Poem of the Week: Spirit Song

by Brenda Layman
Central Ohio Branch


Nature does not sigh for loss

In littered leaves and soil

She keeps her own ones

Birthed in Spring’s warm blood

Fed on Summer’s bounty

Curled in fur, huddled in holes

Each day light lengthens, shadows bend

And rush before the wind

That breathes tomorrow’s promise

Underneath her quilt of gray and brown

Blanketed with snow

Seeds are sleeping

Soon to wake, as their parents once awoke

Softly green unfurl

Into her world of sun and rain

And everlasting life


Poem of the Week: The Shawangunk Mountains And Mohonk Preserve

By Cornelia DeDona, Member at Large
Kingston, New York


The Shawangunk Mountains And Mohonk Preserve

are my church

a photographer’s dream

an obsession.


I return

to scramble

Giant’s Path

Rock Rift

Bonticue Crag.


I return

to capture black snakes slithering

through the foothills

to meditate on the serenity at Duck Pond,

snacking on wild blueberries.


I rejoice in making a photo

of two Turkey Vultures perched on a ledge

then follow them with my telephoto lens

as they take flight

and then circle back to

inspect their new home.


I witness

fellow hikers’ reflections

in pools

beneath waterfalls

the cool mist

sweaty rock panorama.


I return with raw

close-ups of Spring’s

trillium erectum

wild ginger, and bloodroot;

all stalwart parishioners.


I return

to pan

Summer’s rhododendron bridge,

and zoom into a cloud

of pink and white mountain laurel.


I return

to shoot Autumn’s

red oak and mountain ash,

to snap the sugar maple’s

red, orange, and yellow leaves,

ablaze in my continuous shutter release.


I return

to marvel at the hypnotic revelation

that is the Gunks.


I return

in Winter

to photograph the glacial majesty,

the mirror images in footprints left behind

to find the divine in a frosty pine.


I return

to capture

the golden light

the blue hour and the twilights

in slow water and ice.


My focus


day in and day out.


I return.

I return.

I return.





Poem of the Week: Winters

by Virginia Nygard
NLAPW Vero Beach Branch


Across the barren, snow-steeped ridge

skeleton trees appear dry and bare,

yet seem to wake as I near the bridge,

and my heart skips with childish fear.


They point my way and begin to wail

as one, in chill and windy voice,

You, too, will pass like this one day.          

You have no other choice.



Poem of the Week: Poetic Mystery

by Natica Angilly
Diablo/Alameda Branch, CA


Spirit dreams

the dance of the poem.

Consciousness flows.

Moving atoms take the space.

Poetry dances.

Mysteries unfold.


Poem of the Week: Earthsong

Dawn Huntley Spitz
Cape Cod Branch


A Sonnet

We love you, our Mother Earth, who gave us birth

We bless the land so fair you gladly share

We thank you for all you give that we may live

Your majesty we praise through all our days.

And yet we in our greed take much more than we need,

Plundering without remorse our very source,

Destroying by degrees our wildlife and our trees

We waste without concern, we slash and burn.

O creatures of the earth, you respect its worth,

This precious home on which you live and roam

Before mankind arrived, you flourished and you thrived.

But humans lack the key to harmony

And if we do not learn, before the point of no return,

To make amends… our story ends.


Poem of the Week: Magic Butterfly

Anne Ring
La Jolla Branch


Resting on a petal of the crimson oleander
Lemon-coloured fragile wings
Folded to the night,
Black antennae poised alert to warn of hidden danger
Yellow wings fan out once more
In the fading light.

Once a prisoner entombed you began your transformation
From the mud upon the earth
You rose to the sky;
Gliding through the universe resplendent in your beauty
Gossamer the wings so bright
Bearing you on high.

Gentler than the snowfall on some far-off hidden mountain
Ancient symbol of the soul
Are you here by chance?
Do you simply flutter through the days in careless rapture
Hovering above the flowers
Eager for the dance.

Or is there some deeper meaning to your sojourn here on earth
Herald to me as you fly
As you whisper by
Tell me all the secrets that lie hidden in your glory
Once, just once before I die
Magic Butterfly.

Poem of the Week: When Night Falls

by Barbara Menghini Whitmarsh
Bayou II, Texas Branch

painting for poem, When Night Falls

Leo J. Menghini, artist


When Night Falls

When night falls at the foot of the mountains

Red men from Pueblos

Climb ladders

To mingle in galaxies

Challenge Sagittarius in archery

Feed pieces of the Ram to the Dog Star

Then chase him from camp

His tail a cowering comet

They declaw Ursa Major

To make necklaces for their chiefs

Rub the dust of stars

On the bites of Scorpio

Topple the Northern Cross

Pray again to old gods

Then descend in moonlight

And rise again with the dawn


Note from Barb: The painting is by my father who painted it years before I wrote the poem at 16. I was all into astronomy back then. When my father died in 1994 my brother Joe got the painting. I got a few of his other pieces. His hobby was painting but he ran the corporate graphic art department at McGraw Hill for 40 years. My husband surprised me by combining the two. I never even thought of it.

Obviously, dad wasn’t in NLAPW, but when I became a member he was very proud. His name was Leo J. Menghini, a proud and dutiful man.

Barb W.


Poem of the Week: Trust

Elizabeth Sharon
Bayou City Branch 2


it’s a relationship with a greenish hue

old copper rust through time

a penny awash in the sea of hands

ole miss Liberty in the sun


when it was new, shiny, freshly minted

there was trust in what was seen

in what lay beneath the gleam

but sorely still the glimmer fades


each broken trust and confidence

an oxidized splotch, a leaking flue

and in the process, sore through life

trust lost a part and fell to rust


Poem of the Week: Fifties Girl

by Mary Lou Taylor, Santa Clara County Branch, CA



Fifties Girl 

How did I miss it? I was there

heard the music  read the papers

watched TV  Elvis James Dean  “Howl”

I missed them all   missed the trends   what was I?

obtuse  dense  dull?  did the twist but only because I was hired

as a movie extra and I pick up on dancing fast.  I stayed innocent

lived free of guile  hard roads?  freedom?  they didn’t concern me

I was vaguely aware of Bob Dylan   I knew the Beach Boys intimately

I was after all a California girl   from the ‘50s I remember Elizabeth Taylor

at my UCLA Junior Prom   Bud Murphy jumping from Royce Hall tower

Jimmy Durante and Bob Hope on campus   Ernie Kovacs   my wedding hat

bottles and diapers  “Mr. Sandman”  Johnny in Carson’s Cellar   when Dylan

went electric I missed it   when everything was up for grabs I missed it

missed rock ‘n roll  “We Shall overcome”  all that underground music

Janis Joplin   Jimi Hendrix   all that pain   where was I?

came to 1970 and the decade was over  I was

a fifties girl   the nearest I came to giving

a thought to what was going on

in the world was when we lived

on Andrews Air Force base

and I could see the Enola Gay

from my upstairs window

Poem of the Week: CAGED

by Jeannie Carlson
Member-At-Large, St. Petersburg, Florida


Soullessly a sleek and sinewy

Striped cat stalks

Too small a cage.

She paces proud protuberant paws

The space of her confinement.

Unresigned to a fettered fate,

Felinity is ever ready

To pounce ferociously to freedom.

Clawing a crevice,

Only her whisker

Can claim bristly visit

The incalculable void.

Undaunted, the direct

But stoic semiprecious eyes

Seductively suggest

One dare approach…

Either to set her free

Or be devoured.