Vol. 1, No.2             An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society         December 2002

"BETWEEN THE WOODS AND FROZEN LAKE / THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR":  Robert Frost  (1874-1963) was almost certainly the most popular American poet of the twentieth century, and the 1923 poem from which these lines are taken, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," may well be the most popular American poem of the twentieth century.  The poet seems to contrast his three characters' appreciation of beauty, represented here as their reactions to the falling snow--the horse that in the midst of the woods thinks only of creature comfort, the owner of the woods who is probably in the village, perhaps capable of appreciating beauty but probably opting for creature comfort, and the narrator, who appreciates the beauty of the scene and wishes the affairs of the world were not pulling him away, pressing him to move on to the practical.  Lee Ann Russell, photographer, has captured the scene for us, reminding us to enjoy the beauty of the season.  The workshop pages later in this issue also use this Frost poem as an example for this month's assignments.


Our online chapter, Thirty-Seven Cents, includes ten poets from several different locations.  We have five members from Missouri and five from out of state.  Our Missouri members come from Bolivar, Eldon, Pleasant Hope, Springfield, and Washington.  Two of our out-of-state members come from Arkansas, we have one each from Kansas and Wyoming, and our tenth member comes from Saskatchewan, Canada.  We have members who have been writing poetry for years, and at least two who have just begun.  We have poets who write free verse principally; we have poets who write formal verse principally.  Our assignments each month will challenge us to try poems we can do easily and some that will be hard for us because we have not written than type before.  You are encouraged to write these assigned poems whether you get them done on time for the next issue or not.  Send them in whenever you finish them.  Meanwhile, don't forget the other activities of the Missouri State Poetry Society.  Visit the state site to get details on the MSPS Winter Contest that has a February 15 deadline.  Copies of the January 1 issues of the state newsletter, Spare Mule, and the national newsletter, Strophes, will be available on their sites soon.  Listed below are the contents of this issue and addresses you will need.        
                                                                                                                    Tom Padgett, Editor      

            Previous Issue            

            Reactions to Previous Issue
            Poems by Members

            Missouri State Poetry Society
            MSPS Winter Contest

            Spare Mule Online

            National Federation of State Poetry Societies
            Strophes Online

            Next Issue


"What a delight to be in cyber space! . . . The page is lovely, so congratulations to the artist and you."
                                                                                    Barbara Magerl, Overland Park, Kansas

"Very nice!  It transmitted beautifully."        Harding Stedler, Cabot, Arkansas

"I love your new 37-cents web site. . . . Special congrats to the photographer.  Beautiful pictures!
                                                                                    Beverly Conklin, Bella Vista, Arkansas


(Madelyn Eastlund)

Christmas is remembering                    
the mother turned away;
the stable and the animals;
the manger filled with hay.
Christmas is remembering
the shepherds on the hill
who saw the angels in the sky
when all the night was still.
Christmas is remembering
the Wisemen in their quest;
the radiant star they followed
that slowly led them west.
Christmas is remembering                          
the baby, lowly born,

who destined for crucifixion,
would suffer pain and scorn.

Christmas is remembering
gifts given Christmas morn
commemorate God's gift to us;
he night His son was born.
Christmas is remembering
(if only for a day)
peace and goodwill the angels sang
(and for the peace to pray).
Christmas is remembering
the message from above
wasn't simply pretty pictures;
the message was God's love.

POEMS BY MEMBERS  Home | Workshop

(Harding Stedler)

Winter arrives
on backs of centipedes
in a frantic rush
for refuge.   
Scampering legs
move single-file
in search of warmth.
November surrenders its yellow
and bare trees shiver
in the face of advancing winds.
All that can crawl
want in.

In a hundred legs,
I gauge my days
and dress accordingly.
I curl as centipedes do,
yearning to return
to the womb.

(Barbara Magerl)

The frail gray-haired woman walked up the hill,
Eyes focused down on the sidewalk
Lest she make a wrong step.

A sashay--
       A cautious cat's paw stretch with her foot--
An abrupt halt to examine the surface,
Whatever was needed to avoid
A damning misstep where a fissure appeared.

Oblivious to others,
    She heeded the childhood rhyme
        And zig-
                her way home
To the lonely mysterious house,
    Careful not to break
        A long-gone mother's back.

(Wesley Willis)

Undiscovered poems engulfed in flames,
Verses curdle upward in crackling fire,
Some poems survived authors' unknown names,
Sentimental, vanished moments now just mired.
Captured on outspread wings of eagles,
Soaring from mountains to arching rainbows
Like oceans skirted by songs of seagulls
As spring-summer-fall-winter nature knows.
In rhythm lost words of heart and soul,
Untouched emotions danced atop cliffy waves,
In viscid surf tossed about to and fro,
Recaptured symphony or settled in graves.
As dew drops floating in eternal bliss,
Songs sung from needles of whispering pines,
Expelled from a rose with a moistened kiss,
Relinquished or revitalized from our minds.
Gentle poems, each soft caressing snowflake,
Lost poems with beauty hungered after,
Great as the mighty soul-shaking earthquake,
Bring joy with a childhood of synonymous laughter.

(Todd Sukany)

Once content to chase the sun
Gave itself for your pleasure

A pruner viewed the line
She severed it
No longer sharing
Now displayed
Drinking the long-stem vase

Tell me of beauty, value
The fragrance that is life
And I'll remind you instead
That which is by itself
Is already dead.

(Tammie Bush)

All you would have to do
is ask
and if I had the power
I would stop time
still the waves of the ocean
smooth out a mountain
making a clearing for you
to lie down beside me
and rest
in sweet silence

I would do this
for you
if you asked me to

I do, however, have the power
to stop the living room clock
still the waves of my aquarium
smooth out the blankets
make a clearing for you
to lie down beside me
and rest
in sweet silence

I would do this
for you
if you asked me to

(Jean Even)

Words, where do they come from?
Sounds made from a voice,
Lines formed with a pen,
Who invented the words we know?
Words to say I love you so,
Describe an alabaster sky,
Or bring disaster in the day.
Words spoken formed the universe.
Can words be so powerful?
One word can bring birth to a child,
Or bring down a king in power.
All the bombs in this world have no power,
Compared to the power of a word;
To say I love you is far better,
Than the atomics found in nuclear explosions.
Try cracking open the matrix of a word.
Energy in purest form creating life,
Expanding without boundaries,
Power in its truest form
Flows from energy into timbre.

(Bev Conklin)

A cat will never always.
The minute that you think
she has a certain routine,
it all goes down the sink.

For an entire three weeks
she had her favorite box.
Almost lived in it, but now
avoids it, like dirty socks.

Bought her a great new bed.
Couldn’t get her out of it.
Once it was aired and brushed,
she went into a snit.

Now it's used for storing toys,
the ones no longer used.
Time to find a new way
to keep Herself amused.

No, a cat will never always,
but life is not a bore.
She keeps me always hopping,
‘cause I never know the score.

(Tom Padgett)

Awake to snow on glowing ground,
in glee we find our world sublime
and set old records spinning round
to reel in gold of Christmas time.

We hear the radio announce
the schools have closed, so in our den
with eggs and toast we settle down
to celebrate good will toward men.

And then the startling telephone,
that evil instrument in black,
evokes a world outside our own--
the dentist's office calling back.

His many cancellations mean
that both my wife and I today
can get the dentistry we need--
will thirty minutes be okay?

Awash in slush enough to cache
the car, we park and trek resigned
to fill his cavities so he
can reel in gold at Christmas time

(Tania Gray

I don’t like an old house
    if it’s a cold house
    losing heat

I don’t like an old car
    that can’t get started
    on a cold day

I don’t like a cold day
    if it’s a wet day
    frozen solid

I don’t like a snowy day
    if it’s an old snow
    blackened slush

I don’t like an old coat
    without plaid fleece
    thick and snug

I don’t like an old dog
    unless it’s my dog
    by my side

I don’t like a hot toddy
    with lemon and honey
    without you

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