THIRTY-SEVEN CENTS
Vol. 5, No. 1     An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society     January 2006
 


RESOLVE TO ENJOY THE BEAUTY OF WINTER

As winter comes charging in, we say things like, "I enjoy winter less every year."  We recall childhoods of building snowmen in the front yard, skating on the pond, making snow ice cream, reading Jack Frost's messages etched on the windows, snuggling under heavy blankets to keep warm--all these we recall and wonder why we have lost "the mind of winter," as Wallace Stevens calls it.  What is more, we have the suspicion that with further aging we will soon lose even these fond memories of childhood.  Why not save a memory or two this month in a poem dedicated to the beauty around you? To get you primed, turn to John Greenleaf Whittier's "Snowbound" and share a New England storm that becomes a celebration for a family to share.  Or if Whittier is not available to you, turn through Robert Frost's collected works and live through several heightened moments that his poems become.  If  you are still having trouble, concentrate on one poem in detail.  Take "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."  Surely that little gem will excite you.  Meanwhile, all the best to you this holiday season including a very happy new year.
                                                                                                                                     --  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 035
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Massachusetts poet J. Lorraine Brown has used an unusual image in "Tintype on the Pond, 1925." This poem, like many others, offers us a unique experience, presented as a gift, for us to respond to as we will. We need not ferret out a hidden message. How many of us will recall this little scene the next time we see ice skates or a Sunday-dinner roast?

TINTYPE ON THE POND, 1925

Believe it or not,
the old woman said,
and I tried to picture it:
a girl,
the polished white ribs of a roast
tied to her boots with twine,
the twine coated with candle wax
so she could glide
uninterrupted
across the ice--
my mother,
skating on bones.
 

American Life in Poetry: Column 037
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Painful separations, through divorce, through death, through alienation, sometimes cause us to focus on the objects around us, often invested with sentiment. Here's Shirley Buettner, having packed up what's left of a relationship.

THE WIND CHIMES

Two wind chimes,
one brass and prone to anger,
one with the throat of an angel,
swing from my porch eave,
sing with the storm.
Last year I lived five months
under that shrill choir,
boxing your house, crowding books
into crates, from some pages
your own voice crying.
Some days the chimes raged.
Some days they hung still.
They fretted when I dug up
the lily I gave you in April,
blooming, strangely, in fall.
Together, they scolded me
when I counted pennies you left
in each can, cup, and drawer,
when I rechecked the closets
for remnants of you.
The last day, the house empty,
resonant with space, the two chimes
had nothing to toll for.
I walked out, took them down,
carried our mute spirits home.
 

American Life in Poetry: Column 036
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE


In this poem by western New Yorker Judith Slater, we're delivered to a location infamous for brewing American stories--a bar. Like the stories of John Henry, Paul Bunyan, or the crane operator in this poem, tales of work can be extraordinary, heroic and, if they are sad, sometimes leavened by a little light.

IN THE BLACK ROCK TAVERN

The large man in the Budweiser tee
with serpents twining on his arms
has leukemia. It doesn't seem right
but they've told him he won't die for years
if he sticks with the treatment.
He's talking about his years in the foundry,

running a crane on an overhead track in the mill.
Eight hours a day moving ingots into rollers.
Sometimes without a break
because of the bother of getting down.
Never had an accident.
Never hurt anyone. He had that much control.

His problem is that electricity
raced through his body and accumulated.
When he got down at the end of a shift
he could squeeze a forty-watt light bulb
between thumb and finger and make it flare.
All the guys came around to see that.
 

American Life in Poetry: Column 038
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I'd guess that many women remember the risks and thrills of their first romantic encounters in much the same way California poet Leslie Monsour does in this poem.

FIFTEEN

The boys who fled my father's house in fear
Of what his wrath would cost them if he found
Them nibbling slowly at his daughter's ear,
Would vanish out the back without a sound,
And glide just like the shadow of a crow,
To wait beside the elm tree in the snow.
Something quite deadly rumbled in his voice.
He sniffed the air as if he knew the scent
Of teenage boys, and asked, "What was that noise?"
Then I'd pretend to not know what he meant,
Stand mutely by, my heart immense with dread,
As Father set the traps and went to bed.
 

POET OF THE MONTH: DONALD HALL

Find a brief biography of Hall and two poems at http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/264

Find an interview with Hall at http://www.interviews-with-poets.com/donald-hall/hall-note.html


Find fourteen poems by Hall at http://www.poemhunter.com/donald-hall/poet-6592/

Find six poems by Hall at http://www.izaak.unh.edu/exhibits/kenhall/hall.htm

Find a critical comment on Hall at http://www.interviews-with-poets.com/donald-hall/

Buy a book of Hall's poetry at

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

http://www.powells.com/

http://www.amazon.com/


POEMS BY MEMBERS
 
 
GOD OF DOORWAYS
Valerie Esker

Janus, you two-faced god,
you ancient Roman hope,
bring to us our new beginnings.
Bring forth the rising sun to shine
upon the infant year.
Command the setting sun
to sweep clean the sad detritus
left by old year's sorrows.
Lead us to the open portals
this new year brings.
 

AULD LANG SYNE
Velvet Fackeldey

There you are.
What do I say?
It's been too long.
The good words are gone
and I do not want to say
the bad ones.
Let's just pretend
we don't see each other.
 

REASSURE ME
Phyllis Moutray

Smile at me my love,
Please, NOW.

Raise you hands
Above your head,
Reaching for the sky, instead.

Speak simply.
A sentence will do--
To assure me
You're just being you;

And it's not a "stroke's"
Bad luck that's knocking
at your "body's" door.

If you can't do this, my love,
I'll call an ambulance,
or rush you out the door
To ER's life-saving medical horde.


FLOOD MY SPIRIT
Jean Even
 

Dear Lord, fill up my soul with your glory, I implore. Open the door of wisdom and knowledge to explore. Flood my spirit as the water covers the oceans.
Your wisdom I desire more than any home-grown beans.

You are the salvation who brings many men to life.
Your ways are righteous--Iíll try to learn to play a fife. Perhaps it would bring joy to You, my Lord and King.
Alas, I canít play notes for a tune, so Iíll sing.
 

DOES HEAVEN HAVE A CAPITAL LETTER?
Gwen Eisenmann and Jack Troutner

Heaven is always there with all we need, supposedly.
Did you ever use up Heaven,
exhaust the angel's wings
you were entitled to
just when you needed them most?
Did you ever touch a star to light the way
from Earth to where Heaven ought to be?
How far is Heaven from here?
How far does poetic license go?
 

THE VOICE
Henrietta Romman

Listen to the voice of reason,
Tap your foot and stand your ground,
Think of life's truth to be found,
Patience comes but for a season.

Count your blessings, shout, rejoice!
When your weakness will unfold,
Seek His springs of love untold.
Hearken to the Father's voice.


ZEN AT NIGHT
Tania Gray

We make a perfect yin-yang design
sleeping together like two spoons

Our cat is the black dot
curled up in the half-moon space
by my chest

Our dog is the white dot
curled up in the other half-moon
by your legs
 
All we need is a round bed
 

THROUGH A GLASS
"Now we see but a poor reflection, as in a mirror . . ."
1 Corinthians 13:12

Mark Tappmeyer

Through a dark glass
it's said
I look
but let's also
add that
through a glass
I darkly look.
The crux
of both
seems to be
that opacity
accompanies me.

 


ACCELERANDO
(A Kyrielle)
Pat Laster


The new year's resolutions made,
in February's fabric fade.
Like each day's blue and rosy dawn,
another year has come and gone.

So many noble goals were set,
like cleaning ovens, closets; yet
a week passed by with every yawn!
Another year has come and gone.

The pundits say the way to gauge
time's flight is by advancing age.
Good reason why, though plans were drawn,
another year has come and gone.


CONFUSING GUIDELINES
(0r, In Answer to"Would it be the side that faces
my left or the actual left front side of the page?")
Judy Young

Well, left is right
and right is left
Is something that I've heard,
But in this case
To ponder this
Is really quite absurd.

Just fold your paper
Three times twice
Then fold it once again
And write your name,
Address and such
On each crease with a grin.

Or maybe it'd be
better yet
to write it upside down
or write your words
upon each page,
spiraling around.

Forward, backward
Or inside out,
Down the middle of the page.
I've even heard
Diagonally,
Is simply all the rage.

But if you are
still so confused
that it may bring a tear
Just hold your paper
upside down
and write looking in a mirror.
 

ADRIFT IN MORPHINE SILENCE
Harding Stedler

Ball out of socket,
one leg, limp as a dead dream,
lies helpless on the gurney.
The men in white
cart you away,
leg disjointed beneath their whispers.
Down some dark hall you go,
aboard a freight elevator
that will take you who-knows-where.

My leg begins to throb,
just watching.
Will you ever walk again?
Can my leg gone numb
be of help to you?

I wander fluorescent halls
at strange hours.
No visitors but me in the Waiting Area
(Someone wait for me!).
Aloneness is a curse
on islands where everyone sleeps,
and where darkness seems forever.

I drink black coffee,
endless cups.
Daybreak comes,
only with the creamer.

I walk again,
searching for your room,
not knowing how many legs
you'll have this time.
I peer through window glass
and watch you drift
in morphine silence,
and my numb leg feels no pain.
 

IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT
Tom Padgett

Inept in kitchens, I confessed
just like a hog rooting about,
I made a big, disgusting mess.
My wife who felt deep pain cried out,

"Just like a hog rooting about!
I swear you'd drive a saint insane."
My wife who felt deep pain cried out
again and again this sad refrain:

"I swear you'd drive a saint insane.
When you've been here, I can't find stuff."
Again and again this sad refrain
till I, like her, had had enough.

"When you've been here, I can't find stuff--"
I stabbed her with the butcher knife
till I, like her, had had enough.
Police asked why I'd killed my wife.

"I stabbed her with the butcher knife;
I made a big disgusting mess."
Police asked why I killed my wife.
"Inept in kitchens," I confessed.


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