THIRTY-SEVEN CENTS
Vol. 4, No. 10     An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society     1 October 2005
 


THE BEAUTY MAY BE UP TO YOU THIS YEAR.

The scientists and other weather people are telling us that the autumn foliage this year will not achieve its normal beauty because of the summer drought at just the wrong time.  Things will be different this fall, they say.  Buses touring Vermont and other beauty spots will be fewer.  Here at home, we Ozarkers, who are used to seeing newspaper maps of our area showing when to take a Sunday drive to see the leaves boasting top colors, may drive farther to see less.  This may be the year when poets will write about the autumns of past years.  In fact, our poems themselves may be the only fall beauties.  So, can we count on you to do your share of beautifying the neighborhood?  Here's the challenge: write a new fall poem or bring out an old one and knock the dust off it and e-mail it to me for your November poem.  Of course, other poems will be accepted if you just can't get the foliage fever.  On the other hand, if you find yourself under a bare tree lamenting, lament my way.  Those who need a starting point for inspiration can just meditate on the picture above and remember how autumn used to be.  --  Tom Padgett


CONTENTS:

Past Issue Next
       
Poems by Members
         
Workshop

Missouri State Poetry Society

Winter Contest

Spare Mule Online

National Federation of State Poetry Societies
 
Strophes Online

 

NEW FEATURE: POETRY NEWS

Click News to see if this new column appeals to you.  If you like it, let me know, and I will continue it.  Click Back on your toolbar to return here after finishing the column.
 

HAVE YOU VISITED THE WORKSHOP LATELY?

Click Workshop and do some of the lessons there. 

HAVE YOU READ YOUR ONLINE NEWSLETTERS?

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

MEMBERS' BOOKSHELF:

Harding Stedler has just had a book published   The book sells for $8.50. If mailed, the cost is $10.00, which includes postage and packaging  It is a collection of 50 new poems.  It can be ordered from the author at P.O. Box 1482, Cabot, AR 72023.  Congratulations, Harding.

AMERICAN LIFE IN POETRY

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 023
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

In this fine poem about camping by Washington poet E. G. Burrows, vivid memories of the speaker's father, set down one after another, move gracefully toward speculation about how experiences cling to us despite any efforts to put them aside. And then, quite suddenly, the father is gone, forever. But life goes on, the coffee is hot, and the bird that opens the poem is still there at its close, singing for life.

CAMPING OUT
E. G. Brown

I watched the nesting redstart
when we camped by Lake Winnepesaukee.
The tent pegs pulled out in soft soil.
Rain made pawprints on the canvas.

So much clings to the shoes,
the old shoes must be discarded,
but we're fools to think that does it:
burning the scraps.

I listened for the rain at Mt. Monadnock,
for the barred owl on a tent peak
among scrub pines in Michigan.
I can hear my father stir

and the cot creak. The flap opens.
He goes out and never returns
though the coffee steams on the grill
and the redstart sings in the alders.
 

American Life in Poetry: Column 025
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Emily Dickinson said that poems come at the truth at a slant. Here a birdbath and some overturned chairs on a nursing home lawn suggest the frailties of old age. Masterful poems choose the very best words and put them in the very best places, and Michigan poet Rodney Torreson has deftly chosen "ministers" for his first verb, an active verb that suggests the good work of the nursing home's chaplain.

THE BETHLEHEM NURSING HOME
Rodney Torreson

A birdbath ministers
to the lawn chairs,
all toppled: a recliner
on its face, metal arms
trying to push it up;
an overturned rocker,
curvature of the spine.
Armchairs on their sides,
webbing unraveled.
One faces the flowers.
A director's chair
folded, as if prepared
to be taken up.

American Life in Poetry: Column 024
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

In this poem by New York poet Martin Walls, a common insect is described and made vivid for us through a number of fresh and engaging comparisons. Thus an ordinary insect becomes something remarkable and memorable.

CICADAS AT THE END OF SUMMER
Martin Walls

Whine as though a pine tree is bowing a broken violin,
As though a bandsaw cleaves a thousand thin sheets of
      titanium;
They chime like freight wheels on a Norfolk Southern
      slowing into town.

But all you ever see is the silence.
Husks, glued to the underside of maple leaves.
With their nineteen fifties Bakelite lines they'd do
      just as well hanging from the ceiling of a space
      museum--

What cicadas leave behind is a kind of crystallized memory;
The stubborn detail of, the shape around a life turned

The color of forgotten things: a cold broth of tea & milk
      in the bottom of a mug.
Or skin on an old tin of varnish you have to lift with
      lineman's pliers.
A fly paper that hung thirty years in Bird Cooper's pantry
      in Brighton.

 

American Life in Poetry: Column 026
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Descriptive poetry depends for its effects in part upon the vividness of details. Here the Virginia poet, Claudia Emerson, describes the type of old building all of us have seen but may not have stopped to look at carefully. And thoughtfully.

STABLE
Claudia Emerson

One rusty horseshoe hangs on a nail
above the door, still losing its luck,
and a work-collar swings, an empty
old noose. The silence waits, wild to be
broken by hoofbeat and heavy
harness slap, will founder but remain;
while, outside, above the stable,
eight, nine, now ten buzzards swing low
in lazy loops, a loose black warp
of patience, bearing the blank sky
like a pall of wind on mourning
wings. But the bones of this place are
long picked clean. Only the hayrake's
ribs still rise from the rampant grasses.
 


 

POET OF THE MONTH: ANDREW HUDGINS

Find thirteen poems by Hudgins at

http://www.alsopreview.com/thepoets2.htm

At this website you will find a brief biography:

http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/hudgins.html

Listen to or read an interview with Hudgins:

http://www.blackbird.vcu.edu/v2n2/nonfiction/teegarden_t/hudgins_text.htm

Buy a book of Hudgins' poetry at

http://www.booksense.com/index.jsp?affiliateId=AmerPoets

http://www.powells.com/

http://www.amazon.com/
 


POEMS BY MEMBERS

COQUETTISH WAYS
Harding Stedler


In her skin-tight skirt,
that old woman
chases younger men in church
like a beagle
in pursuit of rabbits.
Every Sunday,
she sits with a different one
and feigns her innocence.

She sits shoulder-to-shoulder
beside each of them
and grins seductively
while the music plays.

She does not know we see
her flirtatious ways
and giggles her way through prayer.

One day she'll get her wish,
and a suitor will whisk her away
without her knowing.
She is certain to give the preacher
a timely sermon
for the following Sunday.


REMARK
Todd Sukany

Often the window,

complete with spider trash

collecting in its corner,

frames scenes

no different from othersó

oranges and purplesó

the stuff of rhyme.

 

Should these words

not escape the web,

this moment too

will become

an irritation

to be swept away.

 

A WEEK LATER
(A cinquain sequence)
 Pat Laster
 
Wild hair
un-made-up face,
bemoaning sore muscles
from walking, trimming azaleas,
I think
 
after
reading his love
note, if he could see me
now, his feelings would probably
vanish.
 
No sign
of sparkling eyes,
no thought of dressing well,
my sloppy shorts and shirt and shoes
dirt-stained.
 
He'd say,
Hey, did I dream
this one up? She isn't
the person I've had on my mind
all week.
 

WRITTEN IN SONG
Gwen Eisenmann

I stood beside an apple tree
to hear a yellow warbler singing there
and he did not fly away.

I was that close to Heaven,
just branches away
from a signature
written in song
on air.

Is this not a miracle--
the only word I know
for birds that sew
earth to Heaven with song
and let me listen?
 

DEAD BATTERY
Velvet Fackeldey

Just like a car,
some days I don't start.
Too tired, too slow, too late;
any excuse will do.
I'd like to hibernate,
or be a hermit, or maybe
a muttering bag lady,
pushing an overloaded grocery cart
with Wal-Mart sacks and sweater sleeves
dangling over the sides,
so people would stay away.
But I must be here
and there
and my face must smile,
even when my eyes are dead.
 

A TENDER TOUCH
Jean Even

For You Iíll rejoice with a phrase.
Teach me to laud You in holy praise.
Iíll exalt Thee with adoration.
You are the light of my salvation.
In mercy I did find Your grace.
A Saviorís tender touch left a trace
Of anointment, to warm my cold heart.
You heard me praying and took my part,
Bringing me home to Heavenís throne.
I wonít stay here on earth lying prone.
In humble ways Iíll praise Your glory.
Rejoicing in You is my story.

 

VISIT WORKSHOP FOR AN ASSIGNMENT.

                TopWorkshopIndex


MONTANA REVERIE
Val Esker

Oh Western Sky,
in a dream
did I first witness you?
If not,
then why this sense
of deja-vu?
My eastern feet
have never walked
this foreign soil before,
and yet,
stride sure and fleet
as when on sandy shore.
God's mighty hand
drew me to these rocks,
this endless view;
proved, that like this sky,
His love is vast,
miraculous,
and true!
 

THE COSTLY MESSAGE
Henrietta Romman


Y'shua came.  He is the Word,
The Son, Redeemer, Savior too.

His blood was shed, His message heard:
Y'shua came, He is the Word,

The cross before Him and the sword,
His heart was set, and this He knew:

Y'shua came, He is the Word,
The Son, Redeemer, Savior too.


REMEDY
Tania Gray


The tumult and excitement of a bird
chorale is strangely soothing to my sole--
the best alarm to waken me each day
is warbled song in half-light ebb of night.
It is an hour delicious, just to lie
half-dreaming, drifting in a semi-sleep
with trills and twitters floating on a breeze.
At times I'm now unsettled from my sleep
with nibbling nudges of anxiety
until with day's inception, songs of birds
sedate my fretful state.  The same effect
can happen in the soft twilight of dusk,
when as an arboreal lullaby,
the birds call gently to each other and
to me.  It is a soporific drug.
In my carefree youth I soundly slept
until my mother called me from the door.
I wondered why my mother liked the dawn--
she said it was the best part of the day,
a time of peaceful ministrations, cares
suspended.  Life repeats itself with me--
I meditate accompanied by birds.
 

DIVERSION
Nancy Powell 
              

Today the clouds look like fish meat,
a spread of fillet across the sky.
I see only buzzards trying the feat
of stretching their wings to fly
in the distance where hills meet
blue orbits kept for hosts on high.

Can it be the great fisherman
spreading out a heavenly catch,
and from the swiftness of his hand
speeding currents stir my corn patch
and rustle across this autumn land
as vultures wait for scraps to snatch?

Weathermen would surely tell you
this pattern is caused by high wind,
and my daydreams are all untrue.
But they keep me sane, I defend.
With trouble and sorrow, we knew
a diversion balm he would send.


ORDINARY SORT
Mark Tappmeyer
"They lay their crowns before the throne . . ."
Revelation 4:10

Most entering heaven's courts
appear the ordinary sort

who in their days on earth clerked shops,
laundered diapers, hoed snakes and crops,

clung to God as best they knew or could,
though stumble-prone in how they should

walk.  Their crowns, hardly jeweled,
look pig-iron plain, too rough to fool

a studied eye.  But among the stars--
the Jeremiahs, the lioned martyrs--they are

witness to the truth: when cast down,
cheap crowns too make hallowing sounds.



SCHEMERS
Tom Padgett

A dad-blamed casserole will not console
a man who's lost his wife, but on the whole
that's what the widows bring, not steak nor stew.
They're at your door within a day or two,
dressed fit to kill and frisky as a foal.

You get home from your early morning stroll
to find some woman waiting to condole
by handing you a dad-blamed casserole.

I swear, if you were ugly as a troll
and low man on this late-life totem pole,
you'd guess before you left the funeral pew
some lady's ploy to use your stomach to
achieve her goal: a dad-blamed casserole.