Vol. 2, No.12         An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society        1 December 2003



It was not that our old house (photo courtesy of Lee Ann Russell) was not big enough, not livable.  It was just that we needed to be on the same block in the same neighborhood as the other Missouri State Poetry Society local chapters.  Therefore, we moved, and our address is easy to recall.  Just as you add a slash and the letters mo to get our state society's address from the national site,, so you add another slash and the letters ts to get, the new address for Thirty-Seven Cents.  Which reminds me to add that it is time to pay personal and property taxes, etcetera--end of the year and all that.  If you have not re-upped for the new year (paid your membership dues), please do so immediately.  I need to get our list of new members to the national treasurer before January 1.  Some things like dues must be done decently and in order, but other things, like metrical verse, need a little variety.  Were you wondering how I was going to get back to accepted irregularities in metrical poetry?  I was.  But since I have successfully made the leap, let's discuss another irregularity that poets have used for more than 500 years..  In past months we have dealt with anapestic and trochaic feet breaking up iambic monotony in rhythm.  Our third variant is a combination of two feet, the pyrrhic (duh duh) and the spondaic (DUM DUM), so that a line of iambic duh DUM duh DUM duh DUM has suddenly a duh duh DUM DUM interruption.  The two syllables of the pyrrhic foot have no accents; the two syllables of the spondaic foot have two accents.  Here are seven examples from popular poems--name the poem and the poet and you will win tickets for a trip to Tahiti or our congratulations, whichever we have on hand when you win.  Remember you are looking for two unaccented syllables followed by two accented syllables: duh duh DUM DUM.

1. "As the death-bed whereon it must expire" 

2. "Our king has written a broad letter"

3. "And this same flower that smiles today"

4. "Ere half my days in this dark world and wide"

5. "And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made"

6. "As the swift seasons roll"

7. "And you, my father, there on the sad height"

Winner = Darwyne Tessier. 7 out of 7 correct.

1. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may"  Robert Herrick, "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time"

2. "Drink to me, only, with thine eyes" Ben Jonson, "To Celia"

3. "Looking as if she were alive. I call / That piece a wonder now"  Robert Browning, "My Last Duchess"

4. "This is my letter to the world." Emily Dickinson, untitled, but first line is usually used as title

5. "Home is the sailor, home from sea" Robert Louis Stevenson, "Requiem"

6. "God of our fathers, known of old--" Rudyard Kipling, "Recessional"

7. "Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled"  William Butler Yeats, "When You Are Old"

                                                                                                                --Tom Padgett, Editor


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After all the gifts are made
After all the shopping is done
After the Christmas tree is up
After the decorations are in place
Comes the quiet time

Time to hear Dickens's Christmas Carol
Time to hear Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas"
Time to listen to Christmas carols
Time to listen to bells chiming
Comes the angel song


Dark is sliced by fat red candles
Dark is sliced by tiny Christmas tree lights
Dark is studded with stars in the sky
Dark is brightened by stained-glass church light
Comes the holy night

And the faithful enter the church doors
And the faithful hear the story
And they sing "Silent Night"
And they feel His peace and love
Comes Christmas.


Remember to read Spare Mule Online and Strophes Online by clicking on the CONTENTS menu. You can keep up with members who get newsletters by mail by remembering to read them on the Net. The October 1 issue of Spare Mule Online and the October 1 issue of Strophes Online are both available to you..


Click on
Missouri State Poetry Society on the CONTENTS menu above. Then on the MSPS menu click on Bulletin Board for information about various poet societies, including contests they are sponsoring. 


For bio of Collins and his poem "Fishing on the Susquehanna":

For a very clever poem about poetry and the way we read it, see

For more bio and seven poems, go to

Another Collins poem about writers and readers is "Dear Reader" found here:

At this site Collins reads two of his poems: "Neither Snow" and "I Ask You."

The so-called definitive site (and the one to see if you are seeing only one) is this site:


Welcome to new member Andrea Cloud.
Andrea Cloud

I hear the whispering breeze but it is fading.
It calls to me a curious concern.
The setting sun is on the skyline wading,
and beckons me to wait for fall's return.

For now I see the sky blaze as a rainbow,
with blue and purple melting into gold.
I hope that I can witness this again, though,
before the winter's wind will blow too cold.

After Phillips Brooks
Pat Laster

O little town of Bethlehem,
you're not the same today.
If Mary and Joseph came to town,
they'd likely turn away.

Israeli soldiers frighten,
forbid a lone snapshot.
The Manger Square is asphalt now,
a crowded parking lot.

With touring buses, traffic wagons,
people everywhere
admiring glitzy olive-wood
and plastic souvenirs.

The rows of close-packed buildings,
the garbage dump below--
no tourist wastes his precious film
on trashy video.

The Church of Christ's Nativity,
authentic holy site--
the only holy place in town
a touring pilgrim might

alight for just an hour,
climb down into a cave
whose ceiling's black with centuries
of soot that candles gave.

O little town of tackiness,
how shrill with loud chitchat
of hawkers selling pictures:
Jesus and Arafat.

Where are the shepherds, wise men,
the peace of a greeting card?
A different kind of peace is here
with soldiers standing guard.

Bev Conklin

Well, they're gone again.
Won't be back till evening
unless they stay away to eat, too.
Then it'll be later. When it's Friday,
they shop and stay downtown. |
Sure, they'll come home with a treat
in a little bag for Cat and me,
but I'd rather they came home early.

Going to be a long, boring day.
Cat's already asleep in the sun.
The only time she'll move
is to change sun spots.
No romp or play today.
Guess I'll chew the rawhide bone.
Doesn't taste as good as a shoe,
but feels just as good on the teeth.

I'd sure like to lie on the velvet chair
and take a nap, but my people
don't like to see hair on it.
They're really strange about hair:
 love to pet it and pat it
and wash it and brush it--
their own almost every day--
but they don't want it on the chairs.

**** **** **** **** ****
Been napping most of the day
except when the doorbell rang,
and I let everyone know
that big brown truck was here again.
There it is finally--the car motor!
Another long day is over.

Mark Tappmeyer

He studied his menagerie
not uncommon to a man of 72
who nursed his moods:
bicarbonates and stool softeners
in darkened glass.
He raised a bottle to swallow
a run of pills but did not
see or feel the cap come free
till it lodged in his windpipe
like the unicorn's horn
that took Laura's breath
that felled him to his knees
that rapped his door,
at last his
gentleman caller.

Wesley Willis

Where cloud-encroaching towers once stood,
Showering glass rained spears of brotherhood.
Mingled blood transfixed the trembling towers,
Crying of fathers, sisters, mothers,
Transfusing dying birth of twin brothers,
Thunder-throated screams of wailing showers.

Human missiles, burning flesh to dust,
America's God--who now can we trust?
Trembling towers, dying birth, twin brothers--
>From the rubble falls a mother's hand
Where a father's love placed a wedding band.
Ground to powder, never found the others.

Our heroes buried in falling thunder,
Lives stolen, snuffed out in pillage and plunder,
Tasteless acts that add their own condiment.
America the beautiful, stay true,
Golden eagles, fly the red, white, and blue,
Trembling towers, stand out our monument.

Tania Gray

In President Truman's time
It was a brand-new Big Chief tablet,
And in Eisenhower's day,
It was Evening in Paris cologne at the 5 & 10.
On a date to the first pizza parlor in town,
I soaked up exotic smells
Like pepperoni and parmesan cheese;
That was during Camelot.
I believe you can keep love alive
With timeless smells of an orderly home
Like Grandmother's glass-cleaning recipe
     made from kerosene,
And her furniture polish made from linseed oil,
And popcorn, fresh brewed coffee, and shoe polish,
And sheets that were dried on the line.
I remember the fragrance of love,
And it is always something simple,
Something that reaches my heart.

Judy Young

A card portrays the days of Christmas past
As horse-drawn sleighs glide through the drifting snow
And come to rest near homes with lights that cast
A touch of warmth, a winter's welcomed glow.

Another shows some children snuggled tight
In loving arms to hear a story read
About a brilliant star one wondrous night
That shepherds followed to a manger bed.

Each envelope I open shares a scene
That leaves me with a bit of Yuletide cheer:
A tree, a snowman, ribbons red and green,
Some angels singing on a midnight clear.

With words, I paint upon this card a scene
For you, a Christmas, happy and serene.

Todd Sukany

To let me know that you are there,
I only need a word or maybe just a touch.
Occupy that vacant stare
To let me know that you are there.

Your tender hand, the tears we share
Are not too much
To let me know that you are there.
I only need a word or maybe just a touch.


Welcome to new member Valerie Esker.
Valerie Esker

Blinking lights in Pine and Fir tree,
lights of Christmas hues, enchant me.
Magic . . . really!

White and blue in rhythm blinking,
glimmer, shine, while chimes are tinkling.
Nog, for drinking.

Green of Christmas, lush as meadow;
red of ribbon, warm as heart glow
tie the love bow.

Blinking lights in colors, varied.
Man and Christ-child, Christmas married.
This I see!

Gwen Eisenmann

Old House, for twenty years I thought of you as new,
still developing a personality
because we built you, with trees and rocks
from the hill, looking down the valley
where the river always is.

We went back last night, invited to dinner,
having left you three months ago (did you miss us
as we missed you?). I felt moving day
again, the feeling of stripping you, gutting you,
leaving you alone to gather up

the pieces of our lives left in your corners.
But there, as I turned my back
on my garden, my sanctuary, my soul,
there were three young women, new gardeners
walking wide-eyed through the gate

and you welcomed them with the bluebird,
sprouts in the garden, warmth in your walls
and wind from the south.
Three young women asked us to dinner,
with flowers from my garden,

and I tasted wonder again, flavored with pain
of their trials, their longing to live into the silence
and the mystery of the forest around.
Oh I know, I know the comfort of your walls,
Old House, I know every stone

in your fireplace, and the women asked us
(as if we could name) the lessons we learned
while we were there. We do not want to do
it over again. They keep you scrubbed
and spare. Teach them who they are.

Velvet Fackeldey

I'm in the driving rain
sloshing on my way
rainbow oil a stain
like false hope in my day

the puddles pull me in
black clouds weigh me down
like a load of sin
my daily life a frown

vanished sun leavs me cold
as rain drips from me
the dampness keeps hold
I'm adrift in a sea

the grey sky has no light
there's no sun or moon
just gloomy, dark night
it can't leave too soon

but the bleakness goes on
till I feel I might die
I hold hope for the dawn
but the light is a lie.

Harding Stedler

I want to start the New Year
riding in a cloud,
making rain for earthlings
and to see rain
from the other side.

I want to see how clouds work
and how they form drops
and send them down to Earth.

I want to work in a rainshop
for a day,
assembling elements
that will give Earth a drink.

I want to ride
inside a rain capsule
all the way to Earth
and wake a dormant
blade of grass
and give it New Year's green.

Jean Even

You are my strength, O Lord.
I have seen Your visions,
I have heard Your voice,
Still I am rejected by all.

No one knows or even cares
Though I've tried to be a friend.
You are my strength, O Lord.
Prayers for many no one will hear,
Nor see my soul cry out with tears.

I sit in pain tired from the day,
Still recovering from surgery.
I'm alone--no one is here with me,
To move is more then I can stand.

I'll rejoice in You, Dear Lord,
O Holy One of Israel.
In grief and pain, sorrow and strife,
I'll sing out in praise to You, O Lord.
After all, You are my God and King,
The lifter of my troubled head.

Your joy will come in morning's light,
Tonight I'll dream once again,
In visions I'll hear Your sweet voice
And feel your tender caress
Taking away the pain I'm in and
Guiding me through tomorrow's day.

Darwyne Tessier

I think of all the people
who have come through my life,
the ones still here and why,
and other friends who have said goodbye.

Before I started school,
I trusted a cousin with my secrets--
those that I had by age five--
an accomplice who kept me in trouble.

At school I made new friends--
one helped me break an arm;
he was my very best buddy,
with his friendly dog that bit.

Later there were more classmates
and then roommates, the ones
who knew what you meant by
the professor with an extra eye.

And next came all the people
I have met through my work,
some quite good at the job
but others who are jerks.

If you can, tell me why
some grow roots and stand by,
while others, like wind in the sky,
leave nothing to remember them by.

Phyllis Moutray

That fateful December day on which she died
they talked about the fury of the crime.
"Oh, no! It simply cannot be," I cried.
"Murdered by a robber for a dime?"
A little old lady, the paper described.
"Why, she's at least ten feet tall," I said.
"More like an oak than a willow or a pine,
a rose unthorned, and my very daily bread."

Gone any chance to reconcile or mend.
That I loved her, I feared she did not know.
I didn't know how her shadow would extend
throughout my life, nor how love would grow,
and how alike we would become over years;
as matriarchs we reigned despite our fears.

Tom Padgett

Mankind I know
has winter's mind
to pray, NO SNOW,
at Christmas time.

our childhood dreams:
snowmen, snowballs,
and snow ice cream.

of reindeer sleigh;
on Christmas Day.

Gone--stockings hung,
gone--tree's bright lights,
gone--carols sung
on Christmas Night.

Too high the cost,
for with NO SNOW
mankind has lost
its HO, HO, HO!