THIRTY-SEVEN CENTS
Vol. 4, No. 12     An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society     December 2005
 


BEFORE THE SUN GOES DOWN

How many times have you promised yourself that 2005 would be different from years that went before because this year you would set aside some time each day to write, because you would enter more contests, because you would send out poems to publishers, because you would read more poetry, because you would do this or that.  Well, this is December, for heaven's sake.  You better get started on what you are going to start in 2005.  Next month we will be making resolutions for the coming year, and we will be asking where 2005 went so fast.  Before it is gone, make the year count for you in poetry.  I got a royalty check for $2.52 just today from the publisher of my book The Way We Live. You can tell I am getting rich as a poet.  But still I am pleased that I kept my nose to the grindstone and finished that project, and when I see copies of it for sale at amazon.com, I say it was worth all the trouble of getting it ready for publication.  Why not begin on your book (or your next book)?  You could start now--in 2005.
                                                                                                                                     --  Tom Padgett


CONTENTS:

Past Issue Next
       
Poems by Members
         
Workshop

Missouri State Poetry Society

Winter Contest

Spare Mule Online

National Federation of State Poetry Societies
 
Strophes Online

 

NEW FEATURE: POETRY NEWS

Click News to see if this new column appeals to you.  Click Back on your toolbar to return here after finishing the column.
 

HAVE YOU VISITED THE WORKSHOP LATELY?

Click Workshop and do some of the lessons there.
If you have an idea for a new lesson, send it along. 

HAVE YOU READ YOUR ONLINE NEWSLETTERS?

Read Spare Mule Online and Strophes Online available to you by clicking the underlined titles.

HAVE YOU ENTERED A MSPS CONTEST RECENTLY?

Our new state president, Dale Ernst, is encouraging us to enter the MSPS Winter Contest.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE BULLETIN BOARD LATELY? 

Visit our MSPS Bulletin Board for news of events and contests in our area.

AMERICAN LIFE IN POETRY

Ted Kooser, current U. S. Poet Laureate, in response to an interviewer for National Public Radio, stated that his "project" as laureate was to establish a weekly column featuring contemporary American poems supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska.  This column appears in on-line publications (such as Thirty-Seven Cents) as well as hard-copy newspapers.  Poets are asked to contact their local newspapers to inform them that such a column is available free to them and to relieve the editor by explaining that all of the poems that will appear week by week are accessible, not obscure poems. 

American Life in Poetry: Column 031
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

All of us have known tyrants, perhaps at the office, on the playground or, as in this poem, within a family. Here Long Island poet Gloria G.. Murray portrays an authoritarian mother and her domain. Perhaps you've felt the tension in a scene like this.

IN MY MOTHER'S HOUSE

every wall
stood at attention
even the air knew
when to hold its breath
the polished floors
looked up
defying heel marks
the plastic slipcovers
crinkled in discomfort

in my mother's house
the window shades
flapped
against the glare
of the world
the laughter
crawled like roaches
back into the cracks

even the humans sat--
cardboard cut-outs
around the formica
kitchen table
and with silver knives
sliced and swallowed
their words
 

American Life in Poetry: Column 033
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Katy Giebenhain, an American living in Berlin, Germany, depicts a ritual that many diabetics undergo several times per day: testing one's blood sugar. The poet shows us new ways of looking at what can be an uncomfortable chore by comparing it to other things: tapping trees for syrup, checking oil levels in a car, milking a cow.

GLUCOSE SELF-MONITORING

A stabbing in miniature, it is,
a tiny crime,
my own blood parceled
drop by drop and set
on the flickering tongue
of this machine.
It is the spout-punching of trees
for syrup new and smooth
and sweeter
than nature ever intended.
It is Sleeping Beauty's curse
and fascination.
It is the dipstick measuring of oil
from the Buick's throat,
the necessary maintenance.
It is every vampire movie ever made.
Hand, my martyr without lips,
my quiet cow.
I'll milk your fingertips
for all they're worth.
For what they're worth.
Something like a harvest, it is,
a tiny crime.
 

American Life in Poetry: Column 032
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE


Descriptions of landscape are common in poetry, but in "Road Report" Kurt Brown adds a twist by writing himself into "cowboy country." He also energizes the poem by using words we associate with the American West: Mustang, cactus, Brahmas. Even his associations--such as comparing the crackling radio to a shattered rib--evoke a sense of place.

ROAD REPORT

Driving west through sandstone's
red arenas, a rodeo of slow erosion
cleaves these plains, these ravaged cliffs.
This is cowboy country. Desolate. Dull. Except
on weekends, when cafes bloom like cactus
after drought. My rented Mustang bucks
the wind--I'm strapped up, wide-eyed,
busting speed with both heels, a sure grip
on the wheel. Black clouds maneuver
in the distance, but I don't care. Mileage
is my obsession. I'm always racing off,
passing through, as though the present
were a dying town I'd rather flee.
What matters is the future, its glittering
Hotel. Clouds loom closer, big as Brahmas
in the heavy air. The radio crackles
like a shattered rib. I'm in the chute.
I check the gas and set my jaw. I'm almost there.

 

 

 

 

American Life in Poetry: Column 034
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

In this poem by Pittsburgh resident Jim Daniels, a father struggles to heal his son's grief after an incident at school. The poem reminds us that when we're young little things can hurt in a big way.

DIM

Today my son realized someone's smarter
than him. Not me or his mom --
he still thinks we know everything --
one of the other kids, Nathan. Making fun
of him at the computer terminal
for screwing up at the math game.
Other kids laughing at him. Second grade.
I'm never gonna be as smart as him,
he says.
I'm never gonna be as smart
as half my students if we're talking
IQs. He doesn't want me to explain.
He wants me to acknowledge
that he's dumb. He's lying in bed
and taking his glasses off and on,
trying to get them perfectly clean
for the morning. I'm looking around
his dark room for a joke or some
decent words to lay on him. His eyes
are glassy with almost-tears. Second grade.
The world wants to call on him.
I take his hand in mine.

POET OF THE MONTH: JANE KENYON

Find brief biography of Kenyon at
http://poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/361

Find an interview with Donald Hall, Kenyon's husband, at
http://www.poems.com/halinter.htm

Find an article about Hall and Kenyon with a picture at http://www.izaak.unh.edu/exhibits/kenhall/

Find ten poems by Kenyon at http://poets.org/viewall.php/varType/poems/prmOrderBy/
 
Find three more poems by Kenyon at
http://www.tear.com/poems/kenyon/

Find fourteen poems by Kenyon at 
http://www.poemhunter.com/jane-kenyon/poet-8680/

Buy a book of Kenyon's poetry at

http://www.booksense.com/index.jsp?affiliateId=AmerPoets

http://www.powells.com/

http://www.amazon.com/
 

POEMS BY MEMBERS
 
WHILE HANGING TINSEL, CHRISTMAS 2005
Valerie Esker

Will we always remember this,
the worst hurricane season ever,
just ended, leaving death, destruction, and sorrow?

Can we ever forget
the thousands of young men and women
who gave their lives for a withering cause
in a desert land far away?

We are warned of global warming,
of imminent pandemics,
of the child predators that abound.

Crystal meth use is reported
rampant in every neighborhood,
creating zombies of its users.

Oh, the broken homes
producing poverty, angry children,
distraught parents.

We, anguished, witness these things, Lord,
and we wonder.
We wonder why, and why, and why.

But then the tinsel glistens,
reflects the meaning of Christmas,
the evergreen shining promise,
of the new earth you vowed
would soon come.
 

BRAVE ONE
Phyllis Moutray

Being brave and strong,
you told us what is wrong,

and so we know for you
the days are likely few.

Brave man, of course, we pray
to God for you each day,

but then as you've grown worse,
we always add this curse:

"Carcinoma, why
aren't you the one to die?"
 

BEGIN AGAIN, RENEWED
Jean Even

My house is like a famine
In a land of plenty where nothing is mine.
The desert wind has blown hot
Against me; now thereís an empty pot.

I will rise up and be accountable.
Should I say it was sin, and deplorable
At that, to leave me in such a state?
Or it may be a trial by fire, so I wonít hate.

Iíll return to my land. It will be great
To see the places of my youth where I ate
With loved ones and family I once knew.
Iíll show my respects and begin again, renewed.

In the light of the Lord I will respond
To bring peace upon me and not to despond.
In my house, Godís love will flourish,
With blessings for all to be nourished.


ICE STORM
Tania Gray

Is this the height of Ozark grit--in ice?
The zenith of our mettle, fearless pluck,
the skills to cope with winter storm's bad luck,
no power, water, heat, or school--no dice.
We play with pyrotechnics, haul in wood,
use water sparsely, postpone laundry day,
observe the birds, send children out to play,
eat simply, raid the pantry for our food.
Call Mother on the dial telephone--
the fancy cordless pulse phone's blank and mute.
So is the e-mail on the network route.
Hold candles, walking in a half-light zone.
Stay on, thou winter gale and frigid air,
and thereby make of us a closer pair.
 

JOHN'S CHRISTMAS CAROL
Tom Padgett

My friend is playing Scrooge this Christmas
so he won't be at our meeting.
He'll be too busy Bah-Humbugging
to write a Christmas greeting,

at least till Marley--the guy in chains--
brings warnings from Beyond
and ghosts appear, one by one,
three ghosts who correspond

to Ebenezer's Christmas Past,
Present, and Yet to Come.
John--uh Scrooge--will age on stage
and laugh with little Tom Thumb.

No, that's not right--it's Tiny Tim
that eats Christmas goose
when John--uh Scrooge--metamorphoses
and all bells break loose.

So the play with Christmas greetings
ends on a happy note,
but Scrooge--John--won't be at our meeting
to read a poem he wrote.

 


VISIT WORKSHOP FOR AN ASSIGNMENT.

 TopWorkshopIndex

 


THE JOYS OF CHRISTMAS
Pat Laster

Cantatas, carols, decorations, mirth:
providing joys as we observe Christ's birth.
Though ornaments come down from storage space,
They're not put up before December first.
When children's early trimmings go in place,
I swell with so much pride I nearly burst.
Providing joys as we observe Christ's birth:
cantatas, carols, decorations, mirth.
 

DECEMBER
Nancy Powell


Decorated trees light up the square
Evergreens for sale on the corner
Carolers sing me back to yesteryear
Elves in red suits ring the loud bells
Mothers hurry and threaten be good
Boughs of holly drape the doors
Everyone is in a great hurryĖ
Remember the Christ Child.
 

ONOMATOPOEIA
Gwen Eisenmann

Touch can be an ouch
for a quick flick,
or a thump on the rump
with a thick stick,
or a tender tap
and a tickle and squeeze
from a squirming tot
giggling to please.
 

AT SEA AND SLOWING
Harding Stedler

Somewhere they sail the seas,
weaving among island chains
in the far Pacific.
They escape the constancy
of deadlines . . .
and demanding warlords.

Water as far as eye can see.
No mountains of home,
no greening hillsides.
No meals to fix
or cattle to herd.

They travel in timeless space
where todays are tomorrows
and setting suns are rising.

The Earth-world they left behind
goes on with clocks and routine.
On a day when they return,
their Earth-world will have changed:
older, greener, hotter,
and more fast-paced than
when they left.
The tame and timeless sea,
a distant flashback.

LOST EDGES AND OTHER SOFT LINES
Judy Young

Steel winter moonlight,
Crisp shadows 'cross the snow,
Black lines of trees and branches,
Midnight intaglio.

Light from the window,
Cold and sharp and clear,
Silhouettes her body
As he draws her near.

His arms wrap around her,
Sharp edges become lost,
The warmth of their breath
Against the night airís frost.

Soft lines are whispered
With each deliberate stroke,
Amazing what emotions
A painting can evoke.
 

WHILE YOU TRUST AND OBEY
Henrietta Romman

Only trust . . . just obey.
It's the only right way.
God removes all the pressure
And blesses each treasure
While you trust and obey.

Only trust . . . just obey.
It's the only right way.
God's plan will be clear
As He wipes every tear
While you trust and obey.

Only trust . . . just obey.
It's the only right way.
To admonish God's crowd,
Sing His praises loud
While you trust and obey.

Only trust . . . just obey.
It's the only right way.
As you in wonder stand,
Stay with His giving hand
While you trust and obey.

Only trust . . . just obey.
It's the only right way.
When you worship and rejoice,
Hear the Father's true voice
While you trust and obey.


BECOMING
Mark Tappmeyer
"[He] made himself nothing . . .being made in human likeness."
Philippians 2:11

He emptied
like an ocean
draining out

its sea-green dance

until He found
Himself in shallows where
a baby might stand a chance