THIRTY-SEVEN CENTS
Vol. 7, No. 9     An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society    September 2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                      (c) FreeFoto.com                         
WHAT'S IN THE WORKS?

 

I chose this picture with industry and specifically Labor Day in mind.  Most of my life, September has meant the return to school-- first as a student, then many more times as a teacher.  I grew up in small towns, so I never participated in a holiday parade commemorating work and workers.   Instead I regretted the end of summer with its outdoor games.  Now, in retirement, I suppose I should be content with the time I have, but it seems there is always something "in the works," something that is more like work than play.  I wish I could say I am working on a long poem, that in the future I would reveal what is in the works now.  However, I cannot truthfully say I am spending more time writing.  So instead of being in the midst of productivity, I meet each day with a schedule of things that are not very productive.  There are a few exceptions.  Good things in the works are this monthly poetry e-zine and my monthly society meeting, Second Tuesday.  Also this month are the Literary Artists Series in Bolivar September 25, and the state convention in Springfield, September 26-27 for most of you.  Read Spare Mule Online here for details, including lodging and luncheon plans.  Thus the pictured limeworks in England becomes for me both a positive and a negative reminder of what I want to participate in and what keeps me from doing so.  As that pop song from the 1940's recommended, I hope to "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative."    --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
 


 
POETRY IN THE NEWS

Thomas Lux will read from his poetry at the Jester Learning Center [Bolivar,Missouri] at 6:00 pm, Thursday, September 25, as part of SBU's Barnett-Padgett Literary Artist Series.  The reading will be followed at 7:00 with an informal interview.  Both sessions are free and open to the public.

Lux will also speak at the Missouri State Poetry Society's state convention in Springfield, Missouri, at the Library Learning Center on South Campbell Street, Friday, September 26, at 7:00 pm.  This is the first of three sessions--Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon--of the convention.  Michael Burns, also a distinguished poet, will conduct a Saturday morning workshop and read from his poetry at the Saturday afternoon session.  All of the convention's program is open to the public and with the exception of the luncheon at Saturday noon is free.  There is no convention registration fee.  Details about the luncheon and lodging will be posted on the website at
http://www.nfsps.com/mo/conv.htm.
 

HAVE YOU VISITED THE WORKSHOP LATELY?
Click Workshop and do some of the lessons there.
If you have an idea for a new lesson, send it along. 

HAVE YOU READ YOUR ONLINE NEWSLETTERS?
Read Spare Mule Online and Strophes Online available by clicking the underlined titles.

HAVE YOU ENTERED A MSPS CONTEST RECENTLY?
Our state president is encouraging us to enter the MSPS Winter Contest.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE BULLETIN BOARD LATELY? 
Visit our MSPS Bulletin Board for news of events and contests in our area.


POET OF THE MONTH: THOMAS LUX


For the Academy of American Poets page, which includes 2 Lux poems, see http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/115.

For biography and bibliography of Lux, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Lux.

For 17 poems by Thomas Lux, see http://plagiarist.com/poetry/poets/35/

For comment by Lux about poetry and technology, see http://www.poetry.gatech.edu/bourne.htm.

For an interview with Lux, visit http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/8/lux8i.htm.

 
 

AMERICAN LIFE IN POETRY

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 online 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 175
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
2004-2006

A part of being a parent, it seems, is spending too much time fearing the worst.  Here Berwyn Moore, a Pennsylvania poet, expresses that fear--irrational, but exquisitely painful all the same.

Driving to Camp Lend-A-Hand
[for Emma Grace]

The day we picked our daughter up from camp,
goldenrod lined the road, towheaded scouts
bowing on both sides, the parting of macadam
as we drove, the fields dry, the sky lacy with clouds.
A farmer waved.  A horse shrugged its haughty head.
We stopped for corn, just picked, and plums and kale,
sampled pies, still warm, and tarts and honeyed bread.
Sheets on a line ballooned out like a ship's sail.
Time stopped in those miles before we saw her.
For eight days we hadn't tucked her in or brushed
her hair or watched her grow, the week a busy blur
of grown-up bliss.  It came anyway, that uprush
of fear--because somewhere a child was dead:
at a market, a subway, a school, in a lunatic's bed.


American Life in Poetry: Column 177
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
2004-2006


Kristen Tracy is a poet from San Francisco who here captures a moment at a zoo. It's the falling rain, don't you think, that makes the experience of observing the animals seem so perfectly truthful and vivid?

Rain at the Zoo

A giraffe presented its head to me, tilting it
sideways, reaching out its long gray tongue.
I gave it my wheat cracker while small drops
of rain pounded us both. Lightning cracked open
the sky. Zebras zipped across the field.
It was springtime in Michigan. I watched
the giraffe shuffle itself backwards, toward
the herd, its bone-and rust-colored fur beading
with water. The entire mix of animals stood
away from the trees. A lone emu shook
its round body hard and squawked. It ran
along the fence line, jerking open its wings.
Perhaps it was trying to shake away the burden
of water or indulging an urge to fly. I can't know.
I have no idea what about their lives these animals
love or abhor. They are captured or born here for us,
and we come. It's true. This is my favorite field.

 
American Life in Poetry: Column 176
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
2004-2006

Hearts and flowers, that's how some people dismiss poetry, suggesting that's all there is to it, just a bunch of sappy poets weeping over love and beauty. Well, poetry is lots more than that. At times it's a means of honoring the simple things about us. To illustrate the care with which one poet observes a flower, here's Frank Steele, of Kentucky, paying such close attention to a sunflower that he almost gets inside it.

Sunflower

You're expected to see
only the top, where sky
scrambles bloom, and not
the spindly leg, hairy, fending off
tall, green darkness beneath.
Like every flower, she has a little
theory, and what she thinks
is up. I imagine the long
climb out of the dark
beyond morning glories, day lilies, four o'clocks
up there to the dream she keeps
lifting, where it's noon all day.

American Life in Poetry: Column 178
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
2004-2006


We mammals are ferociously protective of our young, and we all know not to wander in between a sow bear and her cubs. Here Minnesota poet Gary Dop, without a moment's hesitation, throws himself into the water to save a frightened child.

Father, Child, Water

I lift your body to the boat
before you drown or choke or slip too far

beneath. I didn't think--just jumped, just did
what I did like the physics

that flung you in. My hands clutch under
year-old arms, between your life

jacket and your bobbing frame, pushing you,
like a fountain cherub, up and out.

I'm fooled by the warmth pulsing from
the gash on my thigh, sliced wide and clean

by an errant screw on the stern.
No pain. My legs kick out blood below.

My arms strain
against our deaths to hold you up

as I lift you, crying, reaching, to the boat.

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POEMS BY MEMBERS

BUTTERFLY OF FAITH
Valerie Esker

The butterfly--
A wise and quiet thing
While at her daily work
She kisses flowers.
(Bright butterfly is what I'd like to be!)
Crass cricket creaks and loudly twangs his string;
Throughout the sleepless night, he shouts for hours.
(Why can't he drowse like me, nocturnally?)

Smart butterfly has this philosophy;
That silence in its subtle way empowers
The one who grasps its meaning, deep and true.
Should sunny day digress to drenching showers,
Then under glossy leaf you'll see her cling,
Not uttering one dark or gloomy view,
Just fluttering her optimistic hue
While waiting for the joy the sun will bring!


MISUNDERSTANDING
Steve Penticuff

Wondering all these years
about equine politics
and the mysterious power
of just one vote,

I always thought uncle
Albert said that the zebra
at the San Diego Zoo had
a huge--and he meant

enormous--election.
Always thought aunt Millie
was wrong to turn so red
and laugh so obnoxiously.


A PRAYER OF TRUST
Henrietta Romman

Lord and Master of all mankind,
I come to you with grace untold,
Your love and favor fill my mind,
Accept my praise a million fold.

May all I ever learned from You
Bring peace and joy to those You send,
May all the steps I take and do
Lift up Your name from start to end.

God Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Please hold my hand and let me stand
That I may help You find the lost
Till Jesus takes me to His land.
 

THE LONG YEAR
Diane Auser Stefan

politics o eight
players spewing promises
muddy clear waters

radio TV
selling time to all who run
airwave invasion

so many voices
hawking so many choices
we strain to find truths

come swift November
voting closes a long year
politics o eight

THE WORK OF ATTIC HEAT
Harding Stedler

In the attic above
her upstairs apartment,
where temperatures soared
into the hundreds,
Miss Annie's noodles
spent the summer drying
on flat screens
spread across wooden horses.
We looked forward to meals
of chicken noodle soup
on winter days
after noodles were bagged and sealed.

Miss Annie labored for days
to cut the dough
in perfect lines,
thin and forever straight.
She knew that weeks of attic heat
would shrink them even more.

Relatives clamored for that special taste
of Annie's dough
when she came out of hiding
and dough was left
to devices
of the heat of the searing sun.


OLD MAN WITH A POSE
Pat Durmon

There. . .
the old man sits
in the dusty corner of the cafťó
back to a hard wall, facing crowded air.

To his right,
another non-yielding barrier
keeps him safeó
out of the hubba dub dub.

To his left,
the teasing waitress
takes his order and floats away,
a maple leaf in the wind
serving her attentive public.

I sneak another peekó
a contented face, overalls,
hands clasped in place on the table,
a shift of his body and then a settling.
My eyes scrutinize him as he lowers
his snowy head like a tulip droops
her paper-white bloom.

Dozing or praying? Baffling.
It is the exact, same pose.


 
VISIT WORKSHOP FOR AN ASSIGNMENT.

 Top Workshop Index

 

 

 

 

FELINE HAIKU
Jennifer Smith


Feline contentment
Ellie coiled upon my lap
Purr-fect lullaby



IRRESISTIBLE DESIRE
Faye Adams

What could be better
when tummy growls,
than a BLT, stacked high

on whole wheat toast
with summer tomato
and fresh, crisp lettuce?

Goes down easy,
satisfies,
but only for a moment.

Baconish aroma
fills the house,
sings an irresistible song

of desire, lingers,
pulls your strings
again and again.


LATE BLOOMERS
Dewell H. Byrd

My brotherís gone to camp
so he wonít even know,
he thinks girls canít pogo.
Letís give it a try.

You go first. Youíll be good at it
what with your long legs
youíre good at everything.
WOW, sprong, sprong.

Way-to-go, good jumping.
My turn now, stand clear
and catch me if I fall.
I did it.

You know, when I was jumping
I felt all jiggley
on my chest,
two little spots.

They shook like the buttons
on grandmaís coat when she laughs.
Iím too young, arenít I?
I mean, to have breasts and all.

Letís do hop-scotch and
see if itís still there.
Donít you dare tell anyone.
Iíll be teased out of sixth grade.
 

DEPARTURE
Laurence W. Thomas

My dad, the most inept man in our family
when it comes to cooking,
is in the garage barbecuing ribs and chickens.
I have things to do, but offer to lend a hand.
We work together until all the people in the yard
are no longer hungry. Then dad, never much
at public displays of affection when he was alive,
gives me a long, warm embrace.


ONE TOO MANY
Jean Even

How many blessings can we count if children are blessings unto us.
Matters not the numbers even if it was only one to discuss.
That one is still considered a blessing from the Lord. He has given
A precious soul for us to keep but not like cattle that are driven
Unless the child is raised in joy and love that canít be disputed.
Our children need Godís love and it is up to us to see itís imputed,
Therein lies our blessings, one to many matters not only Godís love.
He will always stimulate our hearts as though it comes from  foxglove.

SCHOOL DAZE
Pat Laster

Each day, Home Econ teacher named Florence
would spew out her anger in torrents.
"Stop talking and clean!"
Girls glared at her--mean.
A dirty fridge was an abhorrence.

A wild English teacher, Aegean,
attempted a task Herculean:
"You'll write every day
a good one-act play."
Her students became quite protean.

World History was Miz Samples' thing.
The difference 'tween premier and king
she carefully taught.
But all was for naught:
our ears only heard the bell ring!


DINNER ON THE GROUNDS
Tania Gray

After barbecued mutton and fried
chicken, Dad raised his sharp machete,
plunged it deep in a yellow-bellied
Arkansas Black Diamond.
Again and again he whacked, serving
red rocking triangles.

Deacons guffawed, women and kids smiled
when Dad told his congregation, ďLetís
kill a watermelon.Ē


THREE WOMEN ON TV
Tom Padgett


One makes a cobbler on a cooking show.
She entertains a guest while mixing dough
with buttered batter banter that is not
a recipe youíll ever need to know.

A teacher suffers frequent kidney calls,
embarrassment that drives her up the walls.
Then this new medicine delivers her
from sanctuary in the toilet stalls.

The addict in the waiting room will sit
until called in to show her new-found grit.
Although sheís failed so many times before,
she says, ďThis time is now my time to quit.Ē