Vol. 3, No.5        An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society      1 May 2004


William Wordsworth (1770-1850) once defined poetry as "emotion recollected in tranquility."  Once we have visited his homes Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount in the Lake Country of northeast England, it is easy to imagine him sitting in an arbor behind the house or lying on a cot within the house reflecting on the beauty around him there, then capturing his feelings in poems that cried out to be composed.  Most of us have experienced similar emotions when we saw nature up close and personal or far away but still personal.  I remember Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia as one such site for me.  I noted painters, with easels set up, staring around them for the sight they wanted to fix from the angle they wanted to fix it.  I knew I would take time later to recollect my feelings, and I did.  With spring and summer ahead, several of us will travel here in the U.S. or abroad--probably, however, no one will go so far as to visit Patagonia, the subject of the picture above.  Still, I am willing to bet poetry will result from your reflecting on what you see.  Later, we hope you will share your trip in your poem or poems with us.  I remember a poem on Victoria Falls in Africa that Betty Porter of Eminence shared in a workshop in Mountain View.  We all got to go there through her poem.  My "Peggy's Cove" is below in the Poems by Members section of this issue.  I hope you like Nova Scotia. 
                                                                                                                     -- Tom Padgett, Editor


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 Poems by Members

 Missouri State Poetry Society

 MSPS Summer Contest

 Spare Mule Online

 National Federation of State Poetry Societies
 Strophes Online


If you wish to purchase a copy of Grist, our state anthology, send Judy $8.50 at this address:   Judy Young, 6155 E. Farm Road 132, Springfield, MO 65802.


Remember to read Spare Mule Online and Strophes Online by clicking on the CONTENTS menu above. You can keep up with members who get newsletters by mail by remembering to read them on the Net. The April 1 issue of Spare Mule Online and the April 1 issue of Strophes Online are both currently available to you..


Click on
Missouri State Poetry Society on the CONTENTS menu above. Then on the MSPS menu click on Bulletin Board for information about various poet societies, including contests they are sponsoring. 

Remember that September 1 is the deadline for our Summer Contest.  As members of MSPS you can enter two poems for the price of one entry.  Details are given on the Summer Contest page at the state web site.  Click here.


Many members of Thirty-Seven Cents attended the April 20-22 Lucidity Retreat in Eureka Springs: Bev Conklin, Ray Kirk, Pat Laster, Phyllis Moutray, Tom Padgett, Harding Stedler, and Todd Sukany joined about fifty other poets, including several other members of Missouri State Poetry Society: Ted Badger (Director), Dena Gorrell, Carrie Quick, Eugene Shea, and Larry Thomas.  If you have never attended one of these retreats, make plans to go to the 2005 retreat, April 5-7.  You will find it well worth the money.


Donald Finkel until recently was writer-in-residence in the English Department at Washington University in St. Louis.  He was born in New York City, son of an attorney.  His B.S. and M.A. were earned at Columbia University.  He married Constance Urdang, another poet, in 1956.  He taught at University of Iowa, Bard College, Bennington College, but moved to Washington U in 1960, where he and his wife developed the Writers' Program.  His fifteen or so books reveal among other interests, interests in China and Antartica.  Eleven books are poetry, the latest being Not So the Chairs.  Two of these books were nominated for the National Book Critics' Circle Award, and one was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry.

Additonal information about Finikel and some of his poems are at these sites:
An autobiographical note is at
"Waste" and a review of his latest book are at
"The Great Wave: Hokusai" is at
"At the Shrine" and "Burden" are at
"Cul-de-sac" is available at

Some photographs of Finkel reading are at
His books available for purchase are listed at

Welcome to new member, Ray Kirk, of Neosho, Missouri.

Ray Kirk

On the night of one hundred eclipses
A star met with the moon
It was magically romantic
Though it ended all too soon
They danced in swirling twilight
Then the bright sun shone moments later
It was perfect for an orbit
Of passion dressed in pleasure
They spun out of control on axis
Until Venus ran into Mars

Then the other planets began joking

About the moon loving this star

Too late did they realize

That in truth that was happening
A child of the moon was born later

An instant of everlasting 

Tribute to Shel Silverstein

Andrea Cloud

When we get older, me and you,
we'll take a trip down to the zoo.
There we will pet the chicks and hens
and steal them right out from their pens.

We'll sneak them underneath our coats
and walk past where they keep the goats
to set them free out through the door,
and then we'll go back in for more.

He said to him, "Pick up your bed and walk."

Mark Tappmeyer

You too would tire of this
pampas mat, so long my bed,

tattooing squares of patchwork pains
onto my shoulders, hips, calves.

I read the dimpling of an odd
frayed edge, a lazy seam,

in this body of art of grass
checkered to my skin.

For kicks I count,
of those I stretch

to see, the best etched plats
like holy land I'll never walk

and wonder how if freed
I'd grow less geometried.

Judy Young

I watch him dart from blossom to blossom,
His tiny body of dark iridescent green
Catching the sunlight to dress him
In sequins which compliment
The bright coral pink of the azalea.
It would be hard to say that one
Is more lovely than the other, and together
I would like to freeze their image in
My mind to pull out whenever a gray
Morning takes the place of this
Beautiful spring Sunday.

Pat Laster

With restlessness of childhood underscored
by weeks of ice and snow, no school demands,
I beg for Grandma's leave to spend some time
beyond the mystifying door.  We climb
the narrow, testy stairs where treasures' hoard
in paint-peeled chests and mothballed trunks is stored.
When eyes adjust to garret's gray, on hands
and knees we snake across the hinterlands--
dirt daubers' buzz in dormered warmth no threat--
spy shoeboxed photographs.  In flannelette,
I sit on Grandma's lap.  Her stories spill
like water from the back porch pump until
the clump of boots in lower hall cuts short
our winter trip to attic's warm resort.

Todd Sukany

The trouble is
the sea flows
roads deteriorate
the earth changes
snow comes to all
I thought I was right.

Valerie Esker

When all seems lost, My Love, I turn to you
to dry away the tears and urge me on.
When all the mortal strength I boast is gone,
your Holy Grace restores my heart anew.
Why you should grant this love where it�s undue
is mystery I�ll always muse upon
but never solve until that final dawn.
Enlightened, I will see what�s false, what�s true.
In joy, I gratefully accept this grace,
ashamed that once I didn�t wisely see
your doting smile, your kindly proffered hand,
the patient look upon your Father-face.
I turn to you, though you first turned to me.
So well you know what fools can�t understand.

Gwen Eisenmann

have you been in a cornfield,
perhaps as a child,
running down the rows
of this vast green growing,
knowing giants live there
storing nuggets of gold
in fat green pouches
tied with silk.

Tom Padgett

Here the stony coast of Nova Scotia
stacks outcroppings high, enormous pancakes
or thick slabs of toast to break a fast of ugliness.

The lighthouse, stalwart guard,
wards big ships off, but beckons
little fishing boats into the harbor�s arms.

In summers, pressed to extra duty,
this sentinel serves as postal station
stamping cards before their flights.

Tourists, far out-numbering residents,
scramble on the rocks like gabbling geese,
shout gleefully, snap photographs.

Others stand mute, transfixed upon this site,
or set their easels up to sketch the scenes
they�ll carry home to praise of friends.

Yet far too many pay a slight obeisance,
then scurry to the shops to scrabble
through the souvenirs to prove they came.

But surely even these are fed at Peggy�s Cove,
where nature�s stones could not resist
temptation to be changed to beauty�s bread.


Bev Conklin

"Cat hair, cat hair, everywhere!"
is my spring and fall refrain.
But she doesn't mean to do it,
I remind myself again.

Each day, damp sponge in hand,
I try to gather every hair.
You'd think that they were precious
as I wipe each bed and chair.

To me, they're just a nuisance,
something to be cleaned,
but as I toss them out the door,
I see they're being gleaned

by birds of every kind.
You see, cat hair ends their quest
for just the right material to line
a soft and furry nest.

Jean Even

Rejoice!  Rejoice!
Hear the wind speak
In a gentle breeze or
Raging in a storm.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!
Our God speaks
In a gentle voice to
Our tender hearts.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!
Give ear to His voice.
He speaks to our spirit,
Bringing life to our souls.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!
Give in to the joy of
God's gentle voice
Speaking to our hearts.

Velvet Fackeldey

hot sun rays
like fire from Hell
to break my brain
and melt my skull
laughing teeth
that bite my tongue
to stop the words of pain
so no one knows
the trouble I've seen
and want to forget
to be a blank
with no start or finish
and break the tape
that loops with no end
around my neck
to breathe again
the cool sweet air
of April
swallowed by the sun
which burns my eyes
and takes my sight
to leave me in
a black hole
with stars all around
I cannot see
but feel their brilliance
on my face
like hot sun rays

Phyllis Moutray

I'm not sorry I believed in you.
I'm not sad you are leaving.

I'll not even cry
When you don't say goodbye.

Friends are the family we choose,
And I chose you.

If you insist on making me only another tourist,
I'll keep my "Hallmark Moments,"

And I'll not be sorry.
I refuse to be.

Harding Stedler

Wild onions
provide the greenest green
there is
in November rain.
Confused with spring,
they shoot tall spires
above what's left of grass
and emit
their unmistakable pungence.
Even deer ignore
their trickery
and refuse to bite.
They leave open fields
to onion rule
and forage among the pines.

Tania Gray

Contestants dressed in Easter togs
They gathered on a grassy hill
And made a friend with everyone
A few came fashionably late
It took five bucks to register
Some had jitters, some were cool
And minded orders, as a rule
Some were there with bro or sister
Most had come without a mate
No one worried who had won
At last they snarfed up treats at will
This Easter hunt was just for dogs!

Wesley Willis

Those Wasps and Bees will dive and sting,
In spring and summer--when they're born--
With speed and fury, wing to wing.

When species anger, tails will sling,
And pierce the flesh and nerves, in turn.
Those Bees and Wasps will dive and sting.

Its thrones of flowers buzz and sing,
Its wielding tail unsheathes a thorn,
With speed and fury, wing to wing.

Alert and perky warriors cling,
From molting larvae, still unborn,
Those Wasps and Bees will dive and sting.

It's where the pollen powders cling--
The tail is evil with its thorn,
With speed and fury, wing to wing.

Their burning needles make you sing:
With pain you cry, with pain you mourn,
Those Bees and Wasps will dive and sting,
With speed and fury, wing to wing.


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