Friday, December 26, 2014

Visions of sugarplums? NOT

day after Christmas--
full-page ads from retailer
and car dealer
[PL -12. 26. '14]
~~

From Baghdad: (two found poems)

in what's left
of our town
you can't tell
who's 'friend,'
and who's 'foe'


refugee child
asked Santa
for a red dress
but he delivered
purple. She's happy.
[PL -  ideas from M Hennessy-Fiske, LA Times]
~~

On Christmas
Sierra Leoneans
staying put--
fear of Ebola
rampant
[PL - found from article by S. Gbandias, Bloomberg News]
~~
~~

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Poems from other Decembers, from other poets, too

laden cedar branches
made silent by the snow
nothing at all to hear

[from the late Dion O'Donnol's every day living, 1997]
~~

Christmas shoppers;
into the blind beggar's cup
a silent snowflake

[Dorothy McLaughlin, from our flip calendar, connecting our houses, 1997]
~~

looking up
from my Christmas reading~
thicker icicles

[PL - from Poems for December, 2002]
~~

the full kettle's
garbled whistle~
twenty-two degrees

[PL - from Dynamic December, 2003]
~~

last of the pound cake
I baked for two parties
is now my breakfast

[PL - from rising to the top, 2012]
~~

Auntie's first Christmas
   not only an orphan
   but now a widow

[PL - from a branch of red leaves, 2005]
~~~
~~~

Thursday, December 11, 2014

pittypatter: Advent 2014

~Advent Wreath-Google images~
 

 

Advent: 2014
(an Octo sequence)

It’s Advent—twenty-fourteen now--
too many years since last I wrote.
 
I fill my time with handbells, choir
 
--requiring diligence--and bills
 
and cats and house and med refills.
I fill my time with handbells, choir.
Too many years since last I wrote,
 
it’s Advent—twenty-fourteen now.
~~
I used to write an Advent verse
each year, till life got in the way--
 
especially after I retired.
 
I penned one novel, then one more.
 
Activities came to the fore,
especially after I retired.
Each year, till life got in the way,
I used to write an Advent verse.
~~

I hereby vow to take more time
to celebrate the Advent Child,
to live expectantly each day
 
as if the second-coming’s near;
 
make ready, leave no room for fear.
To live expectantly each day,
to celebrate the Advent Child,
 
I hereby vow to take more time.
 
PL - 2014
 
 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

December poems

street signs
at Frozen and Geyer
growing icicles
~~
muzzling a Magi--
they set up the frat lawn's
Nativity scene
~~
blue-glass mobile
chiming in December wind--
student in short sleeves
~~
second
son's
fifty-
second
birthday
~~
Hal Borland:
"December's the price
we pay for June"
~~
filling the feeder
and knocking holes in the ice
the bluebirds return
~~
~~
PL - dba lovepat press

Monday, November 24, 2014

Posthumously: a poem

 
 
Posthumously
 
 Three months
after Mom’s death,
we five siblings went through
box after box of greeting cards,
letters,
 
diaries,
journals, brittle
clippings of her mother’s
that had been bequeathed to Mom as
eldest.
 
Weekends
are for yard sales,
so we planned one when five
of us seven children could be
present.
 
Pie pans,
cookbooks, blankets,
mismatched silverware, odd
purses, sweaters, glassware, aprons
and more,
found new
homes in exchange
for one dollar, or two.
Neighbors dropped by for a look-see,
chatted,
picked up
tiny trinkets
so they would have something
of “dear Ms. Anna Pearl’s” that they
could keep.

Packing
unsold clothing,
a daughter found something
in her mom’s black velvet jacket:
dried bread,

too large
at the time for
her to swallow during
Holy Communion many months
ago.

[PL - written in July of 2006]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rain? Sleet? Mix? Snow? poems

 
From the Kitchen Table, I see...

droplets
of last night's rain
converging on roof's edge,
pausing a moment, then sparkling,
falling.
~~

the old house gone
petunias' final bloom
before the frost
~~

first frost
the coarse-weave blanket
holding my warmth
~~

the late dusk sky
backlighting the pine trees
a full day of rain
~~

autumn evening
a flock of geese honks
above the light rain
~~

two days later
a midnight rain
re-leafs my lawn



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chorales in cinquains

chorale - a simple hymn tune
She Surprised Herself
 
After
only one week
in the Ozarks, our friend--
a writer from Ontario--
said 'y'all.'
PL~~~
 
After
the pear harvest,
the south winds wrestle one
recalcitrant fruit to the ground.
My treat!
PL~~~
 
Andy Rooney 1919-2011
 
Though he
had two machines
in his office--to press
pants and shine shoes--he always looked
rumpled.
PL, from the news~~~

In the Mountains

I sell
two of my books--
$30. I spend
thirty-five shopping at thrift stores
for "fleas."
PL~~~

Creation?

Fish grease
and olive oil
mix on the sheet of foil,
create shapes like islands before
my eyes.
PL~~~

Be Careful What You Ask For

She called
out for added
singers in the Advent
program. A dozen teenaged boys
showed up.
PL~~~

Autumn's Fallen

Four leaves--
maple, dogwood,
tulip poplar, sweet gum--
two red, two yellow, now grace my
table.
PL~~~


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Post-election poems

two tails
with lives of their own
she-cats facing off

[PL- from November Nuggets, 2003]
~~

rush to early church
my watch on upside down
and unmatched earrings

[PL - from before the frost, 2005]
~~

library visit
the child in awe of how quiet
grown-ups can be

[PL - from at the sound of geese, 2006]
~~

sassafras grove
adding fieriness
to the fall sunrise

[PL - from the last windfall pear, 2011]
~~

DST again
as the light wanes early
insect songs begin

[PL - from apples into swans, 2012]
~~

oh, no!
seeing results
of Tuesday's election

[PL - still in journal, 2014]
~~~~
~~~~

Thursday, October 30, 2014

MORE FOUND POEMS

"Where in this state?"

In Arco Times, 'bout every week,
they let us peek
at some place rare.
'Guess where! Guess where!'
This week's a stony creek bank scene:
a big rock--queen
of shoreline. Round--
an ancient mound?
I'll take a guess: old Cripple Creek.
There's fish to seek.
Or bring a chair,
enjoy the air.

[a Minute pattern, PL 8. 3. '13, from an Arkansas Times picture]
~~

"89 Years Straight, then . . . . "

war, scandal, earthquake
couldn't stop the World Series
but players' strike did

[PL, Senryu form, from the news, 9. 15. '04]
~~

"Also Gauguin"

"One hell
of a haul," he
said, describing an art
heist of Picasso, Matisse and
Monet.

[PL, Cinquain, from the news, 10. 12. '12]
~~

"Keep it Down Out There!"
or"Can't a Fellow get Some Sleep Around Here?"

Sticking
it's head out from
inside the bird feeder,
a raccoon glares at the feeding
nuthatch.

[PL, from Birds 'N Blooms photo, O/N, '03,
written 10. 15. '03]
~~

Thursday, October 23, 2014

POEMS WRITTEN DURING VARIOUS OCTOBERS


THERE GOES
A YELLOW LEAF
SAILING ACROSS THE PORCH
AND THROUGH THE RAILING DOWN TO THE
WOODPILE.
(Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow, 2011)
~~
The rose
I almost tossed
during the summer heat
now full of buds that will shortly
bloom pink.
(Couchwood, 2012)
~~
BLISSFUL
AND QUIET, BUT
FOR A DISTANT TRAIN, A
REVVING MOTORCYCLE . . . AND, OH,
A BIRD.
(WCDH porch, 2011)
~~
Looking
up just in time
to watch a lone red leaf
drifting, adding to the autumn
carpet.
(WCDH, 2012)
~~
AGAIN,
BEFORE DAWN, THUGS
ARE BASHING MAILBOXES.
NO, THE NIGHT-SHIFT NEIGHBOR'S SPLITTING
SOME WOOD
(Arkadelphia, 2003)
~~
Should I
move to a chair
closer to the front door,
or be peppered by rain on the
porch swing?
(Couchwood, 2010)

PL- dba lovepat press

Thursday, October 16, 2014

IN MEMORY OF LEW TAYLOR - POET AND FRIEND

LEWIS BUTLER TAYLOR - 1925 - 2014
 
My writing drips from off my pen,
or, on rare occasions, pours,
as case may be.
While either betides I hardly sleep,
but hold my pail to catch such drippings as I can.
 
I do not turn the spigot on,
I do not know who mans the tap,
but since each drop may be the last,
I try to save whatever I can
before the tap runs dry.
 
LT- from "Author's Preface" to Leaked From the Pail, 2003, edited/ published by Lovepat Press, Benton Arkansas
 
~~
 
PET BURIAL
 
This little grave I dig will hold
the dachshund form of my shadow
for the last fourteen years.
Each spade of earth rekindles another memory
. . . .
I dig to rock.
His place dug here
is like the hole left in my life.
I ponder whether my going to join him
will leave as large a hole in any life.
 
I wrap him in his blanket
and bid a teary goodbye,
each of my tears mourning loss,
but also my own mortality.
 
LT - Ibid, p. 8.
 

LIFE TREE
 
Autumn
years are golden?
Autumn leaves are golden
just before they sere, to fall from
the tree.
 
LT - Ibid, p. 28.
 

PASSAGE
 
Autumn
spreads sere brown leaves
on pasture, field and lawn.
Fall moves from then to then. Thus, too,
we go.
 
LT - Ibid, p. 39.
 
 
Rest in Peace, my dear friend Lew.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What's gotten into the crows? Why are they so noisy?

505 Spring St., Eureka Springs in October - PL
 
fishing off the dock
taking time
to clear her mind
 
[picture: M.S. Gerrits, AD-G]
~~
 
she buys
a high-waisted panty shaper
and a candy bar
~~

baby bumblebee
visits
dianthus
and wandering jew
blossoms
~~
on the porch
waiting
for the promised rain
~~
crows
behind me
speaking
in long
sentences
~~
robins
involved
in something
upsetting or exciting

making plans
to migrate?
or protesting
the obnoxious
crows?
~~

c 2014, Pat Laster dba lovepat press 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Autumn poems: Neville Saylor, Marguerite Palmer, Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni


RHAPSODY IN AUTUMN
by (the late) Neville Saylor,
long-time member of Poets Roundtable of Arkansas

As Autumn's song drifts through the hills,
The trees in brilliant disarray
All dance to rhapsody which fills
Each moment of this perfect day.

My heart responds by beating time
While waltzing to her merry air,
As nature pipes a tune sublime
To lure me to a woody lair.

In sun-splashed beds of mossy green
Which hold the pale tenacious roots,
On paths that wear a frosty sheen
Above the tender sleeping shoots,

Let me lie as a dormant seed
To rest among the golden tones
As Autumn's music fills my need
Till Spring bursts forth to warm my bones.

~~ from Captive Harmony, by Hazel Gaither and Neville Saylor, 1995
~~~~~

AUTUMN IN THE OZARKS
by Marguerite Palmer, Little Rock,
PRA Honorary Member

The hollows are cloaked in blue-gray haze
shading to purple that matches blooms
of asters starring the dusty trail
where goldenrod waves feathered plumes.
Now softly plinking, the acorns fall;
and loudly cawing, the brash crow flies.
The night and the day share half and half
this time of the year when autumn lies
over the land and deep in the heart
so full to bursting it over-spills,
joining the medley of wild life song
when autumn comes to the Ozark hills.

~~ from Searching for the Key: Poems by Marguerite B. Palmer, 1999
~~~~

WHY WORRY?
by (the late) Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni
former Poet Laureate of Arkansas

Yesterday is past.
Why should we turn
To watch the flames
Of the sunset burn?
The present is ours
For joy or for grief.
It falls at our feet
Like a dry autumn leaf.
Tomorrow, through seeming
Close-kindred to me,
Is a threat or a promise,
Which may never be!

~~ from Lend me your Ears: A Beakfull of Humorous Verse, by Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni,  1965-66

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A few tanka poems

out of the classroom
and into the barn
for a whiff
of the manure-scented life
ahead of them
--published in red lights, June '06

a decade later
regluing their 50th
anniversary album
a bug skitters
from her dried corsage
~~

a group home
of disabled adults
an 18-inch beehive
hangs from a tree
in their yard
[from S. Delaney's pic on FB]
~~

geese
gabbling
louder
than a hen party
in progress
~~

two
long-ago
lovers
now
in nursing homes
~~

above the hum
of the AC fan
squawks
of a jay
and a crow
~~

a quiet morning
reading the obituaries
oddly transported
to each funeral
in each different town
~~

c 2014 Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Some September poems

Eureka Springs in Autumn - PL
on the wire
the 2-inch bully
guarding the nectar
~~
 
drooping
pampas blooms
their first rain
~~
 
lone walker
on the first cool day--
finally, puddles
~~
 
rain by the foot
of the child at the bus stop
puddle's reflection
~~
 
male cardinal
eating beautyberries
his child nearby
~~
 
lopping the branch
that's bent to eye level--
threatening sky
~~
 
the silent rain--
in the birdbath, droplets
make ripples ... ripples
~~
 
c 2014 Pat Laster dba lovepat press


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Season of Remembrance

DYING
by Laurence W. Thomas

it comes
         slowly like the drawing down of summer
         a little at a time
dying the way summer ends
         with cooler days vying with the heat
         the blooming of flowers that mark the fall
             asters and chrysanthemums
             before they fade
dying as the leaves excite the eye
             yellow red orange gold
         before they fall to leave bare branches
dying like the summer
        with the hope
        that there will be an easy winter

~~ from POEMS OF THE PASSED, 1990, published with permission of the poet.
~~~~

SOUTHERN LADIES
by Nina Tillery

Decorative as seed pearls on a flour sack,
Aunt Mattie sat on a Queen Anne's chair
in the parlor corner every day for fifteen
years--she was Daddy's only sister.

Mama dusted daily, saying "Scuse me,"
in her best peach-jelly voice, rounding
Aunt Mattie's corner, her stiff sunflower-
printed apron crisp with starch and tight
square knotted bow.

When Daddy took a job in Baltimore--
never consulting Mama--she packed
Aunt Mattie's cardboard case and sent
her and her chair to Maryland.

Before the Greyhound passed the county
jail, Mama hung a parakeet in Mattie's
corner, pinched tender spice from the herb
garden and shared peppermint
tea with the man next door.

~~3rd Place, Anthology Contest,
published in Poets' Roundtable of Arkansas's 2002 Anthology.
REPRINTED IN MEMORY OF NINA
~~~~
~~~~

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Short poems for the season

Eureka Springs in the fall - PL
 
SENRYU
 
accidentally
watering
the silk plant
~~
 
while coffee heats
I load the dishwasher
walk off without joe
~~
 
watering
the pet cemetery's
volunteer dogwood
~~
 
HAIKU
 
ethereal web
seen only for a moment
in the morning sun
~~
 
TANKA
 
pruning
again--
again
a bouquet
of branches
~~
 
CINQUAIN
 
"Napkin at the Ready"
 
Homegrown
tomatoes, Schwan's
bacon and watery
lettuce on rye--the juice runs down
my arm.
~~
 
"Doggedness"
 
Baby
bumblebee tries
to nose into the rose.
It didn't score enough so tries
again.
~~
 
c 2014 Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Walt Whitman-- in honor of Labor Day

Working at watering the trees before burning the brushpile below - PL
 
 
I HEAR AMERICA SINGING
by Walt Whitman
 
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics -- each one singing his, as it should be,
       blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves
        off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat -- the
        deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench -- the hatter
        singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter's song -- the ploughboy's, on his way in the
        morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother -- or of the young wife at
       work -- or of the girl sewing or washing -- Each singing
       what belongs to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day -- At night, the party of young
       fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.
~~
Typed from The Walt Whitman Reader, c 1993 by Running Press


Thursday, August 21, 2014

In a search for "August," I found "work."

Working on school bags, UMCOR, 2013
 
I wanted to find another person's poem with August in the title. I began looking through the three shelves of poetry books, but tired quickly after five or six books and nothing. Aha, from Garrison Keillor's Good Poems, I found an even better section to match the work that's gone on around here this week (new flooring in the kitchen). Under WORK, I found the following piece by Bob Arnold.
 
No Tool or Rope or Pail
 
It hardly mattered what time of year
We passed by their farmhouse.
They never waved,
This old farm couple
Usually bent over in the vegetable garden
Or walking the muddy dooryard
Between house and red-weathered barn.
They would look up, see who was passing,
Then look back down, ignorant to the event.
We would wave nonetheless,
Before you dropped me off at work
Further up on the hill,
Toolbox rattling in the backseat,
And then again on the way home
Later in the day, the pale sunlight
High up in their pasture,
Our arms out the window,
Cooling ourselves.
And it was that one midsummer evening
We drove past and caught them sitting
Together on the front porch
At ease, chores done,
The tangle of cats and kittens
Cleaning themselves of fresh spilled milk
On the barn door ramp;
We drove by and they looked up--
The first time I've ever seen their
Hands free of any work,
No tool or rope or pail--
And they waved.
~~
In the biography section is this snippet: Bob Arnold (b. 1952, Adams, MA) is a carpenter and stonemason and poet whose family owns the oldest family lumber business in America, Arnold Lumber. "I took off for the woods after high school and don't plan ever to come out," Arnold wrote. Keillor's book was published in 2002.
 


Thursday, August 14, 2014

School begins again - without me, whee!

a bed of cosmos
surrounding last year's sandbox
rusting Tonka truck
~~

overnight
the lilac beautyberries
turn purple
~~

a summer lunch
seed-freckled tomato juice
in the saucer
~~

round and round
on the notebook spiral
a tiny black ant
~~

the creek's coldness
rustling over gravel bar
an orange leaf
~~

c 2014, Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August already?

Grandson Billy-saying goodbye to summer
and hello to school? PL
first day of August
buying school supplies
before the rush
~~
 
one child
on the school playground
in two weeks, many
~~
 
barbershop at noon
no waiting, even the week
before school
~~
 
woodsmoke and cool air
mother more energetic
now that school is near
~~
 
two days until school
teachers in at recess
their cars on the playground
~~
PL
c lovepat press 2014
 
 

 


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Writing has me in its clutches - a Rondel


Who would have thought that when I took the Gifted/Talented Education course, Writing Across the Curriculum,  in 1984 , that I would eventually have a novel published? And a sequel in progress. Certainly not I. But here's a picture of the book cover. Today's poem was written during that early time when I was just starting out. I tried lots of formal patterns. PL

WRITING HAS ME IN ITS CLUTCHES
( a Rondel pattern)

Writing has me in its clutches.
Verses? I've done quite a few.
My tongue makes rhymes of words it touches,
grabbing thoughts out of the blue.
The reason why? I've not a clue!
Writing has me in its clutches.
Verses? I've done quite a few.

Writing keeps down lots of fusses
with my daughter, Annalou.
Pettiness and spite it hushes,
bringing me contentment, too.
Writing has me in its clutches.
Verses? I've done quite a few.

PL - published in delicious fatigue, 1992

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer weather in haiku - some found

a summer forest near Cherokee Village--PL
 
willow wands
littering the yard
after heavy rain
--image from Jennifer Hansen, AD-G, 2003
~~
 
Japanese plum~
on a 2-foot limb, more than
one-hundred fruits
--from Other Days (1904), AD-G
~~
 
he moved up north--
hearing a freight train one night
brought him back home
--idea from M. Montgomery, former student, 2006
~~
 
on the wire
making a blip of a sound
tiny hummingbird
--actual, PL, 1997
~~
 
not even the plant
turns on its swivel--
now and then, a cricket
--actual, PL, 2011
~~
 
ponds and grass dry up--
complete herds going
to the auction barn
--image from C. Branan, AD-G, 2012
~~
 
one red leaf
on the sassafras
in mid July
--actual, PL, 2012
 
c lovepat press, 2014
 
 
 
 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

TWO POEMS FROM PREVIOUS TRAVELS


SUNSET ON BEAVER LAKE

Sunset's
saber
flashing
across
gentle
ripples
spreads
golden
nougat
topping

PL - written the year Lucidity Poetry retreaters took a boat ride and participated in a read-around on the lake. When TOB lived in Eureka Springs.
~~

IF TREES COULD TALK

If trees could talk, what would they say?
-- that General Hunter passed my way

in June of eighteen-sixty-four,
retreating from the Lynchburg Corps;

--that Rebel boys fell at my feet;
blood soaked my roots in summer's heat;

--that cannonballs so deeply sunk
scarred--but did not kill--my trunk.

Ala Marceau, our language rife,
and stubbornly we cling to life.

PL - after a visit to Shiloh on the Natchez Trace.
~~
Both poems from Variations, 1994, lovepat press

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A few TANKA poems

child bows to Master
"O Great One, which is more--
trees or people?"
   out here are trees, no people
   in town are people, no trees
-- from a question Billy asked me when he was a child
~~

robin resting
with only its tail
in the water
   a wasp flies too close
   and the bird flies
~~

finally
the butterfly bush blooms
in the wheelbarrow
   no wonder! I didn't prune
   it back--and it's in the shade
~~

in the shadows
a grasshopper chirps
   I throw my peach stone
   toward the cheerful
   yet mournful sound
--from The Broken Halo, p.144
~~

on his hind legs
cat pushes the empty swing
from behind
   I think he was surprised
   when he was merely stretching
~~

the gentle rain
spatters on the bush's leaves
depressing them
   like keys on old typewriters
   only silently
~~
~~
PL, written at different times between 2006 - 2013

Thursday, July 3, 2014

CINQUAINS IN SUMMER

OZARKS
 
 
MY, YOU'RE UP EARLY
Early-
morning lookout;
the mockingbird perches
on the apex of the roof. 'How's
the view?'
PL - 6/24/14
 
~~
 
I'LL TAKE ANY KIND
Two blooms--
such as they are--
on the old begonia.
Not the usual raceme, but
dime sized.  
PL - 6/24/14
~~ 
 
 PREPPING FOR GUESTS
Checking
every crevice,
every curve for pepper
seeds. (They do a number on her
stomach.)
PL - 6/27/14
~~
 
UNTENDED CORNER
Amidst
the green of vines,
privet--even a tree--
the crape myrtle blooms peek out from
it all.
PL - 6/29/14
~~
 
PARENTING AT ITS BEST
The 'chit'
of a redbird
on the ground. With his child
nearby, Daddy keeps a watch for
the cats.
PL - 6/30/14
~~
 
FROM J P MORGAN
Twenty-
four-year-old man
gets a retirement-plan
letter! I've heard of funny things,
but this?!?
PL - 7/1/14
~~
~~


Thursday, June 26, 2014

POEMS (of others) FOR THE SEASON

MEMO TO AMERICANS

Perhaps we could bargain
with the years . . .
could proffer
substantial payment

that the home place,
land we cleared
and planted,
the springs and wells
we have drawn water from,
the home we planned and built,
the furnishings we purchased
in both lean and fat years,

that these personal properties
be put in trust
for benefit
of years to come . . .
   because
   the equity
   is high . . .

Clovita Rice, Crystal and Creatures: A Collection of Poems, published by Grandmother Earth, 2004,
used without permission of author.
~~

SUMMER SONG

     Wanderer moon,
Smiling
A faintly ironical smile
At this brilliant,
Dew-moistened
Summer morning--
A detached,
Sleepily indifferent
Smile,
A wanderer's smile--
If I should
 Buy a shirt
Your color, and
Put on a necktie
Sky-blue,
Where would they carry me?
Over the hills and
Far away?
Where would they carry me?

William Carlos Williams, from Early Poems, Dover Publications, Inc. 1997.
~~

JULY 4, 1941  -- JULY 4, 1942

How many last year were careless boys,
And fire and thunder were their toys,
And over beach and farm and park
Their hissing rockets split the dark.
Their stars flew up like flaming birds
Of Liberty, too swift for words,
And cannon crackers wrote in smoke
The free proud thoughts they never spoke.
Today their firework's eloquent glow
Is understood in Tokyo.

Ogden Nash, from Good Intentions, Grosset & Dunlap, last copyright, 1942.

~~
~~
[These books are from my collection -- PL.]

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Poems: D-Day celebration, Angela's ashes, and (shudder) . . . .Three sequences

Dutch iris - Couchwood, 2014 - PL
 
NO ENEMY FIRE THIS TIME
 
World War
Two vet repeats
his parachute landing
of 70 years ago, sans
ammo.
~~
70 YEARS BETWEEN

The same
pilots who dropped
World War II paratroopers
took control again for D-Day's
reprise.
[PL - 6.9.2014]
~~
~~

FROM FRANK McCourt's book, 'TIS
(found poems)

bringing her own chill
into that of December's--
his Irish mother

dipping our fingers
into the New Jersey urn--
Angela's ashes
(p.366)

breeze eddying
her white dust around the gray
of the cousins' bones
(Ibid)
[PL - 6.6. 2000]
~~
~~

TERMITES

high school basketball
court only four years old
crumbling

entrees:
line insulation, caskets
utility poles

historic cannon
t
   o
     p
        p
           l
              i
                 n
                     g
from its wooden stand

dining
on Spillane and Socrates
alike

[PL - from R. Cawthon, Phila (PA) Inquirer, 6. 18. 1999]

   


Thursday, June 12, 2014

A slab of poems for Father's Day


same day my dad died
Joe DiMaggio's home
put up for sale
[PL]
~~

first Father's Day
without him
[PL]
~~

son mimics dad
on exercise equipment
this special day
[PL]
~~~

father/grandfather
both take a lot of trying
and luck of the Irish
[Dion O'Donnol]
~~

Father's Day morning--
memory of him sizzling
bacon for breakfast
[Jerry Judge, from TIMEPIECES, 1996]
~~

twice start daily walk
but cannot go on
unexplainable
[Dion O'Donnol]
~~

FOR FATHERS

A father like a tree is measured; strong
As oak is strong, and tall in youngster eyes
As redwood grows . . . and he must have a song
When frightening winds chase clouds across the skies . . .
The song the pine has sung for countless years.
His heart must be as tough as hickory,
Yet soft as newborn willow when the tears
Of hurt come tumbling down pink cheeks; and he
Must shut all evils out like brave old hedge
With stinging needles. Proud, the father stands
Sequoia-like against the treacherous edge
Of doom lest fate should mark a hopeful's plans.
     In storm, or through the pleasant, sunny days,
     A father's like a tree in sundry ways.
[Ercil F. Brown, HEAR MY SONG]

~~~~
~~~~


Thursday, June 5, 2014

POEMS WRITTEN during the month of JUNE in various years

Greye (left) and Boots, co-owners of Couchwood, PL
 
 

MYSTERY

On some
days, poems just
bubble up. Today, 4
flowed through my pencil before eight
a. m.
[PL, 6.28.'13, actual]
~~

T. S. DON- a found poem

Who'd have
ever thought a
tropical storm would be
a looked-forward-to event for
farmers?
[PL, 6.22. '12, AD-G, K. Heard/ R. Johnson]
~~

TO PUNJAB POLICE - a found poem

Edict:
Shrink your waistlines
to 38 inches
or below. Otherwise, you're off
the street.
[PL, 6. 19. '12, News]
~~

THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Oh, my!
The neighborhood's
gone down--dogs on two sides!
But, wait! There's a butterfly ... and
birdsong.
[PL, 6.19. '12, actual]
~~

I'M NOT MOVING

Gray cat
Boots merely lies
on the cool concrete porch,
yet the wrens seem agitated.
Too bad.
[PL, 6. 19. '12, actual]
~~
~~






Thursday, May 29, 2014

MAYA ANGELOU - in memory

" A Tall Black lady smiling..."

--from a letter to her Arkansas family apologizing for the missed appearance at the Fayetteville Public Library due to an 'unexpected ailment...' (J. Roberts, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 29, 2014)
In Memory
 
            Excerpts from her book/poem, "Amazing Peace" which I purchased in the Garland County (AR)Library's Used Book Room for fifty-cents in July, 2013.
           "Amazing Peace" [Random House] was read by the poet at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, Washington, D. C. December 1 2005.
          
Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Floodwaters await in our avenues. . .
 
We question ourselves. What have we done to
    so affront nature?
We interrogate and worry God.
Are you there? Are you there, really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold? . . .
 
Hope is born again in the faces of children.
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they
   walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth, brightening
   all things,
Even hate, which crouches breeding in
  dark corridors.
 
In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.
 
We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by
   its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds. . .
 
We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and
   Nonbelievers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the
   word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into
   ourselves,
And we say without shyness or apology
   or hesitation:
 
                            Peace, My Brother.
                              Peace, My Sister.
                                Peace, My Soul.
~~


Thursday, May 22, 2014

MEMORIAL DAY

-PL
Cameron Cemetery, Salem/Benton (AR)
 
 
 
teaching the lad
about Decoration Day
son spies a turtle
~~
PL, idea from Jay Grelan's column, 5. 26. '05]
 
butterfly alights
on the open haiku book~
Memorial Day
~~
[PL, 5. 28. '01, actual]
 
decorating the graves
that no one's left to visit
gold and crimson leaves
~~
[Dorothy McLaughlin, Somerset, NJ, published in CONNECTING OUR HOUSES, a flip calendar]
 
Memorial Day
her arms full of flags to place
near the headstones
~~
[PL, from a picture, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, published in '03]
 
motor home gone
likely through
Memorial Day
~~
[Dion O'Donnol, from day to day, '02]
 
Decoration Day
waiting motor cars out purr
the sounds of summer
~~
[Dion O'Donnol, from day breaks, '00]


Thursday, May 15, 2014

IN MEMORIAM: JEANIE CARTER, HOT SPRINGS (AR) POET, FRIEND


 

 

THE AMBULANCE -
by Jeanie Carter, from Spendrift, 1977
Wheels spin in dust,
dust whirls in wind,
wind twists his hair,

as Tony follows
the fading siren,
warm familiar dust
squishing between his toes,
then rising to rim
the legs of his jeans.

The sun stripes gold
down his straight brown hair
and waves a long, thin
shadow-boy before him.

His father is at home, alone,
standing on the porch,
staring down the road.
His mother is in the wailing
whirlwind of dust
speeding down the road.

Tony spins, whirls, and twists,
playing the game of losing
the shadow-boy in the dust.

He does not yet know
he knows
his mother will not be back
to mend his clothes,
wash his ears,
and hold him close.

This poem of Jeanie's was published in 1977 when she was 46 years old. Just think of all the ensuing years she had to continue writing.
            At the end of the Garland County Community College literary journal where these poems appear are thoughts by each contributor. Jeanie’s was: “Creativity is often joyous, often painful, but I keep trying.”

            Her life, like her creativity, was often joyous, and in later years, often painful. Now, Jeanie Dolan Carter rests from her efforts. God bless her soul.

--PL

Thursday, May 8, 2014

SPRING IN EUREKA SPRINGS

 
 
 
A  nyone from anywhere who’s
P articipated in a Writers’
R etreat even once will
I mmediately remember the
L uxurious landscapes,
 
I mmense gingerbread houses,
N arrow streets holding shops
 
T hat tempt us into buying,
H ealthy (or not) eateries––all
E nlivening the main reason for
 
O ur being in the O-
Z-A-R-K-S in the first place:
A chance to improve our art,
R aise our level of skill, and
K nuckle down to revise,
S o that next year, we’ll be better.


[Published in Lucidity Ozarks Poetry Retreat, 2012]
 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

At the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum

PL, Ozarks in the fall
 
         
Hasten, hasten all
writers –you who’re interested
in ‘one true sentence.’
 
Come to the old barn
where E. H. once wrote
parts of A Farewell . . . .
 
Surrounded by ghosts,
his typewriter, leopard-skin
rugs, whispers of lust,
 
we focus efforts
hoping to channel Papa:
whittle words to nubs,
 
to gist and gut--tight.
Here, imaginations flit,
soar, break boundaries
 
found at home, office.
As if drunk, we do battle,
fill page upon page,
 
exult in fatigue.
A Story. Begun. Finished.
Let’s drink to Papa! Hear, hear!
~~ 
 
[PL, critiqued, Lucidity workshop, 4.23.'14, with no suggestions for improvement. Thanks to PRA state critic, Todd Sukany, for encouraging me to work on the original, published in an earlier H-P anthology. The result was this poem.]

Thursday, April 24, 2014

telephone pole fence at Couchwood - PL
 
I'M WITH THE NEIGHBOR
 
I'm on the neighbor's side in "Mending Wall."
He needs to show the bound'ries of his place
to let the other know how soon a pall
can fall when acreage lines are breached. A case
 
in point--from my perspective: privet grew
on my place undeterred. The neighbor pled
with me to let her cut the brush. I knew
that Queen Ann's Lace live there and shook my head.
 
Her partner didn't get the word and cleared
my hedge and vegetation fence. Was I
enraged! I promptly stomped net door and leered.
I yelled, "That barrier of hedge was my
 
attempt to stop encroachments. From now on ..."
But back to Frost. The older neighbor stacked
his rocks and listened, unimpressed. A yawn
perhaps, a step, then his reply, which lacked
 
a change of heart. "Good fences make good neigh ..."
Our poet shows the man still strong enough
to lift two stones at once. Unswayed, we'd say,
by logic of the orchard man, he rubbed
 
rough, calloused hands together, knowing well
his father's reasons for a wall. His plan:
no change. Not now. Not ever. He can't tell
the man to keep his distance. Fences can.
~~
[PL, Honorable Mention, Lucidity Retreat, 2012,
published in April in the Ozarks, 2012]


Thursday, April 17, 2014

A SECRET

As I slipped through the pantry door,
you stood before
me, face to face:
a quick embrace,
a smile. You whispered, "Patience now;
someday, somehow. . . ."
Despite the risk,
we dared to kiss.
Then, passing to the drawing room,
I left the bloom
of love behind
for none to find.
~~
PL, from delicious fatigue, 1992


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Three poems on quilting

[from Google images] 
 
 
 

THREE POEMS ON QUILTING
      ---from Macheski's "Quilt Stories"
 
I. The Quilting Party ( a Minute form)
 
Deaf Hephzibah sits down to quilt,
   her head atilt,
   and tries to hear
   with her good ear.
Young Phoebe says, I'll piece some blocks..."
   "You'll twist your locks?"
"...the lover's chain."
    "...an awful pain."
"So how's your husband this hot day?"
   "I know I'm gray."
"John's sawing wood?"
 "I'm feeling good."
~~
 
II. Memories (a Cameo)
 
Vivid
scraps of calico,
remnants of bright copper cushions
from Mother's
easy chair; dancing-school ginghams,
the rich silk I bought myself--
quilting.
~~
 
III. He CAN quilt! ( a Pensee)
 
Brother--
mischievous--begged
allowance to try quilting.
(White thread on dark cloth--easier
to rip out)... His good stitching stays!
~~
 
[PL, published in Old-Millpond Anthology, 2004]