Vol. 3, No.10      An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society     1 October 2004


Poems have been a part of your life almost from its beginning.  The nursery rhyme that sent you off to buy a fat pig, a fat hog, or a plum bun before you jiggedy jigged back home attracted you by its rhythm and its rhyme.  Later perhaps as you were introduced to contemporary poetry, you gave up both for free verse jigging throughout your world without constraints or limitations. On the other hand you may have sharpened your skills and continued jiggedy jigging back home with the rhyme and rhythm of formal verse.  Our picture for the month, a market square in Peru, reminds me that as poets in our poetry groups we are still going to the market, trading the fruit of our labor for the approval of our friends, who also bring goods to barter.  We have long since realized that there is no money exchanged, or if there is a little--say we win a contest prize--the cash prize is surely secondary to the feeling of success that is ours.  My point is that we need to go to the market regularly, which means we need to keep tending our orchards and gardens to produce crops to trade.  Wordsworth in his "Lines Composed upon Westminster Bridge" lamented the commerce that occupied his time and laid waste his powers.  We, too, get busy with this and that while months go rocketing by, but Wordsworth, even in his fixation on the bad side of the "business" of his day, nevertheless composed a wonderful sonnet.  His "getting and spending" were highly rewarded.  What has your busyness rewarded you with lately?  If not a fat pig or fat hog, how about a skinny cinquain, a gaunt rondeau, an emaciated triolet, a scanty pantoum, a lank villanelle, some flimsy free verse, some haggard haiku, or skeletal Skeltonics?  Meet you in the market!                                                                                            -- Tom Padgett, editor



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Poems by Members

 Missouri State Poetry Society

Winter Contest

Spare Mule Online

National Federation of State Poetry Societies
Strophes Online


Visit the workshop and write a poem for one of the lessons.  Send it along to be included for next month's issue.  If you have an idea for a lesson to challenge other members to write, send it to me, and we will try it.  Click Workshop.


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. You can keep up with members who get newsletters by mail by remembering to read them on the Net. The October 1 issue of
Spare Mule Online and Strophes Online will soon be available to you. 


Check out the Poets & Friends Contest sponsored by our Springfield chapter.  Click
Bulletin Board.  Remember February 15  is the deadline for our MSPS Winter Contest.  Details are given on the Winter Contest page at the state web site.  Click
Winter Contest.



Here are books written by members of this chapter.   Have you a book that belongs on this shelf?


Named U.S. poet laureate recently to succeed Louise Gluck is a Midwestener, Ted Kooser of Nebraska.  Get acquainted with him as our poet of the month.

The announcement of Kooser as poet laureate is at

The Associated Press news story is at several locations, among them is this very slow link at

Biographical accounts may be found at

Critical comments are available at

An interview is this very slow link at

Five Kooser poems appear at

Three poems may be found at

Four poems, including some from sites above, are at



Gwen Eisenmann

When I remember how the brook so clear
ran rambling through the forest where we were,
I wander there again and hear the sound
and walk with wind and memories around.
A sycamore stood silent by the stream,
its golden girth more than my outstretched arms
could measure, smooth bark rippling in the gleam
of water running by.  Old mellow farms
lay green beyond the forest's boundary
in sunlight on the path that beckoned me.
With all the twists and turns it led me through
this sonnet lost its sequence wandering too.
     Now I look out on a tall ginko tree
     as foreign here as my life seems to be.


Mark Tappmeyer

If dies
is what one does
for heavenís sake,
then dyingís due
to you
who knew her,
like one who studies ancient wonders,
who draws his finger
inch by inch
across a marbleís
rounded crests and folds,
across the flanks and ribs
of her hieroglyphic soul.

She was full,
as paradise was,
weíre told.
But no historyís ever
quite this true. For,
amidst even robust delights,
always across
oneís face, her brow, yours,
floats discontent,
a momentís wanting more than
this nubile queen, this noble you,
this Niled place,
awakening then
the fall in her
and you,
the fall in all.

Harding Stedler

Summer boils
beyond the shadows.
Asphalt bubbles in July,
and cattle ponds
yield to sun.
As little water
becomes no water,
fish fly
in search of deep.
I do not challenge summer
on days like this.
I stick to shade
and poise myself
for passing wings
that will give me breeze.
I wrap myself
in leaves
until darkness|
wraps the sun.
Then, night allows me|
a shedding of the green.

Jean Even

To God be glory,
Honor in grace,
Trust in faith,
Holy in redemption,
The Deity in life,
Everlasting eternity.
Rejoice in His ways,
They are righteous
Justice for all men.
Merciful in grace,
His goodness is
Divine in holiness.
Receiving our praise,
Inspiring in worship,
Turning our words
Into sweet savory,
Releasing blessings
From His glory.

For Carrie
Phyllis Moutray

Five-foot tall octogenarian,
your eyes crinkle with age and laughter.
You're a true Victorian wonder,
a writer of sober sonnets,
inventor of the humorous Lil Ann.
You use your stove, never a microwave;
type poems on a typewriter, never a computer;
style your hair with gel, never a curling iron.
Though you'll try to teach us,
you know more about formal poetry forms
then we'll ever began to master.
Bev Conklin
October has arrived.
A few brown leaves mar the beauty
of her cloudless, azure skies.
Now, green summer leaves change,
revealing the vibrant colors
that have been hidden within.
Only in these final days
will they display the fire
and passion that sustained them
during the summer days,
as they nurtured, shaded, and protected
"their tree"--their connection 
to "all that is."
Embracing the gusting winds,
they are released to indulge in
a graceful, gliding, dipping, diving dance
as they race toward rest and renewal . . .
fall's final, flamboyant celebration.
October leaves her gift. 

Tania Gray

We make a perfect yin-yang design
sleeping together like two spoons

Our cat is the black dot
curled up in the half-moon shape
by my chest

Our dog is the white dot
curled up in the other half-moon
by your legs

All we need is a round bed

Velvet Fackeldey

A fall evening on the porch,
the temperature that twice a year's just right.
The back yard tree fills my field of vision
with ripe reds and outrageous oranges,
the colors so extreme I think
the tree must ache in its altered state.
Does it know nakedness lies just ahead?
Does it hoard its power
for the burst of green to come?
Our lives cycle onward at nature's mercy,
less under our control that we think.

Pat Laster

The autumn beauty's everywhere--
in fragrant air,
magenta leaves,
bronzed wheat in sheaves,
sun-burnished pastures stubbled gold,
lone oriole,
umbrellaed groves
(bovine alcoves),
a visual banquet unsurpassed,
a rich repast.
All senses share
fall's love affair.

Valerie Esker

My Florida, 
how I fell in love with you 
when we first met! 

You seduced me with your fronded shadows,
dazzled me with your sultry sunlit joy,
caressed me with your salty breeze.

Northern gloom fell from my pale limbs,
slid to my sandaled feet,
when sloughed like snake-skin

Florida, when we met,
life danced anew
with your exotic tempo teasings
tapping at my heart.

My freshened spirit winged high
into your blue noon sky,
sailed through your flaming sunsets,
surfed your crashing waves.

Oh, but then . . .
                          your tempest raged!

Judy Young

I feel like a yo-yo on a short string,
One minute Iím high as a bird on the wing
But then someone gives this yo-yo a throw
And down on the bottom, Iím lower than low.

One minute Iím up, one minute Iím down,
Bobbing through life hardly touching the ground.
Spinning and spinning I go round the world
Redundantly like a pendulum twirled.

Elated Iím like a man on a trapeze
I reach for the moon, split the atom with ease
But double or nothing, a tidal waveís drumming
And over the falls, rock bottom is coming.

Ride round the corner and this sleeper awakes
On lifeís roller coaster without any brakes.
Loop the loop, breakaway, grab the yo-yo, then chuck it,
Once superman, now a drop in the bucket.

Iím sinking, Iím rising, I float up, I fall
Up and down on my string, never stopping at all.
And if you are wondering wherein my mood lies
Itís low to the ground or way up in the skies.


Todd Sukany

I signed up
But just for a degree
Iím really not interested
In much educationally

Iíll attend a function or two
So long as you know
The reason I attend
Is only for show

I guess you probably think
Your work is a gift
But I is I
And Iím surely not missed

Since I just want an A
And your tasks are not fun
I think, Jesus, Iíll find
Another instructor for Life 101

Tom Padgett

Marie Smith of Anchorage, Alaska,
in an interview with the AP
said fifty to ninety percent of  languages
will be dead at the end of the century.

It takes 100,000 speakers
to keep a language, noted Marie,
to keep it passing from generation
to generation effectively.

Think of it this way, Marie put it,
every two weeks a language dies,
and our world, linguistically speaking,
is much poorer for its demise.

Thousands of them have died already,
and half remaining are barely alive
with fewer than 2500 speakers--
some have only four or five.

Eyak, for example, has
one speaker, only one,
and with her dies her language--
no other person speaks it, none.

Marie gave this AP interview
not in English but Eyak instead,
and since no one could interpret it,
who knows what on earth she said?