POEMS BY MEMBERS
If a watched pot
An observed washing machine
never stops spinning;
How in the world
does anything get done
If one is paying attention?
Laurence W. Thomas
I look in the glass
cracks spread to edges of the frame.
All the guilt piles up
like flotsam in the train,
the water coursing through it
purifying. The storm passed—
a light searing the cheek
harsh words retracted and repeated,
anger over a child crying in the night,
an inability to handle hunger.
Good times don’t iron out wrinkles
deepest from smiling, prolonged
with pain. I smile now
at the face smiling at me
What didn’t I do right?
There’s no returning
and mirrors look only back.
THE YARD SALE
The moment Spring arrives
brightly colored yard sale signs
dot streets to announce
treasure after treasure for sale.
Everyone wants to be first
and risks still uncertain weather,
sudden showers, cold days,
Cars hit brakes sudden stops
necks craned to check out wares.
No one in our town can resist
to gaggle and banter the
best price for something they
may never use.
Fun of meeting neighbors,
sisters or the recluse who
comes out for the best
Tables with tools, baby items,
and dishes are sold first.
And they start early.
No matter how many yard sales
you attend, you will always
bring home "stuff" to add to
your clutter in your garage.
TWO TIMES TURTLES
Gorgeous she was, and wore
red stripes around
her neck; her golden eyes stared back at me—
she didn’t like the house I made for her.
Next morning Dinah (seemed to fit her) made
a turgid beeline to the southwest edge
of our back yard and there she left us. Where
did she decide to go? Did she become
a Kappa Sig? Did yeasty drops entice
her to their endless beer garden? Or was
she led to Methodism, free hot dogs
beside the sandlot volleyball, doughnuts
offered after the Wednesday vesper prayers?
Did Dinah dig to Generation X
next door, picnic al fresco, dream beneath
netted Italian beans? But soon enough,
one Ralph appeared beneath some daffodils.
He’s smaller, neater, shelled in dapper dun.
He likes it here. He doesn’t like to roam.
I wonder if he knows Dinah? Did they
discuss a common domicile? Did she
complain he was too dull, no fire, no yen
to think outside his ornate genus box?
Did Ralph hold out for simple grub and naps?
Alas! He stayed alone, withdrawn in gloom.
Come May, he’ll be in clover. June, the wild
red strawberries will swell with lusciousness.
She’ll think about the peace, her country roots,
she’ll reconsider soft persimmon pulp.
The future I forecast for her and Ralph
was flawed. He made his way southeast toward
a residence of chefs, both guys. Ta-da,
I thought he said, I need a manicure,
design enhancement on my carapace.
AFTER THE MISUNDERSTANDING
We sit in the corner booth
at the restaurant and knowingly place
our hearts on a table where they’ve never
been before. We three women talk
the untalkable. It is uncomfortable.
The waitress appears and disappears.
I strain to hear the whole of it--how this house
fell into ruin. No longer am I puffed up or turning
colors like I lost a schoolyard fight. When it is
my turn to talk, I jiggle my foot slightly as my hands
speak like butterflies. Not one of us hides
our eyes with napkins, hands, or poetry. We bravely
struggle to piece the puzzle left us, to salve
the wound--now months old and not yet healed.
I do not feel smart. I share my reality. Two pairs
of pensive eyes meet mine and sit alert to every word imparted and to
any light pacing within our sick bones.
Finally, we bend forward with words that look
like yellow roses of pardon on a rail fence.
Once more we will try, like the shaving of the moon
wishing to feel full again. And before we depart,
we hug in the parking lot filled with cars and trucks,
all lined up in tidy rows. We can’t figure
any other way to ease hearts and be fancy-free
like soft bumblebees in this hard but round world.
Salted ocean of pain
slaps its endless waves
against my beached heart.
At times, you were a wild-eyed demon,
possessed with your own shallow needs.
But then, you read to me so cuddle-lovely.
He lay crumpled and bloody
on the uncaring hot pavement.
My dear grandpa.
THE FEAR OF THE LORD
humility and the fear of the Lord are riches
and honor and life (Proverbs 22:4, NKJV).
why should I fear You?
are You not love?
is love fearsome?
Lord, are You fearful?
are You to be feared?
wait, I thought we were
"fearfully and wonderfully
are You fearfully and
I am humbled in Your presence
in those rare moments
when I feel Your presence.
I fear I will never see the
riches and honor and life.
ARRIVAL OF SPRING
Night comes on, and Spring, tiptoeing through the dark,
slips on an icy skate that March left lying in the park.
She spills the flower seeds that she was sowing there,
but laughs to think where they will grow, too happy, far,
All night long the rain fell softly
The sudden brilliance of the day
awoke me, and in green array
April stood there in the sun
opening leaf buds, one by one.
Henrietta W. Romman
I got me some soil from Africa,
The land where I first saw the Living Light.
I hid it with some keepsakes within my heart,
In my new land of constitutions and delight.
Years have sped as faith grew bold and strong,
Our God reached out in love and clasped our hands.
His arms encircled us when life brought tears,
God's mighty Spirit blessed us in these lands.
STARTING THE JOURNEY
I don't want to take this journey!
Why is this happening to me?
I liked the way things were.
Why must everything change?
" Because change is the only
What am I supposed to do?
I'm only half a person now.
I can't stand to go on alone!
How do I even start?
"You'll find you are not
Watch and trust . . . and take that first step."
UNTITLED, OR YET TO PEN
Ian Scott Paterson
The covers creaked like
The dust, it rolled unfloating off the page.
The ink took form, its villain grimacing.
To face its foe, he too was filled with rage.
A saber made of light to face the steel.
His hook, the captain swung at Vader’s cape.
When hit, although, the Jedi did not feel
the blade that gave his wicked arm a scrape.
The Force, alas, was Hook’s sad expiry,
as Anakin the former stood with pride.
Fictitious, though, he knew Hook’s death would be.
His captain foe from dead would quickly rise.
A part of ways, the villains said good night;
tomorrow, known, would bring another fight.
THOUGH JUST SOCKS WE ARE
("Approximately Every Morning, Part II")
Emily Cinquainson aka Steven Penticuff
is counted sweet-
est when barely we es-
cape. Last-ditch Dashes tear asun-
you know; and though
just Socks we are, it's right
to have last laughs and tame the Pur-
hear the Vict'ry
bells of Irony ring!
We've lost our mates and you have met
Cat sprawled on sofa,
Basking in the warm noon sun.
She writes doggerel.
SEVENTY WORDS OR LESS:
A GRADUATION SONNET
The winds of childhood wave
good-bye and chase
springtime to summer, blooming days to years.
The tassles march to greet future’s embrace
while tears typhoon my soul as memories
unveil the search for words
to express how
so small a hand as yours that first school day
could possibly let go. Springtime must bow
as rising sun begins to stretch. I pray
that I steadied your steps
with grace-filled rules,
that I dressed you in Godly compassion.
But did I provided you sufficient tools
to walk in freedom with faith’s direction?
Brushstrokes, not seventy
some words or less,
but life’s lovework on paper’s bare canvas.
Chemo legs do not work well.
They beg to rest
each hundred feet or so.
But I plan long walks,
and only feet and legs
can get me to my destination.
Legs tell me they are old and
and can no longer
keep the pace of hunters and warriors
in pursuit of prey.
They are legs that no longer run,
no longer slide into base,
no longer permit me to pitch bales
of June-cured hay.
I scour the classifieds daily
in search of strong new legs
to replace the worn ones,
wobbly from too much chemo
and too little sugar.
SUMMER CAME AT TWILIGHT
Summer came at twilight,
one evening in May
I felt her softly creeping in at the close of a glorious day
The air was so warm, so golden and serene
A welcome relief from the dampness of Spring.
Summer came at twilight for
that teen so long ago.
For summer was a wondrous thing, a time to think and grow.
Summer spelled freedom, time to relax and retool
A time for leisure, prolonged reading, a break from the rigors of
What happened to that
freedom that summer used to be?
Instead of peace, tranquility; now summer means more work for
Kids go here and kids go there, while days at work are long.
So much to do that must get done, under blazing summer sun.
Idyllic summer can come
again, at twilight, morn or noon
In rainy April, icy winter, or in the middle of June.
The peace and rest that summer once meant can come again to
As I rest in the promise in the Book where I see:
“Come to me ye laborers,
whose burdens are hard to bear
I’ll give you rest,” He says, “ I’m with you everywhere.”
Cast all your cares upon the Lord, He truly cares for you
Childhood summers can be yours again, I know – cause His
Word is true.
is a God of grace,
He sent His Son to the human race.
His salvation is mighty in strength
In all its simplicities and length.
His judgments is for eternal love
Brought to us on the wings of His dove.
Bright hope shining as a star;
With trust we can go very far.
grace we do walk by faith with Him
While on this earth to wait we can sing a hymn.
Our salvation is His love sent to earth
And in Peace, He came in birth.
I WONDERED WHY THE WREN
in the garage.
The next week
in a small
the tiny egg
Then I knew.
Diane Auser Stefan
we didn’t speak of it
the phone call message left on the machine
saying to call the doctor’s office back
and it’s too late to call
we didn’t speak of it
knowing full well tomorrow
there will be a sign in the road
either we’ll follow a path
similar to where we’ve been
or take a drastic turn into
uncharted spaces, places unknown
to fight cancers unseen and unnoticed
so we didn’t speak of it
for hours we clung to one last night
here in what we knew
TV, popcorn, mindless programs
eyes meeting now and then
then . . .
late, with teeth brushed,
prayers said, lights off
and hold each other
and reassure ourselves
that tomorrow is just another day
what happens . . . happens
we’ll handle it
deal with it
whatever "it" is . . .
On the sly, you stretched
your finger as sign
to me, leering, lashing out
from your Styrofoam cup.
You could have chosen
the one that pointed to lemon-brushed trout
or wild, tabletop dancing.
You could have used
the dainty one
reflecting the air of royalty.
You could have displayed
reminder of commitment.
You chose to show
the finger of emotion
because you can.
And I needed it.
THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
She ties her
shoes and smooths her
dress. Today she goes to
school for the first time.
She walks with the
men. Mommy says they will protect her from the
people who don’t understand. Their angry
faces call out angry names, and angry tomatoes miss and hit an
wall behind her.
The sweet little girl in
dress holds her head high despite
hot fear trembling inside. Her innocent eyes are too young for
glares and her little pure as
spirit is too delicate for the writing on the
The tragedy of this
versus black conflict is the burden falls on a young girl in a
dress with her brand new back to school
shoes just trying to get her to the first day of school.
"He will be a joy and
delight to you, and many will rejoice
because of his birth" (Luke 1:14).
departing in mist
just as he had come,
that I shall leap like a gazelle
in this joy--
an old goat
like me who can't arise
to overstep the lowest hedge
Not just scraping by
by the breath of my hairless
hind legs but springing over
like a young buck
smelling May clover,
dear wife, ah
The clouds are billowing in
the darkened sky.
I stare out the window and think of you.
The storm in my heart strikes my heart,
thundering my cries out to heaven's ear
and you hear, but don't respond.
Promised we can't separate,
but you are my Savior,
I want to hear you.
Speak to me.
in the still,
Nancy Glenn Powell
Forget rules, unless
writing buys your bread.
Jot down keen thoughts, memories, a poem, or pun.
Old teachers may shiver and shake their heads--
Families will cherish memories and fun.
The water on the stove
is still hot–
if you want tea.
Have you ever wondered
if the pot wishes
she could scream?
When a kettle boils
it calls, screeches,
But water in a pot
will boil dry
without once crying out,
Did you hear the rain?
It stormed all night.
No, thank you.
1000 MILES AWAY
He likes when my tank top is pink;
I'm fond of his little boy wink.
Till summer sun,
we've only got paper and ink.
MOVIES AND MORALS
Some movies seem better the second time
I see them because first time through
my prudish censor protects me from films
I should not enjoy. I fidget about,
looking forward to seeing them again, alone,
while my censor, knowing the worst here,
rates bad movies she’s not already seen.
VISIT WORKSHOP FOR AN