Sharing a Poem or Two

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1 February, 2024

Sharing a Poem or Two

April was launched as National Poetry Month in 1996 to celebrate poetry and its role in American culture. As an educator instructing young students, I, who had never written a poem in my life, did not hesitate to require teenagers in my English classes to write a poem…and often I was impressed with the imagery and the emotions contained in their efforts.

Retired educator, Charles Thomas wrote a ballad about a deputy sheriff’s directing traffic at our high school’s athletic events. His opus was entertaining as well as demonstrative of real creativity. Mary Lou Jones wrote a lyrical poem about a flower severed from a bush which then floated on the waters of a stream─stark beauty in an unexpected environment. A brilliant lad described spring as “a butterfly spreading its lovely wings.” And there were many more. Susan Hill Shepherd, as well as a dozen others, also impressed me with her poetry.

My friend, Betty O. Taylor, challenged me to write a poem using a technique shared with the Transylvania Writers Alliance by poet Anne Harding Woodworth. I accepted the challenge and copied “Weep No More, My Ladies.” Then I commenced, line by line, to write a similar line, and, much later, I had written my first poem ─ ”I Won’t Cry.” My poem was published and later included in an anthology.

Below are a few of my published poems, which deal with nature, grief, family matters, and other issues of the heart and mind.

An Octogenarian Ponders

Troubled nights prolonged;
days cut short.
My friends' lives--succinctly--
on headstones: name, dates
of birth, demise--
drown my spirit's glee.
Time's threads, tangled with
gloom and sadness,
halt my laughter and
speed the tears.
But memory rebels
and chooses joy!
Joy, defiant, looks to
God for victory.
Advanced in age, daring to
reject grief's sorrow and pain,
my heart whispers
"There is no death.
Life, renewed in a distant
garden, reverberates
as rich melodies echo
from an angel choir."
There, my friends, in bodies
of radiant glory,
await my coming, and with
that grand reunion
all curfews end.

Reprinted with permission from Bereavement Publications, Inc., Living With Loss™, first published in Living With Loss™ Magazine, Summer 2011, page 23, 888.604.4673, Featured in December 2014 of Nancy Simpson's Blog "Living above the Frostline."


I won't cry,
Daddy's job's gone. The place he worked shut down.
"It's closed its doors," he said. "Our jobs are overseas."
Mommy said, "Where's the money gonna' come from?"
But the money ain't comin' 'cept once in a while.
We get Food Stamps and we're not hungry, 'cept for sweets.
So I won't cry.

We know the bank's gonna take our house.
Daddy says it ain't no great loss, but where'll we live?
Maybe we can go to Grandma's, but that's a long way off
And Daddy says there ain't no jobs there.
Don't know where we'll go.
But I won't cry.

The bottoms of my shoes have holes;
heels are off.
Mommy cut up cardboard shaped like my feet
and put inside.
I can't feel the nails now.
My clothes are gettin' too tight.
Maybe there's somethin' my size at Sharin' House.
I really want a bigger pair of jeans, shoes that fit.
Still I won't cry.

Daddy sold our trampoline and the TV.
"Every little bit helps," he said.
I sure miss watchin' cartoons.
Mommy said, "Sell my rings"...but Daddy won't do that.
He says better days are comin'.
I hope so, but no matter. I won't cry.
I just won't cry.

Memory's Treasure

In this bungalow,
yesterday’s dreams drift
through each room
like sunbeams, embellish
bare walls with shadows.

Outside, my backyard brags
of showy roses, a garden green
with cabbage and broccoli‒
okra not yet.
The wind fills curtains

like white balloons,
adds silhouettes
from memory's souvenirs.
Masterpieces from living are left behind
to drift through empty space

like sunlight descending
over yesterday.

Meeting My Bear

One spring day rounding a sharp curve,
I slammed on my brakes:
my silver Vibe idling nose-to-nose
with a frightened Ursus Americanus,
his massive paw clenched nervously.

Displaced by development, the bear
flared his nostrils in fright,
glanced hastily away and back,
with an unvoiced question: friend or foe?
Pulling into the other lane, I found

my bear blocking the way. I managed
a few cautious moves, a new sport
matched by the wary animal.
Suddenly, spurred by fear, he leaped
to a boulder, jutting from the steep bank,

gripped it tightly, fearful of a fall.
Then I passed, deserting my wayward bear,
recalling tales of sky bears
that dwell in azure space, Callisto‒
and Great Bear, whose blood tinged

earth's autumn leaves orange and red.
Between the rusting guard rails
and the tree-covered drop, our souls
have curiously embraced one another
–but I have left my un-caged bear behind.

The Deer

Moments imbedded in memory
mesh with our being.

Early morning, a glance
through the kitchen window

seven intricately small deer
into view,
like shadows,
grazing beneath apple trees.

I summoned my family.
Come. Share the sight.
Tiptoe. Eye each animal,
blending with the high grass,
yet silhouetted in muted camouflage
against orchard foliage.

Then, a sudden silent shift
raised an inner alarm,
and they were gone, leaving awe

at nature's beings
seeking to survive,
impelling us to safeguard our souls.

Spring, the Vernal Equinox

Warm rain awakens
the frozen earth,
as Spring unfurls
her loveliness,
like a butterfly
spreading its wings.

On this first day of spring,
so coldly called
vernal equinox,
the sun spotlights
frost-damaged forsythia,
purple hyacinths,

yellow daffodils,
and multi-colored crocus,
that drape my yard
like a floral skirt
flowing along the ground.
I long to revisit

the spring of my own life,
with its glow of youth
or go back
to my life's summer
and alter decisions
required by adulthood.

But for now, I cling
to the last days
of autumnal frost,
dreading the winter
of my final days.
Memory does bring solace.


A chainsaw's teeth rip through moss-covered bark,
and down plunges a mighty oak, centuries old.

Viewed with awe by passersby, the soaring tree
supplied acorns for chipmunks and crows, created

a playground for lively squirrels, a handy hang-out
for possums pausing to groom themselves as they

climbed from limb to limb, a stage for joyful songbirds.
Sweethearts once carved their initials into its wood.

Young lovers leaned against its trunk to count the stars.
Now men swing axes to cut away boughs, twigs, roots;

stripping limbs from the majestic trunk,
to be hauled away to the local sawmill.

And just how many Aprils must elapse before
an acorn sprouts and grows into a mighty oak?

Breaking Ground

Shovel in hand, the mayor
lifts a spade of dirt,

wrested from earth
ignored by a generation.

Wild applause breaks forth,
where in past years a grove−

oaks, poplars, locusts stood in
splendor, while wildflowers:

trillium, lady slippers, lilies
splashed colors nearby,

but bulldozers replaced plows
to chisel out roots making

way for lifeless concrete, granite,
brick, Clapping ends, and

folks walk away.

(Published in eno Magazine, Issue 8, 2019)

Woodland Glory

Golden sunlight shimmers
through a canopy of trees,
illuminating the forest floor,
near a meadow dusted with

daisies and Queen Anne's lace.
A majestic tulip poplar soars
heavenward, with its roots clutching
the earth, its majesty−unmarred

by disease, feasting weevils,
or housing development−
wrapping my spirit in gladness,
cementing a memory to ponder.

Unforgettable Antarctica

If I could visit Antarctica,
I would fly by jet
to Buenos Airesand sail to the Falklands.

I would journey
through Drake Passage
to watch dolphins
leap into the air.

An albatross would
greet me on my way to
explore marvelous sights
at the frigid South Pole.

Glistening icebergs would
slide into the sea
I would come face-to-face
with happy penguins,

take a Zodiac cruise
on an inflatable raft,
photograph sculpted icebergs,
travel on a kayak,
paddle on a stand-up board
to view the beauty of a frozen land
around Paradise Bay.

If I could visit Antarctica

my adventures in an ice-covered
land would be exciting
and create forever tales to share.

The Comet

The sky, peppered with silver stars,
flaunts its beauty,
as one falls

like a silver fountain
the night.

The Clock

Uncle Bernard built the clock,
screwing red oak and walnut,
installing springs and glass,
securing swinging pendulums
and quartz face.

"Outstanding," claimed his friends
and his shirt buttons grew tighter
as, smiling, he murmured, "Thanks."
The clock's chiming pleased his ears
like a gentle breeze plucking

the harp of a laurel thicket.
Age brought blurring vision,
stumbling steps, bending posture,
slowing thought,
so he moved to "the home."

There, residents,
grasping wheelchairs or walkers,
wrestled gravity
with irregular clomping
to reach Room 201.

Seniors, spectators of their own
dwindling time, stretched
aging necks upward
to catch a glimpse of Uncle Bernard's clock

back in the corner, its sheen
boasting ornate swirls,
a visual feast for the hard of hearing,
indifferent to the clock's chimes.

I have written many more, but it never ceases to thrill me when one meets the approval of an editor and is published. Please take the time occasionally to enjoy poetry and perhaps to create one of your own. Haiku and limericks are fun to play with, and I hope you will play a little.