Poem of the Week–Cream

Cream

My mother stands in the kitchen
pouring cream over sliced bananas,
cream skimmed from the top of
a milk bottle delivered that morning,
her flowered housedress
hangs loose on her frame.

On holidays she hand-whips cream
laced with powdered sugar and
vanilla into white mounds— her apron
catches stray spatters. She scoops
thick clouds onto pumpkin pie,
as light splays silver on her hair.

Years later she chooses cream puffs
from a bakery. I see her sitting at
the table late afternoon with tea and
the newspaper, a wrinkled hand
lifting a fork to thin lips with a smile,
her glasses tipped on her nose.

Behind her, a window opens to farmland
where once the clink of glass bottles
left on the step could be heard and
cream always rose to the top.

Lorraine Walker Williams
SW Florida Branch

Poem of the Week–Black Feather

Black Feather

Not four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,
but rather thousands, falling from the sky
in Arkansas. Drum fish decomposing
in adjacent waterways. All gone.
And now her. A flash of a solar eclipse.
A glimmer of light extinguished.
Our niece who days before celebrated
a swarm of flies ringing the air with oscillating
haloes along the windswept dunes. Gone.

She has become our newest astronaut circling
earth with her baby brother from another family
incarnation, poisoned by Agent Orange
his dad inhaled in Nam. Two years of radiation
and chemo battering his frail body. Holes
in the ozone layer, holes in the heart as large
and gaping as the cavernous surface at Ground Zero.

Out there, sailing on updrafts of the spirit’s current,
she joins the throngs of all who have gone before
while the bones of those remaining, shrink, all
but disappear, as the spaces between cartilage
yield invisible nets that glisten in the sun,
ready to catch those departed with a wink,

a blink, a nod, a strand of kelp in the shape of a dragon,
makeshift necklaces of shells, ribbons of yellow, pink, red,
signaling fierce loss, fiercer love. Prayers wending
their way on upturned palms, incense, breath,
the wing of a fly, a filament of iridescent fish scale,
a solitary black feather.

by Calder Lowe
Modesto Branch, CA

Poem of the Week–I am a Bubble

I am a Bubble

Sometimes easily burst, other times, not.
I can linger around and just float into space, without direction
Or I can land heavily and drop onto someone for anchorage.

I can be colorful—tinges and hues of reds, pinks, blues;
Transparent, translucent, opaque.
I don’t mind being transparent for I like to be sociable.

One very special bubble-strong and firm showed me the ‘light’ to persevere and to ‘hang’ in there.
I felt love and confident to move on.

I’m flying and enjoy floating with other bubbles.
I re-explored ‘new’ horizons that were really explored previously.
Passing the time on old territory helped me see that I had total control of the situation, rather than being controlled by it.

I’m a happy bubble and have been all day.

Vera Ripp Hirschhorn
Boca Raton Branch, FL

Members–still time to enter the biennial competitions for music, deadline for entries is February 29, 2016! Click here for more info.

Poem of the Week–Differences

Differences

Don’t divide the people, we insist…
There is a way, to peacefully coexist.
But still I see two sides concerning this.
What is power up to will they tell?

As mountain peaks await the sunset bell
and darkness captures either side of dawn
the sun appears alternatively gone;
night and day change sides and disappear
for us to follow, in our wake of fear.

Sophie Barnes
Connecticut Pioneer Branch, CT

Poem of the Week–Joshua Tree

JOSHUA TREE REVISITED

Ageless rocks stand like desert monuments,
Trees with spiky arms reach toward the sky.
Roads snake into endless wilderness
Distant views bemuse the eye.

Sandy trails slice through unyielding brush
Where shy inhabitants slither, crawl and run,
Bold wildflowers in radiant colors
Lift their heads to the relentless sun.

Vast and wild, the park calls to adventurers
Who roar along its roads in fearless quest.
While those who come to look for sanctuary
Soon discover gifts of beauty, peace and rest.

Some say this place is where the spirits dwell
And who’s to know who has not felt its spell?

Dawn Huntley Spitz
Cape Cod Branch, MA

Poem of the Week–Mere Things, & Helen Holt service

Memorial Service for Helen Holt
Sat, August 15, 11am – 2pm
The National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20016

Mere Things

Mere things don’t matter,
or so we’d like to think;

but on the brink
of forgetting,

of letting
go,

some mere thing
turns us

to remembering.

by Cathmar Shaw Prange
Iowa City Branch, IA

Art of the Week (At Repose with Mitsy) and Poem of the Week (Cuba)

Art of the Week

Click on the image to see it larger.

At Repose with Mitsy E. Marie Francis Vero Beach Branch, FL Acrylic

At Repose with Mitsy
E. Marie Francis
Vero Beach Branch, FL
Acrylic

Poem of the Week

Cuba

Amalia, but we called her Molly
The first and only Cuban I have known
She was orphaned when
Her parents died in a train wreck
She and her brother were raised by the nuns and brothers
The children were not permitted to see each other for a year
Thinking that would allow their unspeakable loss to heal
Like an unpicked scab
Her family name, unknown to me, had stature but no money, she said
Molly married a US navy man and left the island by twenty
Castro’s revolution was on its way
In the United States the soap operas taught her English
An economics course taught her capitalism
And
Amalia transformed herself into Molly
We met when teachers at a Catholic School
She taught Spanish; I taught English
I was a twenty-seven year old ex-nun fresh from the convent
Molly was a thirty-seven year old with a master’s degree in psychology
She became my counselor ex-officio
Molly transformed me.
She was outgoing and fun
She gave me permission to shake off the habits of my old life
And embrace my new life with gusto
Just as she had done for herself.
We partied with faculty and attended weddings together
We went for dinner and drinks often
One night she let down her guard
Her brother was waiting for his son’s release
He’d been imprisoned for handing out anti-Castro pamphlets on a street corner
They’d cross the Straits when the boat of opportunity sailed
As soon as her words dropped from her lips
Panic set in
Now, she had to trust me with her secret
I never spoke a word; not even to ask the outcome
Molly divorced and I married; our friendship suffered
I moved hundreds of miles away, we lost touch
But thirty years later, I wanted to mend the rift
The internet quickly gave up Amalia’s address
A letter came back
My opportunity had sailed a year too late
In 2003 Molly had died.

Descansa en paz, Amalia. Descansa en paz.

by Susan Bassler Pickford
Member at large

Poem of the Week–The Flag

To all: a happy and safe Independence Day!

The Flag

When night falls
And lures the moth
Shine a light
On our sacred cloth

The flag sewn
By Betsy Ross
And flown ever since
For our living and lost

A symbol of heroism
Our country of might
So leave our land
If you want to fight

In the wind
She flutters
In the ice she’s frigid
At the Unknowns’ Tomb
Her ceremonies rigid

When day breaks
Look with pride
At the red, white and blue
With stars at her side

Love her –
Keep her flying
Good patriots
Are always complying

The greatest symbol
On Mast and Spar
She’s draped our heroes
Near and far

Barbara Whitmarsh
Bayou City Branch, TX

Poem of the Week–Plant Me in Iowa

Plant Me in Iowa No. 2

When only I say it’s time
dear daughters, plant me
in blue-bearded Iris
where I shall wake
to perfumed nights
of fading petals that shyly
ply my touch.
There, will I rest and sleep
in peaceful quietude, alone
and quite at home with God.

Linda Newman Woito
Iowa City Branch, IA

Editor’s Note: Greetings from chilly Melbourne, Australia, where I am with family. I will diligently find time and internet access to give meaning to the “world” in “world wide web.”

Meanwhile, today is the deadline for submissions to the Pen Woman Magazine’s Summer issue. I will now be processing poetry for the Fall and Winter issues, and as usual for the blog.

Memorial Day Poem

Rest Peacefully

Once they floated in mothers’ wombs
Now interred
In well aligned tombs
Though much life
Meant still to live
Their lives
For our country
They did give
They lie beneath
Our sacred soil
Because man can’t live
Minus knife and foil
Now cannons and rifles
Rattle the calm
I.E.D.’s
And horrific bombs

Rest peacefully
Under flowers
And flags
And long after
Due to the weather sags
They who died
For their blessed land
Are held tightly
By the good Lord’s hands
*
Happy Memorial Day
For all those who died for the USA
Barb Whitmarsh

Editor’s note: This poem was due to go up on Monday, May 25, but as many of you may know, I live in Houston and Monday and Tuesday were not ordinary days here. Prayers for all those affected by the storms and floods. We are fine and our hearts go out to those still recovering from losses.–Treanor Baring

Click here to visit our competitions page to learn more about our Vinnie Ream Medal competition, postmark deadline June 1, 2015!