Friday, November 30, 2012

30/30 PAD Challenge Milk


Her breasts full
She could feel milk running
Soaking her bra
as tears ran down her cheeks
They said the milk would dry in a few days
But not the tears

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

28/30 PA Challenge adversity in workplace Poetic Bloomings harrisham

Hats and Shoes (a harrisham)

Invisible hats line up in my house

Each hat representing a job I do

Homemaker, caregiver, writer, mom, spouse

Responsibilities quickly accrue

Sometimes I feel like a rebellious louse

Simply to relax and kick off each shoe

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

26/30 PAD challenge collections

Collecting Collections


It seems I don’t have the attention span

to stick to one collection throughout my lifetime.

When I was a child I collected boxes—

little boxes. They made good spy radios.

It got me in trouble when I claimed

my oldest sister’s engagement ring box.


Next, I collected colorful glass bottles

not just any bottle, the daintier the better.

In my teens as I traveled more, pennants—

pennants from all along the east coast

from north to south, except Maine,

and western ones from a Wyoming trip.


Then there’s the walking sticks—

shiny gnarled ones, ones with places

inscribed such as Yellowstone National Park.

Now, I collect sample copies of magazines

my work appears in. I need to get a bigger drawer,

a good problem to have. 


When more money came into the picture,

I collected books. Used to be, I couldn’t

imagine owning a book and not reading it,

but now I own hundreds I haven’t read yet.

Many of the books I have now are authored

by my friends and partially by me.


My favorite collection is my Christmas tree ornaments.

At least one a year: the crab claw poinsettia from

Louisiana, the painted gourd from Sedona,

the bagpipe player from Scotland,

a mouse in a matchbox—baby’s first Christmas

 among all the crudely made ones

by my kids when they were little.


What is the reasoning behind collections?

What makes a bunch of them better than one?

How many walking sticks does a person need?

Maybe I’m collection memories, hanging onto

a part of this life before it disappears, and

leaving something behind for my kids

to sort through reminding them of me.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

25/30 PAD Challenge Opposite (of a poem you've written)


U nderstanding a need to move
N o longer immobilized
S et free to be in motion
T umbling forward in anticipation
U sing what’s available to progress
C arefully avoiding quicksand
K eeping one foot in front of the other

Saturday, November 24, 2012

24/30 PAD Challenge The Truth About...

The Truth about Putting up a Christmas Tree

I often wonder why I drag out
boxes of decorations
from year to year,
knowing that in a few weeks
I’ll be dragging them back.

 But the truth is, I enjoy it.
With two childlike adults
in the home, the excitement
and anticipation of Christmas
stays fresh from year to year.

 And there’s the ornaments
from when our kids were small,
some monstrosities like the
yarn entangled pinecone
looking like a porcupine
trying to escape its bonds.

 And then there’s our client’s
infamous black Santa,
a fence-like construction
made of tongue depressors.

And now, they hang among
ones from various places
from vacations we can take
since our own kids are grown.

Some day if our nest truly empties,
I may not put up the Christmas tree,
but I’ll make myself a cup of tea,
take out the boxes of ornaments,
gaze at each one and remember.

Friday, November 23, 2012

23/30 PAD Challenge Deep

The Old Pump

Pappap’s well, one time, held Pappap—
down that deep dark hole, harnessed by ropes,
each foot braced on its rocky sides,
fixing something or other, while whistling.
An odd childhood memory to have, but
that well also held a deep supply of water
and more memories of pumping the iron handle
until water poured out when we were thirsty;
or when our hands were dirty from playing
or garden work; or battleship gray from
painting porches, cupboards and picnic tables.
I can still hear the screech, screech, sploosh
and the happy laughter of children getting wet.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

22/30 PAD Challenge Paradise


A place where colors are more brilliant,
Worship music emanates even in our beings,
Beauty surrounds in such away you feel
like you’re swimming in it.
Where dancing is more common than
sitting, standing or walking.
Where God’s presence replaces the sun.

A place where I can be with wonderful people
including my parents and grandparents,
my Uncle Bill who died in WWII,
Newton, Herbert, Da Vinci, Pocahontas
Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Noah, Peter,
the apostle Paul and all the Marys.  

A place where I can travel
to destinations more marvelous
than the Grand Canyon,
the beach at sunset,
New England in autumn,
Old Faithful gushing to the skies,
lakes, rivers, forests, and valleys. 

A place where I can do things I love,
thing I can’t do now or haven’t done
before but always have wanted to:
Hang glide, sky dive, bike long-distance,
kayak, climb mountains, scuba dive, ski,
horseback ride, sail on crystal oceans.  

A place where I can sing, paint, write
and finish a poem without getting up
to check the microwave
or brush someone’s teeth.




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

21/30 PAD challenge Lyrics and Poetic Bloomings Rondeau

Grace Changes Everything 

Grace changes everything, I know.
Trials and troubles come and go.
We wonder why we’re in pain.
There’s a reason for the rain.
In drought, plants can’t grow.

God’s outrageous love is the loam
Where roots stay firm when winds blow.
No matter life’s terrain,
Grace changes everything.

When seeds are planted row by row,
it appears nothing is below.
But through faith we attain
as we go from seed to grain.
He produces joy from our woe.
Grace changes everything.

Play list:
Grace Changes Everything by Jamie Slocum
There’s a Reason for the Rain by Jamie Thiettan
Outrageous Love by Krissy Nordhoff


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

20/30 PAD Challenge Gathering and/or Letting Go

Gathering My Thoughts

Gathering my thoughts like family at a feast
The jolly, the kind, the serious, the quirky
Reacquainting from greatest to least
Gathering my thoughts like family at a feast
Some working through like active yeast
Picking over them like leftover turkey  
Gathering my thoughts like family at a feast
The jolly, the kind, the serious, the quirky

Letting Go

Letting go of something or someone
means they no longer have a hold on you.
Releasing them sets yourself free.
Submitting to God’s power
means you’re no longer under theirs.

Monday, November 19, 2012

19/30 PAD Challenge Wheel

Flying Jenny 

The idea must have come
from one of our parents
but when it took root
in our girls club, The Sunflowers,
it was our own and we took after it
like a bulldog to a bone. 

We claimed an old piece of farm machinery
lying abandoned in the weeds.
Our Uncle Jim, who often helped us
with his tools, cut the axle in half so we could
have a big wheel, about three feet in diameter,
with the half axle as stem.  

After procuring Pappap’s permission,
we proceeded to dig a hole under his willow,
not too deep, but deep enough.
Then my sister and I took Sunflower money,
walked the mile to the feed mill
and bought a sack of cement.

It was twenty pounds or so
and we paced ourselves, counting
out the steps and taking turns
carrying our burden back to Pappap’s
where the oldest of us mixed it up,
put the axle in the hole and let it set. 

We painted the wheel from leftover paints
in Pappap’s basement: mostly blues, greens
and whites avoiding his beloved battleship gray 
and had Uncle Jim make us some
wooden seats so the metal spokes
wouldn’t wear ridges in our bottoms. 

When the cement was set, the paint dry,
we gave the wheel a spin
and eureka it worked!
We took turns riding and spinning
till the trees, the road, the houses all blended
together in a smear of colors.

The kids passing by on the school bus
were inquisitive when they saw our Flying Jenny
and some even came for a country visit to try it out.
We whirled about on our wheel until we got older
and didn’t notice when it became so neglected
Papap dug it up and threw it away.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

18/30 PAD Challenge Glosa

He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew
we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head
which is fitted around the brim with candle holders,
a device that allowed him to work into the night.
-Billy Collins, “Candle Hat”

The Hats

I remember him well, our neighbor,
puttering about in his garden
humming to himself, wearing that ridiculous hat.
Some said he was crazy,
others called him eccentric.
The hat was rhinestone studded and blue,
wide rimmed, which shaded him, while he worked.
His photo was still in the entryway of his house.
We wondered about him, what he was up to.
He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew. 

They say when his wife was alive,
they took a cruise to some exotic place
and had the time of their lives
dancing, eating their fill, going a little wild.
And they bought those matching hats.
Hers was rhinestone studded and red.
They worked and chatted in the garden,
until one Indian summer evening she passed.
So he must have thought, though she was dead,
we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head.

So we went into the house as prospective buyers.
It would be a little rental we could care for from next door.
I hadn’t been in the house since I was a small child.
It brought back memories of a flowered apron,
a smiling woman and a tray of cookies.
The realtor lady impatiently tapped her folders.
I asked if I could see the attic
and that’s when I found the old trunk,
(I remember him carrying it up on his shoulders)
which is fitted around the brim with candle holders.

The wax had dripped down the sides.

It appeared to be some kind of memorial.
I gingerly opened it, breaking some of the wax.
Tucked inside was the red hat
and underneath, a pink baby dress
and a photo of a baby in white.
And then I remember watching him
make a tiny box up there in the attic
wearing a hat, like a miner’s hat with a light,
a device that allowed him to work into the night.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

17/30 PAD Challenge How to...

How to Grieve a Father’s Heart 

I don’t know how old I was,
maybe seven or eight, when one night,
in the dead of Pennsylvania winter
our coal furnace went out
and frost usually delegated
to the back room painted all the windows.
My teeth chattered and I said how cold I was.
Pain registered on my dad’s pinched brow
and he said, “Are you trying to make me feel bad?”
I was shocked. I had no idea
he felt he had anything to do with my being cold.
In that moment, I saw all my dad did—
work at the steel mill
hunt and fish
raise a garden
take care of house and yard—
came from a responsible, loving father’s heart,
which I had grieved with my simple words of complaint,
kind of like the Israelites in the wilderness
when they grumbled against God.

Friday, November 16, 2012

PAD Challenge 16/30 begin with yesterday's last line

You Can Keep Your Dreams


You can keep your dreams

But don’t pack them away

Like old skinny jeans

You’ll never fit into again


You can keep your dreams

Like a beloved pet

Nurturing it with the best food

And tender loving care


You can keep your dreams

Like your daily journal

Adding to it bit by bit

Through the thick and thin


You can keep your dreams

Like a prized plant

Watching each new leaf

Unfurling in shiny beauty

Thursday, November 15, 2012

15/30 PAD Challenge Trade Off

Trade Off Lullaby 

Come to you my little boy
It’s time for your wee nap
I know you would rather not
So come sit on my lap
I’ll tell you what I’ll give to you
So listen close to hear
Think about the things you like
And I’ll whisper in your ear 

I’ll give to you a lullaby
Of castles by the lake
I’ll sing to you of puppy dogs
A turtle and a snake
I’ll sing a song of glittering stars
And silvery moon beams
Of flying to Jupiter and back
If you give to me your dreams

Now close your eyes my little one
And do the best you can
To conjure up the happy things
And I’ll tell you my sweet plan
I’ll give to you this lullaby
Of candies filled with creams
Of mountains of gummy bears
If you give to me your dreams

I’ll sing a song of kitty cats
And horses running free
Of sailboats and diamond kites
Of climbing an old oak tree
And now I see your eyes are closed
You’re breathing heavily
So I will end this lullaby
And you can keep your dreams.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

14/30 PAD Challenge stuck


S o not going anywhere
T ied down and tangled
U nusually stationary
C apable of much but
K ept in one place

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

13/30 PAD Challenge Letter

 Dear Me

Hello, dear me, ten years from now.
You are now sixty-four.
How is two thousand twenty-two?
I wonder what’s in store. 

Has all your hair turned gray or white?
And did you lose some weight?
What is your daily schedule like?
Do you still stay up late?

Do you finally have an empty nest?
Did hubby leave his job?
Is your house all spic and span?
Or are you now a slob?

How is your lovely daughter, now?
And has she met her prince?
Did God answer this prayer of mine,
Are you a grandma since? 

Your son is almost thirty-eight,
Did he grow to be a man?
Does he have family and job?
Or he’s like Peter Pan?

Are you still writing every day?
Or are you finally though?
And did you take up carpentry
like I so threatened to?

Did you take an Alaskan cruise?
And see the Island state?
If so, you’ve seen all fifty now,
Not just the forty-eight.

Did you spend money and your time
In ways that are worthwhile?
And most of all, did you do things
That made your Father smile?

Monday, November 12, 2012

12/30 PAD Challenge Invention


When I think of landfills
all around the world
cluttering up our beautiful planet,
I wish I could make them all disappear,
just snap my fingers and they’d be gone.

So wouldn’t it be nice,
instead of trash compactor
or garbage disposal,
we’d have a dematerializing device
to be installed in our cabinetry?  

Just put the unwanted item in
and zap, there no more.
But it couldn’t be very big,
otherwise I’d be afraid
children would go missing.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

11/30 PAD Challenge Veteran's Perspective and Poetic Bloomings Father

A Brave Stand

I learned to shoot when I was eight,
Providing food to fill each plate.
I’d roam the forest covered hills.
To hunt and fish would give me thrills.

When I was only twenty-one
I joined the army with my gun.
My friend who was most brother-like
Was killed before my very eyes.

And only some short days had passed,
It grieved my heart, but alas
My own dear brother died in France.
I knew I didn’t live by chance. 

With firm resolve I fought and stood
For folks back home, the right and good,
Enduring war and bitter strife
In hopes we’d win a better life. 

I went back home with purple heart,
So glad to have a chance to start
A family of a wife and girls.
To me they meant the whole great world.

In the steel mill I worked hard for
What I fought hard for in the war,  
For those I love, my lovely wife
For right and good, and better life.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

PAD Challenge 10/30 Foreign word


My dad,
a World War II veteran,
would more often say,
“Arigato,” to us children
than thank you. 

He spoke with fondness
of his time in Japan after the war,
how the people treated
the American soldiers
with gentle hospitality. 

Years later my family
heard “arigato” often,
from a Japanese exchange student
we took into our home for a week.
He spoke with kindness and respect.  

But manners became a source of amusement
when we played Uno with him and his friends.
When we Americans unloaded
our cards on other players,
we did it with glee.

But when the Japanese students
passed on their cards
they would bow,
look apologetic
and say, “So Sawy!”