Poem of the Week–Aubade

An Aubade: A Visit to the Museum

I stand alone
among the Pre-Raphaelites,
before the Romeo and Juliet.
Maddox Brown paints the
lovers’ departure already scribed
by the Bard.

It is the lovers’ sweet lasting lament, and yes,
I see it is the lark, morning’s messenger
painted here. This immortalized departure
reminds me of you and our
missed mornings,
tender trysts,
when life’s intrusions refuse to
blanket us with darkness and the
down of soft dreams.

Does the dawn bless or break
their first argument?
When to part?
Or perhaps,
this thinly disguised parting
portioned with passion and deception,
is let go with longings that last.

It does not matter whether it is
nightingale or lark, or
who was right or wrong; or
whether it is fiction or life,
it only matters that all lovers
long for the length
of a quiet evening’s balm.

Like water that seeks its level,
my passion seeks its own capacity:
a warmth of comfort, a promised portion,
a reverie of thought so gentle that
all moments linger and fill
my aubade afternoon.

Then my museum visit
is cut short by time and memory.
I hurry home
to wait for you ‘til evening
when our new dawn
will yield nocturnal bliss.

maria keane
Diamond State Branch, DE

Check out our News and Events page for what’s happening, including a dance program in the Pen Arts Building this Saturday, free and open to the public. For more info, click here.

Poem of the Week–Orange Moon, and a call for submissions

Orange Moon

Somewhere up there
there’s an orange moon.

Once in a blue moon
there’s an orange moon.

There’s a cloud cover
like a down comfort
thrown over the earth.

I am on the earth side
so I will not see that
there’s an orange moon.

I have seen such a moon.
In an unobstructed view
from the dock on the New River
a lusterware platter
held me transfixed.

I will not see this orange moon
but I can imagine
a giant luminous lusterware platter
above the fresh green
of the oaks and willows of the Delta.

I will remember, when it is said
“there’s an orange moon,”
and know that
blue moons are a measure of time:
orange moons are a measure of faith.

by Bet Wooten
Delta Branch, MS

Got any good pics of the eclipse? Send them and we’ll post them!

Call for submissions for Poems of the Super Moon

Poems of the Super Moon, a volume of poetry by Pen Women, will be published by the Pen Women Press by the end of the year. Submissions are welcome from Pen Women in all arts classifications, Art, Music or Letters.

It all started with the first lines of Nancy Haskett’s “A Poem about the Moon,” which was featured on the www.nlapw.org blog in August, right in time for the Super Moon event in the sky:

Recently, I heard someone say
that every poet needs a poem about the moon

Pen Women met the challenge and soon, NLAPW poets were sending in wonderful “Moon Poems,” new and newly revisited. A series on the blog was begun. Stay tuned to the blog for more moon poetry.
Submission Guidelines

NLAPW Members: Please send your “Moon Poems” via email to pwpoems@aol.com for consideration for the new volume to be published by the Pen Women Press. Art, Music and Letters members are all welcome to submit. And to help me keep “organized,” please include “Moon Poems” as your subject line—I need all the help I can get!

Deadline: December 8, 2014

If you’ve already sent in a poem for the blog and would like it included in the new book, please let me know.

Donations and Pre-orders will be accepted to defray the costs of the first printing. Check the website, www.nlapw.org, for more info.

Treanor Baring
Pen Woman Magazine Poetry Editor
Website Editor

Visit the www.nlapw.org Bookstore to pre-order Poems of the Super Moon, the upcoming publication of the Pen Women Press.

Visit the www.nlapw.org blog to read more poems about the moon.

Visit our website to donate to the Pen Women Press.

Poem of the Week–Day of Atonement

Day of Atonement

She meant well,
I’m sure,
when she wished me a
“Happy Yom Kippur,”
just like she would wish
someone else
“Happy Easter,”
but this holy day
is one of somber introspection
as we reflect on the past year,
the hurt we have caused others
on purpose
or unknowingly,
as we pray all day,
stand up, sit down,
sit down, stand up,
hit our heart with a closed fist,
declare our offenses,
both individual and collective –
For the sin which we have committed before Thee
by association with impurity,
For the sin which we have committed before Thee
by idle gossip,
And for the sins which we have committed before Thee
by violence,
by spurning parents and teachers,
by lying,
with wanton looks and haughty eyes –
the list goes on,
as stomachs growl
for this is a fast day,
twenty-five hours of abstention
and deprivation to diminish bodily constraints,
uplift our souls,

but I can’t help watching the clock,
wishing the prayer book were shorter,
written all in English,
wishing I could sneak a drink
of water,
we are encouraged
to feel guilt on this,
the holiest day of the year,
and I do –

but often
for the wrong reasons

Nancy Haskett
Modesto Branch, CA

Poem of the Week–Going Home


In the haze of her clouds,
She repeated in short breaths:
“I want to go home”
“I want to go home.”

Home, where was home?
Only she knew and she was ready.

Why the screaming, the biting, the scratching?

Drifting in and out of the fog
She repeated almost breathless:
“I want to go home.”

‘Mom, it’s time to forgive all those who pained you
In your yesterdays and yesteryears.
It’s time!
It’s time to surrender!’

Ears listened to their last words;
Eyes opened to his tender touch
And final kiss.

Suddenly, she was at peace.

With Rainbows of her Life,
The sweet gentle Spirit
Returned Home.

Dedicated to my mother-in-law, Bertha Hirschhorn, age 98 who ‘went home’ on July 23, 2014

Vera Ripp Hirschhorn
Boca Raton Branch, FL

Tuesday in New York City

Tuesday in New York City

It was a beautiful September morning in the Big Apple
My son, my only child was at work.
He was in a building behind a church
And in the shadow of one of a pair of iconic skyscrapers

Not yet nine o’clock in the morning
Everything was quiet and normal
Then the first plane hit
Everyone thought it was an accident

Across the street and thirty stories high
The view was incomprehensible
Seventy stories higher and across the street
People begin to jump to escape

He makes eye contact with a man falling toward the street below
He is unable to speak or to move frozen by what he is seeing
A second plane attacks the other skyscraper
He knows it’s time to get everyone out

At ground level bodies litter the pavement like discarded rag dolls
Stepping over them and around them is indescribable
Yet they do it, they get away stopping for nothing
All they think about is surviving

With time they will go on with life
They know they will never forget
That beautiful Tuesday morning in
September in New York City

Etta Schaeffer
Boca Branch, FL

Perigee Moon

Perigee Moon (at Seventy-Three)

Huge moon, midsummer moon
White disc glimmers
Erasing stars
Magic light behind the pines
Bars of brightness on the lake
A moon to make a wish on

As fifty years ago
On a summer night near another lake
Holding his hand
Beneath the full moon
I wished hopefully, selfishly
Not knowing what I wanted
But knowing that I wanted
Moonrise, sunrise, ebb and flow
Wishes forfeit, wishes fulfilled
Holding his hand this summer night
In the light of the perigee moon
Parents, grandparents, lovers still
I wish for more years together
In the moonlight

Judy Crystal
Greenwich Branch, CT

Visit www.nlapw.org to see more poems about the moon on our blog.

Poem of the Week–A Twist of Time


A quaint establishment had housed their union.
candle light and wine
to set time
in slow motion,
like the drizzle of rain
down the window glass,
holding the future at bay.
Both knew it would not last
this moment,
or the rain.
Time too, trickles
into the dust.

In the ladies room,
she freshened her lipstick,
blood red,
and blotted it on the napkin
still clutched in her hand,
then shoved it in her pocket
as she joined him again.

They drove in silence
to the airport, following
a twisted road through mist.

At the security check she kissed
him so hard the Green Beret tumbled
to the floor and they laughed,
attempting to make
light of the moment.

Still laughing,
from her pocket
she yanked the napkin,
“See, an imprint
of our last kiss. I plan
to frame it till we kiss

When he returned,
she spoke with the funeral attendant,
“Please before you close the casket would you lay this in his hand.”

by Joyce Gregor
Pikes Peak Branch

Poem of the Week–Backyard at Midnight

Backyard at Midnight

What’s that light out back?
There’s no moon that I know of.

But wait…it is the moon!
I didn’t expect that.

Yard so illumined tonight…
the pool has that milky glow,
ethereal look.

And the deck…it’s lit up like a stage
waiting for performers.

Junipers in the backdrop, husky and dense,
casting shadows over the landscape.

No wind at all, after the torment of
earlier constant blowing.

The stillness of midnight seems made for me
or someone, to notice…this muse, this desire.

Linda Marie Prather
Modesto Branch, CA

Editor’s note:
I am still accepting “moon poems” and welcome submissions of poetry on any subject for both the website and upcoming issues of the Pen Woman Magazine. –Treanor Baring

Poem of the Week–Dimmed by the Dashboard

Dimmed by the Dashboard

Pulling into a Salina truck stop

the dashboard lights dim,

the purring engine ceases,

the rotating eighteen wheels halt.

Your headlights scope out

the open skies of the West: Colorado,

Kansas, Arizona and New Mexico.

Driving is all you know, like your father

and his father before him.

Drowned by miles of prairie dust,

desert heat and mountain snows,

you pause to study the fuel gauge.

Humming along to the drone of the road

I search through crackling stations on late night AM,

dropping in on a hokey call-in show.

“Who do you want to dedicate a song to?”

I say to myself, “A lonely trucker. No, his wife.”

”Please play ‘Living Between the Moon and New York City.’”
I stop the station wagon. The crunch of gravel

underneath four wheels turns to silence.

Waiting outside our Denver home,

I gaze at the odometer, mileage apart,

mileage together; the ledger of years,

coated by iridescent moonlight, swirls

on the dirt-encrusted dashboard.

Looking beyond the dark, the unspoken quiet

bleeds into dawn, and the light between us

remains unchanged, undimmed.

by Nancy Godbout Jurka
Pikes Peak Branch, CO



After Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways
of Looking at a Blackbird”


The moon climbs out of the river.
A firefly stops his flight
beneath blood clouds
trailing for miles.


Once, my belly hung
heavy with an imperfect motion
as though the moon, angry
and rotund, avenged my kind
for the generations behind us.


Why are the Indian women
bowing before a temple light?
Do they know the moon
shrouds a mound, sacred
and well-hidden?


A man preparing to live
dies this way: climbing
into skies, swearing
the only light worth saving
is a delicate balance
he calls Moon.


Children of Darkness, how long
have your eyes contained
the alterations of ancient moons?


The waters cover the shores tonight.
There is a Sea of Showers
in the moon’s full light.


The moon crosses the ocean again.
Huntsmen lower their heads in prayer.


When a woman’s blood
darkens with imbalance,
she knows there will be no
moon that night.


The moon hangs cold
as the Mothers lay their offerings
upon a sacrificial ground.


All night, tribesmen chant their hymns;
the old moon pales in the new moon’s arms.


Sister, I am here beside the garden path.
I watch your spirit ascending
among the dusk clouds.


By the sanctuary door, I place twelve
silver jars in an arc of moon color.
Overhead, watchmen turn their lantern
toward the earth.

Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda
Chesapeake Bay Branch, VA

©2001 Greatest Hits, 1982-2000, Pudding House Publications, pp. 18-19

From the author: In the early 1980s, I was inspired by Wallace Stevens’ well-known poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” to write my own rendition of various ways to view the moon. The resulting poem, “Moonwatch,” received First Place in the National League of American Pen Women’s Nationwide Poetry Contest in 1981 and was later published in The Cooke Book: A Seasoning of Poets (1987) and in an invitational chapbook series, Greatest Hits: 1981-2000.

I thought I’d share this poem with you in tribute to this week’s memorable view of the moon.

From the editor:
Thank you for sending in your moon poems. I will keep posting them as long as they last. What a wonderful response. Please continue–if you don’t have a moon poem already, well, maybe this will inspire one. And thank you to Nancy Haskett, whose wonderful poem started this!–Treanor Baring