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

 

Poem of the Week: Mendocino Revisited

Christine Horner
Alameda/Diablo Branch, CA

 

This place is different
every time we come, new,
wind-washed, sea-beaten.

Old woods are eaten
larger in every pore, the grain
exposed more deeply.

Birds have forgotten the strain
of yesterday’s song in their wings,
the better to ride today’s wind.

The sea slips blithely away with the sand
that would hold her, ensuring each tide
must come to a beach rearranged.

And, the waves, as well, we know
can only appear to be
exactly alike, yet we

return again
and again, each time
thinking ourselves unchanged.

 

Poem of the Week: Lydia (1761)

Margaret Leis Hanna, Central Ohio Branch
Written after reading the historical novel, Widow’s War, by Sally Gunning

 

She walks the shore

Stripped of her husband
she searches
solace on sand.

Breathes salt air
Where
Water suffocated him.

Arms across
hollow heart
she suffers the unwanted.

As waves before her
Love and loss
Ebb and flow

As limitless horizons
Anger and grief
Stretch through her

As moonlight on stilled seas
Calmness and acceptance
Cloak her.

Love brings her
Weeping and walking
Where water widowed her.

 

 

Poem of the Week: Native

Nancy Haskett, Modesto, CA Branch President

 

Dakota, Choctaw, Wampanoag, Comanche –

names that echo off canyon walls,

blow in the wind over prairies,

rise fiercely from flames of burned villages

in smoke as ephemeral as government promises

proven false.

Warriors, weavers, hunters, herders,

once their drums were the heartbeat of this nation

they called home

before they lost the land,

sacrificed it in trade for horses, guns,

measles, smallpox,

boundless land exchanged

for desolate reservations,

countless lives lost in vain.

Yet, the names live on

as we speak the places:

Ma-sa-chu-sett, Minnesota, Monongahela,

Tehachapi, Narragansett, Rappahannock –

as we breathe life into the names

every day

 

the land remembers