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."




Friday, August 24, 2018

Something from Ellen


During the fretful day,
Oft time happenings begin as interruptions
Distractions from myself
Re-focus all the time
Multitask lays my energy groundwork-
Anticipate - On edge of something new as modus operendi

Ellen Mass
If only, to rein in, pin down
Cut off,
A life of interruptions

Friday, August 3, 2018

We welcome Vicky Schwab!

Vicky Schwab has moved to Newport from Ohio.  We're so glad she found us.  Here's the poem she read, with a fine steady pace that kept it rolling:

Blaming Ohio                                              
Vicky Schwab, center

    Disease is not of the body, but of the place. -- Seneca

The money's gone, the mills are all shut down,
a town of
ghosts and gutted shops.   Main Street's 
lined with taverns sprouting from the mold of

buildings gone to rot; the opera house,
her fancy grillwork ruined, a flophouse
for winos, gypsies, convicts on the run.

Saturdays, for fifty cents we'd have our
fortunes told and after, to Coney Island
last nickels spent on hot dogs heaped with sauce.

Had our father founds out, they'd have skinned us
alive.  The day the King of the Gypsies
died, we watched the shiny black hearses crawl

like beetles past our house.  That summer
we played along the creek bed, near the tracks
where my father hitched trains as a young man

dreaming past Westinghouse, Ohio Brass,
Mansfield Tire, Cyclops Steel, giant
foundries lit against the night, silent now

and still.  I lay between freshly laundered
sheets, mindful of the train's low wail, a
promise of worlds beyond my narrow berth

of silos and cornfields hushed at dusk, the
whisper of hatted ladies in church, the hush
of scandal over pearl-handled knives, best

china for the guests, vowing to escape
this white-domed sky, like a teacup over-
turned and me beneath, struggling for air.


Jed Feffer returns this summer.

Jed Feffer
 It's All Good, Father

The irritant is your absence,
but your ashes feed this white birch,
and the ground,
where an ant drags a moth over twigs.
You are gone,
but here are tall lilies,
Autumn Joy,
bee balm,
bright phlox,
and a glass petaled
blue ornamental flower,
that when tapped
with a pen
produces an icy tone
like clear steel drums.

You and mom packed up
most summers
to drive
to this Vermont farmhouse

where you continued                                               
your quest
for the perfect book.                                         
How odd now
to be ash;
your glasses ash,
your legs ash,
your heart ash,
your hands ash
your brain ash,
your tongue ash.

good soil food;
something you'd appreciate;
ground up for flowers.
This bench a place
to recollect you
and talk to you.

But memory is no substitute
for substance;
your voice;
your body
dressed in old jeans
and a flannel shirt,
sitting at the breakfast table
leaning over coffee.

You picking blueberries
in a too small beach hat;
plastic bucket strapped
to your belt buckle
slowly plucking berries.

Joanne Giannino sent us away, Wednesday before last, with the following prompt:

Name That Poem
Poetry Prompt from Poets&Writers Magazine 3.20.18
In a 2013 interview for the National Book Foundation, poet Lucie Brock-Broido, who passed away earlier this month, spoke of a leather-bound journal she kept with lists of names and titles. “Sometimes, I just place a title at the top of the undisturbed, blank page and that name becomes something like a piece of sand that happened into the delicate flesh of an oyster, blank itself and closed off from the world…. The result, eventually, is a pearl.” Spend several days jotting down phrases and combinations of words you come across, either out in the world or from your imagination, that seem particularly imagistic, evocative, or disquieting. Select one to use as a poem title, and then let a poem build intuitively, layer by layer, around the “disturbance.”

For Jed, the phrase was "It's all good."  Some of us have never liked that expression, but we very much like what Jed did with it.  A pearl.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

New poem by Carter Billis


The blankets I’m wrapped up in
Keep my fingers from turning blue
But true warmth is unattainable
If I’m here without you.
I reach for you occasionally
As if I’ll be able to feel you breathing
And you just rolled over in courtesy
Since you were snoring rather loudly.
If I saw you there next to me
I would want to wake you up,
Not just to disturb your sleep,
But because I liked it when we would stay up and talk.
Now I get excited and go to shake you,
But the only thing I find next to me is my sheet,
Not as soft as the touch of your skin
And nowhere near as warm as you would be.