THIRTY-SEVEN CENTS
Vol. 6, No. 3      An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society      March  2007

                                                                                                                                                                                                 FreeFoto.com                            

THE END OF A DAY AT THE END OF A WINTER

With the worst winter in a long time behind us, perhaps now our conversations will be built around another topic.  Frankly I am tired of hearing how many days this family or that was without heat, electricity, or telephone.  [I won't mention the eight days my family lived primitively.]  Also I will not bring up the debris that is currently being picked up by contractors who had the lowest bid out of several who wanted the job of cleaning my town.  In fact, right here, right now, I am through with the winter of 2007.  However, there is one weather fact that is even more annoying to me than the recent ice storm, so I will ask you point blank.  Do you care what the temperature was a year ago today?  For heaven's sake, what difference does it make?  I am guilty of collecting statistics about this and that, important things like sports, movies, music, and books.   But I have never sunk so low as to remind you what the weather was last year.  I might on the other hand confess that "Silent Night" is playing on my computer as I type this editorial.  Yes, it is March, but I downloaded the King's Singers' version of this carol free as Single of the Week sometime in December [before the ice storm incidentally], and I want to get my money's worth of this beautiful disk.  I could go ahead and tell you that my grandson-in-law applied for a position at Cambridge University in England [where the King's Singers recorded this carol], but since he didn't get the job, I will not brag.  There are, therefore, you see, several things that will not make it into this column.  One thing will make it:  a reminder to keep writing, yes, even if your Muse provokes you to mention last winter's weather.                                                                         -- Tom Padgett

 

CONTENTS:

Past Issue Next
       
Poems by Members
         
Workshop

Missouri State Poetry Society

Summer Contest

Spare Mule Online

National Federation of State Poetry Societies
 
Strophes Online


POETRY IN THE NEWS

Paul Muldoon's latest two books--one poetry, one criticism--are reviewed by Langdon Hammer as Hammer tries to answer the question "Is Muldoon a serious artist?"  Find his conclusion here.

Thomas Hardy is the subject of a very well-received biography just published by Claire Tomalin (formerly praised for her excellent book on Samuel Pepys).  Read highlights of this new work here.

John Barr, president of the foundation administering the largest gift of money ever given to support poetry, gives a progress report in this letter to subscribers of Poetry.  See how the money is being spent by clicking here.

David Kirby reviews Galway Kinnell's new collection with words of high praise and teaches us a bit about long-lined poets and short-lined poets here.

Have you visited the website of  the Rogue Poetry Review?  Its handsome first issue contains work by five members of MSPS.  Congratulations are due to Michael Wells, the editor.  See it here.

Charles Wright calls himself a "God-fearing agnostic," according to Joel Brouwer in a review of Wright's new collection Scar Tissue.  Read a summary of the review
here.

How important is poetry in your life?  Would you like to know how several Americans responded to this question in a recent poll?  Click
here to see.

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 Summer 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, former 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 097
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
2004-2006


Though parents know that their children will grow up and away from them, will love and be loved by others, it's a difficult thing to accept. Massachusetts poet Mary Jo Salter emphasizes the poignancy of the parent/child relationship in this perceptive and compelling poem.

SOMEBODY ELSE'S BABY
Mary Jo Salter

From now on they always are, for years now
they always have been, but from now on you know
they are, they always will be,

from now on when they cry and you say
wryly to their mother, better you than me,
you'd better mean it, you'd better

hand over what you can't have, and gracefully.




American Life in Poetry: Column 099
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
2004-2006


My maternal grandparents got their drinking water from a well in the yard, and my disabled uncle carried it sloshing to the house, one bucket of hard red water early every morning. I couldn't resist sharing this lovely little poem by Minnesota poet, Sharon Chmielarz.

NEW WATER
Sharon Chmielarz

All those years--almost a hundred--
the farm had hard water.
Hard orange. Buckets lined in orange.
Sink and tub and toilet, too,
once they got running water.
And now, in less than a lifetime,
just by changing the well's location,
in the same yard, mind you,
the water's soft, clear, delicious to drink.
All those years to shake your head over.
Look how sweet life has become;
you can see it in the couple who live here,
their calmness as they sit at their table,
the beauty as they offer you new water to drink.



L
 

American Life in Poetry: Column 098
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
2004-2006

A horse's head is big, and the closer you get to it, the bigger it gets. Here is the Idaho poet, Robert Wrigley, offering us a horse's head, up close, and covering a horse's character, too.

KISSING A HORSE
Robert Wrigley

Of the two spoiled, barn-sour geldings
we owned that year, it was Red--
skittish and prone to explode
even at fourteen years--who'd let me
hold to my face his own: the massive labyrinthine
caverns of the nostrils, the broad plain
up the head to the eyes. He'd let me stroke
his coarse chin whiskers and take
his soft meaty underlip
in my hands, press my man's carnivorous
kiss to his grass-nipping upper half of one, just
so that I could smell
the long way his breath had come from the rain
and the sun, the lungs and the heart,
from a world that meant no harm.

American Life in Poetry: Column 100
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
2004-2006


Here the Maine poet, Wesley McNair, offers us a vivid description of a man who has lived beyond himself. I'd guess you won't easily forget this sad old man in his apron with his tray of cheese.

THE ONE I THINK OF NOW
Wesley McNair

At the end of my stepfather's life
when his anger was gone,
and the saplings of his failed
nursery had grown into trees,
my newly feminist mother had him
in the kitchen to pay for all
those years he only did the carving.
"You know where that is,"
she would say as he looked
for a knife to cut the cheese
and a tray to serve it with,
his apron wide as a dress
above his workboots, confused
as a girl. He is the one I think of now,
lifting the tray for my family,
the guests, until at last he comes
to me. And I, no less confused,
look down from his hurt eyes as if
there were nothing between us
except an arrangement of cheese,
and not this bafflement, these
almost tender hands that once
swung hammers and drove machines
and insisted that I learn to be a man.


POET OF THE MONTH: A. E. STALLINGS

For eleven poems by Alicia Stallings visit http://www.poemtree.com/Stallings.htm

For a brief bio and thirteen poems, visit http://www.geocities.com/aestallings/

For an interview with Stallings, visit http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/19/stallings19.html?home

For four fibs [a poetic form], visit  http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/32/stallings.html

For some essays and more poems by Stallings, visit
 http://newcriterion.com/archives/25/12/lucretius-on-optical-illusions/

Read my favorite Stallings poem "The Man Who Wouldn't Plant Willows" and more bio and poems at
http://members.aol.com/poetrynet/month/archive/stallings/

 


POEMS BY MEMBERS

DISHWASHERS
Renee Johnson

Dinner, then we
wrangle plates,
forks, frying pan,
mixing bowl,
beaters
together.
Stopper in the sink,
scalding water,
steam cloud,
blast of soap.
Scrub,
rinse;
quarantine
clean from dirty.
Hand-towel dry,
stack,
shelve.
Drain,
kitchen lights off,
dishwashing
done for tonight.


BULLFIGHT
Helen Bulger

He screams Olť with the crowd,
as the Taurean strikes the dirt floor,
glaring at the red flag held via
the taunting, marvelous matador.

She studies his body next to her
bullring and stance unify, as
the matador thrusts the sword
into the heart of the bullís eye.

Then sights the birdís wingspan,
eagle wed to the cerulean sky--
inclines his head towards her,
the compliant dance crucified.


ALZHEIMER'S HITS CLIVE
Judy Young

There was once an old bee named Clive
Who no longer was allowed in the hive
          For the bees were appalled
          That he never recalled
Whether comb has six sides or just five!


PRAYER FOR THE STRAYED
Shana McCoy

I stand along the side of the straight and narrow,
Forgetting where it was that I got off of the well-  
     beaten path.

Where do I try to begin?
How do I start when I donít know where I ended?

Precious Jesus, hold me close,
If left alone, I know I will fail.


APPETITE DESTROYED
Josh Lawrence

Soon,
very soon, I must swallow
that pine tree whole.
I thought I could get away
with just the lick of a needle,
munching, crunching bark.

But it is inevitable now.
I see it must be consumed
and stopped before it grows
any further.

What started out as such an innocent,
miniscule seed, has grown into
a decaying spore, lodged in my throat.

It is uncomfortable, but I can still
breathe. My gizzard grinding away
at this brick, getting nowhere.
I splash down some water, hoping
it will ease the pain, but itís no use.
I must spew this behemoth onto
the beach. I must let it go.


ANNE AND LINDY
Theresa Lochhaas

On the ground they were
Anne and Lindy.
She with bookish black frames
and a fistful of poems,
Ivy Leagueís finest,
his fingers black with mechanicís grease,
countenance cut by a charming smile,
St. Louisís lone eagle.
But the sky cast a curious spelló
when his plane rattled through
high altitudeís cloudless sun-dazzle,
translucent as liquid gold,
jeweled with flecks of magnified dust motes,
they were a poet and an adventurer.
A connoisseur of words
with her harbor of dreams
and the grandest of aviators,
larger than life.
Maybe it was the thin air,
or the dizzying heights,
or the quiet moments of private conversation
on those afternoon trips to Long Island.
On the ground they were just
Anne and Lindy
But when they flew together,
they tread the dawn.
She wrote in a letter to her sister once:
I am upside down,
completely overwhelmed, and upset.
Heís the most absorbing person
and he doesnít touch my life anywhere, really,
but he touches it everywhere


UNSAID WARMTH
Nathan Ross

Home-baked bread spread with peanut butter
always makes her go ďMmmmmm . . . Ē
Without looking, she knows Iím watching.
Eyes closed, soon to dawn, then
the smile, always that smile,
like sunrises never complimented.


HAIKU
Valerie Esker

gull rides the shore wind
above the picnic table
eyeing leftovers
 

ADAGE OLD

Diane Auser Stefan

 

do as I say, not as I do

so easy to tell another

to Ďwrite it downí

 

but I did not

myself

adhere

till now

 

Disarray

Disorganized days and daze

in mind and home and self

 

Calm down

I say to me myself

Things will

fall

into

place

 

eventually


MYSTERIES OF RAIN
Patsy Colter
.

Sometimes it falls like a whisper
Upon the window pane

Faint gentle tapping misty and serene
Softly lulls us to restful sleep

Then picks up gusto with fierce winds
Unmistakable power of assault

Startled from peaceful dreams
To moments of frightful awareness

Rain is welcome, elusive at times;
Essential to all living things

But always beyond the horizon
Of a brand new day.


WAR OF EMBARRASSMENT
Harding Stedler
 

Each day, the news grows grimmer,
and the senseless loss of lives
less defensible than the day before.
Yet the war goes on, mercilessly.
Insanity prevails over civility,
and the Tigris is awash in blood.

Thousands of innocent lives lost
every month with no prospect
of resolution. Our leaders cry,
"More oil! More oil!"
Oil at the expense of young men's lives?

Reports of sand swirls in the desert
are all that give me hope.
They promise a life after war,
if only the war would end.


KNOWLEDGE IS WISDOM
Jean Even

O, ye of little wisdom,
Ignorance isnít bliss.
Hearken to the unknown.
Seek throughout the depth of it;

Explore it to the limits;
Go beyond it into a new horizon.
Celebrate in what you find,
Or close it for what it's not.

Only speak the wisdom you acquire.
As truth, it will be known.
Speak with the fire of conviction,
The passion of desired favor,

Or the strong disdain of hate.
Hark! let it be known:
Wisdom backed up with knowledge
Is more desired than ignorance.


FOR MOSES, FOR YOU, FOR ME
Henrietta Romman

God burns a bush in every heart,
He waits and yearns for man to know.

With love, God sends a fiery dart,
God burns a bush in every heart.

The Holy Ground is but a start
To cleanse and follow as we go.

God burns a bush in every heart,
He waits and years for man to know.

          

 

 

 


AUTHENTICITY
Steven Penticuff

The photographer comes
at the damnedest time
to snap a picture
and drop it in the mail

for posterity. So on that day
may my hair be wild
and uncombed--a nest,
perhaps, for sea breezes

and mermaids' voices
whispering surprises;
may my eyes be peaceful
and mischievous,

two enlightened pools
clear and deep
that make people wonder
what I'm up to; and lined up

in a wide and honest grin,
may my teeth record
their long, beautiful history
with coffee and tea, berries,

red wine. Sirens and humans
and all Creation can do
what they want to behind me.
Just let that silent picture

of a man who lived once
sing--and sing well--
of acceptance, compassion,
and a life steeped in prayer


POETRY IN THE NUDE
Bri Scott

The time has come, the fates declare,
to write another poem.
Personify in formal wear,
pull parallel your form.

Alliterate! Tuck in each word.
Spruce up your punctuation.
Yet once again I find myself
in hyperbolic consternation.

I wrangle with infernal rhyme,
That will not tie about the line,

Nor lie straight against the pageÖ
Iíve broken now my metric gauge.

There are wrinkles in my simile.
My diction tore my imagery.

Oops, I smeared my metaphor.
What the          ís a caesura for?

The time has come, I must confess,
To take this poem and undress.

Naked clauses leave no doubt,
Just let my assonance hang out.

And though you may condemn me worst,
Iím comfortable in my free verse.


FLOODING
Pat Durmon

I witnessed it for myself
soon after the dogwoods budded.

The river in an unapologetic way
swelled and splashed through thickets
along the banks and pecked away
at the roots and runners
of the thick cane brakes
leaning east.

Then from the radio
we heard more rain was on its way.
My husbandís stick, his flood gauge,
was goneó just gone, washed away
by the rushing waters.

Conversations became short;
eye contact, scarce.
But the high waters ran here and there
with a menacing noiseó
such a terrible freedom.
And that same sound
mesmerized the two of us.
A funeral could not have made us
more hollow.



ASLEEP
Velvet Fackeldey

I wake as a hand moves
across my line of vision
startling me
almost touching my nose
and then it's gone
out of sight
and my breath catches
in my throat
while I force my head to turn
to find the body attached to the hand
and in the glow from the street light
I see my hand on the blanket
and feel the needles stabbing
as blood begins to circulate again.


HAIKU FOR MARCH
Pat Laster

walking the old trail
to hear the sound of spring
the maples budding
 
red petunias
in the daffodil bed
first day of spring
 
saplings
standing
in violets
 
the full orange moon
a penumbral eclipse
darkening one side
 
the first hummingbird
squeezing the tea's lemon slice
onto my green beans
 
sinkful of dishes--
the bud-vased buttercup
spawns a poem
 

SNOWBOUND
Laurence W. Thomas

As a neighbor boy makes angels
in the frosting of snow, I think
of divinity fudge whipped
to sugary froth hardening
into mouth-watering whiteness.
His father crunches
the crust of snow peaked
like meringue on my driveway
as snow sprays from his blower--
cabbage chopped into slaw.
He chews out a path
in the white layer cake
with icing from yesterday's snowfall.
The weather reports warned us
of healthy helpings
but after so many servings
piled high on my plate,
I worried about overindulgence.
Enter my neighbor whose offer
to clean up the mess
came after he noticed the frosting
in my drive rising like biscuit dough
and he knew I would need
a way to get out. His son
came along, a ginger-bread figure
all wrapped to keep him oven warm
as he stirred up the snow, making angels.
 

WHERE IN THE WORLD--
Gwen Eisenmann

Where in the world do I belong?  Where
Am I not on hold?  What other place
Feels like my garden, yet allows a face
To float among the flowers, and to care?
Who understands transplanting?  Who's aware
Of sun that slants, and shadows that displace
The sense of being in a certain space?
In a cocoon I move from here to there.
Who and where would make me feel at home?
The scattered bits of soul I've left behind
Must make a pattern.  Everywhere I roam
Someone creates an essence.  When I find
A formula for mine, how sweet the loam
Fresh-planted, with its fragrance thus defined!


FEAR NOT
"Joseph son of David, do not be afraid."  Matthew 1:20
Mark Tappmeyer

Easy for them to say
who slip there to here
          here there
like on skyscrapers
boarding
emerging
knowing the door will open
          the way back
never worrying that they
may be tricks of the imagination
 

PRISONER IN A BIG HOUSE
David Van Bebber, Jr.


Iím stuck here waiting
for joy to walk through that door
to take me to a place I knew before.

They donít speak of me going home
or the torment of this stay.
I am disregarded like the rules of this house
no one listens and everyone cares.
Servants to themselves and the falsehood
to which they have pledged.
The photographs on the wall
give testimony to a life of lies.
Their smiles reek of pain.
When I speak,
no one hears my silent ache.
I am lost in the lies of unspoken promises.
The assurance of a short stay
undefined by the plastic tongue of a snake
deceiving even himself.

Will this never end or must I run away?
Fleeing my loving captors,
running from this house to another home
of mine where Iíve never been.
 

THE SADDLE BLANKET
Tom Padgett

At twelve I had some money when
I saw it at the hardware store,
but wising to the wiles of men,
I knew where I could get some more.
Not from my father who had done
his all when he gave me the horse,
but from my guest, my sisterís son
whose tender heart made him my source.
The letter that I helped him write
his parents told of his distress
and, movingly, of my sad plight:
the check came soonóI knew success.
So if I ever break the law
and get caught, I am sure to tell
I went astray the day I saw
that saddle blanket for Old Nell.



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