Monday, August 28, 2017

Marianne Ross' poem, Take It Down

Marianne Ross taking it down, 8-23-2017
Marianne doesn't write with us often, because she visits from out of town, but she did last Wednesday. The prompt was to write (for about 15 minutes) in response to the question, "What would you like to take down?"  So here below is Marianne's poem without any revision, just right off the table where she sat.  Nice work.


That "invasive" flower
Take it down
That ivory tower
Take it down
That fiery sermon
Take it down
Those blinding lights
Take them down
Those futile fights
Take them down

All down to level ground

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New Colossus, by Adrien Helm

New Colossus

                                    Adrien Helm                                            
Adrien Helm at right

I stride from blue Pacific to aqua Gulf
Forbidding, cruel massive
My flanks proclaim “Beware!”
To tawny, black and brown
“Stay there!”

I snake through airports long and slow
Steely and unsmiling
With wand and stamp
Eyes flashing, scanning
Scrutiny blaring!

My consuls, agents, are strict, careful, icy.
My processes, meticulous.
My numbers exacting
A machine of efficiency
Cold and uncaring.

Don’t come with your headscarf, your fez or sombrero.
Don’t blink or frown
At my bureaucrat’s English.
I don’t care if you are
Nana, Opa, or Amma.

I want you peachy and prosperous,
Compliant and Protestant
Speaking my language,
Looking vanilla like me.
I’m the protector of myth!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fran's poem in eulogy as published in The Chronicle last week.

In Memory of Dorothy Cowles Lehnow (“Dot”): 1914-2017

Well into her Eighties, she still could
Invite me to canoe with her.
She would steer; that was understood.
Just another thing that Dorothy would
Accomplish firmly, deftly. No discussion or debate!

She seemed happiest when sitting
Surrounded by dozing dogs and knitting
Or crocheting. Her cats would visit, deigning
To check on her-- or their food dish—disdaining
A nap with those lazy dogs.

Dot herself was always occupied:
Reading, writing, hiking up the side
Of the road, picking berries or tracking scat.
Or calling in search of her fugitive cat.

One of the lessons I learned from Dot
(example, not precept, was the way she taught):
Companionable silence. Compared to chatter,
Being silent in the moment with a friend can matter
More than reminiscence. An old old-friend:
Though Dorothy is gone, fond memories won’t end.

                                                      Fran Blake Smith, a participant in the “Wednesday Poets”

Charles Simic, Visiting Poet

Charles Simic, Dolores Chamberlain
Sunday found some of our members at the Congregational Church in Brownington to hear Charles Simic read from his two most recent collections, The Lunatic and Scribbled in the Dark.  I think he read a new unpublished poem as well.

He read to a full house, even though we were far from any population center.  He was brave to come to such a small place but pleasantly surprised, perhaps, at the attendance.

And here's what Dolores wrote to read to us Wednesday night:

Poetry Reading

Attended a poetry reading in a crowded church on a cool day in August.
Noticed backs of heads, mostly covered in gray,
as I stare through Judy's hair (which by the way, is not gray).
Some heads bow down to follow along in their books as the poet recites,
not quite loud enough to hear.
A few tilt their heads and point the ear.
A chuckle can be heard or an occasional "aha."
His voice fades a bit as the mike is turned a little higher.
Coughs are stifled, air is drier.
A few questions put forth, he answers them all.
Then refreshments offered at Samuel Read Hall.
Crackers and cheese, water and wine; 
doesn't that sound just divine?
Most of our poetry group was gathered there when
Charles Simic brought his works to share.