Featured Poem: Legacy of Love

Anne Bonner
Cape Canaveral Branch

as the old lady stares into space
slender twig bent and broken
I remember Mama
a beautiful young blossom
role model in days past
admonishing sister and me
pretty is as pretty does

remember those not as fortunate
urging us to become good citizens
using our minds and creative abilities
a kaleidoscope of dreams
patchwork of portraits
assurance of self-worth

mothers  grandmothers  great
grandmothers second class
citizens in days long ago
surrounded by barriers of barbs
visible and invisible boundaries
never forget your roots

unsightly deeds covered by
apologetic men as women today
take their rightful place in the world
sympathy for the downtrodden
providing sustenance to husbands
children and to themselves
to thine own self be true

thank you, Mama
and those ladies before you
legacy’s tapestry is woven
into my heart
golden threads of love



Featured Poem: Pictures of Me

Val Weaver
Des Moines Branch, Iowa

Pictures of me…

taken in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s
show me always with a cigarette in my hand

held between
the fore and middle fingers
the epitome of
sophisticated style.

I turn the pages
of the photo albums
and crave the comfort of
that mentholated burn.

Bob Pace plays something funky in the background…

I inhale.

Pick up the glass of Jack and seven,
hold it to the candle
and gaze into its
soft amber
glow…

I exhale.

And take a sip.
Love the sound of ice
against the glass.

I inhale…
    
My lover says something strangely funny and
I laugh
smoke drifts across the table into his eyes.

I cross my legs, lean forward
and say, “Sorry.”

I take another puff

and I am the star

of my own

1940s

Bette Davis

movie.



Featured Poem: Legacy of Love

Anne Bonner
Cape Canaveral Branch

 

as the old lady stares into space
slender twig bent and broken
I remember Mama
a beautiful young blossom
role model in days past
admonishing sister and me
pretty is as pretty does

 

remember those not as fortunate
urging us to become good citizens
using our minds and creative abilities
a kaleidoscope of dreams
patchwork of portraits
assurance of self-worth

 

mothers  grandmothers  great
grandmothers second class
citizens in days long ago
surrounded by barriers of barbs
visible and invisible boundaries
never forget your roots

 

unsightly deeds covered by
apologetic men as women today
take their rightful place in the world
sympathy for the downtrodden
providing sustenance to husbands
children and to themselves
to thine own self be true

 

thank you, Mama
and those ladies before you
legacy’s tapestry is woven
into my heart
golden threads of love

 

 

Featured Poem: Ancient Roads

Nancy Haskett
Modesto Branch

 

At Brú na Bóinne,
Neolithic people walked on ancient roads
through sacred Irish land
toward prehistoric passage graves
and ceremonial temples like Newgrange,
where grass grows atop a rounded mound,
over white quartz walls layered with earth and stone,
carved circles, spirals, chevrons, arcs;
created by a people older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge
who feared the loss of light in autumn’s abbreviated days,
this holy place keeps a secret all year long
until dawn of Winter Solstice
when the rising sun peeks in through a roofbox
aligned to capture the rays,
sends them to the inner chamber,
flooding the floor with light —
an annual miracle providing reassurance that the days,
once again,
will begin to lengthen

 

 

Featured Poem: The First Snowfall Prediction

Susan Bassler Pickford
Member-at-large, Maine

 

Thirty minutes after the weatherman’s prediction
The snow commences to fall
December 9th at 12:30
Pretty delicate flakes
Waft to the cold ground
Covering the ornamental cherry trees
Like a set from the Nutcracker Ballet
This storm has come across the south and up the East Coast
And is predicted to be gone by tomorrow at noon
Would that our lives could be predicted as accurately
Problems arriving around 6:30 p.m.
Probably gone by 9 a.m. tomorrow
Followed by a light dusting of consequences
Yes, it’s time for snow
We’re not surprised
It’s actually pretty
It benefits from being the first snowfall of the season
Those following will not be so beloved, so pleasing
Eventually, we will loathe the word “storm”
Yearning, longing for the ornamental cherry trees
To bloom
Flowers instead of flakes

 

 

Featured Poem: Furious, Too

Diane McDonough
Cape Cod Branch

 

(after reading fury by Lucille Clifton)

 

Mama’s hand delivers
rhymed and metered stanzas
natural as blue trumpets
of a morning glory vine
unfolding in an incubating sun.

 

Papa fears the shape of those blues
she wears like a crown, fears her thinking
she’s some star like Billie Holliday —
singing her poems as she pulls
wet clothes from the laundry basket,
pins them to the line,
towels and shirts slapping
in the wind like applause.
So in a 1940s cold spell, like Jack Frost,
he freeze-dried those vines,
said, No. You won’t publish no poems in no book.

 

Mama freaked, her eyes severed connection
with everything but her pages,
and she scooped them up,
cradling them like some precious stillborn.
Dashing to the cellar, she threw them
into the belly of the furnace.

 

Papa fertilized the garden with the ashes,
wins prizes for roses, long-caned Bourbons
with lipstick pink petals, and prickly rugosas
he planted in a hedge ‘round the house
crowding out every last morning glory vine.

 

Featured Poem: Warm Sunday Afternoon, Thanksgiving Weekend

Judy Crystal
Greenwich Branch

 

In Byram Park
West wind whispers, branches dance
Glimpse of sun-burnished water
Through the red and orange leaves
Promise of winter beauty

 

Young man, sweatshirt discarded
Park bench sheltered from the breeze
Eats his brown bag lunch
Unthreatened, summer lingers

 

On the Avenue
Shadows lengthen, dusk approaches
Marking the advancing season
Evergreens in window boxes
Wreaths and roping on the doors

 

Fairy lights glimmer in windows
Stores adorned with Christmas wishes
Coats unbuttoned, couples amble
Turkey dinner afterglow

 

Before the long, cold nights begin

 

Featured Poem: Canvas of Life

Barbara Clarke
Atlanta Chapter

 

Life’s journey is played out beginning on the upper part of the canvas

bright colors are intermingled at the entrance of a new soul.

Love between us is heighten with hues of a symphony of emotions

when we welcome a new being into our fold.

 

In times of despair and downtrodden state of affairs

dark cacophony of colors swirl around us and

we strive to live above ordinary circumstances that

drag us down to the bottom of the canvas.

 

It is the Creator that lives within us that provides

the White Spirit to push on through the grey abyss

of troubles and tribulations that plague us in this canvas life.

 

When your soul is bleak and the canvas has you stifled

where your creativity seems to have subsided,

you stumble around not being able to bring forth. . . 

 

a friend calls with yellow enlightenment and words of promise

encouraging you to pick up your brush and paint pushing through,

you then see the rainbow that shines through friendship

propelling you to move higher up the canvas

breathing life into the continuation of your masterpiece.

 

The ups and downs of canvas life are captured in your journal,

it holds your most heartfelt sentiments and feelings

about this journey you’re treading on. You paint in your journal

expressions and impressions, memoirs as you move on down

the canvas of life. You speak in your journal about the

emotional highs and lows that ebb and flow from living.

 

When one looks into your journal after you have moved on

into the other realm; gaining insight and a glimpse of the

picture you painted expressing your innermost secrets

and emotions about the canvas of life. They take your memoirs

and hold them in their hearts and keep you alive forevermore

from the picture you created on your journey collage.

 

It is a way of safekeeping you high up on the canvas

for the picture you painted is held within their view

never forgetting the journey you made

and the love they held for you

 

Featured Poem: Genetically Modified

Cornelia DeDona
Member at Large, New York

 
It was December of 2012. Dad was almost eighty.
Dementia had erased his hunger.
He’d subsisted the last few years on cheap cereal 
made from BT corn and ice cream.
He loved ice cream.
 
I moved back home after Dad died. After my divorce.
Leaving Hawaii felt like I had base jumped from Everest.
Forced to endure the gravity of free-fall.    
I boldly believed my DNA would protect me.
 
But, unwittingly, in the ‘90s, 
I  too had become a guinea pig in an experiment. 
I developed an autoimmune disease by age 35, something new to my family.
 
Brain disease and hypothyroidism,
an autoimmune disease, 
linked to GMOs and excess sugar
were still largely ignored by the family doctor.
 
Like everyone else,
I had rationalized the altered food as safe.
 
My stomach wouldn’t dare explode
like the bugs’ who ate the toxic corn.
 
After all, 
I was genetically strong
like Dad.
 
 
BT corn is a genetically modified food, or GMO. A GMO is an organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not commonly found there. Genetically modified “Bt corn” has been equipped with a gene from soil bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), which produces the Bt toxin. It’s a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them. This pesticide-producing corn entered the food supply in the late 1990s, and over the past decade, the horror stories have started piling up. And the problem with Bt crops goes far beyond the creation of Bt-resistant insects. Native to Central America, papaya was the first genetically modified fruit to be grown in commercial production. The genetically modified varieties, known as Rainbow and SunUp or Sunrise, were developed in Hawaii to resist the papaya ringspot virus.