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

Art of the Week–Floral 15

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Floral 15 Katie Turner Central New York Branch, NY Watercolor and ink on terraskin

Floral 15
Katie Turner
Central New York Branch, NY
Watercolor and ink on terraskin

Some of what’s new on the NLAPW website this week (click on each to visit page):

Poetry in celebration and meditation on the Super Moon

A message from NLAPW National President Candace Long.

A link to a PDF of our new brochure about guest rooms in the Pen Arts Building, Northwest D.C.

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

Moonwatch

MOONWATCH

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

I.

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

II.

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

III.

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

IV.

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

V.

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

VI.

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

VII.

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

VIII.

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

IX.

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

X.

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

XI.

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

XII.

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

Art of the Week–Old Eyes

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Old Eyes Karen Braverman Ft Lauderdale Branch, FL Watercolor

Old Eyes
Karen Braverman
Ft Lauderdale Branch, FL
Watercolor

Visit our on line galleries to see more artwork by our members!

Poem of the Week, Super Moon III, Changed/Unchanged

CHANGED/UNCHANGED

In the long days of sorrow
The sun still yellows
Over me;

Through nights
Of whispering fears
A round-eyed moon

Parts the trees,
Smiling.

Linda Texter Hall
Diamond State Branch, DE

Super Moon Poems, II

New Moon Sightings

The moon appears
a mere citrus peel
over the red tail-lights of rush hour

Who wouldn’t want to write a poem about the moon

or sing about it
or tap a gentle fingertip on it
in a sweet starry storybook at baby’s bedtime?

I could do with my own
permanent full moon
hanging there all the time

not flitting from one side of the globe to another
like a tutu-clad ballerina
requiring sky-charts to pin down–

no, no, no,
this would be my moon

my storybook life.

All I’ve got
right now is the real moon,

its waxing
waning
shifting
self

the one without
a harlequin in its bow

the one I forgot to notice yesterday

the one I will look for with renewed urgency
from now on

the one we all share

however briefly.

Treanor Wooten Baring
Delta Branch, MS

Editor’s note: As some of you may know, I don’t usually post my own poems unless they have appeared in an NLAPW publication; when Nancy Haskett’s poem came in, it reminded me of this one I had written when my children were first born. And so, watching the skies for the super moon, the idea of a moon theme was hatched. Please, members, send in your moon poems and I’ll keep it going. And everyone, if you have a favorite (famous or not) moon poem, send the link and I’ll include it.–Treanor

Super Moon in Poetry

From the editor:
I hope those of you in North America were able to see the super moon the last few days–spectacular! In honor of this event, I will post as many “moon poems” as I can this week. Some may have appeared here before, or in the Pen Woman magazine, and some are new. All are for you — feel free to share links.

If you have a favorite moon poem (by anyone, member or not) please tell us about it.

If I Have to Write a Poem about the Moon

Recently, I heard someone say
that every poet needs a poem about the moon,
and if that’s true,
surely there can’t be many new thoughts to add
to the thousands of words already written,
to the clichés about cheese, werewolves, lunatics, lovers,
tides, gravity, a Cheshire cat’s smile,
but since my poetic legitimacy is apparently at stake,
I guess I could write about the time
I hiked to Half Dome one October,
sunset coming early, around 6:30,
catching us still above Nevada Falls,
our flashlights feeble in the absolute darkness
until the full moon rose over granite walls
like some kind of spiritual presence,
cast silver light on the trail as we slowly made our way
down to Happy Isles,
grateful for this celestial luminescence;
or I could divulge a secret about
the small window we added
to our second-story bathroom shower,
my favorite place to stand in darkness
unseen by neighbors,
as cool water splashes on tile,
I watch the moon as it glows
and rises over this Central Valley,
waxes and wanes,
sometimes disappearing completely,
other times full and round
like tonight
in mid-summer

Nancy Haskett
Modesto Branch, CA

A note about security

From the editor:

I’m sure most of you have heard about the widespread hacking of websites by criminals. The NLAPW, Inc. website does not house any personal financial information whatsoever of its members or users. We do not use usernames, passwords or account information for our visitors or blog followers. We are continuing to work with our hosting service to monitor the situation and stay secure.

Meanwhile, we strongly advise our followers and visitors to assess your other online accounts and follow some basic precautions in the wake of the security breaches. What can you do?

–change your passwords on any online accounts that do house financial, credit card or banking data

–never use the same password on any two accounts

–use a password protection application that assigns and stores random passwords for you

–if you set your own passwords, make them as secure as possible: don’t use dictionary words, do use symbols, don’t tie passwords to any personal data such as your birthday, email or street address, and keep a secure hard copy of your usernames and passwords

–if you have more than one credit card, assign one for online use only

–when you send an email to multiple recipients, blind copy everyone. If you want recipents to know to whom you have sent the email, list the names in the body of the email. Open address bulk-sent emails are one of the most common ways email addresses are culled.

–keep your devices powered down or in airplane mode when not actually in use, especially overnight. Most devices and computers can schedule automatic shut-downs and reboots.

–update your device software often and whenever prompted; these updates often contain security updates that you might not even know you need.

–don’t panic, but don’t hide your head in the sand either. This is the world we live in now and it takes some effort to stay secure and enjoy the benefits of a connected world.

–Treanor Baring
webeditor@nlapw.org
National League of American Pen Women, Inc.

Art of the Week–Too Late

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All awards are from the 2014 NLAPW Biennial Art Exhibit in Atlanta, April 2014.

Too Late Jean Baber Memorial Award of Merit Valerie Lecklikner, Ft. Lauderdale Branch, FL Photography

Too Late
Jean Baber Memorial Award of Merit
Valerie Lecklikner, Ft. Lauderdale Branch, FL
Photography