Friday, July 19, 2013

Night Train

A cinquain poem
Photo by Lucy Soerens

Night train
Moan fades in the distance
I pray morning light will bring you
back home.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Up the stairs, smell apples and pears,
Gramma’s in the barn now, so who cares?
I’ll scamper on up and check it out--
What is that gloomy room all about?
Missionaries are coming here to stay
And that just doesn’t happen every day.
So the shadowed room has been made clean
Any footprints I leave will not be seen.
My Gramma’s been busy and so the dust
is swept away and I know I must
be very careful not to leave
a trace of me or she won’t believe
I’ve been in the kitchen peeling spuds
and washing dishes in lots of suds.
I see as I peer through the low keyhole
on the washstand there, a pitcher and bowl.

Gramma’s gone now thirty years.
The bowl is fine, but I see through tears
the pitcher’s cheeks resemble mine,  
blemished with hairline cracks--a sign
we’re beyond repair, we’ll never again
know that innocent time back when
the worst thing that happened was Gramma came back
and rewarded rebellion with a resolute smack
to the place on my person where it did the most good.
I promised her then that I never would
without permission go tripping upstairs
to the room that smelled of apples and pears.

          How I cherish the pitcher and bowl!
          They satisfy something deep in my soul
And always remind me of Gramma.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This poem is what I like to call "enhanced fiction."  Any resemblance to persons living or dead is probably inevitable, but intended without malice.


All the young cousins have ants in their pants
Looking forward to visits by uncles and aunts
Mom is preparing to roast a real winner
of a turkey for the annual Thanksgiving dinner.
First to show up is Uncle Dan Fraser
who needs to meet up with some soap and a razor.
His beard collects cranberries, butter and corn,
and yet there are stains on each shirt he has worn.
His wife is with him, dear Jessie—so brave—
who’s not at all able to make him behave.
May I introduce you to Gert, my great aunt,
whom I really should love but quite simply can’t.
The woman has always complained of poor health
and yet brags about it as if it’s her wealth.
Here comes Uncle Ray, whose political views
are plumb wacko. His rantings have ceased to amuse.
Brother Tom, bless his heart, insists that we meet
the guys he’s brought with him—bums off the street.
Dear Grace brings her usual zucchini bread
I know I should eat some--I’d rather be dead.
Though no one likes it, our admiring comments
inspire her to bring it to family events.
There’s the uncle who wheezes and the aunt who hums
and old cousin Doris who always comes
to remind us each year of the reason we gather:
to give thanks for all the blessings that matter.
We’re a raggedy bunch, there’s no doubt about it.
Let’s all join hands and joyfully shout it:
One, two, three, yell:  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
We’re here, and we are all glad to be living
in a land where we’re free to give thanks to the One
Who showed Himself to us and joins in our fun.
Everyone’s welcome here, old saints and young sinners
to the mother of all Thanksgiving dinners.


I ask you, folks, and please be candid:
Did your dinner last as long as this poem did?

Monday, September 24, 2012

The assignment was to write a rhyming couplet poem about fall colors.  

The Texas version I posted earlier:  Leaves turn brown.
                                                            Fall down.
                                                               It's fall.
                                                             That's all.
                                                                            wasn't quite adequate.

This is the one I sent. I have just learned it placed FIRST


A kind of aching sadness reaches me
while watching as our sugar maple tree,
her crimson leaves like bitter, falling tears,
grows bare-limbed, stark--as in all her former years.
In the autumn of my life, may I stay bright
until I turn to gray and fade from sight.
For I discern what falling leaves can’t know:
When finally I fall I will not go
to merely dust and ashes. I will rise
to Him who made the trees, the earth and skies.
For He who suffers not a sparrow’s fall,
remembers me and hears me when I call.
I’ll rise to new life trees have never seen,
and never fade again--forever green.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I posted my "Fall Colors of Texas" poem.  It went like this:

     Leaves fall down
     Turn brown.
     It's fall.
     That's all.

Many of my readers expressed appreciation for that work of art, and my Texas readers understood it well.

In the process of trying to write the poem I eventually entered, I wrote a couple of others that were not quite ready for competition.  This is one:


In high summer days it’s hard to get serious
about the oncoming season and how mysterious,
that when trees thick and leafy in oak groves are granting
to dogs old and young, who are drawn to it panting,
rest and refreshing in its gentle cool shade,
don’t notice its leaves beginning to fade.
Bright red is the sugar maple’s glory
but gold and orange tell their own story,
of how chlorophyll’s needed to keep the leaves green.
If we didn’t know better we’d think it was mean
that this sun-scorched land would take what is pretty
And turn it plain brown—monochrome, dirty.
It makes me wonder--inspires me to utter
that the One who suffers no sparrow to flutter
without his knowledge, will be still be around
when our purpose is finished and we fall to the ground
                                 and turn brown

The assignment was a triolet poem.


True love, like wine, grows deep with years
   When born at noon some clear spring day.
Through sleepless nights and bitter tears,
True love, like wine, grows deep with years,
Sweet solace as our sunset nears,
   Recalling when love came to stay.
True love, like wine, grows deep with years
   When born at noon some clear spring day.