Featured Art: Three’s a Crowd


Three's a Crowd by Susie Monzingo
“Three’s a Crowd,” 24×24 mixed media by Susie Monzingo, Fort Worth Branch (Texas)

From the artist:

I gather inspiration from the outdoors and all God’s beautiful creatures. I love to paint birds, animals and flowers. Oil painting is my medium, and often I add gold or silver leaf accents to the backgrounds. I want my paintings to recapture beautiful memories of life, and feelings of inspiration and joy for those who view and collect my work.

Featured Poem: The Day                                                   

By Barbara Castle Hanson
Cape Canaveral Branch, Florida



She awakes with the gradual awareness

that she is awake.

She doesn’t want to be awake.



She tries to drift back into the soft, lovely dream

that had surrounded her.



She encuddles herself in the warm quilt,

pulling it snugly up around her shoulders,

 under her chin.



She turns away from the slivers of sunlight

sneaking through the closed blinds.



She lies there quietly for a moment

lamenting the loss of the comforting fantasy.



She arises slowly with stiff joints

 and unsteady gate.



She glances around her bedroom;

her eyes come to rest on packed suitcases.



Tears inch their way down

her wrinkled cheeks.



She dresses slowly

 hoping, praying,

 she will be able to escape to

 soft, lovely dreams

 at Gardenia Court.




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 Art: Group Therapy


Group Therapy by Autry Dye

“Group Therapy,” 26×20 acrylic by Autry Dye, Pensacola Branch (Florida)


Autry Dye began experimenting with painting watercolor on canvas in order to eliminate some of the weight and size of traditionally matted and framed paintings. This was especially important when shipping work for competitions.  

Dye sprays her watercolor canvases three times to make them waterproof before framing. She hopes that the image itself is more important than the presentation with mats and glazing, and that more watercolor societies will start accepting this method of watercolor painting.


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.



How’s Your Branch Adapting in the Social Distancing Age?


The inability to host meetings due to lockdowns across the country has made it tough for Pen Women to keep in touch. Branches are missing their inspirational get-togethers — but many are getting creative and moving their meetings and other events online instead.


Branch Zoom meeting

Diablo-Alameda Pen Women during their first Zoom meeting recently. Photo by Ruey Syrop


One of these branches is Diablo-Alameda in California. On April 23, Pen Women Usha Shukla and Julie Cohn led the branch’s first Zoom meeting.

“It was wonderful to finally get to meet so many of you and to put beautiful faces to the names I’ve been reading in all the emails this past year,” returning member Susan Wight wrote to the branch after the meeting. “I’m so glad to be back in the warm embrace of Pen Women again. I look forward to future Zoom get togethers with all of you!”

Indeed, branch President Winnie Thompson says more Zoom meetings are planned. Members are getting the hang of “zooming,” as they call it, and they’re looking forward to more. The branch is also planning online art shows.

Congrats to Diablo-Alameda Branch for adapting successfully in the age of social distancing. Pen Women are a creative bunch — let’s be creative about ways we can stay connected.
How’s your branch doing?
Are you hosting meetings via Zoom or another online platform? Share your experience or comments from members about the meetings or other virtual events for potential inclusion in the summer issue of The Pen Woman.
Email a paragraph or two (and a photo if you can) to The Pen Woman editor, penwomanmag@nlapw.org. Summer issue deadline is June 3. Happy “zooming”!

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 Art: Alison’s Cat

Alison's Cat by Doris Mady

“Alison’s Cat,” 10×7 oil by Doris Mady, Greenwich Branch (Connecticut)


From the artist:

I painted a picture of my dog, Kerry, about a year before he passed. I called it “Unconditional Love” and placed it in the local library’s art show in November. The day after Thanksgiving, I received nine commissions for Christmas gifts! Painting pets is now one of my favorite things to do. I love the attitudes of my subjects.

            Alison was looking for a Christmas gift for her boyfriend and wanted something other than shirts and ties. Here’s what Alison had to say:

            “I wanted a painting because I saw Doris’ painting of Kerry. We had just adopted Oxnard from the humane society and didn’t have many photos of him yet. I commissioned a painting of a photo I took of him relaxing on the windowsill in natural light. At the time, it was the only picture of him that had any color. Now the painting is hanging in our home and we show it to everyone who visits.”


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 Art: Woman in White Chair




“Woman in White Chair,” acrylic, 27.5 x 22.5
By E. Marie Francis, Vero Beach Branch, Florida


From the Artist:

“Me Ladies” is the name of a series of drawings that I created over 30 years ago. The early pieces were simple pen and ink line drawings — rather abstract pieces. I later added watercolor paints in order to jazz them up. Over the last 19 years, I started using acrylic paint and a limited palette of white, black, red, and gold. Lately, the themes seem to be a little whimsical. Right now, a little whimsy is nice.  

The Woman in the White Chair

The woman in the white Queen’s chair,

had been reading her love poems with care.

Her thoughts have now carried her into

a dreamlike state,

putting a sweet smile on her face

completely unawares.