POEMS BY MEMBERS:
ONCE A PRIVATE PORCH
The tree between our back yards
was thick and full and blocked our view:
when we sat on our porches
you couldn't see me and I couldn't see you.
Then one day your son got busy
and trimmed all the lower limbs away.
I'm sure he thought it a good deed
as now we visit almost every day.
The problem is I liked my isolation
and now my privacy's been stripped away.
stars Glenn Close and Pauline Collins,
and chronicles WWII's Japanese occupation
of a women's camp in Sumatra,
"man's inhumanity to mankind,"
and creative women's coping,
indeed surviving in style,
through music, compassion, and community.
This movie is a classic testament,
recording the truth that
dignity, goodness, industry, hope, and love
exist regardless of the climate.
Thus, mankind survives and evolves,
despite the concurrent existence of evil.
This is the substance of life
as we know it.
Often, they are drifters,
heading to parts unknown.
neither why nor where they head,
but they are looking for a ride.
With all their worldly goods
in a knapsack on their back,
they have no place called "home."
Life has dealt,
for many of them,
a cruel hand.
Without job, without family,
and often without food,
they migrate with the seasons
to warmer climes or shelters
from winter's cold.
They are forever at the mercy
of a driver,
whose gift of twenty mile
to a pauper.
Despite Pilgrimian effort
Could muster no straight line
His motorhome travels
Would make Bunyan blush.
The bullet exit
Of your cow sap
To Nolan’s heater
ON VISITING HOPE CHURCH
VITEBSK, BELARUS, JANUARY 2005
He looked a war-old Bolshevik
in every reddening bulge, Kruschev stout
and neckless, like a brown Siberian bear,
strutting round his podium
with revolutionary flare. He jabbed
his right paw, boxing air, then stroked down
as if beating plowshares into tanks. All the while
his left sleeve sank armless where once roared
a Fascist mine that tore his flesh
in the killing fields the Soviet called
the Great Patriotic War. He spattered loud
the peasant crowd in his sights, each word
plumed for flight like Brezhnev airborne brows.
Then twenty minutes out, the old warrior
pulled in his fist, eased his frown, closed Matthew 5
verse 30, and religiously sat down
LOOKING AT ART WITH SISTER WENDY
One Thousand Masterpieces in a book.
From Lascaux caves to Robert Motherwell,
the artists are explained. This gentle nun
interprets allegories, mysteries,
the squiggles, blanks, the minimal. Her eye
does not shrink back from art bizarre or spare,
nor from the happy canvasses well-known.
She lets us in on secrets, symbols, gifts
of insight, hidden truths. Oh, Sister Wendy!
How can you, a sheltered soul, pierce through
the heart of artists gone, through time and space
bring back their voices, tell their visions with
such certainty? Your clarity and sense
illuminate their art. You have become
my saint of paint, your book the bible text.
I reverently turn from page to page
and soak in holy waves, aesthetic joy.
LEGACY OF THE IRISH
“St. Patrick’s the password,” George Washington said
on March seventeen in ‘Seventy Six.
Those Irish could fight! And they hated the British,
remembering stories of bad politics:
Three-fourths of their lands were controlled by the King.
They couldn’t sell wool, couldn’t make woolen clothing,
nor trade with the Colonists. Here’s what they did:
They came to America, took out their loathing
in fighting the English, then made it their home.
Some St. Patrick’s sons signed the great Declaration,
and others rose high in the Colonist ranks—
all working for freedom with utmost elation.
McKinley and Rutledge and Clinton and Bryan
were four early governors—sons of the green.
In modern America, St. Pat’s descendants
are Murphys and Kellys, O’Briens, Muldeen.
Take pride in the shamrock and little green elves,
For likely as not, you’re Irish yourselves.
The big buck, head held high
walks cautiously into the meadow,
hungry at the end of winter.
The big buck, head held high,
horns polished from tree rubs,
is watched closely by a hunter.
The big buck, head held high
walks cautiously into the meadow.
Fuzzy, feisty ball of fur,
when you sit on my lap and purr,
I think you're the finest roommate,
Then when I am least aware,
you claw and shred my favorite chair
and think you're being
You could lose your happy home
if I threw you out to roam,
but we both know I would
Even when you're being bad,
I never, ever get so mad
that our relationship I'd
So, cuddle up, my furry friend.
The furniture I'm sure will mend
with but minimal
The telemarketer was quite direct:
Did anyone who lived at our address
have hearing problems that we could detect,
and would that person now admit distress?
Her company of hearing specialists
would visit patients privately at home
because some persons who can't actually hear
pretend they can, for reasons of their own.
I stopped her, "Wife and I live here alone
and won't be needing you. I know, my dear,
what she is mumbling--she knows why I'm grumbling--
and it's better for us both not to hear!"
VISIT WORKSHOP FOR AN