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