Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A poem for late summer

Photo by Thurman Couch, Pasadena CA


I shuck
my sweaty clothes,
work shoes & sox, re-dress,
wash my face & arms & feet to
cool off.

a month into
my 80th year, I--
every third day, as my gardener

the fifty new
plantings against summer's
heat. Thirty-seconds of wanded

the hearts & roots
of each--Knockout roses,
eleagnus, althea, crape

wreath spirea,
redbud & yellowbell.
Like an old mule, I schlep the hose

all three of them--
make a 200-foot
red-and-green stream through the yard when

Too tired
to move them back
to the narrow strip of
lawn where they stay, I give myself
a drink. 

c PL 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mid-August poems

Mandevilla, several summers ago

Anna Pearl Couch's birthday is August 19. She has been in heaven for ten years.

in a wobbly hand
her thank-you letters--
83rd birthday
--from Connecting Our Houses, 1997

mid-August cold front
bringing the temperature down
to 90 degrees
--from It's August Already? 2003

back-handing the rose
to dislodge the walking stick--
now, knuckles with thorns
--from only sky and sand, 2005

getting together
more often for death
than for lunch
--from fishing in the clouds, 2010

heavy with water
the hanging mandevilla
barely swivels
--from the lighter side of darkness, 2012

Son Eric's beauty spot, several years ago

The sources mentioned (in order) include a flip calendar of haiku and senryu by PL and Dorothy McLaughlin, New Jersey; the others are monthly calendars made and sent to friends during the years they were published.
c 2016, PL dba lovepat press

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Yucca - one of the long(er) poems in my new book, Hiding Myself into Safety

Yucca in Winter - PL


Granddad must have loved       
yucca, planting it in front
of each house he built, even
the one for himself and Grandy.
Eighty years later, I betake myself
street-side at that ancient house
where—in the past—someone
planted iris, thinking to soften
the unfriendly yucca?

In early August’s coolness, I snip
brown tips of iris blades, yank
yellowed leaves. With gloved

fingers spread like hen’s feet,
I scratch away dead foliage,
 nested oak leaves.

Each old yucca--bottom dead--
I pull over like a naughty child (and there
the simile ends), sever each base.
Did I hear them sigh, as if glad
to be shed of holding upright
the newish green rosettes preening
like teenage girls waving at passing cars?
Several baby plants peek among the iris.
Callously, I yank them up, throw
on the growing pile of detritus
Even so, four passable yucca plants still
center the green and clean bed.
Later, I receive my reward: a tall bloom
stalk that eventually opens to an ivory torch.
Perhaps that’s why Granddad loved yucca.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

PL c 2016