Featured Poem: The Joy of Color

By Bette Lafferty
Temple Terrace Branch, Tampa, Florida

 

Growing older has not diminished the joy

I feel when viewing a new box of crayons, or

the paint samples at the hardware store or

stacks of colored paper at Office Depot.

 

 

My eyes may be dimming, but

fireworks in all their glory light the fire

within me. The brilliance of Christmas decorations

stirs the child I embrace, stimulating joy

beyond description.

 

 

I may not understand the process of refraction that

creates the rainbow, but

the arch of colors dazzles my eye

and excites my spirit,

like lightning bolts riding through the sky

that shower me with the brilliance

of white diamonds, sparkling waterfalls and

ice sculptures

all wrapped together into one.

 

 

A crisp North Carolina blue sky

delights my soul while

the skeins of yarn filling the shelves at the craft shop

stimulate my imagination.

 

 

I dance to the color of music

that only my mind can see

and thank the glass blowers for their fabulous

colorful creations molded by blazing fire.

Most importantly, I am overjoyed that the Lord decided to paint

our world with color.

 

 

Featured Poem: Waiting

 

By Susan Wurtzburg

Honolulu Branch, Hawaii

 

When I was a child, I was always waiting.
“Once you are bigger, you can stay up late.”
Early to bed – unfair parental relating.
Flashlight reading avoiding my fate.

When I was a teen, I was still waiting.
“Once you are older, you will do adult things.”
Life was just stifling my ideas in the making,
Dreams in the night soaring on wings.
 
When I was an adult, I was still waiting.
“Once you finish training, you will have a career.”
Books, learning, fieldwork, articles rating,
All linear goals but my life path a sphere.

Now I am older, I am no longer waiting.
“Once you pass 60, you can rest in the moment.”
Prose penned, photos cropped, brushed colors sating.
Life is good — eddies a-whirling but not in foment.

 

 

 

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Featured Poem: Music

 

By Dawn Huntley Spitz

Sarasota Branch, Florida

 

                                                  A song can soothe a sorrowing soul,

                                                           Can help a heart to heal,

                                                      Can make a broken spirt whole,

                                                                 Awaken us to feel.

 

                                                      A song is like an angel’s wings,

                                                             It touches us with grace,

                                                      And all the joy that music brings

                                                              Can fill an empty place.

 

                                                           Music is a warming thing

                                                           To cheer the darkest night

                                                    So come and play your pipes and sing

                                                             And dance into the light.

 

 

 

Featured Poem: Altogether — In response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis

 

By Mary Joan Meagher

Minnesota Branch

 

Every day we watch the walkers march in their journey to find justice.

Help us walk among these Pilgrims who search for unity and peace.

Every day we see the murders done by those who say “Trust us.”

Help us see the face of Christ in those whose grief will never cease.

 

Down in the valley the fires blaze, windows break, anger reigns.

Shadowy figures dash in and out, faces full of glee, loot loaded to tote.

Viewers of video have seen the victim, seen him whisper, “I can’t breathe.”

He called for his mother, his life’s breath gone, a knee on his throat.

 

Down through the ages the Pilgrims walk, ready to fight for liberty.

They reject the cries of lesser mortals, those who lust for money and power.

“Bow down,” cries the evil one, “Follow me, bow down now and worship me!”

The walkers rebuff him, scorn him, shun him, and cast him aside to cower.

 

Boots on the cobblestones, day by day, step by step, the Pilgrims march,

Deep into the mystery, chanting in rhythm, “Change to the System. Justice for all.”

Showing a change: from fear to courage, from despair to hope, from sorrow to joy.

Their voices ring out: “We march all together. Hope rises again. Grace given to all.”

 

Every day we watch the walkers march in their journey to find justice.

Help us walk among these Pilgrims who search for unity and peace.

Every day we see the murders done by those who say “Trust us.”

Help us see the face of Christ in those whose grief will never cease.

 

 

Featured Poem: Woman Warrior

 

By Barbara Castle Hanson

Cape Canaveral Branch, Florida

 

She stands,

left hand on hip,

before the bathroom mirror.

 

She applies her eyebrow color,

eyelid and lip liner

with the precision

of a painter of miniatures.

 

She brushes her hair

upside down

to add volume,

flips it over to smooth, style,

freeze with hairspray.

 

She steps into

crisp white pants and

coral sandals

to match her soft shirt.

 

Her armor on,

she summons her woman warrior

steps out

into the world

to face the tests

she’ll encounter today.

 

 

Featured Poem: O Pandora

 

By Monita Soni

Huntsville Branch, Alabama

 

When Zeus created you, “O Gifted One,”

Athena clad your innocence in a silver gown,

Taught your hands to weave and stitch

And cast on your shoulders a glittery veil,

Charites encrusted your garlands with jewels,

Horae molded your silver crown.

 

Aphrodite herself touched your face

And limbs with a languorous longing

That seethes like an intractable poison

In hearts and souls of mortal men,

Hermes the trickster gave you a deceitful

Tongue and placed in your hands a pithos.

 

You, “All Giving,” did not once doubt that

The contents in your hands were not gifts

From mighty Olympians but writhing in the

Box were anger, betrayal and revenge

Of Zeus upon Prometheus who gave fire

to the stealing denizens of earth.

 

Burdensome toil and sickness, plagues

and poisons to bring death and misery

To the human race escaped your box

When Epimitheus ignored his brother’s

Warning, accepted you for himself

And brought upon this earth all evils.

 

O Pandora, we mortals have borne

The burden of wars, plunder, slavery

Spanish Inquisition, pox and plague.

We have lied and cheated, depriving

Millions of children of food and water.

Now Corona is spreading like wildfire,

 

Casting us down like houseflies.

We are in lockdown and paralyzed

with fear, the money we hoarded

Will soon be worthless, our innate

Nature of greed will not leave us.

But if you see a ray of innocence

In the midst of our gloom,

 

Please open your box one

Last time and shake out the

Contents of your jar.

Clinging to the lip you might

Find something that could

Be a cure, our last “elpis.”

 

If Zeus “the Cloud Gatherer” wills it,

So be it, but don’t deprive us of this

Final sliver of hope. Perhaps another

Woman like you will invent a powerful

Vaccine that will heal ailing humanity.

 

And you, Pandora, will be forever

free of your curse.

 

 

Featured Poem: Clouds

 

By Anne-Marie Derouault

Cape Canaveral Branch, Florida

 

Today I watched the clouds.

Which particular set of circumstances

Found me lying down in this precise place

In the middle of a lawn?

Heart filled by the trees’ deep green

All technological and social temptations

Put aside

My gaze fell into the sky

And got lost.

A few clouds follow their course

Very slow, very light and very sure

 

I watched them move

Like never before.

I thought that Le Clezio was right

To point out the beauty of clouds

Fascinated by the slowness

Forever tranquil and strong

Of their journey

Their infinite nuances of white

Of velvety grey

Their unraveling delicate edges.

 

They glide into the summer air

They glide destined and peaceful

And I wished to absorb

This suspended peace, this floating peace

This liquid freedom

This weightless mass

To reflect the light like them

To float in the space of the sky

In the space of consciousness.

 

 

Featured Poem: The Covering

By Lois Batchelor Howard

Palm Springs Branch, California

 

Over its frame

my skin alligators

downward and outward

long unstopping skinny lines

so close to each other

drooping, sagging into air

shaking, moving, wobbling

vying to make a new fabric

much like corduroy

loosely wrapping and wrinkling

the back and front of arms.

Were I to wear a sleeveless dress

and perform playing a violin

listeners could not concentrate

on the beauty of the music

for they would be too immersed

in watching a sack of skin

sashaying forth into space.

I know; when young

I was audience to this

never thinking

I would be changing places

 

I crocodile myself

away from the mirror

wear long sleeves

and with no recourse

laugh. 

 

 

Featured poem and musical composition: Daunting is the Woman

Greenwich Branch member Ida Angland has created this original poem and musical composition, titled “Daunting is the Woman,” to honor the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the unveiling of the first statue of real women in Central Park by the group Monumental Women today, August 26.

Originally invited to perform the piece at the unveiling of the monument, due to COVID-19, Angland will now present it virtually by Gateway Classical Music Society. A Zoom sing-along will be offered to the Greenwich Pen Women as well.

Inspired by a lecture given to the Greenwich Pen Women in December 2019 by Coline Jenkins — the great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a Greenwich resident, and Monumental Women vice president — Angland was deeply moved by the “absurd reality” that there were no monuments to real women in Central Park, only fictional ones like Mother Goose. “Women’s Rights Pioneers,” by sculptor Meredith Bergmann, features Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth.

Angland wrote, “I thought about the powerful feelings that reality stirred in me, and I decided to use the poem’s message as the lyrics to a marching hymn, which I have dedicated to the movement.”

 

Daunting is the Woman - music and lyrics by Ida Angland-page-001

 

Daunting is the Woman

By Ida Angland
Greenwich Branch

 

Daunting is the woman

Whose statue stands divine

A monument to eternity

Her bearing proud sublime

Standing tall and beautiful

Belies her suff’ring and tears

For living seen tho invisible

In time to marching years

Truth revealed her compromised

Dismissed, forgotten and small

But now the trends are turning

As gallant she stands tall

A change is now approaching

Remembered times unfold

In monuments to woman

Preserve her story told

Rising far revealing

So high above the stone

Her light forever glist’ning

Immortal strides are sewnPo

Daunting is the woman

Her worth at last be known

Her light forever glist’ning

So high above the stone