Poem of the Week–Sunny, Today, and Frigid

Sunny, Today, and Frigid

Last night late,
Spring’s horned moon
hooked my eyes heavenward.
Gold crown between silhouettes,
spruces, where they bundle like sentries
against houses behind us.

Snow dusted earth while we slept.
Yet morning sunlight’s fingers
tickle the foot of my bed. Shoo us
outside to see: ground glows,
strewn, pink, blue, lavender,
and white shinings. I wonder can I capture
them with camera? Should I?

I did not try. Stood inside my boots, squinting.
After-images stamp my retinas, a frozen
tattoo; one mortal in momentary truth,
unbarricaded behind layers of technology
and excuses.

Rachael Z. Ikins
Central New York Branch, NY

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Poem of the Week–Pandora’s Box

Pandora’s Box

It’s time
To find a box
And pack away the past
Stuff it full of every hurtful word, look, or omission
By those who should have loved you
By those who almost loved you
By those who loved you poorly
Leave no room for regrets, what-ifs, why-nots
Jam injustices
Into every crevice and corner
Quick, shut it tight
Tape it closed
Drop it in the deepest sea
Drown the pain and loss forever
Let Pandora’s box be gone
Move on
It’s Time.

Susan Bassler Pickford
Member at Large

Poem of the Week–Year of the Sheep, San Francisco 1967 and Latest News

Year of the Sheep, San Francisco 1967

Born out of fear and myth the advent
of Chinese New Year’s celebration
protects against Nian – wild beast
of the old year – from attacking villages,
eating people, destroying crops.
Red lanterns cast light into darkness,
firecrackers pop like gunfire,
rockets shower their sparkle
into velvet night sky
to frighten Nian.

In San Francisco’s China Town,
dancers, costumed in red and gold, parade –
drums pound, symbols crash – electrify
the jostling throng, until
a cherry bomb, tossed by someone,
lands into the unsuspecting crowd
exploding shoulder pad contents
of a man’s suit near us.
We all wince in pain,
ears ringing.

People panic, scream, push
stumble, some fall as we realize
that the tradition of good luck
following the dragon’s signature dance
or the glowing lantern armada floating
up from the festival provides
no protection
from our Nian.

Lynn M. Hansen
Modesto Branch, CA

Latest News

As usual, the NLAPW has a lot going on in support of the arts: competitions, publications, webinars and even a special art trip to Italy! Visit our website to get in on the act:

Competitions, click here.
Pen Women OnLine, click here.
News and Events, including the Italian trip, click here.
To visit our NLAPW Pen Women Press bookstore, click here.

Thanks to all of you who pre-ordered Poems of the Super Moon–it is now on its way to the printer and the costs of this printing will be covered by pre-sales. I have grown to love all the poems in the anthology more and more, and can’t wait to see them on paper and not on a screen. I’m proud to be a Pen Woman in the company of so many talented and thoughtful poets.

Do share the link to our bookstore with your contacts, and the Publications committee will continue to get the word out on social media. Shout out to Rachael Ikins of the Central New York branch who has joined the committee as Social Media “Diva!”

From the preface to Poems of the Super Moon:

As you make your way through this collection, you will encounter poems on love, hope, death, loss, family, faith, mothering, nature, the seasons, creativity, and what it means to be a woman. In short, these poems are not only about the moon; they are about life itself. … The moon has inspired these poems, but it is the inspiration that comes from within that we celebrate with this anthology.

Treanor Wooten Baring
Poetry Editor
National League of American Pen Women, Inc.

Moon News, Poem of the Week

Tonight’s moon is a “micro-moon”– the smallest full moon of the year. See the EarthSky website for more details by clicking here. 2015 will have six “super moon” events, three of which will be “near-perigee” full moons: August 29, September 28 and October 27. Again, the EarthSky website is the place to go (click here) to get more info.

The Pen Women Press collection Poems of the Super Moon is in the final stages of formatting and will be headed to the printer and shipped to pre-orders soon. If you haven’t ordered your copies yet, pre-order now to be assured of getting in on the first printing. Click here to visit our bookstore to order on line.

In honor of tonight’s moon, the Poem of the Week today comes from Nelly Zamora Jones of the Coral Gables Branch, along with her painting, La Luna Y Mi Aguila.

mi luna y mi aguila  Nelly Zamora Jones Coral Gables Branch, FL

mi luna y mi aguila
Nelly Zamora Jones
Coral Gables Branch, FL

The Moon and My Eagle

Once a distant past
Now an ever-present
Reminder by the voice of
My four-year-old grandson!

“It’s so very far away,
I can’t reach it,
How beautiful!”

No longer are you Moon
Darkened by the forces of Nature,
For you still shine in the origins
Of the creative mind!

Through voyages of years gone by and
History books overflowing with your secrets,
You continue to be first in
Whimsical flights to the poet’s song!

Counting, remembering, and
Even forgetting a few moons,
I touch your reflection
While becoming one with you!

Hence no matter where you go
Through reverie of dreams,
I follow your path on the wings of
The Eagle’s wind!

Nelly Zamora Jones
Coral Gables Branch, FL

Inspired by her oil painting, The Moon and My Eagle, Nelly Zamora Jones

all rights reserved by the artist and author

Poem of the Week–A Blazing Glimmering Lake

A Blazing Glimmering Lake

The day dawns still and crisp.
A skin of ice covers the water to the east,
A morning stubble of black saplings outlines the mouth of a stream
Where Beaver skinny dips in the frosty water, pattering mud
Over a lumpy lodge to keep his family snug in the coming months.

Tentative rays peek between land and low-hanging sky. The boldest ones are grey,
Then by turns they all appear: violet, purple, puce
Mauve, cimarron, rose, shocking pink,
Orange, tangerine, peach,
Lavender, amber

And finally, Regent appears
At the end of the opulent procession;
Flashing a blindingly brilliant white-gold grin
Before tucking back under the steel velvet cloud cover
For a few more winks

And I realize
That Beaver and I
Have plenty to be thankful for
Without Anyone
Saying a word.

by Angela Hunt
Minnesota Branch

Poem of the Week–A Prompting in Winter (Prince’s Cove)

A Prompting in Winter (Prince’s Cove)

The sand is frozen in the hourglass,
and if this is the day the sailboat is trapped,
moored a hundred yards from shore

and if this is the sign — the ebb tide, ice-bound,
leaning slab by white slab, like dominos,
dry stacked on the boat ramp,

when your dog sniffs a chain
padlocked to the scarred piling, and the
stench of gutted fish clinging to the dock

releases in you a raging sense
of theft         of loss         of the unspent life of a woman —
then this is the time.

The midwives are the blazing sunrise and
the sounds        crack         crack
like a rifle shot, echoing loud in the cove.

Wary of hunters,
you seek your dog, all golden and familiar,
who sits unfazed, intuitive about these things:

it’s the ice that’s causing the commotion,
it’s the ice breaking the rule of winter’s prey
— to lie still, to feign death —

so far out of the realm of possibility
because its essence
is flow.

This is something you aspire to
so you chant your fear
inside a labyrinth of half shells

and before your verve depletes,
before your day is wracked with shoulds
will you emerge out of the frozen —

lit with the dawn and
glinting in silver
when the wild geese call?

Diane McDonough
Cape Cod Branch, MA

Poem of the Week–Valentines



The background is not well known…

Love went for a walk one day

and was surprised to be hit by

armfuls of white arrows

that upon touch

exploded into a sky cascading

with ageless red hearts

caught by many then, and…

the word is that the air

is always full of these reds and

whites; we cannot see this, but

the floating likenesses

invisibly aim and,


directly hit our

signaling hearts.
Lois Howard

Palm Springs Branch, CA 


Click here to visit our Bookstore to order Pen Women Press poetry anthologies Spirit, Peace and Joy, and Poems of the Super Moon.

Click here to visit our Pen Women OnLine page to find out about our live and recorded webinars for Arts professionals.

Poem of the Week–No Redemption from Pitch

There’s No Redemption from Pitch

There’s no redemption from pitch.
Sometimes in the sunlight there’s a sheen to it,
a tempting shine in its darkness,
and it seems yielding, aqueous.

The iridescence calls to your eyes–
it’s damnably attractive, this stuff.
Lies there in its patch, preening.
You touch it–ignore the warning signs–
reaching out across the barrier space,
fingers happily anticipating warm smoothness,
wanting to share the touch of the embedded color,
the age-old charm of oil.

No one can tell you.
No one can pull you apart from the pitch,
fingers stuck to the darkness
that went from enticing to something else.

by Jean Hull Herman
Diamond State Branch

Poem of the Week–Before You Were Born

Before You Were Born

My arms caressing my basketball sized stomach
I held you
as I spoke to you
holding long conversations
telling you everything I was doing every day.
You were for that interval detained,
floating dreamlike within your aquarium globe.
I would speak to you whenever the outside volume
became too distracting–
when the threat of impending violence tensed the surrounding air.
He would be ranting about something,
and so I would sit on the edge of the bed
and sing to you,
“Don’t you listen to him; mommy loves you”–
my arms around the you inside of me–
placing my palms just where I thought your budding ears might be,
to keep you, I hoped, from hearing his voice.

Once, before you were born,
I ran from him down the street,
and again my arms desperately held you.
This time they formed a kind of lift, a restraint
against the jostling of juices
as I held my bountiful belly
like a young boy who has just kidnapped a prized ripe watermelon
from the neighbor’s yard.

Before you were born,
as your first endocrinological seas were forming,
establishing their own recipe transmuted from his ocean
and mine,
I did not know then you would always hear those voices
that you would always be running.

D. Marie Fitzgerald
Palm Springs, Ca. Branch

Publications News and Poem of the Week-For Kate

The Pen Woman magazine is hot off the press and will be going out in the mail shortly. Members will be receiving the magazine in a few weeks to a month. click here to visit our Pen Woman magazine page to subscribe if you aren’t yet a member or to order additional copies. Winter2015cover

The deadline for The Light Between Us submissions is February 25, 2015. NLAPW members, please submit your true story of the impact of creative expression on a personal healing experience or the impact of a life experience on your artistic expression in 1200 words or less.
Use 12 point type and Times New Roman Font.
Submit your manuscript to: penwomenpress@nlapw.org with Light between Us in the subject line.
Include your name, address, phone number, email address and branch affiliation or Member-At-Large in the upper left hand corner of page 1.

Order our upcoming anthology, Poems of the Super Moon, on our bookstore page:poemsofthesupermoon6x9

Click here to visit the NLAPW BOOKSTORE

Poem of the Week

For Kate

Your hair smells like gin.
Crisp, of-the-forest, cold.
You spent a day hoarding
sunlight, posing on one
windowsill after another.
Washing yourself of winter.
You followed the light
east to west. By evening
you’d soaked so many
rays, you were gravid
with heat, gold, and
that juniper

scent. You hold my wrist
between your teeth, your
pupils dark moons, your sky-
blue eyes. You do not break
skin. I push my face into
your flank. I cannot resist you.
You murmur, one-syllable
seduction. Throw yourself
onto/into weave, stories,
oriental rug. Bare pink,
pink belly to night’s

Rachael Z. Ikins
Central New York Branch, NY