a previous mentor, who is teaching in China. Dr. Lott was a great choice. Here are cinquains written the first few days of June, then some written after arriving at the Downtown Inn on Sunday evening, June 3.

auto totaled
in flood. He found a tip
of five grand from his regular

She knew
when she empied
a bully's watergun
in his surprised face, "it's time to

a short window
before an afternoon
activity, I sit out and
just "be."

water from a
traditional clay jar,
the Egyptian man celebrates

out from between
the slats of the white blinds,
one could not tell that it rained hard
last night.

my bedroom wall
the luscious aroma
of brownies baking at midnight--
 no dream.

Too tired
to write or read
yet I toss and turn all
evening. At midnight, I arise
and work.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

With apologies to Rodgers & Hammerstein...

"June is bustin' out all over..."

the basso warble
of the sandhill crane
in its mating dance
[publ. Haiku Headlines]

cleaning the spare room
for an early-summer guest~
a still-hidden egg
[publ. Piedmont Literary Review]

the pond
hemmed in by foothills~
summer heat shimmers
[publ. Season's Greeting Letters,
and Poets' Roundtable of Arkansas
Anthology, 2007]

and old men
on the Promenade
[publ. Hot Springs AR Sentinel Record's
mailaway edition]

cows in the pond
up to their bellies
one-hundred degrees
[publ. 37 Cents e-zine]

flag moving slightly
but the windchimes are mute
a cardinal's 'chit'
[publ. 37 Cents e-zine]

May your writing "bust out" all during June.

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Birds and butterflies

by Pat Laster

a pair of bluebirds
the female bathing
in shallow water

Two crows
near the pecan
tree are divebombed and screamed
at by a mother mockingbird.
Even so,

they fly
up, disappear
into the tree. The bird
cries. I rush out and clap my hands.
They flee.

black butterfly
stopping at each lamb's ear bloom
then starting over

two brown thrashers
living up to their names
in the birdbath

lighting on the fallen
oak branch

swallowtail sips
from the Easter lily
but goes back to the lamb's ear: bloom-

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The irony of senryu

Senryu, being of the same form as haiku, but about people and situations, has been a helpful vehicle for those items in the news--be it in the sports world, the political arena or in the realm of the personal--that catch my fancy. Below are a few.

World Peace, the athlete
beating up a fan he thought
threw a drink at him   
~~~(idea from Wally Hall, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 16, '12)

forced therapy
before she reads the paper
rankles the patient
~~~(personal conversation with B. F. about her mother, 5/16/12)

worst thing
to read in an obit:
"recently retired"

minding everyone's business
but their own
~~~(Bob Lancaster, Arkansas Times, 3/3/05)

after tornado
a piece of the obit page
fifty miles away
~~~(news article 3/31/98)

reading along
I come to a ladybug
is it reading, too?
~~~(while reading Gene Fowler's Skyline, 2/14/12)

I eye you
you eye him
none of us happy
~~~(picture: Putin's guards as he walks by: AP, 5/8/12)

Reminder: Nowadays neither haiku nor senryu must have 5-7-5 syllables unless a contest specifically calls for "traditional". 

JOIN MY CAMPAIGN: do away with contests that require traditional haiku.
poems c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Poems from the card file

the new computer
doesn't speak
to the older one

new Medicare card~
tryst with a long-admired

inside, Finale
of 1812 Overture
outside, thunder

my $50
poetry prize signed over
grandson's birthday

one detention hall
during the entire 9th grade
--for no pencil

cat emerges
from under the sofa
when the storm passes

hole in the screen
a tiny black insect
crawls down my nightshirt

disappears--a squirrel?

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mother's Day poems

home for Mother's Day
three desserts at dinner . . .
each child's favorite
by Dorothy McLaughlin, published in Connecting Our Houses, co-written with Pat Laster, 1997, ISBN 0-9661791-0-2 by lovepat press

The following are by Pat Laster, with the collection title and date added.

the refrigerator art
for Mother's Day
~~~ May Day ~ May Day ~ May Day, 2003

child's bright idea:
"Mommy, take the doll shopping
for my Mother's Day
florist son
too busy to call her
on Mother's Day
~~~ along the creek bank, 2005

first Mother's Day
without her
on the front porch
in my Mother's Day lawn chair
first rain in a month
a week late
the unsigned Mother's Day card
from my youngest child
~~~on the same page, 2006

second Mother's Day
without her
~~~a bird calls at dusk, 2007

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blogger has gone and upgraded...

... and the layout of the poems is all screwed up, er, looks like prose. Sorry! I've been gone for 3 days and this is what they do. I'm not savvy enough to figure it out, but I sent them a blistering note that I was extremely unhappy. Any suggestions from readers will be appreciated.    PL

Recent Poems- some ideas found in the newspaper

#125-12 my small funeral purse and cloth handkerchief back in their places ~~~(actual) #139-12 "Avalanche" Eighty feet of snow, mud and boulders lie between the rescuers and the hundreds buried. ~~~ #146-12 the pope dons a sombrero for the Mexico parade ~~~ #147-12 "Out of the Corner Of My Eye" Movement: I looked up, saw a large black dog running across my yard. I yelled, and it took off. ~~~ (actual) #148-12 "What a Shock!" Baby Cat--now a mom (surprising us all) cries hungrily at the window. I feed her. ~~~ (actual) #149-12 "The Right Place at the Right Time" Pronounced stillborn and laid in a casket, the child trembled. Her visiting parents noticed. ~~~ #154-12 circumsised as an infant, the inmate sues the hospital ~~~ #155-12 volcano blows-- ash and steam in the air not stopping the birds ~~~ #157-12 "The View" I move containered plants-- pink roses and pansies-- so I can see them from the place I write. ~~~(actual) c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, April 19, 2012

One poet's explanation of a cinquain

Plucked from inside one of my poetry books (while searching for a poem with April in the title) was a stark white sheet of paper with the top half defining the subject of the cinquain poetry pattern.
Since former Arkansas Poet Laureate Verna Lee Hinegardner loves for anyone to reprint her poems, I take the liberty to transcribe her definition and her poems.

She writes: "If I asked you what a Cinquain is and you said it was a 5 line poem, you would be correct. Or if you said it was a poem with a syllable count of 2,4,6,8,2, you would be correct.
But an Adelaide Crapsy Cinquain is a bit different. An Adelaide Crapsy Cinquain is written in strict Iambic Meter. The beat is "Unstressed - stressed" and this beat demands a strong accent at the end of each line. It can be either light or serious--but generally the last line has a bit of a twist. It must have a title. The title should not be one of the lines, and should be something that does not tell the outcome. Twenty-two syllables plus a title. Leave off all sham, all vanity."

Here is one of Adelaide Crapsy's (sometimes spelled Crapsey) cinquain:


There be
three silent things:
the falling snow ... the hour
before the dawn ... the mouth of one
just dead.

Here are two of Poet Laureate Hinegardner's prize-winning Cinquains:


as one limp glove,
the widow twists her ring
until she learns she has to stir
the stew.


Old folks
are vacant barns
with empty lean-to arms
that reach to guard those precious things
long gone.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blackberry winter, et al.

blackberry winter
raising the window
to hear the rain

blackberry winter
owl calling
just before dawn

blackberry winter
a whippoorwill
at dawn

sixty years ago
whippoorwills called from woods
that are now backyards

Though no
whippoorwills call
during summer evenings,
thank goodness, the doves still 'coo' from
the woods.

a brown thrasher bathes
we continue visiting
around the table

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, April 5, 2012

... Hello to April--again


azaleas, lush
with pink florescence,
a memorial to Mom from
her friends.

tiger swallowtail
stopping by the azaleas,
then the dianthus

"The Large and Small of It"
A young
boy in flip-flops
walks on rails beside huge
wheels of the last locomotive
built for

Pacific line
in 1944--
this day, used for historical

a strong burst of wind
sheers off a leg-sized limb
one foot from my car

Two black
cats interrupt
my outside reading with
one chasing the other around
the house,

like we
children did when
playing Ante-Over
(Auntie Over?). I wonder which
cat won.

Kum Ba Ya
over and over ... singing
his cat to sleep

the family scattered --
Easter lunch for two
at Taco Bell

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press
See my prose blog at Pitty Patter (

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Goodbye to March

late dusk . . . honking,
a short skein of geese
flies north

charcoal-colored clouds
move between the moon
and the star

with the bulldozer
next door, it's hard to hear
the mockingbirds, jays

finally, blooms--
maroon, pinky-finger size--
on the mailbox vine

"40,000-60,000 Insects"

He said,
"Whew! Now I can
rest easier since that
darned bee colony is gone from
my house."
(from News in Brief, ADG)

"Face to Face"

The pope
and dictator
--both old, representing
disparate truth and world views--sit
and talk.
(from the newspaper)

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day by day: a week's worth of (mostly new) poems

March 22 -

Our man
will lose his signature
black helmet hair while in prison.
No dyes.
(from a news article)

March 21 -

after the rain
the irises drooping
the dogwood a-bloom

March 20 -

the hot-air balloon
with the pilot still inside
sucked into storm clouds
(from a news article)

March 19 -

"Bath on your birthday!"
(muffled, beneath his covers)
"Five more minutes, please."
(2003- grandson's 13th b.d.)

March 18 -

outside, reading
later, oak catkins
clinging to my robe

"melting back into the clouds"
after ten miles a-ground
(from a news article)

blossoms above
fading vintage jonquils
that kept their puffy yellow
till now.

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A poetic bow to the birds


Bright blue
wings flutter from
wire to the greening grass.
It's rare to see a bluebird, so
I watch.


male cardinal bathes
in the fresh water ... three ... four
sparrows join him


the noise of cars,
I hear a woodpecker,
spring peepers and a gentle wind-
chime tone.


at the birdbath;
flies two feet to the bush
of beautyberries. Inside, my
nose drips.


college's spring break
only a team of robins
on the baseball field
(published in Haiku Headlines, 2003)


the flock of blackbirds
down the street just yesterday
now in my backyard
(published in the Premier edition of Hermitage [Romania] 2004)

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The newspaper spawns "found" cinquains

through more than twelve
thousand feet of solid
ice--that took a decade--they found

Are lies
protected by
the First Amendment--those
words used to falsely claim service

Whose rights
come first, patients
or pharmacists? To sell
Plan B or not, according to

flying across
the Mexican border
hit an El Paso woman in
the leg.

Looks like
the only way
to tax the ultra-rich
is to threaten Congresspeoples'
c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tornadoes and floods wreak havoc

two views--the same twister:
"Couldn't-see-anything rain,"
"It was a white sheet."

96-year old
sent back to the schoolhouse
nursing home flooded

"May I have these, please?"
"My only pair of houseshoes?"
"You don't have a house."

neighbor helps neighbor
friend pulls friend from the rubble
smell of lumber yard

stricken mayor
"Hadn't cried in 50 years
till I saw the flood"

older man gives up
"Don't have the strength to rebuild
. . . or the time."

leaving the compound
for higher, drier ground
red ants and inmates

through the flooded street
a man and his dog riding
the rescue truck

a tornado
razes downtown instantly
raising takes longer

effects of storms
never fully disappear
a limp, a cry, dreams . . .

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Seventy degrees by dusk in central Arkansas

For the first time in several weeks, I took the old notebook, pen and newspaper outside to the porch swing. It was 50 degrees at 8 am.

sunny winter day
titmouse on the gutter sings
and doves call
a lone goose flies
into the sun's round brightness
this first day of Lent
broken branch dangles
and sways on the old oak tree
I hear spring peepers

on the high wire
tries to out-sing the noise
of passing cars this warm winter

The wind kicked up as predicted, so I betook myself and my materials back inside to the dining table where I not only read/write, buy occasionally eat.
Later on toward dusk, I took the puzzles and once again sat in the swing.

warm winter dusk
the sounds of children outside
spawning memories
as dusk falls
my eyes and the newsprint
words fail to connect

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Finally, a snow--of sorts

We in the heartland were thinking the snow gods were snubbing us, what with La Nina playing around again. Here it was mid-February and no snow during the new year's winter.
When the elements DID align so that the forecasters could finally predict snow, the weather people went at it with a vengeance. All sorts of winter chaos was predicted; some schools and even Henderson State University announced closings on Sunday night-- just in case.
Surely the snow gods were laughing boisterously when they spilled out a few soft, wet flakes on us poor packages of personhood. "Don't they know when they are well off?" one of the older gods surely said.
"But I remember when I was a kid god and frolicked in the snow. Let's give the troublesome tykes a little hope so they'll be assuaged and disappointed at the same time." (Talk about a troublesome tyke!)
Anyway, here are some snow poems written this week.

the little birds
forage on the ground, not
worried that cats are probably

A black cat spots
the birds and slithers toward
them. I bang the window."Birds, hie

and no cat food
for the five visitors
who've gathered--they think--for breakfast.

You have S.A.D.?
Go outside: the winter whites
will chase winter blues
(from Hi & Lois comic, Brian & Greg Walker)
c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Sonnet to my Valentines

by Pat Laster

T o celebrate this holiday, I’ll try
O utlining, crafting English sonnet form.

M y further, harder task will be to tie
Y et other undertakings to it: warm

V ernacular, like choc-o-late, plus rhyme
A nd meter (dull iambic, some folks think).
L a-bor-ious it may be, this winter. But,
E ach word must serve to build and fill a chink.
N eglectful, some folks overlook a “turn”
T he sonnet needs. For now, I’ll turn to snow,
I de-al during February. Spurn
N ot cold; delight in its short visit! Oh,
E lusive muse, Erato–– Valentine,
S tay with us, love us––snow or not. Be mine!

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day 2012

If the little rodent had peeked out at Couchwood/Benton/Arkansas/USA, it would definitely have seen its shadow. Some of the things I saw or read are included in today's post.

from the lowest branch
a squirrel watches the cat
on top of my car
at least, it's not
the other way around

"Listen Up!"
be careful that
you give that ditzy wife
of yours the exact birthday gift
she wants.

"Boots!" she
said. "Not a book!"
She threw the birthday cake
and book at him, then choked the poor
(from "In the news," Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

spring cleaning
on the warm winter day
early daffodils

six weeks
into winter, yet
the yellowbell blooms

first scene this morning:
three fat-chested robins
rimming the birdbath
full of fresh rainwater
drinking ... drinking ... aah ... aah

"my cholesterol
is not where the doctor wants ..."
she eats an omelet

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Where's the snow? Where's the snow?

So far in central Arkansas on the backside of January, the snow has failed to materialize. Dot has a small flag on her porch and I have a door mat, both with the same message, "Let It Snow."
The next best thing is to remember previous years via haiku written during the times it DID snow.

thirty degrees
only the paperman's tracks
in the ice and snow

(All the following, 2010)
no children
in the neighborhood
to build snowpeople
so the 40-year-olds
are left to do it (Tanka)

for the first time
in all the years I've lived here:
a fast-moving snow plow

to the mailbox
for the second time ... my first
snowprints are buried

yesterday's soft snow
crunchy after night temps
in the low twenties

snow still on the ground
inside, four daffodils
forced into bloom

my gloved hands
forcing four inches of snow
off the windshield

gunning over clods
the snow plow left
in my driveway
c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In honor of my baby's 40-something birthday: poems about family

[written in 2000]
thirty years ago
to hospital on fresh snow
second daughter's birth

[written in 2001]
first, Christmas, then ice
overlooking my last child's
mid-month birthday

in my mother's yard
her mother's yellow rose

*the eternal hum
of the fan used to block
grandchildren's TV
[*Season's line.
Season is the pen name
of Carolyn Thomas, CA]

someone's pet cat
is now road kill
omigosh, it's ours!

[written in 1998]
the long snow break
my young grandson's inventions
using last year's toys

my boy in the snow
the neighbor inside our house
eating popcorn

runs back to Mama's warm house
during the outage

Three pets
sleep on my lap,
a cat and two small dogs,
their being at my whim, trusting.
Pure faith
[by Lew Taylor, Stillwater OK]

c 2012 by Pat Laster and Lew Taylor

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Winter in the Heartland - poems


cold and blustery
forced daffodil blossoms
brighten the table


when I look again
the short icicle
no longer there


kitten trying
to pin down its mother's
frisking tail


twenty-six degrees~
heat rising through metal spoon
as I stir coffee


five mornings
of frozen birdbath water
today, it's liquid


"frost on every flake"
I tell my finiky kid
about his Kellogg's

c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jocund January - poems


The Pope
reminded us
that Christmas is about
more than buying, giving gifts. We
knew this.

A dead
red-winged blackbird
in my neighbor's yard two
days after fireworks frightened it
and more.

Wind gusts
on the first day
of this new year, as if
sweeping the world clean after the
old one.

to 'Eleven's
hurricanes, tsunamis
and economic turmoil. Let's
move on.

With five
hours to spare, I
reached my writing goal: an
average of one piece every day
last year.

I see
red from the far
window. Eating privet
berries, a bright cardinal sits
so still.
c 2012 by Pat Laster dba lovepat press