Thursday, December 26, 2013



mugs of cocoa
steam rising
marshmallows sink
---Dorothy McLaughlin, NJ

plump and promising
yet the Christmas tangelo
all pulp and big seeds
---Dion O'Donnol, CA

family iced out
her first Christmas alone
at age eight-eight

a constant droning
the day after Christmas
neighbor's ATV

cardinal watches
five-foot snowman's
red hat and scarf
---Sue Watson, AR

snow-covered aspen
ravens rest on every limb
black leaves of winter
---LaVern McCarthy, OK

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nearly Christmas

his wind chime

newspaper sack
proof of a new round

sitting outside among
the Christmas decor

solstice near. Night
sky's few stars glittery,
silent--unlike the traffic here

transplanted mum
loses all its leaves
pink flowers remain

Friday, December 13, 2013

Poems on today's monthly calendars

crest wind-ruffled
yet the blue jay keeps calling--
unseasonably cold
        from "Connecting Our Houses"--1997
gave Christmas letters
a bad name ... 2,000 words
mostly "I," "me," "my"
        from "Poems for December: Found & Otherwise" --2002

only a few more
"Behave yourself" days
until Christmas
      from "Dynamic December"--2003

"... freak about Christmas,"
she said. "Every flat surface
gets decorated."
        from "a branch of red leaves"-- 2005

in the south window
a spider web and Windex
await my action
        from "in front of the moon" -- 2010

massive oak limb
the antique fence
        from "rising to the top" -- 2012
PL, dba lovepat press

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Poems from other Decembers

after the dentist
no holiday money
Feliz Navidad

leafless tree
a pair of walnuts
and the squirrel

art-class Yule tree
flashing in the window
shaped, tinseled coat hangers

dressed to the nines
for the season's first party
her unkempt nails

on my walk
turning into the icy

winter sun
through the patio window
his palm print

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The ABCs of Thanksgiving

(a Dorsimbra patterned poem)

As men of old did, so we bring our thanks--
for astronauts, ballet and calicos;
for doughnuts, earthworms, family, which ranks
above all else; for geese and bright hellos,
                  ideas and jobs,
                  lessons and mincemeat,
                  neighbors, and oboe's whine.
We praise God's name for poems, quilts and rain,
for smiles and turtles, ukes and valentines,
for walnuts, x-rays, yellowbell and zoos.
As men of old did, so we bring our thanks.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ambience of autumn - poems

scenic moountain road
the pines' understory
all colors of fall

to blow leaves into the street
what about the wind?

male cardinal
feasting on beautyberries--
windy autumn day

fall and windchimes
play. The cats chase oak leaves
skittering across the porch, and

An oak
leaf falls, is caught
in the mini-rose bush.
Two pots of pansies finally come

Two crows
carp at something
near the pecan tree, which
reminds me: gather the fallen

Three crows
span the roadway
this early fall morning.
Whatever do they hope to prove
by this?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cinquains from the Ozarks

October 29th
Views from
two windows show
different hues of dogwood
even though they are planted side
by side.
A friend
wondered why—with
my large, attick-ed home place—
I chose to go to the mountains
to write. 

And yet
she, too, escapes
 to a second dwelling
away from cats and colts and her
No squirrels,
 no crows—only
 the intrusive droning
of the nearby park cleaner’s leaf
October 31st:

yesterday’s rain
the flamboyant dogwood-
reds, the fiery hickories lost their

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Web of Love--a poem

(Google Images)

The Web of Love
(Kyrielle pattern)

 My love is like the spider’s web:
when finished, it’s a cause celebre.
        It’s pliant in its lacy case
and glistens from my radiant face.

         Some say that love is ever new;
that love’s built daily, glue by glue.
        Love’s strands spin out with interlace
        and glisten from my radiant face.

         No lured distractions hide the goal
of meshing thread by thread, till, whole––
        the web of love is filled with grace.
It glistens from my radiant face.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

In Cool of Dawn

Backyard leaves
of myrtle
under robin's beak,
upper sweetgum
branches stir
in scented breeze.

Giant maples
line a nearby street
with emerald leaves,
their undersides
peachy creme
maroon and bronze.

In shaded woods
the yellow hickory,
reds and oranges
of black-oaks
flame against
pine and cedars'
bottle green.

c lovepat press
[revised ala Haymaker IV, October 30, 2013]

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Poems for late October

curbside black
garbage sack: three
invisible crows
beach sunset--
hungry sandpipers
in gold-dust sand
plants in for winter
the Christmas cactus budding
in late October
bright jack o' lantern
guiding goblins' paths ... alas,
rainy Halloween
among the pumpkins
the fallen toddler
crying for Mama
an owl's whoawh
breaking the morning silence
over the deer stand
c lovepat press, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Poems from past Octobers

in broad daylight
a lot of naked ladies
(lycoris lilies)

'possum on the porch
looking for an easy meal
cat merely watches

trash on the neat lawn
no, bread for the birds
mowed-over toadstools

red smudge
on the magazine
a lamp-drawn insect

the hairless hatchling
sprawls across the 3 eggs
still in the nest

road traffic
drowning out the sound
of the airplane
c lovepat press

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shadows - Four poems

red lanterns
stringing shadows
in the spook house
end of the trail—
tupelos in shallows
wildflowers in shadows
the receding wave
seagulls waiting
in their own shadows
I walk in ankle-deep leaves
and overturn stumps
   puffy clouds shadow the sun
   and the buzzard rises
PL---from 28 poems submitted to M. Suddiqui for consideration in his 2013 issue of SEASON'S GREETING LETTERS.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

'Tis the Season...

Google image of Rita, 2005
September 12, 1998
rain ... remnants
of ebbing tropical storm--
child fears tornado
GEORGES - late September, 1998
palm and pine collapse
under the hurricane's eye
hurricane-spawned flood
thrashing the muddy rice stalks
against a rock
of white gravel
where the town once stood
FLOYD - September, 1999
than Florida
Hurricane Floyd
RITA - mid-September, 2005
home floating ... now lodged
against a willow oak
hurricane-made lake
KAREN - early October, 2013
What will I write
about incoming Karen?
she spoiled our beach trip?
c PL, lovepat press

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fingers, Fists, Knees or Noses

[a Gardenia poem pattern whose origin I couldn't find in a non-exhaustive online search]

HOT SPRINGS, (AR), September 24, 1939. --In an effort to reduce stealing of bird dogs, Police Lt...Kauffman began taking the noseprints of such animals at the Whittington Avenue fire station this afternoon. More than 50 owners had impressions taken of the noses of their dogs. A charge of 50 cents was made to cover actual expenses, and for this the owners got the dogs' noseprints...

The sheriff proposes
that printin' dogs' noses

will cut down on thievin'
and keep us from grievin'.

Let's stop all our riddlin'
and fork out a piddlin'

four bits (fifty cents)
to cover expense.

We'll keep those illegals
from stealin' our beagles.

PL, published in variations, 1994

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Summer poems before summer's gone again

Google image
a lone gardenia
blooming on a branch
I did not prune
early morning--
robin forages from
newly-mown lawn
a dose
of The Bobbsey Twins
before bedtime
one month later
I restart my daily
haiku readings
"At Dairy Hollow"
trees killed
by climbing
ivy grown so long
it falls. The vines sway in the wind.
"Fragile looking"
web between two
split-leaf philodendron
leaves at risk of demolition
by wind.
"New Players"
The cats
chase each other
through the yard where children
and grown-ups used to play softball
c lovepat press, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Time for reunions


R  eunions--whether in families or for friends
E  voke ebullient anticipation or edgy dread.
U  nderlying our attendance is a vulnerability
N  atural to those who've grown apart. What if
I   'm too big, too bald, too bold, too shy? Can
O  thers accept what I've become? Alas,
N  o one is responsible for me but me.
S  ympathize, empathize. Life
[from variations, 1994, c PL]

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September Cinquains

Billy hosing the tree down before the brush pile is lit

white church alone
again, guarding headstones
of the early settlers until
next year.

one-hundred miles
just to hear his grandson
play the trumpet for eleven

for the pizza,
he eats the entire bowl
of tuna salad--his 13th

paths our poems
take before coming out
of the woods near perfect, like our

Two hands
to lift the mug
of tea after tumbling
down the steep grassy slope I was

[from September Cinquains, 2003
 c Pat Laster]

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pear season again

pear tree, corner of Couchwood/SamplesRoads-PL
From the late Dion O'Donnol's day by day-1998
for August 28:
pear-like preserve labeled
From Connecting Our Houses, PL/Dot McLaughlin, 1997
for September 16:
ping of sealing lids--
thought of winter preserves
eases today's work
for September 18:
sneaking diced pears
into the tuna salad--
he eats three sandwiches

Thursday, August 22, 2013

School time has come again: Three tanka

first day of school
it takes twenty-one minutes
to go four blocks
   then ten more to get back home:
   three schools on the same street

[PL, August 18, 2003]

second week of school--
in homes of kindergarteners
white uniform shirts
  (napkins for spaghetti lunch)
  soaking in the kitchen sinks

[PL, August 31, 1995]

for football players
during practice
  (funds raised by cheerleaders
  from the folks in Star City

[PL, August 11, 2004]

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Anniversary of the end of WW2/ two sestets in memory of Joe Prichard

A flagship destroyer, the Selfridge by name--
destroyers are named after heroes:
Thomas O. Selfridge of Civil War fame,--
was one of the first to look up and see those
enemy planes as they charged into Pearl,
and the first ship to fire back: one grand girl!

Whether frigate or flagship, clipper or cruiser,
government boat under flag of truce, or
destroyer, battleship, schooner or whaler,
carrier, cutter, steamship or freighter--
all manner of ships through the years had their day
defending and building this U. S. of A.

[Published in delicious fatigue, 1992.
Joe Prichard was my neighbor
when I lived on West Sevier in Benton]

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Three Etheree poems

woods near Cherokee Village, AR
When writing new poems, I often use the discipline of writing a syllabic pattern to get thoughts/ ideas/ images into a workable form. The Cinquain––2, 4, 6, 8, 2—is a favorite of mine, as is the Etheree.
             In fact, “On Poems and Pears” began as an Etheree. Here is the way it looked before I turned it into free verse.

3-of poem
4-shrink when revised
5-like sacks of tawny
6-windfall pears, split and cored,
7-skin pared and rot scalpelled out
8-till only solid fruit remains,
9-cooked in sugar syrup for three hours,
10-yielding glasses of clear jeweled preserves.

           The Etheree poetry pattern was created in 1967 by a Magnet Cove, Arkansas poet, the late Etheree Armstrong. “The form is 10 lines with the syllable count matching each line number. It is unrhymed, though it must have rhythm, meaning, imagery OR carry an undertone of a second meaning.” (From a copy of a letter signed by Mrs. Armstrong given out by her son, Britt, the speaker at a local poets’ meeting.)

           Two more of my poems follow.

to the pole
in especial
honor of the tenth
anniversary of
Nine-Eleven. The banner’s
faded from many years of use
but memories of the horrendous,
senseless attack on our country have not.

limb––as large as
a dinner plate––buds
at the twig ends aground.
On this cloudy Good Friday,
I ponder Holy Week lessons:
even though the limb is dead, new life
springs forth––a second chance. Hallelujah!

                Why not try writing an Etheree yourself? Send to

[This post originally a column published in Calliope: A Writer's Workshop by Mail, #140, Summer 2013.]

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tribute to an Arkansas poet: Neville Saylor

             Another renowned Arkansas poet has died, alas.

Neville Saylor, daughter of Neville Preston and Eunice Bennett Swaim, died in Baton Rouge June 12 of this year at age 90.
            A few years ago, she lived off Highway 5 between the Alcoa and Springhill Roads in Saline County. She attended the local branch of Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas during that time, taking her turn now and then to present a program.

Earlier, when she lived in Arkadelphia, she was best friends with the now late Hazel Gaither and Mike Grogan, editor and publisher of “Heroes from Hackland.” Mike is a subject for another column.
            Neville, Hazel, and I all wrote for Mike Grogan. Serendipitously, today I found a page from said magazine. How I wish Editor May could publish the pictures in this publication beside the one in the Welch Funeral Home obit.

Mike loved Neville. In this particular issue—he didn’t include the month and year on every page as some publications do––the subtitle is POETRY: and the headline is “The Peppermint Poet.” Mike had his say before Neville had hers:
           “As children we often spent a nickel for a roll of peppermint Lifesavers. Peppermint was cool and tingly. Neville Saylor’s poetry dissolves in the mind and sends refreshing verses through the brain in steady impulses. Neville’s poetry clears away the cobwebs and delivers insight that lingers throughout our daily routine. She is a lifesaver! – M. Grogan”

What followed that typical Grogan-esque introduction was NEVILLE SAYLOR ON NEVILLE SAYLOR: “I have written poetry for most of my life. Dr. Lily Peter, former Poet Laureate of Arkansas was a mentor in my early years. She was an English teacher who loved and wrote poetry and who encouraged me to write.
               “Also a great lady and prolific poet, Anna Nash Yarbrough, praised and criticized my work with love. They meant a great deal to me.

“I have used my skill for passing on whatever came to mind, some light verse, some more meaningful, and some I am sure which may be hard to fathom.
             “It has served me well in my profession of teaching school. I have been a Special Education Teacher for the last 25 years, and haven’t decided to retire yet! At the moment I am employed by the Little Rock School System, and am a member of Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas.”

Here are two of her poems

 HILL 875:
A cautious moon with uncertain light
Crept from behind a cloud that night
And saw herself in mirrors of blood, 
Deep blackened pools in slimy mud; 
Then she turned aside to look into
Distorted faces, purple hue,
A tight, clenched hand on trusted rifle,
Cold as the metal, devoid of life. 
With her soft rays bathing flesh and steel
That filled the ghastly battlefield
The moon sank lower, lower still
Until she fainted below the hill.


God is good. 
So sang the mother whose son
Stood proudly beside her in the church, 
While on bended knee another mother knelt
Beside a flag-draped coffin.
~ ~ ~ ~
Long live the memory of Neville Saylor.
[You can find her picture on the top left row of Google Images: Neville Saylor. I worked and worked to get the picture here, but to no avail. Her obituary can also be found online.]


Friday, July 26, 2013

Proverb within a poem

It was easy, the dissolution, legally;
harder is facing the return to autonomy.
How much better our informal partnership
before we decided to incorporate.
In the reasoned light of hindsight,
a more viable option would have been
candlelit, covert meetings,
more passionate than profound,
more exotic than essential.
The rush to merger called down a
curse on hard-won, individual freedoms;
thus the union foundered.
Now, darkness conceals clandestine pleasures.

--PL, from delicious fatigue, 1992

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My very first attempt at writing a poem


A ll alone in the
  B ig house a-
    C ross the street,
      D welt the
        E ffervescent,
           F lamboyant Doctor
             G reengrave.

H ow this
   I llustrious gentleman kept his
     J ealousy hidden from his
       K indred for so
          L ong is a puzzlement to the
            M ind of man.

N evertheless, because the
   O peration to remove a
      P ellet from his gullet--
        Q ueer as it may seem--
           R esulted in his green color, he was

S tung by unkind remarks of small
   T ykes who passed him on the street. He
     U sually became depressed and ended up
       V isiting his friends on
        W ard
          X, off the
             Y ellow Room, at the
               Z oological Gardens.

Maybe it's not a poem yet, but it was my first effort in the graduate class, Writing Across the Curriculum, Benton High School, Summer, 1984, taught by Sue Perry, to whom I will always be grateful.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Journey through July

"Weather Change"

Wished for,
begged for, prayed for
for days--finally the
summer weather pattern aligns:
it rains!!

         I could
         have predicted
         it for today: I woke
         up sneezing, dripping--always a
         sure sign.

The grass,
the flowers, trees,
rivers--and my car--all
needed a life-giving drink. Prayers

ACs off
and windows open
   --in July?

great slabs of bark
at the base of the oak
a pine seedling

warning click and buzz--
the cat too close

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Poems written on this year's Fourth of July

from Goodle images
evening, July 3rd
the night bugs nearly as loud
as the fireworks
mockingbird using
its full vocabulary
this 4th of July
morning picnic
on July 4th
sans the heat and noise
mockers on both sides
one scolds the cat ... the other
trilling happily
Independence Day
July the 4th,
it's 60 degrees--cool
enough to don my terrycloth
fourth picnic
happens at nine-
thirty a. m., with
a hot dog (cold: yum-yum),
Frito Scoops, whole almonds, and
watermelon pieces. I can
view the porch flag, listen to the birds,
read the paper, exult in our freedoms.
c Pat Laster, written 7.4.'13, Couchwood

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Poems of the season


two strands of web
move in the wind
shine in the sun

the rising sun
in its huge redness
now in my camera


"Early summer; early morning"

cussed the cheap green
hose that kinked every time
I pulled it farther from the far

3 Campmeeting observations

is smiling down
to see--on the mourners'
bench--a bouquet of her hydrangea

We park
where cabins stood
a century ago.
Now, the only vestige is a
dug well.

floor is no more:
concrete the answer for
those with allergies, flip-flops and