Vol. 4, No. 11     An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society     November 2005


Just when you thought you had the year pretty well under control, some editor comes along and says, "Hang on, it's time to pay your Thirty-Seven Cents chapter dues."  Irving, Romman, Sukany, and Tappmeyer have paid dues for Thirty-Seven Cents for 2006.  The rest of us owe $2 or $4.  If Thirty-Seven Cents is your only Missouri chapter, pay $4.  If you have paid dues in another Missouri chapter, pay $2.  MSPS collects dues in October, November, and December to get all dues paid by the time of the NFSPS deadline January 1.  This is the only time all year that you need a stamp for our e-zine chapter if you send your twelve poems for 2006 by e-mail.    By the way, you can send poems early.  You make my work much easier when you do, but I know we are poets and by definition we are not expected to be practical, so send the poems when you can.  If you do not have a poem to me by the first of the month, I will skip you in order to get the issue out.  You can avoid that terrible fate, if you send me twelve in December for the coming year.  But as they say, when pigs fly we will meet all of our obligations on time or even early.  Until then, emulate the little frog above--hang on and send those poems in as you are able.
                                                                                                                                     --  Tom Padgett


Past Issue Next
Poems by Members

Missouri State Poetry Society

Winter Contest

Spare Mule Online

National Federation of State Poetry Societies
Strophes Online



Click News to see if this new column appeals to you.  Click Back on your toolbar to return here after finishing the column.


Click Workshop and do some of the lessons there.
If you have an idea for a new lesson, send it along. 


Read Spare Mule Online and Strophes Online available to you by clicking the underlined titles.


Our new state president, Dale Ernst, is encouraging us to enter the MSPS Winter Contest.


Visit our MSPS Bulletin Board for news of events and contests in our area.


Ted Kooser, current 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 027

In this lovely poem by Angela Shaw, who lives in Pennsylvania, we hear a voice of wise counsel: Let the young go, let them do as they will, and admire their grace and beauty as they pass from us into the future.


They don't wade in so much as they are taken.
Deep in the day, in the deep of the field,
every current in the grasses whispers hurry
hurry, every yellow spreads its perfume
like a rumor, impelling them further on.
It is the way of girls. It is the sway
of their dresses in the summer trance--
light, their bare calves already far-gone
in green. What songs will they follow?
Whatever the wood warbles, whatever storm
or harm the border promises, whatever
calm. Let them go. Let them go traceless
through the high grass and into the willow--
blur, traceless across the lean blue glint
of the river, to the long dark bodies
of the conifers, and over the welcoming
threshold of nightfall.


American Life in Poetry: Column 029

Many of you have seen flocks of birds or schools of minnows acting as if they were guided by a common intelligence, turning together, stopping together. Here is a poem by Debra Nystrom that beautifully describes a flight of swallows returning to their nests, acting as if they were of one mind. Notice how she extends the description to comment on the way human behavior differs from that of the birds.


Is it some turn of wind
that funnels them all down at once, or
is it their own voices netting
to bring them in--the roll and churr
of hundreds searing through river light
and cliff dust, each to its precise
mud nest on the face--
none of our own isolate
groping, wishing need could be sent
so unerringly to solace. But
this silk-skein flashing is like heaven
brought down: not to meet ground
or water--to enter
the riven earth and disappear.

American Life in Poetry: Column 028

Although this poem by North Carolina native Ron Rash may seem to be just about trout fishing, it is the first of several poems Rash has written about his cousin who died years ago. Indirectly, the poet gives us clues about this loss. By the end, we see that in passing from life to death, the fish's colors dull; so, too, may fade the memories of a cherished life long lost.


Water-flesh gleamed like mica:
orange fins, red flankspots, a char
shy as ginseng, found only
in spring-flow gaps, the thin clear
of faraway creeks no map
could name. My cousin showed me
those hidden places. I loved
how we found them, the way we
followed no trail, just stream-sound
tangled in rhododendron,
to where slow water opened
a hole to slip a line in
and lift as from a well bright
shadows of another world,
held in my hand, their color
already starting to fade.

American Life in Poetry: Column 030

Naomi Shihab Nye lives in San Antonio, Texas. Here she perfectly captures a moment in childhood that nearly all of us may remember: being too small for the games the big kids were playing, and fastening tightly upon some little thing of our own.


Every few minutes, he wants
to march the trail of flattened rye grass
back to the house of muttering
hens. He too could make
a bed in hay. Yesterday the egg so fresh
it felt hot in his hand and he pressed it
to his ear while the other children
laughed and ran with a ball, leaving him,
so little yet, too forgetful in games,
ready to cry if the ball brushed him,
riveted to the secret of birds
caught up inside his fist,
not ready to give it over
to the refrigerator
or the rest of the day.


Find biography and poems by Walker at

and more bio at  and 

Two more poems are at

Another poem is at

Buy a book of Walker's poetry at

Velvet Fackeldey
I'm heading home on Route 65
and I'm going 65, and I think
it sounds like the title
of a country song:
"Doin' 65 on Highway 65."
I should be in a pickup,
wearing a cowboy hat and
snakeskin boots.
I'm not a cowboy
and I really don't care
for most country music.
But I can play with words
and laugh at myself
and it makes the road
less boring.

Bev Conklin

November is in a restless mood.
Days gray and somber.
Winds angrily gusting.
Tantrum over, she sulks
through baring trees.
Heavy clouds, pregnant with moisture
scud and bump aimlessly.
For just a moment they break apart
allowing the sun to smile through.
A leaf races its shadow atop the ground . . .
neither wins.
The clouds rush back
blotting out the sun's frivolity.
November wants to pout.
It's time for nature to retire
into a deep sleep
allowing healing snow and ice
to replenish the earth
and prepare for the arrival
of another Spring . . .
A never-ending cycle.
November has insomnia.
But wait . . .
soon she will tire
of tossing turning
and spastic changes of mood.
The first snow will fall,
silently and unexpectedly,
and she will snuggle under
its soft, warm blanket.
At last, November can sleep.

Val Esker

No turkey on the table,
No potatoes in the pot,
No gravy in the gravy boat,
No stove that's cozy hot.

No money in our pockets,
No gas in our old car,
No jobs (they left for Mexico,
And we can't go that far).

No layaways at WalMart,
We can't afford to pay.
That means no chintzy presents
To wrap for Christmas Day.

November skies look cloudy
But we have awesome news
God gave us all each other
To love away November blues.

Todd Sukany

Whose cakes these are I think I know.
His bakers? Artists in the dough.
He will not see me pause but dart
to find the rows of fried cargo.

My little cart must find me smart
to steer these aisles with single heart,
to speed past fruits and nuts, forsake
the lusts that lurk within this mart.

I glaze a nod at pale cheesecake,
avoiding friends—too much at stake!
The only sound is wheels that splay
on other carts left in my wake.

Though Woods tempts me, I can’t delay;
I’ve meetings to attend today . . .
donuts to eat before I pray,
donuts to eat before I pray.

*A local grocery

Gwen Eisenmann

”I can’t hear myself think,”
Mother used to say
when we were noisy children.
It wasn’t the thought so much
as the loss of self to think them.
Now, alone, walking a woodsy lane
at dusk, everything stilled but katydids,
hearing myself think, the sounds
are all of others, the parts of me
that they have become.

Pat Laster

her hobbies
Garden Club
and deer hunting

prisoner of war
dying without fanfare
on Veteran’s Day

against winter illness
a flu shot

only serious
cooking I’ve done all year
on Thanksgiving

after Thanksgiving
Monday’s 8:00 gives thanks
professor absent

Harding Stedler

The day that Corliss Stopher
bought his truck at auction,
he stopped at Gershwin's Hardware
on his way home.
There, he bought a peanut sheller
for his wife.
Eager to get it home to her,
he returned to his truck
and threw the gearshift in reverse.
The truck did not budge.
He did not understand.

He went back inside the hardware,
begging help. Told the fellows there
he'd just bought Clinton Easley's truck
and it won't go anywhere in reverse.
Some snickered; others laughed aloud
for they knew too well
Clinton Easley's ways.

For a peanut sheller,
they agreed to push the truck
out of the parking space
so Corliss could put it in a forward gear,
then make his way back home:
with no reverse
and without a peanut sheller.



Judy Young

After hearing on NPR that roadkill was now legal
to eat in TN, with apologies to A. Pinder

Sittin’ by the roadside on a wintry day,
Messin’ with a turkey, passin’ time away,
Pluckin’ all the feathers from head to bony knees,
Goodness, how exciting, a turkey feather tease!

     Tease, tease, tease, tease,
     A turkey feather tease,
     Pluckin’ all the feathers
     From head to bony knees.

Just around the corner, I hear a fellow shout,
“Stop messin’ with that turkey, out of the ditch, get out!
I think your mind is troubled, my stomach’s in a quease,
From watchin’ you pluck feathers from head to bony knees.”

     Please, please, please, please,
     Get mental help soon please,
     Stop pluckin’ all those feathers
     From head to bony knees.

I jump into my car and drive off to my house
And that is where I notice the first small crawly louse,
And suddenly I realize I’m alive with lice and fleas
From plucking off those feathers from head to bony knees.

     Fleas, fleas, fleas, fleas
     Turkey feather fleas
     I got from plucking feathers
     From head to bony knees.

Henrietta Romman

I got a message from Our Dad
As mounting worries made me sad.
He said, "Look to me,
Hear my word and see,
Just lean on my arm and be glad."

With heart and soul, I sought The Book;
God's promises of love I took.
My tears then glistened,
I learned to listen.
He led me beside His still brook.

My comfort, Lord, was in thy rod!
Thy staff was in the paths I trod,
Thy pastures I've seen
Are lush and so green--
There is none like Thee, O My God!

Thou are the Shepherd of all love
Who sent Thy Son from up above,
A Lamb from the womb
Disgraced till the tomb
When He rose in glory and love.

Tania Gray

Little old house
little old lady house
little old lady lives here

rows of flowerpots, sitting and hanging
houseplants our for summer vacation
hollyhocks blooming by the corner of the porch
old-lady flower beds, anything that grows
and two cats watching over all

little old house
little old lady house
little old lady lives here

that's all true except the little old lady part
I don't think I'm a little old lady at all
I was just born about a hundred years too late

Mark Tappmeyer

As dusk light fades and thunderheads ignite
a ballyhoo, inhale with me this night
of airy motion rushing left and right
upon us. Come to me, my sweet, dismiss
your caution. Play away the crack and hiss
of storms most lovers locked in bedrooms miss
when clouds, contentious gamesters, rise to dither.

I wish to watch with her the poplars shiver
and, playful then, some love-art take and give her.
At roost the peacock gents down in the park
call woo to hens that scratch bugs in the dark--
those quilled and distant lovers in the park,
blue folded fans to streamline in the rush
amid the mounded banks of underbrush,

that, needing rest from love, reply to all
at roost: We will not open to your call
nor come so long as trees head-over sprawl.
Our beauty, finely stored in feathered shawls,
deserves to skip contorting overhauls
and, if we must, we’ll break your hormone’s laws.
Besides, fresh grubs unearthed can make us pause.

A Dorsimbra
Nancy Powell

This season’s confetti blanket rustles.
Plump grandchildren romp and roll in the yard;
a bundle slides and expertly tumbles;
I call, “Be careful,” and stand like a guard.

How I would love to join,
roll carefree in dry leaves,
forget turkey, pies, rolls,
and duties of my age.

Thank you, Lord, for healthy children’s pink cheeks,
giggles that echo with every cheerful breath,
and warm Christian homes that you have blessed.
This season’s confetti blanket rustles.

Phyllis Moutray
My three mutts,
Overeat in perpetual
     Preparation for future starving. 

Tom Padgett

With quiet reverence along the streets
in town, we watch the autumn fashion show.
The models--sweet gums, maples, poplars, oaks,
and dogwoods--strut their stylish finery.

They stop in twos and threes to posture where
their startling hues are seen to best effects.
Orange and yellow brightly smile, magenta preens,
but haughty red pouts against the muted green.

They wheel and bow in late October winds,
collecting with polite applause the praise
the patrons feel for samples which displayed
reveal the Grand Couturier's designs.