Friday, December 21, 2018

Jeany who thought Santa wanted poems about Christmas books contributes to his pack

"So here's my contribution," she writes:

My Christmas Book
Jeany, with a smile creeping
across her countenance 
Blank verse

Her postscript:
I added some nonsense to flesh out my book in class, but here's my poem in all its splendor and length; maybe a smile will creep across your countenance. 


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Sylvia's Christmas poems to appear in Waterways

Por favor?

Are the boys at Tornillo
hoping to see Santa?
What can he bring
to their desert tents
that could begin
to make amends
for lost childhood?

Tonight a cold wind

So I’ve brought in
the poinsettia

To let it safely sit as sign
that even I can say, aye,
it is the season.

I know the date. 
I know the president is he
who presides.  So there.

There, there now.

But tomorrow I’ll find
my old poster, that antique Santa
with bulging belly and a pipe,
reprinted above “Books for Christmas,
including Dover paperbacks,”
bought for $1.00 (I well remember)
one mid-December night,
decades past, steadfast friend
that’s helped me acknowledge,
again and decades over, again,
the year is winding down.

Tonight the cold wind,
the poinsettia safely brought in.

Joanne answers Santa's call

Good girl Joanne Giannino, who thought
Santa wanted poems about Christmas  books.

The night before Yuletide we car rumble home
singing the drunk lady’s 12-days-of-Christmas song
with the radio blaring, our tummies full, and our jammies just right,
we settle in for that longest winter night

Just me, my beloved, and our two little boys
Cuddling close for our favorite tale
Interpreted by Hallmark’s best popup book still
Gift from Aunt Lena we await with delight

For the ten little reindeer, the jolly old elf
the tradition the same year after year
drive to see family then roll on back home
tuck in for the night and enjoy the solstice yarn.

Santa, pleased as punch
Until last year, I couldn’t find that old book
So I scanned the magic web and found it on Ebay
With the price ranging from hundreds to mere tens
Made my bid, kept checking and finally won: a new copy!

The only flaw a ripped ribbon in its French door hard cover                               
But voila, with tape and glue and new trimming procured
A nearly new book to share with all, this in time for this year
Our tiny grandbaby, now two, her parents, our friends, and you!

With a wish for a Merry Christmas - from the friendly old saint 
and to all a good night - from his sleigh, he goes up, up, and away,
With a shout, with a song, with sleigh bells a clanging
And a quite cheery song for a Happy New Year!

In from Adrien, a villanelle she wrote in November

Adrien Helm

Caravan (another lumpy villanelle)

To the North, seeking asylum they pad
In flip flops and rope soled huaraches
To a nation now controlled by the mad.

No safety from gangs at home to be had
Families treated like cucurachas --
To the North seeking asylum they pad.

Between murderous and awful and bad
Fleeing villages poor and dangerous
To a nation now controlled by the mad

Their faces unspeakably weary, sad,
Children carried, a burden most precious.
To the North seeking asylum they pad.

A desperate thousand mile walk they’ve had,
Rumors swirl of reception perilous,
To a nation now controlled by the mad.

Is there any hope for them to be had?
Trapped between Scylla and Charybdis?
To the North seeking asylum they pad
To a nation now controlled by the mad.
                                                    November 2018


blogger's helpful note, lifted from Wikipedia:

Henry Fuseli's painting of Odysseus facing the choice between Scylla and Charybdis, 1794/6
Being between Scylla and Charybdis is an idiom deriving from Greek mythology, meaning "having to choose between two evils". Several other idioms, such as "on the horns of a dilemma", "between the devil and the deep blue sea", and "between a rock and a hard place" express similar meanings.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Wednesday Poets meeting through winter!

First time ever!

Sylvia hears the take-away is a poem with just dialogue, and even though her poem posted here is not just dialogue, and besides is very old, she misses the stalwart Northeast Kingdom Wednesday poets so much she's posting it anyway.  (It was written in Quebec City, winter, 2009.)

Very few out and about

in the alleyway or even
Sylvia Manning on the right behind Judith Janoo, autumn 2018.
Grande Allée, so far as
I can see.

Greg comes, though,
the neighbor in apt. 6.
“I hate this country!”
he says in a charming
English.  “46 years of this!”

(the formidable snowstorm)

“I can’t believe you’re 46!
You look like a kid!”
I tell him.  “So this country
has kept you young!”

“Maybe,” he says, almost
smiling, but then adds,
“or maybe it’s the beer.”

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Moira C. O'Neill

We don't have a picture of Colleen (who is also Moira C.) but we have a poem.  Here it is, written to a prompt of "Cool," and so it's titled ...


                                             breathing on its own
                                         low down -- understood
                                          whispers comprehension

                                                             That's cool.

Colleen knew Baba Ram Dass.  Many, many knew this.  (In lieu of photo.)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

NEK Wednesday Poets on October 24, 2018

And the poems were just as handsome!

Left to right:  Scott, Stephen, Mark, Jed, Carol, Peter, Carter, Jerry, Jean, Joanne, Judith, Sylvia

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Mark Creaven from last summer, just found in a notebook

Mark handed this over a long time ago, just after a major illness.  The photo is from last summer, when he was barely recuperating.  He's fine now, as is this, without title:

It slowly crept up on the heart on me.
I can't remember when
I used to move so easily,
Just every now and then
A twinge a pull or maybe a tear,
A slowing down for just a while.
I still moved without a care.
But now each day brings a new pain,
A deeper more distracting thought,
A memory once held so dear now lost,
A skill once learned, now untaught.
So now the end stares me in the face.
As my spirit still tries to soar,
My body still calls to end the race.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Adrien Helm's poem for Sister Gail of the Green Mountain Monastery

Adrien Helm
Sister Gail

Flower sprigged dress 
Below lacy blue bolero,
Solid trim figure, pixie cap of curls and
      those eyes --
Blue lanterns of pure light
Reading of Jesus 
In green garden boots.
Our open mic nun
Setting a toe-tapping beat
In recalling childhood street
And soda can dancing.
A perfect last voice
In sunlit brick and wood
Cathedral of disparate songs.
You set our feet tapping
With perfect punctuation
To close our program --
Poetry and natural beauty
Our imperfection on display.
We couldn't help but smile
As you lifted our moody
Congregation to rollick with you.


Adrien Helm has co-led the Wednesday Poets for six years.  She read us this poem after the group held a poetry reading session with open mic at the Green Mountain Monastery in Greensboro, down the road some 15 miles or so from Barton.  Sister Gail of the monastery impressed her.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Purr, by Jed Feffer

Jed Feffer

The sunshine basks my face.
I feel an affinity with Cheshire, the cat.
I can't stop grinning.
Old Man Sun has something
                             to do with that.

He's been shining for eons,
and thank you very much for asking,
so have cats been basking
for a very long time.
No wonder they are so mysterious,
lying around flicking their tails
and preening their whiskers,
finding the laps of so many chairs,
breathing, stretching,
finding the gracedfulness of air
to skirt around the stodgy legs of things.
Everyone looks so serious to a cat you know.
Everyone so busy with someplace to go.
And me just puddling up in the sun.

Look, I'm disappearing.         

Friday, September 21, 2018

More from Scott

Universe shimmers, Reality perceives
Perception fountains...
Vibration sounds, World roars.

In our September 19 meeting the prompt for writing in session together was simply, fear.
Scott produced this:

A good space                                      
Scott Norman Rosenthal

in a bad place ...

Farms on the road,

and tragic beefalo ...

cry, whine, shout,

nowhere for movement
but out ...

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Judith Janoo's previously published Snow Travels

Judith Janoo, summer 2018, Barton Public Library
Snow Travels  
                 By Judith Janoo

light and down
in its kingdom

sweeps parallel
as supine you gaze,

question why remain,
and miss the great escape

south or west
still braced against

last week’s freeze
that wheezes, moans

bone scrapes bone
until at once unleashed

into white silence
you travel as wind crystals

over neighbor’s blue van
abandoned, up to its wheels

in white, over roofless shed
left open to soft fragments    

falling over the woodpile
lining the drive

lighting on fir saplings
bowed down and higher,

birches regal parchment
cleaving and even these

peeled, dried,

Monday, September 17, 2018

Another September poem, by Scott Norman Rosenthal

Scott Norman Rosenthal
September 5th, 2018

The Sun doesn't pause,
nor the calendar cease ...

This Season
heat stays ...

...the patient Moon
luxuriously sails ...

Friday, September 7, 2018

Jean's September poem

Jean Morris
Here's what Jean Morris wrote in our session
on September 5, 2018, with the September Song prompt:  

September could be the
     cruelest month,
     given the chance.

I'll take the chance.
I'll rake down-fallen leaves
    with abandon and fury

and anticipate muscle aches.             

Fran Smith's Pieta

Fran Smith


You used to Loom Large.  Your critiques
Wounded me.  Recovery took weeks.
And now, at Calvary Hospital, it speaks
Volumes that your beauty, though diminished,
Persists despite the toll exacted by your years,
Despite the drugs that addle synapses.  Your fears
And pride and vengefulness and tears
And joy in jewelry and grandkids aren't quite finished.

Junkies would falter at the dose you get
Of opiates.  Sweet anodyne!  No pain but you regret
Your loss of language, hearing, mental clarity.  Yet
closeness, skin to skin, is what you really crave.

I know this.  So now that nurse is gone, I stealthy-slide my arms
Under your covers.  Under your thin back.  What harm
Is there?  Will you catch my germs?  But there is no alarm:
Embraces are welcome at hospice ... especially at this stage.

Your shoulder blades are bird-like. By contrast
Your grandkids' infant backs were muscle-bound and even then surpassed
Their little grandma's now cradled in my arms.  Rid of ambivalence, at last,,
I'm willing, but sad, to let you go.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Four from Carole

We love our Carole Perron, who often writes about family matters. (The Perrons are one of the earliest and largest families to have come down into the Northeast Kingdom from Quebec to build farm homesteads.)  Carole's first poem here relates to a new family member.  The second is a take on the pantoum, with the same subject.
Carole Perron

A Foster Child

My daughter and family
Welcomed a 12 yr. old boy
Who knows what he has seen
Or where he has been

Perhaps this is his first solid family.
Is he frightened, relieved, defensive?
Will he stay?  Is he a son, a brother?
Does a solid family relieve some anxiety?
Perhaps this is only temporary
Or may provide a solid base for the future.

A Stranger in Our Midst

There's a new boy in town
He may feel really lost.
He attaches to Silas, a friendly face.
Strangers everywhere when he looks around.
He may feel really lost.
Hey, a water balloon fight!
Strangers everywhere when he looks around.
There's lots of food.

Hey, a water balloon fight!
It's a lot of fun.
There's lots of food to choose from.
There's a new boy in town.

Let's play frisbee or lawn darts!
There's a new boy in town.
Really talkative and at ease
He attaches to Silas, a friendly face
And seems to make a space for himself.


(This next is a poem Carole wrote in our most recent session, Sept. 5, 2018.  We had only 10 minutes only to write to the prompt, September Song.)

September Song

It's a long way from beginning to end.

September is like a transition
                    from the warmth of summer
                    to the chill of December.

It carries wonderful memories
                    of love, laughter, pleasure,
                    and lets us carry them,
                    a treasure.

And when the wind howls around
                   the windows,
And snow drifts, covering the road,
We remember that everything
                   travels in circles.

                   Spring always comes.
The pleasure of summer soothes.
Autumn signals another change,
Preparation for rest

                   and rejuvenation.

Then once again
we're prepared for spring.

                                      (And the one below has a date as title, her father's birthdate.)


Today would have been my dad's 106th.
We always celebrated with cake and ice cream
And fried salt-pork in milk gravy,
Dad's favorite!

Though he died 30 years ago
His memory lives on
In the stories he told,
In habits we hold
In the fact he didn't scold.

He was quiet and calm,
A part of his charm.
Loved visiting with friends,
Keeping in touch,
Laughing at shared jokes.

When helping with haying
Was heard to exclaim,
As he lined up wagon and elevator
(A challenging feat),
"Damned old fool, don't know
         if you're coming or going."