POEMS BY MEMBERS
the sound of it
whether near enough to rattle
my bones or far and faint
my ears pay attention
At the sound
my imagination stirs
In an instant, I am transported
into an unknown realm
Though we travel far above it
on silver wings
or beside it on rubber wheels
my heart races as hot metal
glides over iron rails
and the train whistle blows
It speaks to my deepest longings
IT IS BETTER
I sit in the attic alone
with old boxes and trunks
full of past sins and regret.
The dusty photos of those I loved fervently
and hurt the most,
records filled with songs of words I never meant to say
now warped and scratched.
The honey that once tasted
has become stale in my mouth and I
must learn to live on the plain bread of wisdom,
raw truth and good news.
The fountain outside is
muddied and filled
with the dirt of failure, following deception
and lessons not quite learned.
So until I have dusted and
I will sit in the attic
BIRD BATH FOR TWO
Dewell H. Byrd
A male robin hops about on the lawn
cocks his head side to side
plays a gritty tug-of-war
with a night crawler
bobs his tail
chirps a challenge
He hops on the rim of the goldfish pond
wigwags his head.
Goldfish duck for cover.
Robin hovers over the pond
wingtips touch water
tail flips a wet spray.
he perches on the pond’s rim
shudders, preens, struts
flies away singing.
A young sparrow on a swaying twig
watches the entire performance
from his balcony seat.
He lands on the rim
cocks his head
wings and tail submerge.
squawks fill the air.
He butterfly strokes to the rim
shudders and shakes
flies erratically to his seat.
Goldfish emerge slowly.
my husband in the eye
and do not stutter
when I repeat the quote-unquote words
of our youngest son about his daughter,
. . . mentally two-years-old.
After the grandchildren and
leave our home,
after picking up toys,
after a long soak in a tub,
I climb into bed and read
a copy of black insights
by a psychologist
in a sprawling children’s hospital.
I come nose to nose with her findings.
It hits me hard: our Haven—
labeled as mildly retarded.
Though she has had her struggles,
this was never imagined.
Her birthday, just around the corner,
will not be for a six-year-old,
though six candles will alight
the crown of her cake. I open a catalog
and tear out the pages of gifts
suggested for two-year-old children—
so I can get a grip on it,
so I can tell the imagined part
of our first grandchild
“People are so very strange,”
To herself said the cat.
“They haven’t the beautiful fur I have
And that is so very sad.”
Each morning (oh the horror!)
they get wet in a little stall
But first they strip down to their skin–
I can’t imagine the pain I’d be in
Each day to lose my fur and grow it back again!
They stand with a terrible
Aimed at some fur on the top of their head
Though it makes their fur a tad fluffy indeed,
To aim it at me is something I’d dread!
So I sit here and I groom
And I lick where they’re appalled to think
And I thank the Lord He made me a cat
With such beautiful fur they can brush
SCOURGE OF SUMMER
Oh, scourge of summer, plague
who let that mosquito in?
Close the door
invite no more!
Scourge of summer, plague of
stay out, you and your buzzin' kin.
Away from my head, away from
please, oh, please go away from here.
Scourge of summer, plague of
I'll gladly end your summer din.
I'll grab the spray, I'll use
I'll soon repel you and your mob.
Scourge of summer, plague of
I cannot, will not let you win.
I'll reach and bend, swish
to gladly give you all I've got.
Scourge of summer, plague of
Swish, smack, splat. Goodbye, I win!
100-year old “blanket” a quilt
time consuming a labor of love
outgrown clothing scraps
cut into pattern
for warmth for useful
MY BODY WHICH WAS BROKEN
A thousand Stations
of the Cross
are on the ground
the fragile shroud of purest white
covers the green
the bloody edges fade, decay
or drift away
This brightest blizzard’s
all too brief
a solemn beauty, burst of joy
When dogwood petals come, then fall
I think of Thee.
I tossed last night. I couldn't sleep
when roused by dreams from recess deep.
I shivered in the room dim-lit
by lunar glow, where sorrows steep.
Through prayer and curse, guilt wouldn't quit.
It looped around inside my head,
foul vulture tracking dying prey,
awaiting signs that hope was dead.
(Damned sharp-beaked thing won't fly away.
In daylight too, it shrieks in flight.)
This chilling call my conscience fears,
will surely shrill again tonight:
"How little time from sun to sun,
to right the wrong cruel self has done."
DO YOU DREAM IN
Laurence W. Thomas
My dreams of late have
taken such a twist
I can’t determine origins of such scope
as they encompass, ranging as they do
from childhood recollections, tears and joys,
to futuristic, garbled scenes of such
befuddling twists and turns that I,
upon awaking, wonder what they mean.
I know a little how they interpret dreams
who study Freud, explaining them in terms
of digging up the past, so when I dream
about my mother baking cookies, I
conclude I must be hungry--or obsessed
by guilt or love repressed but so complex
I’ll never understand. Finding myself
in some exotic city naked and cold
must stem from things related to my past
but I cannot determine clearly what
they are. I must conclude that dreams
of past or present, things--familiar, strange,
or in between--delight the dreamer when
amusing, or thought provoking,
find no explanation in reality.
And so I’ll dream whatever comes and bore
my friends recounting all the lurid parts.
LONGER LEASES, LESSER TERMS
the elation of
before fades into a lamentation of now
every parade must
end, each song conclude, their
echoes fade into
broken waltzes, composers conceive
music where notes are neither sharp or flat
even if Christ
passed this way, His tunic a tonic for plague
and disease, what
of those two hills over, with lesser terms
leases, those who pass the plate like God Himself
waits and there
is neither a coin nor a fish to produce one?
an attractive cousin, or a good idea after the
history will tell her story, will we live to hear it
when they find
our bones entombed millenniums hence, will
they wonder how
we lived or ponder where we went?
JESUS HAS WON!
“He came unto his own
and his own received Him not.”
His heart was torn.
Royalty bled! His blood He shed
To tell the living, the dead,
of that pure love so true!
They never knew that Jesus died,
to save them from their sin,
to cleanse them from within,
both spirit and soul!
Jesus rose with dignity,
He paid their debt,
forever to set them free!
O light of the whole world,
today, I pledge my life to thee.
Make me to live and tell of Your
greatest love . . . and care
for them and for me.
HOMAGE TO THE SUN
We planted color
along the walking trails
that wrap the lake,
preparing for the moods
After all, not every
summer day is yellow.
Nevertheless, we planted
for the days
would raise their hilltop heads
and pay homage
to the sun,
would open their mouths
to drink morning's gold.
We planted for the red days
as well, when poppies
would burst forth crimson
in partial sun
and bleed along the water's edge.
We even planted
for the stark white days
of rainless August
when tropical suns fry dreams.
Hikers can pick their
to reflect their moods,
and summer will be, for them,
a never-ending rainbow.
A TRAGEDY OF SHORTS
Diane Auser Stefan
walking or bicycle,
no matter what the style is,
THOUGHTS PRECEDING A
Your email hints that one
of my poems
is a closed box--with a snap
at the last line, the proud announcement
"Now I can be abandoned."
As I read your email of
thoughts hop in my head like multiple guesses.
Most swirl downward in the drain of praise
but one seems reluctant to go quietly.
Who holds more honor:
or the Reverend Ham speaking to Charlotte?
I imagine Betty Jones,
now Betty Jones-Smith.
She who, in junior high, quietly flirted
with young Graham as he dropped his pencil
to the floor during math class. Long division
would have to wait for a
at sinless Betty's prickly legs. She
who first stole Billy's heart and promised its return
during Vacation Bible School week, when a baby
blue bible would be given
to the one
with the most visitors showing up
on "Pack a Pew" Sunday. The bible
summed up her attention on Billy, who remained
with nothing but a
puzzled look on his face
and three fewer nickels.
You have put your three nickels
in my box of encouragement.
HARD TO BELIEVE
The story of natives
perplexed on the beach,
their brains registering
strange, new waves
but not the actual ship
anchored off shore.
Fast forward: a teenage
girl with a cell phone
on Maui's Kaanapali coast,
a girl whose mind should
have found (but didn't)
Molokai and Lanai
in the distance. If she felt
like it, though, she could
tell a whole ten-day tale
of text messages sent
and received in the sand.
We as American’s just
celebrated our Independence Day.
What a day it was for those who went out of their way
To remember the day that ended a war for freedom!
It is better to remember the day we were free in Your Kingdom.
Willingly, I raise up my dire clamorous voice to sing
In a lionization way unto You, O Lord and King.
You, above all, sitting in Your heavenly realm are awesome in
And worthy of all your children to defend in a fight.
You, O Lord of the most high, are wonderful in persona
Your ways are much higher, definitely more so than any krone.
O holy King, how magnificent you are in power
To have created something as delicate as a flower.
A majestic host, O God, who is so worthy of my praise in song
Even if my voice, no longer young, is noise gone all wrong.
I will celebrate, in You, for my spiritual liberty.
AN OLD FRIEND
An old friend came to town last week,
a friend not seen for thirty years.
Except for gray, he looked the same
and began again where we left off.
The tales we told recounted times
we both recalled in part but not
alike in all the small details.
We philosophized a bit
on what life was, the way we had
before--still not too much to lose
the flavor of old friends who shared
a gratitude for things the way
they were those years ago and things
as they were now between two friends
life brought together one more time.