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


In Wallace Stevens's poem "The Snow Man" we are told that only an individual who has a mind of winter can learn the lesson of nature in winter and not be moved by it.  The snow on the ground, the January sun shining brightly, the wind blowing through pines and junipers--all speak to the poet of the death of nature in winter, but the perceptive listener hearing the wind blow a few remaining leaves about  realizes ("beholds," Stevens says) that he, too, is a creature of winter. He identifies himself with the common misery of humanity's lot: the "Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is."  This dark poem seems at first to be almost in direct opposition to Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," but actually both poets remind us of the wealth that is ours if we are capable of appreciating the beauty of nature even in adverse conditions.  Lee Ann Russell's photo above of a creek in a forest captures  such beauty.  For centuries poets have found in nature many subjects for their work.  Perhaps you find yourself this winter with little impetus to write.  Here is a challenge: Look around you and make the winter yours by writing about it.        
                                                                                                                  Tom Padgett, Editor      


            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


Members of Thirty-Seven Cents can find their current national and state newsletters at the addresses given in the Contents menu above.  Strophes Online appears in updated issues on January 1, April 1, August 1, and October 1.  Spare Mule Online appears in updated issues on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.  The national newsletter takes an extra month in the summer after the national convention to post the winners of the annual NFSPS contests.   The state newsletter appears on a regular quarterly basis to publicize in July the state's Summer Contest.  The state's Winter Contest is collecting entries now.  The deadline for submissions is February 15.  Instructions are available to you at the MSPS Winter Contest address given in the Contents menu above.  Judges from Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, and Utah have been enlisted to evaluate entries.  Don't delay--submit your poems soon.


If you have not yet taken advantage of the workshop challenges, you are missing out on the fun. Each month a new assignment or two are included here in our e-zine.  A topic or a form (or both) is suggested, and members who respond with a poem will see their work in next month's issue. These poems are added to the workshop pages that deal with the challenge (even if several months later).  Our workshop poems are in addition to the regular monthly poems submitted by members which appear on the home page of each issue.  Why not get started with this month's workshop and work backward till you have an entry on every page?


(Barbara Magerl)

The poinsettia
yielding to reality
slowly drops its leaves.

(Wesley Willis)

In the lodge of ponderosa pines and ferns,
With a cup of hot exhilarating tea,
I enjoy the morning mountain views,
Warmth received from both the tea and scenery.
My eyes, in gazing over ridges and valleys,
Through the ponderosa silhouette,
Across the lower deck of the majestic lodge,
Notice how the cardinal shows its red
Against the snow, bright as blood bestowed
In colors gallantly royal as its name.
The rays of splendor from the sun are
Crawling beams of gold dispersing light.
Magnificent, these Colorado mountains seen
From the coffee shop, my favored gallery,
Where Nature's natural paintings come to life.
A shadow flees fast across the floor--
A blur--to my surprised astonishment
A California condor graces the lodge
By casting shadowy visions on the floor,
Another beauty of God's creation to enjoy.

(Darwyne Tessier)

He looked out the window
watching winter approach. 
Frost had appeared earlier
than anyone expected.
The doctor’s measured words 
fell slowly as leaves outside
settled on dying grass.
Later, as he left for home,
an icy chill surrounded him.
With no concern for his consent,
his last season came on quickly.

(Tammie Bush)

offered me
a guided tour
of the city at night
wrapped a cloak of soft jazz
around my shoulders
and pointed out
beautiful lights
dancing on the water
like magic
held my hand
damp and warm
in yours.

in return
offered you
a guided tour
of my heart
wove a wreath of poetry
through your hair
and pointed out sacred symmetries
racing around us
like magic
held your heart
damp and warm
in mine.

(Harding Stedler)

I will stand naked
among bare trees
this winter
and let cold mornings
shiver my limbs.
I will plant my feet
in earth
before the freeze
and be anchored
for the winds.
Often, I have cringed
for leafless trees
when Saskatchewan winds
came howling south.
Now, I will know firsthand
the lethal bite of cold

(Todd Sukany)

Faltering past
an eight-angled dictator
saluting in the distance,
we prove inept at inertia.

Bent grill and dusty shimmer
echo splendor of an ancient past,
yet parts forged in Asia
peter out a credit line--
even petrol leaves quicker than we.

Dented and depressed,
ruffled and ragged,
scorned and sneered,
mocked and misused,
this dog's seen a better day.

(Tania Gray)

The Christmas decorations are brought out,
and once again I must accept the task
of hanging ornaments within, without--
and what will be the theme this year, I ask.

Our Tucson tree was trimmed
    with velvet Cardinals.
Topeka’s spruce displayed
    motif ethereal.

Our tree this year is bright with sharp desire,
and glowing but not brassy fervency.
We have the courage to continue on--
the Christmas decorations are brought out.

(Jean Even)

Walk through the day with birds singing their songs,
Music to the soul brightening your way.
Be content to hear their voices in sweet harmony,
The symphony for the rising day.
Take time to notice the trees standing so tall,
Each branch reaching out, upward to the sky;
Each leaf shimmering in the sun, dancing in the
They add their touch, providing cool shade.
Look up at the sky; see the changing blues.
Notice the clouds, white and gray, drifting by.
Be it sunrise or sunset, flat or fluffy tall clouds
Scatter the sky in their fancy ways.
Look up to see the possibility of your day.
Reach up to seize the opportunities that come your way.
take hold of the things presented to you.
You won't find them unless you do.
Walk through your day, singing a song,
Music stirring your soul with thoughts,
Each a note of possibility, rising to the sky.
Seize a note; it's opportunity come your way.

(Tom Padgett)

The staplers, scissors, bills, and magazines
surprisingly have started taking wings;
they disappear somehow quite unforeseen:
we find that we are always losing things.

I stand before my drawer with puzzled face
and search through thumb tacks, rubber bands, and string;
she sees and wonders what she has misplaced:
we find that we are always losing things.

Besides her half-slip, scarf, and paring knife,
she looks for glasses, pantyhose, and rings;
I sigh and think, "She's one forgetful wife!":
we find that we are always losing things.

While others get ahead, we fall behind;
while others count the blessings each day brings,
we hunt for tempers, energy, and minds:
we find that we are always losing things.

And now, it seems, we've lost our Christmas list!
It will no doubt show up sometime next spring,
but friends may get upset if they are missed:
we find that we are always losing things.

(Bev Conklin)

Children come and children go.
That’s what they’re meant to do.
When parents ignore this simple fact,
it creates quite a hullabaloo.

Over the years, we start to think
they’re a reflection of ourselves.
That’s wrong, you know, not meant to be.
In each child, a new being dwells,

one who’s never been here before,
nor will ever come back again.
Our job’s to help them learn how to be
their own kinds of women or men.

Like sponges, they soak up and hold
everything they hear, do, and see.
Our actions, ideas, and words--
all influence what they will be,

but they must follow their own paths,
deciding which seeds they will sew.
We just raise them as best we can,
then lovingly trust--and let go.


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