Saturday, December 26, 2015

End-of-Year poems

UMCOR: My favorite mission site, Baldwin Louisiana
Shirts displayed at UMW's fall tea, SUMC

imagine getting
a call from the Space Station!
"Sorry, wrong number!"
[from the news]
Where's my
REJOICE coffee
mug? I choose a Christmas-
tree one, fill it with yesterday's
the microwave
to heat it--there's the mug!
I got distracted when Eric's
warm winter solstice--
birds busy bathing
in the clean water:
robins, sparrow, cardinal
mockingbird and a bluebird!
Three days
before Christmas,
I drink from a snowman
mug on this 70-degree
lemonade stand
on Christmas Eve day
seventy degrees



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Dithering during December: poems

I pick
through the pieces
like a robin in leaves,
eating the green bites, ignoring
the rest.

a four-inch pile
of tossed-aside papers,
I find a flash drive & a love

People you may know:
Pope Francis

his jowls whipping backwards
in the wind

a ring
didn't know
was missing

car titles
to pay monthly bills
[2015, AD-G]

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dynamic December - poems

peeling an egg
by feel, I gaze at the odd
cloud pattern
cat's tongue
causing concentric swirls
in the birdbath

no face-to-face time
but friends forever
[written to the late Carolyn Crain
while I lived in Arkadelphia]

cat on the ledge
is he smelling the silk
 poinsettia bloom?

deceased's last address:
ledge under the I-40
[K. Heard article, AD-G, 2006]

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Advent begins The Season - poems

in Christmas linens
a long, long-missing
blue sock
early December
so much to do --where to start?
how about a nap?
at the computer
leaning back, turning my face
into bright sunlight
new journal . . . pages
too quiet, too creamy
to write on
berried holly tree
further decorated
with nestled oak leaves
a mockingbird
in the top of a bare
the food catalog--
gift giving
with good taste
second son's birthday
fifty-three winters ago
today, a mild breeze
last jar
of crabapple jam
a hostess gift

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving poems by Pat

Photo by Carolyn Hoggard

(a Dorsimbra)

The hardwoods, during autumn's rain and frost
and wind, surrender, drop their leaves on earth
to blanket, nourish, turn--the greenness lost.
Those leaves blow free until they find a berth.

Knowing winter lurks,
voles and mice scurry to find shelter.
Geese gather, their
pilgrimage imminent.

While breezes vagabond through valleys, hills,
all humankind--inside, nest-warm--prepares
to feast, give thanks, and watch for changes in
the hardwoods during autumn's rain and frost.

( a Minute pattern)
With family together now,
we stand and bow.
No silver clanks
before our thanks:
Be present at our table, Lord.
Be here . . . adored . . .
Oh, grant that we
may feast . . . with Thee.
The Amen pulls forth harmony--
eight parts, on key--
the sound so neat!
Now, we can eat.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November sights - short poems

a flower bed in autumn
CST again
the flaming sassafras grove
and the frisky squirrel
fallen leaves hide
the birdbath water ... cat works
at getting a drink
the family of cats
on my front-porch WELCOME mat
are NOT welcome
yesterday's brilliance--
today, the red-maple's leaves
on the sodden ground
out-of-season bloom
on the japonica limb
a cardinal rests
a transplanted violet
kitchen window
full of begonia cuttings
and violet leaves
bully blue jay
 the birdbath
three robins nearby

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cinquains and Tanka for early November

First day
of deer season . . .
not a good day to drive
the narrow, wooded mountainous

an ambulance
screams by, lights flashing. In
this rural milieu, where does it
end up?

The sixth
of November--
warm enough to sit out,
but too dark (Central Standard Time)
to see.

for 10 days; when
I return from the trip,
the Encore azaleas are still
in bloom,

the mums
still radiant,
but the moss rose? Leggy.
The feral cats I left unfed?
Still here.

leaf-vacuum truck
whooshes up the fallen leaves
from this mountain street
but by this afternoon
twice as many will be down

Cat walks
across a strip
of sunshine on the floor--
shadow he makes as large as a

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bird life in October - poems

'chits' from the far end
of the porch

at the birdbath
but only for a drink

chasing a robin
from the birdbath

red-headed woodpecker--
its morning drink
where I can see                                 

from a beautyberry limb--
   calling kin to water
   or warning foes away?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

AUTUMN: Theme and Variations

"A Traveler's Meditation" (Amphion)

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

"Highway 23 in Autumn" (Neville)

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

Variation II
"Autumn Song" (Pantoum)

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

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

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

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

Variation III
"An Autumn Minute" (Minute)

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

PL - from Variations - published 1994

Monday, October 12, 2015

With Windows 10, I can't get a pic for this poetry blog. So..........

"Being a poet is one of the unhealthier jobs--no regular hours, so many temptations!" - Elizabeth Bishop, found in Book Lover's Calendar for 2015 for the weekend of October 10& 11.

.............. here are some lately-written shorties.


Then don't look!
their fence, they place--
by their full trash bin--more
and smaller bags. They can't see, but
I can!

Mistaken Identity
Help! Help!
An owl swooped down
and snatched my lure; got snagged
on a fish hook. I called the Feds"
"Come quick!"

Around the Homestead
branches brush crisp,
fallen maple leaves on
the barrow trip to the growing
brush pile.

Union Trust Co., Little Rock
that old building--
its striking art-deco
style notwithstanding--torn down for

The Visitor
A black
butterfly flies
the length of the front porch,
veers off and disappears. Oh! It
comes back.

c PL, dba lovepat press, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September just got here! Where did it go? Poems

From the upper deck of 505 Spring Street, Eureka Springs
early fall crispness
through the woods, a roof
catching the sunlight
brouhaha by crows
in the north yard
a busy Monday
bras and blue jeans
in the same wash load
southern high-schooler
warming up her vehicle
in late September
the house demolished
in the yard, the Virgin
Mary still standing
from a crisp brown leaf,
September 2015
c PL

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September Cinquains

brother Guy Couch's begonia
The height
of deceit: a
perfect windfall pear, just
right for breakfast, yielded a mere
six bites.
in a row: CAT
crouching on the porch edge
eyeing the sitting SQUIRREL. Beyond,
A black
butterfly flits
toward the bucket of pears
ready to be "worked up." I show,
it goes.
the portable
heater inside to warm
the bathroom after a dip in
the temp.
the night, my toes
ached. 'The weather's changing'
I thought. Sure enough, thunderstorms
the south window,
a juvenile, gray bird
feasts on a circlet of beauty-
c 2015 PL

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New poem: an acrostic for autumn

PL- summer '15
T oday's fog
H indered visibility.
E ager to sit out in the
C ool, 69-degree morning, a
H alcyon start to
A day a ways out from a
N ew season--autumn, fall-- with
G abby birds flying
I n and out of the trees,
N aturally attuned,
G etting ready.
S o, too, in earth's cooling, I
E dge toward autumn tasks:
A im to finish the
S idewalk
O ut to the street,
N eaten the flower beds . . . .
PL - 9. 10. 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015

POEMS FOR LABOR DAY: William Carlos Williams & Edgar A Guest

Whatever way to labor--professionally or DIY
by William Carlos Williams
Now they are resting
in the fleckless light
separately in unison
like the sacks
of sifted stone stacked
regularly by twos
about the flat roof
ready after lunch
to be opened and strewn
The copper in eight
foot strips has been
beaten lengthwise
down the center at right
angles and lies ready
to edge the coping
One still chewing
picks up a copper strip
and runs his eye along it
--from Selected Poems
by Edgar A. Guest
If I were running a factory
I'd stick up a sign for all to see;
I'd print it large and I'd nail it high
On every wall that the men walked by;
And I'd have it carry this sentence clear:
"The 'better job' that you want is here!"
It's the common trait of the human race
To pack up and roam from place to place;
Men have done it for ages and do it now;
Seeking to better themselves somehow
They quit their posts and their tools they drop
For a better job in another shop.
It may be I'm wrong, but I hold to this--
That something surely must be amiss
When a man worth while must move away
For the better job with the better pay;
And something is false in our own renown
When men can think of a better town.
So if I were running a factory
I'd stick up this sign for all to see,
Which never an eye in the plac could miss:
"There isn't a better town than this!
You need not go wandering, far or near--
The 'better job' that you want is here!"
--from Collected verse of Edgar A. Guest

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Don't Name Your Child Katrina

Don’t Name Your Child Katrina
by Pat Laster
‘Twas way back in the summer now
of twenty-ought-and-five—
a great long time ago, my dears,
before you were alive,
that Mother Nature’s children,
tired of living in the blue,
decided they’d been good enough
to plot some derring-do.
On June eleventh, Miss Arlene
blew up at sixty per;
her wind gave out & she gave up––
the effort now a blur.
Young Bret decided he could surely
best his sister’s deed,
but he veered off to Mexico
with hardly any speed.
On July fifth, Miss Cindy tried;
her winds were stronger yet.
The only consolation was
she beat her brother, Bret.
Now Dennis flexed & huffed & puffed
––the stars were in a line.
His wind speed hit ol’ Cuba
at one-hundred-forty-nine.
But Dennis––Mr. Hurricane––
had lots of fury left.
He whomped Navarre in Florida
& fled––the coast bereft.
Not willing to be jeered at, Yanh,
yanh, Emily’s a bore!
in one week’s time, she grew into
a Category Four.
Both Gert & Harvey petered out,
but Irene acted tough.
She earned the title, Hurricane;
could not prolong her puff.
Old Mother Nature watched her brood
with all maternal pride,
but wasn’t quite prepared to witness
wild Katrina’s ride.
Katrina’d waited, studied, too,
Camille (her cousin)'s fame––
the deadliest, most intensive storm,
the history books proclaim.
For days, Katrina researched, trained,
determined to be best––
or worst––depending on who judged.
She wondered if the test
was surge, or wind or millibars,
or slope of coastline. Soon,
she left her mother’s lair & slammed
into a Gulf Coast dune.
She changed her course & spread her arms
& whirled with all her might;
demolished Gulfport, New Orleans––
her wake a tragic blight.
Don’t name a child Katrina, dears,
whatever else you do.
Who knows, her daughter may return
to ruin me and you.
Written for a 2005 NPD contest, “A current event since 2000” in ballad form, sponsored by Barbara Longstreth Mulkey. It won first place, but hasn’t been published since. On this 10th anniversary, I offer it up to the blogosphere.
 c 2015 - PL

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August has flown - poems to say goodbye

must have been starved to eat
yogurt at midnight
[8. 10. 2003]

among the green
a branch of orange
on the sassafras
[8. 30. 2012]

a new week
sleeping till 9 a.m.
after last night's storm
[8. 13. 2012]

"drought-days" of August
where the river once flowed
only pools of water
[8. 17. 2012]

click of the clock
as it passes the time
of the unset alarm
[8. 29. 2014]

the large and the small
taking dips in the birdbath
   the waning summer
[8. 26. 2015]

purple bird droppings
on sidewalk and car
beautyberries ripe
[8. 26. 2015]
c 2015 PL

Monday, August 17, 2015

August--a month of poetry submissions--and new pieces

PL - southwest corner of Couchwood, 2015
Hasn't the crape myrtle been gorgeous this summer? Last December, son Eric liberated this bush from its burden of honeysuckle and privet, which--up to that point--had sparse blooms peeking out wherever they could find a dab of sunshine. When the bush was the only thing left, its branches were bent, reminding me of a skeletal mastodon of early times. See the photo of its bareness below.
By mid-month, I'd entered the PRA's monthly contest (any subject, any form), and had mailed off 15 entries to the National Poetry Day in Arkansas event in October. Last year's $80 wins spurred me to enter again this year.
Then, I followed through--finally--on my New Year's resolution to submit 5 poems to Larry Thomas's journal, Third Wednesday.
Here are some poems written last week.
no-longer quiet
earth movers on two sides
plus the roar and bite
of dump trucks
A  dearth
of butterflies?
Today, a small, yellow
one flies around the bright-colored
porch flag.
on the dogwood
and redbud. At least that
corner of the yard will still have
green grass.
afraid to view
the proof of my new book
on the new Kindle e-reader
I bought.
The bare crape myrtle last December after Eric cleaned the vines and privet away
c 2015 PL

Thursday, August 6, 2015

August poems - cinquain sequences

Thank goodness for air conditioners
Grass needs water, too
I pull
grass by handfuls
from the newly-planted
holly and azaleas, grass that
grew like
thieving water
meant only for the shrubs.
At least, in this arid summer,
grass lives
and thrives.
On my knees, my
fingers, like lips of cows
cropping pasture hay, tear at its
The Contest
cicada's call
nearby, I look to see
the cat, which has batted it to
the grass,
and now
sits guard, teasing,
ignoring eerie screams.
Flyswatter in hand, I rescue
the beast,
it. Flying low,
the insect leaves, but cat
gives chase, bats it down again. It
c PL 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Variations on a Ballade

Google image
Last night, I couldn't sleep a wink--
reaction to your call
      that she was over with the drink,
      the pizza, sons, and all
      her helplessness (the gall!)
has kept my spirit from its rest,
so that today, I walk the hall
and wish 'twere I who'd been your guest.
Why do I worry so, you ask.
"I've told you you're the one.
You think my protestations mask
     some silly, willy-nilly fun
     to keep your psyche quite undone?
     I told you I love you the best;
now of your jealousy be done,
for only you shall be my guest." 
(For this ballade to end up whole,
it must include another verse.
     French forms--factitious--must cajole
     both form and content into terse
     but lucid stanzas. I immerse
my jealousy in words to wrest
catharsis from a chafing curse.
Aha! 'Tis I who've been the guest.)
For seven years this poem's lain
unfinished in my writer's chest,
but time has exorcized the pain:
you married her--SHE'S been your guest.
PL - from variations, 1994

Friday, July 17, 2015

Haiku/ senryu-- actual, found and fancy

                Son Eric's backyard last summer. His photo.
calico sniffing
the cherries and pear
in the new kitchen rug
growing better
in my flower beds
[from Janet Carson, AR Living, June '14]
a former rent house
now only an old picture--
the new school building
shorn by funnel cloud
it will never again shade
the old man's milk cow
working the crossword
a mosquito grazes
the top of my pen
male cardinal
on a limb
above the red truck
stomping the roach-shaped leaf
into the carpet
thirty minutes
after 'lights out'
thinking of another poem
[written 10 years ago to the date]
c 2015 Pat Laster dba lovepat press
Eric's photo of a day lily against his shed


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A post-reunion Etheree-patterned poem

Here is the Couch sibling--Thurman-- missing from the July 4 reunion. Let's say he might be bowing in sorrow that he was too ill to make the long trip from Pasadena, CA.
NOTE FROM THURMAN: I'm singing to entertain customers.  My buddy,
Don Cadogan, to the left.  A nurse friend at right.  This was on a Superbowl
Party event.  2013.  I was raising the roof!

This poem written July 7, while resting from the delightful, 3-event reunion held over the July 4th weekend.
purple hull peas,
potato salad,
tomatoes, grape salad
and watermelon, apple
and coconut cream pies--all left
in my refrigerator after
the main meal of the family reunion.
PL - 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Guest poem for summer

On July 4, weather permitting, four children--one baby, a 1-year-old, a toddler and a grown-up 4-year-old--will grace my back yard with their parents, their parents' parents, aunts and uncles and cousins galore. Anticipating that, here is a summer poem by Edgar A. Guest pulled from Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest, published by The Reilly & Lee Co. of Chicago in 1934.
This poem is for the children. All children.

I like 'em in the winter when their cheeks are slightly pale,
I like 'em in the spring time when the March winds blow a gale;
But when summer suns have tanned 'em and they're racing to and fro,
I somehow think the children make the finest sort of show.
When they're brown as little berries and they're bare of foot and head,
And they're on the go each minute where the velvet lawns are spread,
Then their health is at its finest and they never stop to rest,
Oh, it's then I think the children look and are their very best.
We've got to know the winter and we've got to know the spring,
But for children, could I do it, unto summer I would cling;
For I'm happiest when I see 'em, as a wild and merry band
Of healthy, lusty youngsters that the summer sun has tanned.

Google images

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Blogging about some scenes and such - poems

Pears are ripening - PL
recorded giggles
from the nearby carnival
echo braggart's joke--
   "I'll eat more crawfish than you--
   take that trophy to Texas."
[news photo, 6.16.'97]
"Typhoon Season"
Who owns
Scarborough Shoals
in the south China sea--
China? the Philippines? Both pull
their ships.
[J. Perlez, NYT, 6.19.'12]
going places without
leaving home
   it also fits the contours
   of my tired body
[Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 6.17. '07]
"Jennings Osbourne"
He looked
at everything
the same, whether it cost
twenty-thousand dollars or just
two bucks.
[David Koon, AR Times, 6.16.'12]
looking up
from my reading, I see
the red mandevilla
highlighted by morning's sun
and swaying in a slight breeze
[actual, 5. 16. '12]
a man holds a woman
tenderly next to their auto
[actual, South Carolina, 6. 27. '10]

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Floods and their aftermath--poems

Google Images
after the flood
yard full of photos
drying out
black sodden fields--
slender streams snake through
toward the river
the flood
taking his seventy-year
collection of treasures
new torrents in flooded town:
    tears of the victims
    viewing their losses
jet ski of no use now
the rising river
family of ducks
the flooded street
red mud
sucking at the worker's shoes
seven days of rain
catching "zzz"s and rays
weary floodfighter
waits for more sandbags
on the fire escape
a man in suit and top hat
signals for rescue
c 2015 Pat Laster dba lovepat press

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My first sonnet

Through mocking, taunting games of hide-and-seek,
you torture and delay. A challenged sleuth,
I search in crannies--vertical, oblique--
for angles, images. Like savage youth,
I rip apart the weedy, matted clumps
of phrases adequate another time.
Your shadow leads me further, over humps
of clich├ęs, scrabbling for a word sublime.
Perhaps my efforts trample fragile seed.
Oh, accents, meter, rhyme, emerge now from
your hiding place. Give up. No more impede
my crazed, frenetic goal to pen a psalm.
   The chase was long--through bramble, thicket, thorn.
   The prize is won: a sonnet newly born.
--PL, from variations, 1994

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A fish-poem assignment run amok

Bing image
A wee silverfish
hides in a china cup
in the cupboard's dark.
Thirsty in springtime,
I reach, finger a delicate piece
for morning's coffee.
Oh, blech! I exclaim
and drown the interloper
under the tap,
wash and dry the frilly cup,
fill it with black liquid.
Later, at Goodwill,
I spy a sparkly circle--
stones the shape of silverfish--
amethysts and opals,
emeralds and rubies
encased like stained glass
in metal. No errant
piece to escape
and nest in my china cup
like a silverfish.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

blogging about birds: poems

Google image
up early
but not before
the birds
"On the Front Porch"
a flutter,  like
a flag flipping, I look
up to see a crested bird fly
and yon--
on the swing chains,
the wind chimes and the bricks.
"What are you looking for?" I asked.
it flew.
# 166-15
the nerve!
a mockingbird
mocking me

brown thrasher
and thrashes
in the birdbath
fluffs, then flies

by a redbird
who sits a spell
(testing the temp?)
before bathing

c 2015 PL

Monday, May 11, 2015

Blogging with a poem about writing and cooking

Left Brain, Write Brain
( a villanelle)

This morning, seeking strong iambic line,
I'll heed a heady hankering to cook.
By suppertime, both food and lines will shine.

Thesaurus on the table where we dine,
its dog-eared pages ready for a look
this morning, seeking strong iambic line.

Beef bouillon cubes lie melting into brine
for cabbage, prairie onions from the brook.
By suppertime, both food and lines will shine.

I boil potatoes, eggs to cut up fine;
doorbell unplugged, the wall phone off the hook
this morning, seeking strong iambic line.

I bake fat oatmeal cookies, sweet outline
of finished meal--at least in Rombauers' book.
By suppertime, both food and lines will shine.

The brain lobes, left and right, somehow combine
to write and cook--how little time it took!
This morning, seeking strong iambic line,
by suppertime, both food and lines will shine.

c 2015 PL, written while living in Arkadelphia, 1997-2002

Sunday, May 3, 2015

(Mostly) Modern tanka for May

MODERN TANKA do not have to stick to the traditional 5-7-5-7-7 form if the image(s) can be seen in fewer syllables.

muffled radio
and hammering
at the nearby building site--
my outside coffee/news place

May 8, 2012

FOUND tanka

"The marathon . . .
a learning experience
that keeps on teaching . . ."
never enter another
without a post-race goal

- idea from Celia Storey, AD-G,
May 12. 2003

small, 2-college town--
without PhD after
your name, you're no one
especially in churches
with large music ministries

[traditional form]
May 18, 1999, Arkadelphia

bouquet of clover
privet and honeysuckle
plus dandelions
   the strong scent
   reminds me of Mother

May 12, 2010

thumbing through GLAMOUR
in the Texaco station
waiting room
hurry fellows,
it's beginning to rain

May 18, 2006
c 2015, PL, dba lovepat press

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Poetry blog: April through the years


through the pollen
thing twice--at home, again
in north Arkansas. Oaks just now

"Myrtie May's"

and tourism--
a swap-off. Seeing the
forest through the windows of the

"Power Restored"

From black
to blinding light;
from silence to the din
of hums, thrumbs, clicks of a noisy

[from The Observer, Arkansas Times,
4. 27. 2011]

"Late April"

My yard
a-scent with lush
limbs of blooming privet
and honeysuckle--a generous
nose nosh.

a devotion
using "worry stones," we
toss them plop, plop, plop into the

chicken, boiled eggs
for an Easter salad,
the old conundrum pops up: which
came first?

c 2015 Pat Laster dba lovepat press