Featured Poem: Duffy and Me

 

By Ellen Morritt
Sarasota Branch, Florida

 

I walk my dog on naked feet,
The sidewalk still retains the heat.
We walk along, my Duff and I
While fluffy clouds float over the sky,
The smell of jasmine always there
With you alongside, I won’t despair.

 

We stroll the pathway, just we two
Showed up here to start anew.
We walk and walk and breathe the night,
Moonlight makes it feel all right.
You sniff the ground, I sniff the air,
Whoever said that life was fair?

 

My best friend, you’re loved a lot,
You are faithful, he was not.
We’re here alone, just me and you
So we can start a life that’s new.
Things will brighten, you will see
Because you came along with me.

 

Featured Poem: Pandemic 2020 (with apologies to T. S. Eliot)   

 

By Barbara Sillery 
Cape Cod Branch, Massachusetts

 

Masks
eyes
  peer
    warily.

Space
scan
  circumference
    six feet.

 

Caution
fever,
  cough,
    labored breath.

 

Outcome
ventilator,
  isolation,
    fear.

 

Reports 
hundreds,
  thousands,
    millions—dead.

 

Survivors
Hollow Men
  Hollow Women
   circle round the prickly pear.

 

Days Ahead
Let neither bang
  or whimper be
    the end game.

 

 

Featured Poem: Living Fossil

 

By Carol Anne Dunn
Cape Canaveral Branch, Florida

 

From the safe harbor of my lanai

I see the opportunistic crocodilian lying in the sun,

Soaking up the rays before the day is done.

An ectothermic cousin to the dinosaurs of old,

Dark and grey, wet and slimy, and covered with duckweed mold.

Beware, my reptilian brain scolds,

This monolithic beast is dangerous and bold,

Soon before the murky waters, he will dive,

Perfect environmental adaptation, this living fossil thrives.

 

The moonbeams dance upon the pond,

Illuminating the sinister waters with a silvery song.

Where ancient crocodilian sleeps,

Within his hollow nice and deep.

But come the morning, he will rise,

To surface on the bank, his monolithic size.

In the ancient rhythm of existence,

His ancestors call with increasing and relentless persistence

He starts his calls to tempt a mate,

By sucking air, his lungs inflate

He bellows loudly to warn off male intruders,

His mating call could not be cruder.

 

He moves across the pond with stealth-like glide,

His body submerged; he moves with ease to the other side.

His awesome power contained in torpedo design,

He likes freshwater, not so much brine.

A cunning, resourceful stalker, he hunts,

And doesn’t have to eat for a month!

An Apex hunter, adaptable and on the prowl,

An ancient killer, you do not want to run afoul!

 

 

Featured Art: Pansies

Pansies photo

“Pansies,” photograph by Shirley Franklin; Minneapolis Branch

 

Featured Poem: D is for…

 

By Mary Jedlicka Humston
Iowa City Branch

 

Oh, to have the Determination,

the Drive, the Dominant instinct,

the DoggeDness, the Demeanor

of beavers builDing Dams.

 

Witnessing their work

while walking

the Waterworks Trail

filleD me with strength,

stick-to-it-ness and a

never-give-up attituDe.

 

In this time of social isolation,

we neeD examples of what

happens when working for

the gooD of all.

 

Those Darling beavers

are inspirations.

 

Stay strong, my frienDs!

Like the beavers, Dig Deep.

We can Do it!!!

 

 

Featured Art: Mediterranean Mermaids

 

Dianne-Benanti-MEDITERRANEAN-MERMAIDS

 

“Mediterranean Mermaids” by Dianne Lynn Benanti, Palm Springs Branch (California); oil on canvas, 71×51; image embellished with digital art

 

Artist’s Statement

I am a self-taught artist. I started out with traditional portraiture, which lead to large-scale oils in contemporary form.

In January 2020, I was asked to be an art contributor to the the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences for my artwork in the tribute to Elton John at the Oscars. The portrait image and inquiry can be found in the portfolio section of my website, Benanti.com.

I am very honored to be a part of the National League of American Pen Woman. I have a page on my website dedicated to this wonderful organization.

 

Featured Poem: Road Trip to Trail’s End

By Andrea Jones Walker
Pensacola Branch, Florida

 

Something about a road trip frees the soul,

fills the senses like fresh air in the lungs.

The pavement to Atlanta is in my tires,

they’ve made this trip dozens maybe hundreds of times

yet I’m behind the wheel again

farther this time

to the hills of North Carolina,

Maggie Valley, Hornbuckle Mountain

up winding roads

past brilliant fall leaves of golden maple

red Burning Bush,

speeding along the curves, slowing down the hills

to the gravel roads of Plott Balsam,

Field Mouse Lane and

Trail’s End.

 

My friend greets me, hammer in hand,

from within the walls of the cabin

she’s building,

dusts herself off,

offers me tuna salad and coffee.

We take a break on the deck

and listen to the rushing stream below.

 

Two days and nights in the woods

on the mountainside pass quickly.

 

There is a silence before dawn

when the sky is slate gray

before the November sun sets the treetops on fire,

a silence born of solitude

palpable, wrapping itself around me,

the Unmistakable Presence.

 

When I leave, a grouse scurries

across the road in front of me

into the woods.

The silence and solitude follow me

in the hours driving home, still free,

the trees now greener

the air farther south balmier—

home.

 

 

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?