Poem of the Week: Costumes

Risa Roberts
Fort Lauderdale Branch

 

She stripped down to her underwear

Then

Slowly stripped down

To her bones

Not enough

She reached deep into her being

Found the child

And

Crossed over

 

Poem of the Week: Tales of A Hidden Closet 

Linda Newman Woito
Iowa City, Iowa Branch

 

Prudence opened a narrow door and was surprised

she was walking into a closet thinking it was a women’s

bathroom but since she was already holding her legs

tightly together she decided to pull the door closed

and have at it in a little drain that sat in the corner

of the closet below the handy-dandy pull-chain light

and so she did.  As she began relieving herself

the light dimmed once then twice and everything

went black including the drain itself which she was

straining to see as she aimed with as steady a stream

as she could manage under the circumstances.  Yet

all she could think as she tried to relax was did I lock

the door when I came in, knowing I’d need a moment

of personal privacy.   But before she could answer

to her satisfaction the door opened and in walked

a young janitor with a mop and a glass of champagne

in his hand, and soon he was bending over as she

tried to yank up her too-tight jeans in the most

lady-like manner she knew when suddenly the light

came on and she heard him ask:  Can I help you Lady?

You lose something Lady? To which she replied

No, not at all in fact I’ve found precisely what I’ve 

needed for a long long time and in exactly the right 

time place and manner…indeed in the right order

and so she pulled the pull-chain once then twice

and out went the light in time for the next tale

to begin.

 

Poem of the Week: Black Cat in an Oil Painting

Heather Banks, Member at Large, Rockingham, VA

 

I never owned a real black cat,
though felines of three other shades owned me
for more than 20 years sequentially.
Even longer has this ebony
cat crouched on a table that
might be rectangular or round,
and might be covered or just painted brown
but definitely is very flat
like the depth of all ambiguous spaces
painted on two-dimensional surfaces.

The pot of flowers, painted white, somehow
admits a trace of the room’s vertical orange plane.
The azure sky does not intrude entirely
on primed, bare canvas between cattails
and sunny flowers that sing of daffodils
or gladiolas that cannot open fully.

Light varies the striped décor’s lush tint,
and the sheer, patterned curtain rests, twisted
between breaths from the open window.

A painting—or perhaps mirror’s dark reflection—
almost slides off the wall into the path
of the screen door’s yellow frame.

Through decades now, I see,
the young artist’s energy
coiled in the waiting black cat’s smudge.
Each time I delve into this image,
it’s ready to pounce—perhaps attack
three reproductions of Asian cats
that lurk around the corner in my hall—
originals brushed by watercolor artists
on silk or paper centuries ago.
That trio perches, twitches, too—
and I smile, because _I_ see them all.

 

Poem of the Week: Boca Raton Branch Poetry Workshop collection

Boca Raton Branch Connects-Heart-to Heart Stories in Poetry Workshop

In honor of Sheila Firestone, president of the Boca Raton Branch of Pen Women, Vera Ripp Hirschhorn, Poetry Chair, invited members and patrons to her home for the first workshop on poetry and music. Participants were asked to create poetry as they listened to two of Sheila’s original compositions, “The River of Grass, Rhapsody No. 1” and “The Hearing Forest and Seeing Field.” Members were not told the titles of the pieces until the very end. Enjoy the poems.

CORRIDOR by Lea Hope Becker (to Sheila’s first piece)

I’m moving through a long corridor
There’s not a light nor even a glow
I may emerge from eerie space
And find my way to Eden

Is it night, or has the sun come out above the seashore’s edge?
Casting its sunburst effect upon the water
Watching waves and hearing their soothing sounds

I must glide until the watery end
Careless of the boundary
That which seals the day I die
Whilst I cross into the open sea

Merry from the visit
Happy to be free.

 

A New York Moment by Marlene Klotz (to Sheila’s first piece)

They met by chance
Two strangers afloat at a party
In a Trendy Manhattan apartment
A mutual chemistry occurred
That was instantaneous
Despite a light snowfall

The starry-eyed pair
Left the building and
Headed toward Central Park
As they walked hand in hand
Under the feathery snowflakes
The man in the moon looked down
And winked its approval . . .

Two strangers were now one.

 

“THE CALL TO JOY “by  Etta Schaeffer (to Sheila’s second piece)

Sing, sing sounds of laughter and light

whispering a call to cheer

smile and feel the building joy within

lightness fills the air building to a melodic ending

over and over hear the call

the sound is haunting.

 

‘The Sun Glows’ by Vera Ripp Hirschhorn (to Sheila’s second piece)

Where are you?
I’m here.
Play with me!
Not yet.
Skip with me!
Why?
Dance with me
How?
Sing with me!

Walk with me
Listen to the birds.
The sun glows over them….
Over us.

 

Listen by Sheila Firestone (to Sheila’s second piece)

The conversation is carried by the wind
The anime is constant,
Parts of conversations and overheard nuances,
Only partially understood.

Take nothing for granted,
Maybe you heard wrong,
As you create your melody or
poem, it really doesn’t matter.

It’s an interesting tale at any rate.
Tell me it yet once again, please.
I’m always listening
to your wise words.

 

Poem of the Week: New Year

Dorothy Kamm
Member-At-Large
Port St. Lucie, Florida

 

Looking skyward
a massive murmuration
cascades and folds
into shapes blossoming like bruises;
These starlings – augurs offering auspices –
are wanderers sharing wonders,
offer moments of grace
after a grim year

Where truth got twisted
and became toxic,
fed anger, exploited fears
percolating on the edge of fact,
where reality
mirrored myth,
where freezes and diseases
overlapped and converged,
where calcium and potassium
leached from bones
made brittle;

Looking skyward
see if the gods give a sign,
a yea or a nay;
Scrutinize with skepticism,
weigh power and possibility,
meld gold on the edge of glass
and create a fine plate
through which to view
the future.

© Dorothy Kamm

 

Poem of the Week: On Wings of Gold

Sarah Byrn Rickman
Pikes Peak, Colorado Branch

 

Fog shrouds the wings; dawn, but a shard of light.
Twin engines labor, eager to unbridle the horses.
Toes, hard on brakes, check the trembling aircraft.

From the tower, “Cleared for takeoff.”
Brakes off. Throttle to the firewall.
Spine thrust back against the seat.

Rolling, rumbling, reaching,
Wheels eat up runway. Lift.
Ease yoke back. Climb!

Eyes on instruments. Don’t look out!
The Pacific, invisible, lies below.
Altimeter reads seven…eight…nine hundred feet…

A shock of blue—a cloudless sky.

Execute a 180, bearing due east.
Sunrays strike silver wings, turning them gold.
Oh to pull over, stop in mid air, drink it all in!

Below, murky black stuff;
Ahead, two snow-covered peaks,
Sunlight rising through the pass between them.

Above it all, a sleek P-38 flies on wings of gold.

 

© Sarah Byrn Rickman

This poem is inspired by, and dedicated to, Betty Huyler Gillies (1908-1998), second in command, Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, 1942-1944. In an oral history recorded in 1996, Betty described her first flight in a P-38 twin-engine pursuit aircraft that she ferried from Long Beach, California to Newark, New Jersey.

 

Poem of the Week: Canvas of Life

Barbara Clarke, Atlanta Chapter
 

Life’s journey is played out beginning on the upper part of the canvas
bright colors are intermingled at the entrance of a new soul.
Love between us is heightened with hues of a symphony of emotions
when we welcome a new being into our fold.

In times of despair and downtrodden state of affairs
dark cacophony of colors swirl around us and
we strive to live above ordinary circumstances that
drag us down to the bottom of the canvas.

It is the Creator that lives within us that provides
the White Spirit to push on through the grey abyss
of troubles and tribulations that plague us in this canvas life.

When your soul is bleak and the canvas has you stifled
where your creativity seems to have subsided,
you stumble around not being able to bring forth. . . . .

a friend calls with yellow enlightenment and words of promise
encouraging you to pick up your brush and paint pushing through,
you then see the rainbow that shines through friendship
propelling you to move higher up the canvas
breathing life into the continuation of your masterpiece.

The ups and down of canvas life is captured in your journal,
it holds your most heartfelt sentiments and feelings
about this journey you’re treading on. You paint in your journal
expressions and impressions, memoirs as you move on down
the canvas of life. You speak in your journal about the
emotional highs and lows that ebb and flow from living.

When one looks into your journal after you have moved on
into the other realm; gaining insight and a glimpse of the
picture you painted expressing your innermost secrets
and emotions about the canvas of life. They take your memoirs
and hold them in their hearts and keep you alive forevermore
from the picture you created on your journey collage.

It is a way of safekeeping you high up on the canvas
for the picture you painted is held within their view
never forgetting the journey you made
and the love they held for you.

 

Poem of the Week: Autumn Dance

Patricia Dennis
Santa Clara, N. California Branch

A gust of wind

The soft swirl of leaves
Autumn red and gold

Turning

Whirling

Swirling

So gracefully through the air

Thoughts of landing

But knowing not where

Then one special moment

Upon the earth they have fallen

A few seconds of time
And then

A gust of wind

The soft swirl of leaves

Continually floating

 

Poem of the Week: Thanksgiving

Calder Lowe
Modesto California Branch

 

Hurling himself against the confines
of the picket fence, the chained dog yelps,
its cry piercing my car windows at the stop light.

The house is in disrepair and I already know
that dog is beaten, that woman slumped
in the chair on the deck is beaten.

The peeling wooden planks on the exterior
are no fortress against the drunken man
stumbling up the rotting stairs to the door,

his lined face long stamped with resignation,
his fists already clenched in rage.
I beseech the incoming fog to blanket them all

with a modicum of grace, a respite from the despair
of circumstance, imminent storms.
Mostly, I want the dog to curl up in front of a fire,

his paws outstretched in thanksgiving
for one day unmarred by kicks to his spine,
one day of a full belly, one day of impenetrable calm.

 

Poem of the Week: Granite Battalion

Barb Whitmarsh, Bayou City II Texas Branch
(Happy Veterans Day – and God Bless America)

 

It was late
and there was a nip in the air
when he went down to stand awhile
with the granite battalion.

They had run out of ammo
twenty years ago
but held the high ground
below the knoll.

They welcomed any support
but words were cheap by now
old medals were appreciated
———melted down————
for potential bullets
but hell they’d done without fire power
all these years

He lingered in the sulphuric air
of his own cigarettes
left them the pack
told them he was coming back
and together they’d crush the enemy
so they could all go home at last