Poem of the Week: Rain Dance

Shelly Reed Thieman
Letters Member, Treasurer – Des Moines Branch

 

In mud nest threatened

by black conclave of clouds,

a tiny robin opens its throat

for the reception of earth

worm and Juneberry.

 

I rain dance in shallow pond

of lush reeds, massage earth

with bare feet. Sweet thunder

is a kettledrum setting

the cadence of evening.

 

Ponderosa pine prostrate.

A pair of barred owls startle

when their perch snaps

from its trunk like a phantom

femur from its pelvis.

 

Mottled with rust, ancient

wind chimes surrender

their clapper and three silver

rods to horizontal rain.

Lightning swings her sword.

 

Poem of the Week: Nourishing You

Patricia A. Oplinger
Member-at-Large from Cherokee Village, AR

 

I wish I could take language

and pour it into a bowl

of warm, encouraging thoughts

 

I would splash soothing sentences

around its edges

for you to set astir

 

I would adjust the fragrant spice

of self-esteem

for you to inhale

 

I would have you listen

to the plop of paragraphs

saying, “Hush, hush, it’s all right.

 

Then I would spoon you sweet phrases

to heal damages past words

may have caused

 

Poem of the Week: Give Them a Brake

Barb Whitmarsh
Bayou City II, TX Branch

 

It’s time again
For the Red Neck Sliders
Certainly not known
To be traffic law abiders
They’re on the roadways
Quiet as “mouses”
Always towing their RV houses
It’s hard to believe
If they don’t get struck
They’ll out live us all
With any luck
Please give these terrapins a brake
Not to do it’s a big mistake
They’re trying to survive
And never fought us
Yes, this is what
The turtles tortoise

 

Poem of the Week: The Virtual Crafter

Carolyn Aune
Minnesota Branch

 

My Aunt sits in the well worn wing chair,
Her winter grey braids, thick as a child’s wrist,
Wrap around her noble head.
I’m perched on a low leather hassock,
My thin arms stretched in benediction
Proffering the skein of wool
That my Aunt winds slowly into a ball.
I am five years old.
Later, I watch the needles flash,
Catching the firelight as they tap out a click clack rhythm.
“I can’t teach you how to knit” my aunt murmurs” you’re left handed.”

 

Yet, might I claim that I did learn to knit If only in the virtual sense?
For, I knitted together the nine Disparate souls, snuggled in my womb For their allotted nine months

Before they were flung into the world
Where they were nourished into a cohesive whole.
Knit together, strong bonds that likely will never unravel. We are still, today, above all else, a close-knit family.

 

Now, my mother’s mother was a quilter
I see her nestled on a narrow sofa,
Placing every delicate stitch,
No nonsense black lace up oxfords planted firmly Atop the braided rug.
Every pattern in harmony, Every stitch perfect.

 

Yet might I claim to be a quilter too?
For I have fashioned a crazy quilt of a life, Struck to the core with the dull colors of Grief and Turmoil and tragedy
Blended with flashes of bright colored joy, Recording a kaleidoscope of complexity.

It was in the euphoric months of a first pregnancy, That I tried my hand at weaving. …
A small loom, the strands of wool the soft
Colors of baby pink and blue.
But life intervened, the loom abandoned, accusing me.

 

Yet might I claim that I did learn to weave? For I wove the strands of nine children’s lives Into a cohesive tapestry able to withstand
A world that hasn’t always been kind.

 

So I am, if only in the virtual sense,
A knitter, a patchwork quilter,
And a weaver of lives that now look
Fearlessly ahead to the future.

 

Poem of the Week: Meditation on a Mosquito

Kathleen H. Langan
Greenwich Branch

 

First the tell-tale bzzzzzz, then there it is

walking across my husband’s bare arm

and heading straight to do harm

to me, the Go-To-Girl for mosquitoes,

silent and sinister as it propels its improbable body

on six long skinny legs, jointed in the wrong direction,

its proboscis leading the way to the last meal of the day,

a tasty, warm, bright-red midnight supper.

 

As the fiend inches toward me,

Albert Schweitzer’s theory pops into my head,

the one he calls reverence for life.

It asks each of us never ever to forget that

the two things all living creatures share

are the right and the desire to go on living

and thus we are constrained to refrain

from killing any of them at all, large or small.
 
It’s a praiseworthy philosophy, I agree,

but it certainly strains credulity.

I mean, does the dear Doctor really expect me

to believe he lived in Africa all those years

and never once swatted a mosquito?

This one is just playing its role, I grant you that,

Nevertheless, I smash the damned thing

until it is totally dead and flatter than flat.

 

Poem of the Week: The Summer Party

Lois Batchelor Howard
Palm Springs, CA Branch

 

I look into the corner

of my backyard

and the green and flowering

plants

are huddled together.

They look like a cocktail party

with too many guests.

Whom shall I uninvite?

Shears in my hand I approach

the foxtail lily desert candles

the wall germandus

the fairy bells

the bougainvillea

I know this is rude to say to them,

but I do.  “It is too crowded here.”

They laugh and I hear their thoughts

become audible in the late afternoon sun,

“but none of us wants to leave.”

I look at my shears, put them down,

and return with a cocktail to join them.

 

Poem of the Week: Words

Sandra Seaton Michel
Diamond State Branch

 

The wonder, the plunder, the marvel of words

that snap our attention, cause anger and fear,

joy and elation, laughter and tears

and sometimes,

sometimes

sprinkle fairy dust upon the ordinary.

 

There it was, “apples, sauced.”

Oh, how delightful that sounds,

a delectable dish, undoubtedly served

with swagger and swish.

Not plain old apple sauce,

which children love

and hospitals too

but you won’t find it taught at Cordon Blue.

 

Poem of the Week: Walking on Water

Carolynn J. Scully
Orlando/Winter Park Branch

 

Confidence is momentary, never permanent.

 
Get out of the boat.
Just do it.
Jump!

 
Time for me to walk
on waves that reach out and back,
dip down and rush up.
Self talk builds sea legs, but
one word or look can weaken knees.

 
Fear washes over me and
drenches me in sweat.

 
First steps are always unsure.
Self-assurance, like the sea, cannot be controlled.
No guarantees.
But there is no end without a beginning.

 

Carolynn J. Scully ©2016

 

Poem of the Week: Fear and Want in Revolution (A Russian Pantoum)

by Linda Newman Woito
Iowa City, Iowa Branch

 

It has been a bitter winter.

Russian guards are still outside.

Who will watch the horses dancing?

Priests lead them all in prayer.

 

Russian guards are still outside.

Children of the Village have forgotten how to dance.

Priests lead them all in prayer.

Chickens hide within the barn, emptied of drying hay.

 

Children of the Village have forgotten how to dance.

Today the sunrise comes two hours late.

Chickens hide within the barn, emptied of drying hay.

Water in the cow-barn is freezing now.

 

It has been a bitter winter.

Who will watch the horses dancing?

Today the sunrise comes two hours late.

Water in the cow-barn is freezing now.

 

Russian guards are still outside.

Today the sunrise comes two hours late.

Chickens hide within the barn, emptied of drying hay.

Children of the Village have forgotten how to dance.

 

Water in the cow-barn is freezing now.

Russian guards are still outside.

Who will watch the horses dancing?

Priests lead them all in prayer.

 

Poem of the Week: Gaining Perspective

Rev. Nancy Schluntz
Diablo-Alameda Branch

 

Sunday, Monday, Thursday

It doesn’t matter

It won’t turn off.

 

Part of living and loving

Is getting used to things

That won’t turn off.

 

All trembling and hurting

From laughter and hidden tears

That won’t turn off.

 

A beautiful giving and

Making room to hold things

That won’t turn off.