April is National Poetry Month. While emptying one of the boxes still stacked in the garage after the move, I found the book in which Missouri high school student’s poems were published. The following includes a photo of the book and my first published poem included in it.
In honor of Earth Day
I present you roses:
may they bring joy
feelings of renewal
a sense of beauty
value of our precious planet.
Dear Fellow Females:
Celebrate yourselves today,
tomorrow, every day!
Stand strong, be brave, promote persistence, purpose.
Without you, your will, your abilities, your strength
humanity cannot continue to exist.
I salute you!
Mom loved Shetland ponies.
not so much the stocky, chubby ones,
the fancy show ponies.
We had so many, I’ve lost count–
black, pinto, dappled grey with silver
mane and tail–the fanciest one.
Midget, a pinto, was the first one.
They bought her so I could learn to ride.
I was six.
At the country fair, I rode her.
She zigged; I zagged, fell off.
On rainy days my sister and I would
put a few in the barn, dress them up,
play games with them,
We even rode them when in high school
along the cornfields, across the terraces.
My last memory–riding, ambling along, not paying attention,
suddenly lots of noise in the cornfield,
an animal running through the cornstalks.
Pony bolted; I jumped, landed wrong,
limped for days at school, climbing
up and down the steps.
Did I ride again?
I don’t think so, not for years and
then I rode horses.
No wind, stringy high clouds block a bit of blue.
Someone bounces a ball next door,
I hear the intermittent sound.
Suddenly several dogs bark across the golf course green,
Across the turquoise pool water burnt orange leaves waft downward,
some land on the pale gold rocks,
some float at the pool’s terracotta edge,
others lay across the dark green rosemary bushes.
Bird song I cannot identify fills the background.
Two men, voices loud, banter –they’re neighbors, friends.
One of their small children cries, stops, cries again.
A late day golfer strides a ball, shouts.
Breeze arises, quits, more leaves fall,
the pool and birdbath water slightly ripple.
The lemons glow against the dark green leaves,
a painting emerald and bright yellow.
I sit beside the African multi-colored granite table my son made,
admire the colors:
-succulents called fire sticks match the falling leaves.
shades of orange, red, and green.
-the pots that house them match the dark blue of the pool’s old fashioned
-roses still display a few blossoms, dark red, pale pink, peach.
Tomorrow the gardener will trim them back to help them bloom lushly n spring.
-the oleander, still green, quit blooming weeks ago.
-rosemary loves this time of year, covers itself with tiny, fragrant, grey-blue flowers.
-in the distance mountains arise, a purple haze.
Now, no sounds, only silence.
I sit in the quiet beauty, write, drink green tea, feel grateful.
An “exercise” to write a poem about ones origins with the words I am from… inspired me to write this poem.
I am from the dark side of the moon, blood born, secretly shining.
I am from puma, stalking your memories, invading your minds,.
I am from Gottlieb, who left Swiss mountains 150 years ago at 18 to avoid
becoming a mercenary, moved to Missouri, created a farm. His cultivator
sets in my front garden.
I am from persons Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi, who sailed seas, met strangers, loved.
I am from Esan, a Nigerian tribe about which I knew nothing until a DNA test revealed,
ancient, black, beautiful.
I am from Latin America, Colombian, Peruvian, Puerto Rican–wanderers, explorers.
I am from Slavic peoples. Byzantine, Macedonian, Alexander the Great.
I am from brave wandering ancestors–Asian, Latin, Toscani Italian, French, German, Swiss, Slavic, Iberian.
I am from J haploid group, people who left the northern Middle East 7000 years ago,
wandered, explored, populated Western Europe.
I am from farmers, Doyle and Barbara, who grew corn, wheat, soybeans, Hereford and Charolaise cattle
to whom I carried salt blocks as a child.
I am from Sacred Corn, the nourisher, singing on hot summers, growing.
I am from the sweet smell of Jasmine, Roses, Honeysuckle, winding up walls, overgrowing gardens,
giving people hope.
I am from lemons, figs, dates, pomegranates, golden, dark, red, tropical, lingering.
I am from Stars, universal child, born on sacred ground, singing infinite songs.
Mother’s rose garden
flowers for the family table
all my childhood summers.
Red, pinks, snowy.
No roses for decades
except those given, bouquets,
Now, I look out every window, roses
Pinks, reds, orange, lavender, yellow, snowy.
I love them, cut them,
And remember my mother.
Hunkered down with two pillows–“Safe Place”??
Check TV to track tornadoes
Try to read, can’t
TV returns, tells me maybe safe
Tornados went east a few miles
Next day tan fog–dust
Wind, can’t stand up
Then spring, 76 degrees, birds sing,
sit on patio, sip tea.
Next morning, blizzard, wind roars,
no electricity, white out,
read by flashlight.
Searching for cool
Give me the long view
the endless space,
let my bones gleam white
beneath a desert willow
where a diamondback seeks shade.
Let me walk through red rock, climb to eternity,
stretch arms into the azure, crystalline air,
laugh out loud.
Give me the long view,
let me laugh out loud,
look down the Kaibab
Plateau into eternity.
Let me sing songs to emptiness,
to stark, open, free,
dance in sun, moonlight,
laugh out loud.
Give me the long view.