Vol. 6, No. 10   An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society    October  2007



The local chapters of the Missouri State Poetry Society pay their membership dues during October-December for the next calendar year.  The dues for our chapter, Thirty-Seven Cents, is $4 for members who belong to only this chapter of the state organization.  Members who also pay dues to another local MSPS chapter, pay $2 for Thirty-Seven Cents and at least $4 to each of their other chapters.  Honorary Lifetime Members do not pay for MSPS membership, but they do pay the $2 for Thirty-Seven Cents.  Faye Adams and Bobbie Craig, both members of On the Edge, the chapter that hosted our wonderful convention last week, took the advantage to hand me their 2008 dues.  Others of you will need to mail your 2008 dues to Tom Padgett, 523 N. Park Place, Bolivar, Missouri 65613.   Please pay as soon as you can.  Think of it as picking your pumpkin for Halloween.  Hardly anyone makes jack-o-lanterns in November or December.  --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


Charles Simic is our nation's new poet laureate to succeed Donald Hall.   Simic's work is problematical since much of it is surrealism.  However, he has some poems everyone can appreciate.  The Week magazine for August 17, 2007, reprinted his short poem "Watermelons."  Here is the complete poem: "Green Buddhas / On the Fruitstand / We eat the smile / And spit out the teeth."  See the Poet of the Month section below.

John Ashbery has been named MtvU's poet laureate.  This is an exclusive network designed for college students.  Ashbery, who is 80 years old,  was a surprising winner.  His early poetry was very difficult to understand; now it is more accessible.  Read the New York Times story at

Lev Grossman in the June 18, 2007, issue of TIME discusses the $200 million gift of Ruth Lilly to Poetry magazine.  Grossman asks if this huge gift can revive a "dying art."  Read Grossman's article at,9171,1630571,00.html

Click Back on your toolbar to return here after finishing a news item.

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 by clicking the underlined titles.

Our state president 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, former 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 newspaper editors to inform them that such a column is available free to them and to relieve the editors by explaining that all of the poems that will appear week by week are accessible, not obscure poems. 

American Life in Poetry: Column 125

The American poet, Ezra Pound, once described the faces of people in a rail station as petals on a wet black bough. That was roughly seventy-five years ago. Here Barry Goldensohn of New York offers a look at a contemporary subway station. Not petals, but people all the same.


The station platform, clean and broad, his stage
for push-ups, sit-ups, hamstring stretch,
as he laid aside his back pack, from which
his necessaries bulged, as he bulged
through jeans torn at butt, knee and thigh,
in deep palaver with himself--sigh,
chatter, groan. Deranged but common.
We sat at a careful distance to spy
on his performance, beside a woman
in her thirties, dressed as in her teens--
this is L.A.--singing to herself.
How composed, complete and sane
she seemed. A book by the Dalai Lama
in her hands, her face where pain and wrong
were etched, here becalmed, with faint chirps
leaking from the headphones of her walkman.
Not talking. Singing, lost in song.

American Life in Poetry: Column 127

Poet Marianne Boruch of Indiana finds a bird's nest near her door. It is the simplest of discoveries, yet she uses it to remind us that what at first seems ordinary, even "made a mess of," can be miraculously transformed upon careful reflection.


I walked out, and the nest
was already there by the step. Woven basket
of a saint
sent back to life as a bird
who proceeded to make
a mess of things. Wind
right through it, and any eggs
long vanished. But in my hand it was
intricate pleasure, even the thorny reeds
softened in the weave. And the fading
leaf mold, hardly
itself anymore, merely a trick
of light, if light
can be tricked. Deep in a life
is another life. I walked out, the nest
already by the step.

American Life in Poetry: Column 129

North Carolina poet, Betty Adcock, has written scores of beautiful poems, almost all of them too long for this space. Here is an example of her shorter work, the telling description of a run-down border town.

Louisiana Line

The wooden scent of wagons,
the sweat of animals--these places
keep everything--breath of the cotton gin,
black damp floors of the icehouse.

Shadows the color of a mirror's back
break across faces. The luck
is always bad. This light is brittle,
old pale hair kept in a letter.
The wheeze of porch swings and lopped gates
seeps from new mortar.

Wind from an axe that struck wood
a hundred years ago
lifts the thin flags of the town.

American Life in Poetry: Column 126

The British writer Virginia Woolf wrote about the pleasures of having a room of one's own. Here the Vermont poet Karin Gottshall shows us her own sort of private place.

The Raspberry Room

It was solid hedge, loops of bramble and thorny
as it had to be with its berries thick as bumblebees.
It drew blood just to get there, but I was queen
of that place, at ten, though the berries shook like fists
in the wind, daring anyone to come in. I was trying
so hard to love this world--real rooms too big and full
of worry to comfortably inhabit--but believing I was born
to live in that cloistered green bower: the raspberry patch
in the back acre of my grandparents' orchard. I was cross-
stitched and beaded by its fat, dollmaker's needles. The effort
of sliding under the heavy, spiked tangles that tore
my clothes and smeared me with juice was rewarded
with space, wholly mine, a kind of room out of
the crush of the bushes with a canopy of raspberry
dagger-leaves and a syrup of sun and birdsong.
Hours would pass in the loud buzz of it, blood
made it mine--the adventure of that red sting singing
down my calves, the place the scratches brought me to:
just space enough for a girl to lie down.

American Life in Poetry: Column 128

Our poet this week is 16-year-old Devon Regina DeSalva of Los Angeles, California, who says she wrote this poem to get back at her mother, only to find that her mother loved the poem.

Snip Your Hair

I'll snip your hair
Cut it all off until you look like a man
I will replace your weight loss bars with bars to make you gain
I will cut your credit cards in half
I will shrink all your clothes
Every trick in the book I will try
I will give all your shoes to the dog
I will do it all
Crazy is where you will be driven
Off a cliff you will want to jump
Then when I am all done
I will look at you with big doughy eyes
And I will say I am sorry
But I have my fingers crossed

American Life in Poetry: Column 130

A number of American poets are adept at describing places and the people who inhabit them. Galway Kinnell's great poem, "The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World" is one of those masterpieces, and there are many others. Here Anne Pierson Wiese, winner of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, adds to that tradition.

Columbus Park

Down at the end of Baxter Street, where Five Points
slum used to be, just north of Tombs, is a pocket park.
On these summer days the green plane trees' leaves
linger heavy as a noon mist above
the men playing mah jongg--more Chinese
in the air than English. The city's composed
of village greens; we rely on the Thai
place on the corner: Tom Kha for a cold,
jasmine tea for fever, squid for love, Duck Yum
for loneliness. Outside, the grove of heat,
narrow streets where people wrestle rash and unseen
angels; inside, the coolness of a glen and the wait staff
in their pale blue collars offering ice water.
Whatever you've done or undone, there's a dish for you
to take out or eat in: spice for courage, sweet for chagrin.


Our poet for this month is the new poet laureate of the United States.  For a general introduction to Simic, visit the Academy of American Poets site at

There are twelve Simic poems available at this site, including one he reads aloud to us.

An encyclopedia article about Simic may be found at

Twenty-nine poems by Simic are available at

An interview with Simic can be found at

The Library citation of Simic as poet laureate is at


Tania Gray

At mad O’Hare, on Concourse C
plunged into chaos, seemed to me
the clerks and agents were struck dumb
nor could they hear.  From fatigue numb
we found our gate sans bonhomie.

With pretzels complimentary,
Lufthansa’s nice technology
we soon forgot our martyrdom
           at mad O’Hare.

haiku, tanka, senryu
Bobbie Craig

amber dragonfly
air-paints abstract circles, swoops
a modern relic

primordial soup
nurtures aquatic insects
maturity entices
pond dragons emerge on wing

remind me of dad's fossil-
stone watch fob I lost


Jean Even

You are my God and King.
Therefore, I shall sing,
Rejoicing in You for all You are
Because You are my morning star.

Harding Stedler

When my life came to a halt,
I was 66 and filled with retirement dreams.
Lymphoma, however, had other plans
for me. A steady diet of toxic chemo--
beginning in spring, ending in fall--
denied me the freedom
to come and go at will.
I was chemo's slave,
usually too sick to sleep
much less to travel.
Night after night,
I migrated from bedroom
to living room to garage
in search of elusive sleep.
On treatment nights,
I hugged the ceramic commode
and pleaded for its mercy.

One year later, a C-T Scan
revealed the disease was gone.
The cancerous lymph nodes
had been destroyed.

Hope replaced dismay and despair,
and once again I could plan.
I had been granted a reprieve
and was reminded
that cats have nine lives.

bones & sun
Lawrence W. Thomas

bones soaking in the rain
ribs, no longer caging a sun


Velvet Fackeldey

It's a long roundabout walk
to the back of St. Peter's,
then through many hallways
and many rooms lined with paintings.
We pass a souvenir stand
and I think "Moneychangers!"
At last we reach the chapel.
Other footsteps echo on the hard floor
but our soft-soled shoes are silent.
People speak in reverent whispers.
We head for an empty bench
against a wall to sit and rest our legs.
I lean my head against the back of the bench
and look at the ceiling.
Castel Sant Angelo has large mirrors
on stands, in corners of some rooms,
to see ceiling details and save the neck.
Here we must look up
and I'm thankful for the bench.
I've seen reproductions of this artwork all my life
and I'm amazed to be here,
trying to absorb it all
so I can recall it again and again.

Diane Auser Stefan 

Dark thick stumps

looking like a short forest

slowly cut and cleared




Up and down the rounded landscapes

the cutting relentlessly continues

until all is barren




In time

all that remains in view

is a sleek smoothness




Efforts worth the end result but




In spite of care and safety

that dang new razor blade
still nicked my leg!!

Jennifer Smith

“You are my child,” the mother says.
              "I remember the day you were born.

And even though you may give me pain and sorrow,
Even though you make choices with which I don’t agree,
Yet I love you and I want you in my life.
I desire to spend time with you and hear your voice.
You are my child and I love you very much."

“You are my child,” the father says.
              “I remember when I first gazed upon you.”
And even though I have had to discipline you,
Even though I’ve had to say 'No' to you,
I always wanted the best for you.
My discipline only proves that I love you.
You are my child and I will always love you."

“You are my child,” God says.
              “I remember the day you asked me to save you.”
And even though you may run far from me,
Even though you try to deny me,
Yet I will still pursue a love relationship with you.
I still desire for you to love me as you once did.
My discipline may cause pain for you –
But know it is only because I love you.
You are my child, and I will always love you so very much.

Henrietta Romman

As long as eyes can look and stare
at fern and fir,
I thank my God,
for His great rod.
I turned to Him for golden grace;
he touched my face,
renewed my sight.
I ceased to fight.
When God in Glory will appear,
without one tear
and no delay, 
I'll fly away.


"There was a violent earthquake."  (Matthew 28:2)
Mark Tappmeyer

The thin crust and the bedded rock, the
roots of trees, their leaves, the olive
dots along each branch, Mary--
all trembled before the
angel's loud rift through
space and the words:
He was gone
at dawn.








Steven Penticuff

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."
           Your mom.
"Give me a triple grande 140 degree no foam
cinnamon dolce latte with caramel on the whip."
           Your mom.
"Travel with us through a wondrous maze
of forested-island and glacier-carved fjords."
           Your mom.
"The world would be happier if men had
the same capacity to be silent that they have
to speak."
           Amen, Spinoza.
"Smart Dog: America's favorite vegetarian hot dog!"
          Your mom.
"Place marinated salmon fillets on lightly oiled
grill rack, 4 minutes per side."
          Talk to me.
"Please respect abutting private property and
posted trail rules."
          Your mom.
"You are listening to Delilah."
          Your 'I-been-hit-with-the-ugly-stick' mom,
          and don't ever let me hear you say that again.
"As indicated in our prior notice, reported income
and payment information (e.g., wages, interest
miscellaneous income, income tax withheld, etc.)
does not match the entries on your Form 1040."
          All your moms.
"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."
          Applause . . . Silence . . . Rapture.

Cindy Tebo

Tonight's program
Settles in
As the sun goes down
There's a man
Peering through curtains
A gust of wind
And the leaves
Become pantomime
I swear
         this is the part
        where    charlie chaplin
                              his hat

Gwendolyn Eisenmann

Living in one room
surrounded by life,
cluttered, treasured, insulated
from everything but fate,

we have the farm, the forest, the pond,
the animals, tall corn, ripe beans and tomatoes--
anchors to life and eternal Life while
the calendar of the soul turns its pages.

Sunflowers, on the breakfast table,
yellow and brown circled, deep-seeded center
oozing powdery drops of pollen, enticing bees--
honey bees hard to find any more--

but "any mores" remind me of age
and that's an old story--happy-ended
like summer flowing into fall
golden, ripe, done with heat and hurry
having learned love, looking, listening.

Phyllis Moutray

The copy machine said Katy did.
Katy did. Katy did.

The copy machine said Katy did
time and again, time and again.

I thought it said she did, she did,
because she could, she could.
Time and again, I thought it said
she did because she could.

I often thought I wouldn’t do
what Katy did because she could,
time and again, day after day
until the day that she retired.

I thought I wouldn’t do what Katy did,
what Katy did till she retired,
but it fell to me, what Katy did
time and again, day after day.

It fell to me to fill her shoes
at the copy machine time and again.
At the copy machine day after day
I do what Katy did, what Katy did.


Pat Laster
Between them was an ancient desk, cast off
by an incumbent congressman who thought
donating it to Rehab would buy some image.
"Please tell me why you're here," he asked
the slender child of twenty-one, whose hair,
though clean, cascaded carelessly, uncombed;
whose eyes seemed seasoned with a hard veneer
as lifeless as the stained bare paneled wall before her.
Flippantly, she shrugged, then slumped
back in the slatted, wooden chair.  Her lips
curled and she tossed her head, "No, I don't know."
Unruffled, Dr. Vogler tried again
"The doctor who referred you says you're sick;
you're in a highly drug-addictive state."
She bolted upright jerkily.
"I'm not addicted! I can take it up
or put it down," she almost shouted, as
she fumbled for a cigarette. 

Dewell H. Byrd

hangs pale
over the garden.
Damp, fresh, clean
earth drinks its fill, sighs.
Picket fence releases strands of vapor.

embrace the sky
lush with early omen.
Starlings skitter about, glean.
Wind and light tease each other.

holds its breath
for a milli-second.
Grandma taps an egg
on the rim of the mixing bowl,
waits for the miracle to slip out.

Bev Conklin

I am drawn to the ocean's shore, and wonder why.
Sand stings my face and legs
as the winds force the waves to start building
far out toward the horizon.
Once in motion, they march,
row on row, straight to the shore--
never swerving--until they dash
against outcroppings of land and rock
in a booming display of spectacular water fireworks!
Sparkling, translucent, sun-created colors,
harmonizing sound and rhythm of wind and water,
create a magnificent, infinite symphony!
As my spirit races to blend with this universal music,
I become complete and know that I am . . . Home.


Tom Padgett

The anchor man on NBC
doesn’t speak grammatically
For example, he says, “It is him,”
when he should say, “It is he.”

His error in the objective case
is not reflected in his face;
he preens as if he need not use
the nominative in its place.

Impressive is the weight he wields--
especially when he kindly yields
the screen to “experts” who disperse
the latest from their fields

of medicine, economy,
a law enforcement mystery,
or politics—yes, all the news
that’s fit for you and me.

They leave us with some bit to quote
that’s also prone to flaws, I note.
If I can’t trust them on their pronouns,
how could they have my vote?