Featured Poem: Surprising Benediction

By Janet Fagal
Central New York Branch


We always heard the story,

how he rode the train

for four out of five

days of leave.

From San Antonio

to New York

and back.

He wanted to see her.

For even one day.

The train. Changed so much

of history. Rails bringing

the circus or the camper,

the worker or the mail.

Connected by the hum

of the wheels.

Tasting time

in quick breaths

between stations.

The train

as certain as the heart.

How much do so many owe

to a train,

trailing puffs of steam,

screeching toward home?



Featured Poem: If I Forget You

By Carmen Meadows
Atlanta Branch



If I forget you, darling one, as I grow old and frail,

I have a secret treasure chest no moths or rust assail.



The day I fell in love with you it started filling up.

I keep old pictures of us there, dried rose and buttercup.

Remember when we fished that day you brought our picnic fare?

You won my heart right at that spot, a treasure gathered there.



You wrote a poem as a gift. It’s framed beside our bed.

I read it every morning; it helps to clear my head.

You’ll find it in my treasure chest.  It sounds just like your voice,

A gentle rumble kind and sweet, it rings as I rejoice.



As we’ve grown old, we’ve faced some trials.  Together we remain.

Such jewels and gems you’ll wonder at brought forth from deepest pain.

We’ve watched the sun both rise and set, sweet etchings on my heart.

We’ve sat and laughed and sipped our cup creating precious art.



Your sacrifice and kindness are found in great excess.

You’ve led and loved and served me far beyond my mess.

You’ve loved me with a love both healing and enduring.

You’ve filled my treasure chest to full, no wait–it’s overflowing!



Faith and Hope are needful here, but Love is everlasting.

You’ve helped me store my treasures with all the pearls you’re casting.

Together we enjoy the precious gifts of living

Looking forward to the future and all its days are giving.



If I forget you, darling one, as I grow old and frail,

I have a secret treasure chest no moths or rust assail.



You helped to fill my treasure chest well before I held you.

I keep old pictures from your life of youth and growing stature.

There are happy days of sun and cheer and even some sad tears.

I’ve pondered each event and cherished each new year.



I am blessed beyond all measure to be your confidant,

To have those deep discussions and watch the girl grow up.

From ponytail to wedding veil I have so many treasures.

I count each moment priceless among my dearest pleasures.



Faith and Hope are needful here, but Love is everlasting.

You’ve helped me store my treasures with all the pearls you’re casting.

As I have walked with you, one day you’ll walk with me.

I hope to hold your hand and trust what I can’t see.



If I forget you, precious one, as I grow old and frail,

I have a secret treasure chest no moths or rust assail.



Featured Poem: Ireland

By Carolynn J. Scully


The ancients winked and
smiled at the mystery
and magic of the wee
island of green, a crock
of shamrocks hiding
Leprechaun gold for
hunters to find at
the end of rainbow
rivers. Finders dance jigs
in party with friends
unaware of the owner
nearby, smoking a pipe,
stroking an orange beard,
wearing a buckled hat and
velveteen knickers.


Carved stone crosses dot
the land to rule the myths.
Old manuscripts
illuminate truth, and
the three-leafed clover
is lifted up by a holy man
to teach about the Lord
who is the maker
of the dance. The people
of the green isle play and
kneel with fervor.



Featured Poem: Slants and Rants — Observations for Writers

By Mary L. Gardner
CNY Branch


Being Clear

There’s not a follicle of truth

in a colleague’s chronicled memoir

that observing a tropical botanical

requires a monocle.


Footnotes for Thesis Writers

Straight from a reputable source

comes a cautionary corollary:   

* Use one’s trove of melancholia with caution. 

* Make time for sheer bacchanalia.  

* Be not deterred

 by the weight of scholarly tomes and texts

 in the pursuit of intent, color and cadence,

 and the laying down of lyrical lines.



Though the elegant Narcissus spurned

the maiden Echo’s love  

(herself denied the gift of speech)

and was consigned forever

to a watery view of himself,

it does not follow that midday narcolepsy

in the pursuit of artful prosody

is the result of narcissistic obsession

nor the folly of spinning meter & rhyme

in the middle of the night,

though upon waking,

it seems the intent of these lines

has gone awry in this

overwrought writ.



Featured Poem: Oakland Giraffes

Patricia Doyne
Diablo-Alameda Branch, California



(Based on Giraphics by muralist Dan Fontes)



The freeway overpass

pulses with cars, pick-ups, buses, big-rigs, motorcycles.

All day they speed up, change lanes,

weave in, out, and on.



Underneath the overpass,

drivers pass the huge support pillars emblazoned with—


A giraffe stretching to feed,

a giraffe bending to drink,

two giraffes angling their necks to check out the neighborhood.

Comic surrealism peeks out

amid the apartments, small stores and ever-moving traffic.



“When the freeway fell down in ’89,”

says the artist, “these pillars

had to be enlarged. An old giraffe is still inside.

Can you hear him?”

The child puts her ear to the pillar.

Her face brightens.

“Yes,” she burbles, “He’s saying,

‘Mmm, mmuh-uh-uh, mmmuh.”



So now there’s a new spirit

haunting the Oakland street scene.

Not political. Not gang-related. Not religious.

This spirit makes you smile as you pass by,

shaking your head.

A giraffe poses photo-realistically on the pillar,

leaving homeland camouflage behind.

But his very presence echoes the Serengeti

in this unlikely cement place:

Mmm, mmuh-uh-uh, mmmuh.”

Or perhaps,

We came, unwilling, from Africa.

Now Africa leaves a keepsake in our midst.


Featured Poem: One Moment

Mary Joan Meagher
Minnesota Branch


The present tense is tricky

When the one you love

No longer is

But has become a was.

Existence is measured in moments.

Moments are long when

Is no longer describes

The one who was immediacy,

The one who was forever.

Now a moment shocks,

Now a moment stretches,

Now a moment is eternity.

An eternity without,

An eternity bereft,

An eternity of empty.

One’s sight is blurred,

One’s hearing is gone,

One’s touch is numbed,

One’s moment is bloated

With grief.

Existence depends on the gyroscope

Of time and space

Returning to is,

Not was.

One’s moment becomes a merry-go-round of




Featured Poem: After the Fruit

Christina Laurie
Cape Cod Branch, Massachusetts 


When the serpent beckoned Eve
and she tasted the ripe softness
of the pink fruit from the forbidden tree,
she felt the energy of earth
pour into her bones,
teasing the marrow with cool sweetness
and the memory of being.


Then she knew of knowledge,
and adventure begged at her back door.
She galloped into the new world
with insight and understanding
that her husband only sensed
as he watched her frolic in the fields of gold,
free, beautiful and sensual.


She knew that, up until that moment,
all she had known was isolation
of green and blue, of earth and sky
and gentle walks with God.
His voice called her to His evening stroll,
but after the fruit, all she knew
that what had touched her tongue
was only partial truth.



Featured Poem: Something’s Missing, Something’s Gone


Dr. Carmen Meadows
Atlanta Branch



Carefree days outside I played 

Come cloud or sun I’d laugh and run


To see bugs crawl or scale a wall

I’d pick a flower build a tower


Something’s missing, something’s gone


We fell in love and made a promise 

My heart’s desire to be your wife, 

Bear your children, share my life


Our babies came and grew so fast 

I thought it should forever last


Something’s missing, something’s gone


We built a business, watched it grow

Had to see it crumble though

Together we could bear it strong


Something’s missing, something’s gone


Time doesn’t seem to want to brake

I watch our parents bend and shake


They aren’t too sure they know our face

How sad to think they’ve left the race


Something’s missing, something’s gone


Today we have the moment sure

I look into your eyes and smile 

Thankful for the time at hand


In love and loss we spend our days

Grateful we have passed this way


As I look back it’s plain to see


Something’s missing, something’s gone


If Grace is granted now as then

There’s still a bloom and call to hear

“Come play and run and laugh again”


All isn’t as it seems


The thing that’s missing’s yet to come

What seems a loss is part of all

A stone once hewn and set in place


All understood when face to face




Featured Poem: Stay for Awhile

Patricia J. Dennis
Santa Clara County Branch, California


A mansion set back
White pillars standing tall


Framed by trees guarding all
Luscious greens so alive
Glistening clean after the rain
Sweet aroma of flowers fill the air


There is a swing
Do we dare
Sit and stay for awhile


Remembering when as a child 
We could swing forever 
And get lost in the


Head thrown back


Air blowing through our hair
Letting go of the worries 
Soaring through the air


Hearts full of promise
On our way to tomorrow


Featured Poem: A Music

Lois Batchelor Howard
Palm Springs Branch



I have longed for the quiet of this time

soft muted sounds to fill these once loud rooms

a fresh hushed air to feed the waiting blooms

silence enough to hear the old clock chime


bold energy to blossom forth in rhyme

pianissimo to inspire new tunes

so dare I now say I like a noisy loom?

can solitude be what I really held most prime?


and why did I not know this in the din?

Family, friends, loves cannot be replaced

this found truth now marks my inner pace

and unwritten songs I still will sing


ensemble, forte, rests:

not too late blessed