Vol. 1, No.1             An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society         November 2002

LOVELIEST OF TREES, THE MAPLES NOW: When A.E. Housman (1859-1936) wrote of beautiful trees,  he wrote of cherry trees in Worcestershire in April.  Had he lived in South Missouri instead of England, he would undoubtedly have waited four months and written of hard maples.  A poet with her camera as well as her pen, Lee Ann Russell of Springfield in the pictures for this first issue of Thirty-Seven Cents has captured the beauty we are graced with this year in our unusual November as well as our usual October.  Other photos by Russell may be seen at the web site of Missouri State Poetry Society,  We appreciate her willingness to share this talent with us just as we appreciate her poetry.  She is also the author of How to Write Poetry: Ballad to Villanelle (Night Owl Publications, 2000), a handbook used by many poets who like to write forms.  Some local chapters of Missouri State Poetry Society use it month by month as the basis for members' assignments.  The book is available from Russell at


A band of poets united in cyber space, improving our compositional skills as we share our poems with each other is the goal of Thirty-Seven Cents, our new online chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society.  Since we poets meet only on the internet, we give a new definition to local chapter.  Our local (as William Carlos Williams used the word to describe a poet's immediate environment) is cyber space, our poetic concerns are universal, but our group is purposefully kept small in number so that we can become acquainted with all the other members through our poems.  Other MSPS online groups will be organized if the demand warrants them.  

Meanwhile in addition to our meetings in space, members of Thirty-Seven Cents, who are also members of Missouri State Poetry Society and National Federation of State Poetry Societies, will participate in the activities of those organizations, such as contests, anthologies, and conventions.  We willl keep informed of these activities and others by the state newsletter Spare Mule, by the national newsletter Strophes, by the national web site at, and by the state web site at

We welcome all of the members of our group through this first issue of our newsletter/e-zine Thirty-Seven Cents. If we seem a bit schizophrenic in deciding who and what we are, help us by sending in your suggestions for improving our organization and also this organ of communication.
                                                                                                                                                   Tom Padgett, Editor



    Poems by Members


    Next Issue

WELCOME TO THIRTY-SEVEN CENTS     Home | Poems | Workshop
(Tania Gray, president of MSPS)

Greetings to Thirty-Seven Cents, the newest chapter of the Missouri State Poetry Society.  I feel that this online chapter is a brilliant idea. You are a distinctive group, adding a new dimension to our organization.  I hope that this convenient way to communicate with other poets will inspire you to keep working on your poetry, and contributing to your cyber-journal. In joining MSPS, you belong to one of the most upbeat and friendly groups I have ever known!  Enjoy the advantages of belonging to the state and national organizations: enter the contests, read others’ poetry, come to our state convention in Springfield next year.  Welcome!

POEMS BY MEMBERS:       Home | Workshop

(Todd Sukany)

Philatelically challenged these gals and gents
shared lines through links on pages
(all to spare a measly thirty-seven cents),
the wisdom of the sages.

Allured by thoughts of our attending
meetings in minimalist's ware,
paring furtive desires, defending
best laid lines cacheted bare.

Environmentally conscious our electrons shared
at morning, noon, and midnight,
our only hope is there would now
be more bark to our byte.

(Darwyne Tessier)

When she grew up, you chatted face to face,
Postmen brought letters not easily erased.
To write, required paper and pen--so I guess
Instant Messenger meant the Pony Express.

Music she heard came from records she knew,
All that she burned, she was supposed to.
Pictures she took were stored in a book,
And friends were invited to take a look.

Today she’s online--and how can this be?
Her life’s being changed (just ask her pc).
Her downloads are dear, a heavenly touch--
Neither rhyme nor reason expresses how much.

Yet now that she’s there, she still doesn’t see
Amid all this intricate e-mail debris
And electronic terms that she has to know
Why it takes two hours to just say, “Hello.”

(Tania Gray)

What inspires me to write?
          Sometimes it is a sleepless night
          Or nothing good on television
          Or some words playing in my head.
Ideas come to me in the early morning.

Why do I write poetry?
A friend got me started.
You are creative, she said, you can write poetry.
          We did automatic writing
          Scared ourselves with a ouija board
          read our poems to each other.
I believed the ouija board, the automatic writing,
          And her.
Now I believe myself.

Why do I still write?
I keep thinking of more things I should say.
          I didn’t have much to say for years and years.
          I was raised to be seen and not heard.
          I realized that poetry can be seen and not heard
          And so it’s safe.

What am I unable to write?
I can’t write love poems.
          Or anything frankly religious or erotic
          or harshly realistic and gritty.
I have to serve up the sour with a little sugar.
What do I write about?
          Anything else.
Look out:  every year I get a little braver.

(Jean Even)
Dogs barking from here to there,
Birds singing in the air.
A clamor of noise is heard
In the neighboring yards.
Lawn mowers accompany
A concert of different sorts:
Grass snipping, leaves crackling,
Twigs snapping can be heard.
Down the street dogs echo back
Another round of barking and yipping.
Birds still whistling and chirping
A joyful noise in musical discord.

Springfield News-Leader Headline
(Tom Padgett)

This isn’t Los Angeles; this isn't Little Rock.
Police can handle these, but still it’s a shock

to open the paper right here in Missouri
and find the next caper to double our worry.

Granted, we’re inclined to go for the gory.
We gasp at headlines and skim through the story.

We read there’s a clinic at the local hospital
for the flu epidemic.  Big crowds, because it’ll

be free, Scot free, in the parking garage:
drive in, get your shot--drive out, bon voyage!

(Wesley Willis)

Green T-Rex machines
across Wyoming plains moved
fifty tons of dirt.

Railroad tracks threaded
two towns, Douglas and Gillette,
linked them together.

Black smoke from the train
trailed over lonely desert
chasing antelopes.

Eagle's nest shut down
a section of the steel rails
till the eggs were hatched.

Big brown boulders seemed
massive as the buffaloes,
also as hairy.

Earl Bond, solemn boss
for Neosho Construction,
worked religiously.

With his heart of gold,
Earl Bond helped brown-eyed kids,
their sad eyes looking.

Thought: Wyoming plains
now a memorial to
my favorite boss.

(Barbara Magerl)

She used to frequent the Seven Seas
And exotic ports of call
But now - alone - she cruises around
Her favorite shopping mall.

Her gray-blond hair peeps out beneath
A jaunty skipper's cap
And her nautical suit of blue and white
Is a youthful body wrap.

They say she walks to ensure her health
But the story is also told
That she strolls the mall in hopes she'll find
Another gentleman's gold.

(Bev Conklin)

As we drove into town, I saw his bike.
My thoughts were beginning to burn.
"I swear," I muttered to himself, at my side,
"that boy will never learn!"

Not once, but twice our son’s new bikes
have been stolen--disappeared forever.
Neither was locked, just left unattended.
Our fifteen-year-old isn’t too clever.

"Pull the truck to the curb," I said.
"If this time it’s still not locked,
let’s put it in the back of the pickup.
We’ll just give that boy a shock!"

Several hours later we returned home,
feeling self-righteous and looking prim,
expecting to hear our daughter tell
of a despondent call from him.

Instead, she greeted us at the door
looking smug, with a twinkle in her eye.
"Mom and Dad!" she exclaimed, "You’re home at last.
While you were gone, the police dropped by!

"I know you’re not going to believe this,
but here is the story I got  . . .
Seems someone called in your license--
you stole a bike from the drugstore lot!"

(Harding Stedler)

A dirt road wraps the memories
of my childhood
when swirls of dust
would rush
through kitchen screens
and season our evening meal.

Mother would try
to keep the doors closed
at cooking time,
hated for us to eat the road.
She hated her spaghetti ruined.

But that old rut-filled road
held traffic to a snail's pace,
and there were many ruts to dodge.

Then, when Progress came
and paved the road,
it became a super-highway,
but we had no dust.
Head-on collisions instead,
and sirens,
and blood-stained pavement.

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