Archives for July 2016

Poem of the Week: Scylla and Charybdis

Susan Bassler Pickford, Member-at-Large in Lyman, Maine


Navigating the dangerous passage of old age

Between rocks and eddies

One side covered with indifferent, defeatist attitudes

Devil- may- care, rock hard, reckless neglect of common sense

That leads to early shipwreck and ruin

The other siren calling women to excessive concern about their looks

Compulsive swirling attention to the body

The scale and mirror cruel arbiters of reality

How to find the middle way

How to steer oneself to the best case scenario

How to propel oneself reasonably

Through the narrow straits


Growing Old


Online now: 2016 Biennial Highlights

See photos and news about all the celebration! 2016 National Pen Women Biennial Convention

2016 Biennial Installation of Officers


The new Board of Directors. Photo by Judy Bingman

The new national board members, left to right, Jane Maclean, fifth vice president; Sheila Byrnes, second vice president; Ronnie Miller, fourth vice president; Virginia Franklin Campbell, president; Lorna Jean Hagstrom, first vice president; Maureen Sappéy, third vice president; Evelyn Wofford, treasurer.

The NLAPW business meeting took place Friday morning. The U.S. Army Military District of Washington Armed Forces Color Guard presented and retired the colors at the beginning of the event.

Color Guard formation_BI4A0358

Color Guard at attention_BI4A0354












Poem of the Week: Green Vase

Brenda Layman, Central Ohio Branch


Bright morning balcony sun

Me, arranging flowers in the old green vase

That was my mother’s

Kept in a cabinet over the refrigerator

Where curious child hands

(mine) could not reach

Once filled with roses, an ardent tribute

Conquest token treasured

Beauty remembered

Lipstick-red as roses

Faded into something soft,

Nearly forgotten, out of focus and wrinkled

Like linen dresses in summer long ago

I fill the green vase with bright blossoms

Freesia, carnations, daisy mums and

Wildflowers from my garden

Red, purple, white, golden yellow

A bit of lavender for scent

I place into the vase which was a gift

From a long-forgotten man who

Had he more than roses to offer

Might have been

Father to some other daughter

Who may have had something of me in her soul

Would she have been standing here this morning

With fresh-cut flowers in her hands?


Poem of the Week: Control

Cleo Griffith, Modesto, CA Branch


The pest control man came today,

the first encounter,

and I wanted to hug him, cry on his shoulder,

pat his back, say I love you,

not, not for the freedom of spiders and pests,

but because he is a large black man

with a kind demeanor and it is

July 8, 2016 and the week has been

one of horror.

I wanted to say I’m sorry although I am not to blame,

I wanted to say I know you are not to blame,

I wanted to ask how do you bear it

and how can I?

But instead I gave him the check

and said thank you and I’ll see you in three months.


Perhaps the world will have changed for all of us

by then.


Poem of the Week: Pain

Mary Joan Meagher, Minnesota Branch
Once there was a light –
But it was hidden.
Sometimes a gleam showed,
But hardly anyone knew it was there.
The light was in a small dark room.
It was the only light there.
It liked the room, but it felt
there must be more room outside.
Someone had locked it in!
One day the light felt
especially cramped and lonely.
It thought, “I’ll gleam brighter
and give off some heat.
Maybe my owner will let me out.”
So the light pulled its energy together
and concentrated hard and flared up
high and red and burned
the heart it was in.
The heart hurt and broke open
a little.
The owner of the light in the heart
cried and then opened wide
her eyes.
Suddenly there flashed up and out
the Light.
It glowed with joy and sang to its owner,
“Now I am free. Let us speak to each other.
I will return to your heart.
Just leave the door open, please.”