Monday, May 22, 2017

Cooperstown, New York

Ferris Wheels and fire works, 
sailing ships upon the lake. 
Horse-drawn wagons and cotton candy, 
and the children run everywhere. 

Lovers stand at the ring toss booth 
while vendors hawk burgers and fries. 
Boys pitch pennies to win a game, 
to give their prize away sweetly. 

A runner is on second base 
in the Fireman's Baseball Game. 
Someone sells homemade pies 
while the high school band plays. 

A barge drifts by the shoreline. 
It proudly flies the American flag. 
The captain wouldn’t fly it just any day, 
but today is the fourth of July. 

© Dennis Wright, 2015

(Based on an oil painting called
 "Cooperstown, New York, July, 1987," 
by Janet Munro) 

A Fourth of July celebration. St. Helena Island, South Carolina, 1939
Photo by Marion Post Walcott
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rabin....

At the precipice of Peace,
many boulders have fallen....

Yet, the torrent rushes on,
a bow of promise just above.

And below,
a foundation of stone
laid there long ago....
The harvest of seasons storming.

Let us embrace
the cold, and mist, and hardness
of this place

and move on towards the Light!


© Gerry Sackett, 2017


File:2015 rabin 22th anniversary.JPG
20th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv, Oct. 31, 2015
Photo by Talmoryair
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, May 8, 2017

Winter in Upstate NewYork, 1977

She tunnels out of her house 
through a mantel of snow
six feet high,
carrying her young son
to the barn.  She breaks
up a bunch of hay bales,
nesting him in the middle,
close to the cows.
She buries her head 
in the flank of the cow 
while she milks, thankful 
for its warm body and breath.

She’s swinging the pick-ax hard
through the ice in a trough
’til she chops a hole big enough
for a bucket to fill with water.
Running back and forth 
to water the cows, pigs,
horses, chickens.  The water
is fast-freezing in the bucket.
The temperature is windchill -40 degrees
for ten days.

Back home, she stokes the wood stove.
They sit within its three feet
of warmth, in their hats and coats.
All that’s left to burn is wet pine
and she burns it. 
Every cell in her body is an ice pellet.

The snow keeps falling.
By morning, the door won’t open.
If this was Antarctica, 
she would be better prepared,
mindful and in sync with her purpose.
Here, it’s all muscle-memory:  Survival.
Keep herself, her son, and the animals
from freezing to death.


There is a treacherous beauty
in the landscape, a silence
that only deep snow on farmland
seems capable of.
This span of time, of snow, wind and cold,
will just be another conversation with friends
in a few months.  But she
will remember it for years
and years as the time she overcame 
disbelief in herself.


© Evie Safran, 2017

"Old farm at Overtown in deep snow"
by Richard Johnson
from the Geography Project collection
from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Saturday Night in Batesville

You must arrive early at the old country store, 
parking lot’s small. Find a seat, a bite to eat, 
glass of wine, check the time then look around 
for Bobby Midnight and his band. Tables are full, 
people standing, yak-yaking crowds the space,
baby peers from pack on back, one mama runs 
to fetch her child, senior fans refill their drinks, 
and friends hail friends with rowdy hugs.  

One, then two, all six show up, beat up cases 
held in hand, hats buoyant on thin-haired heads. 
They shuffle on stage, open up bags, pull out 
possibilities: three guitars quiver, trumpet and sax 
glitter, stacked set of drums sits. These man-boys 
lean in to get the tuning right. The crowd booms 
then quiets as if testing for song.  Oh, there’s going 
to be some music on this warm spring night.

Funky tunes fly, fill the room, seep out windows 
step out doors.  Dancing couples, women clusters, 
dad with a daughter all pack the floor of that 
overhauled space. One man and a woman are fluid 
in leather bottomed shoes, possessed.  They swoon, 
sweat, press for more Billy Joel’s rock and roll. 
The local birdman holds a gallon pickle jar, 
trolls the room crying: gratuities for the band.  

Riding home, the man and woman still are dancing
in the moonlight.  And there it is -- bright bulging 
white shines their faces, lights up hay fields, 
rolls over foothills, crowns the Blue Ridge. 


© Marti Snell, 2017

Dance at a Country Inn
by Rafael Benjumea
Carmen Thyssen Museum, Malaga, Spain
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, April 17, 2017

Contradiction

March—an unsettling month,
unsteady,
like vultures in the air, 
tipping
this way and that.

Faults shift
in the bedrock of my core. 
My star cracks slightly, silently.
Uneasy in my bones.

Caesar knew of this.
I know of this.
I married in March,
yet March stole my husband,
and my mother.

Two surgeries
ten years apart.
One took a failed child, 
the other all hope of another.
Both March.

This morning, early March, 
a pair of Wood Ducks
emerged from the murky 
shadows of the pond
to float in the sunlight.


  © Jenny Gaden, 2017

Turkey vulture
Photo by Bob Peterson from North Palm Beach, FL
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, April 10, 2017

Price Range

All grown-ups were children first. (But 
few remember it.)
                ~ Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

The one-of-a-kind heirloom
under glass is roped off,
a proper distance
from museum onlookers

who afford a pocket-sized price
to applaud, not hold
dear to heart,
trumpeted treasure.

The search for fulfilling riches
at reasonable cost
overflows to streets
onto big-box stores and back-alley
vendors with knock-off deals.

Possessions glitter the path to satisfied
heartbeats despite night’s
isolation.
Having more seems happier
for many adults.

Once they’ve outgrown Neverland,
men and women get painted over
by agendas,
forget how to feed themselves 


with hearty nourishment freely given
by fairies, pirates, and mermaids.

Lost from to-do lists is one-of-a-kind Pan, 
clad in skeleton leaves
and juices that flow from trees, 
who keeps his heart forever young.


© Patsy Asunción, 2017

Public domain Pan and Wendy, cover, 1915
from Wikimedia Commons












Monday, April 3, 2017

Joshua’s Choice

If you choose you lose.
The chosen is yours but
What of the rest?
Did you pick the best?
When Joshua fit Jericho,
Think of the mess.
When the walls with great clatter
Begot fragments of matter,
Perhaps he frowned as he pondered his choice,
Thinking of his military budget
And the union demands of the horn-players,
And all that debris-clearing overtime for the deconstruction battalions.
He could have chosen ladders,
Or gate-busting rams to batter,
Or just shovels to tunnel beneath the dust-laden mud brick,
His men then springing up in the midst of the enemy
Like poisonous night-mushrooms after a rain.
But he took the traditional option,
Slaughtering every living thing within the sweep of the tumbled walls,
Not even selling the captured civilians at slave-auction,
Save Rahab the Prostitute. 
She must have been given many horns to toot.
Who can say?
Another choice might have yielded less suffering
And given Rahab
A day or two of buffering.

© George Phillips, 2017


The Fall of Jericho
Illustration from a Bible card published in 1901
by the Providence Lithograph Company
from Wikimedia Commons