Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Gift

The Gift

Christmas packages 
stacked neatly
underneath the tree,
some for the boys,
some for the girls,
a few for you, a few for me.

All of them are wrapped neatly
in green, red, gold, and blue,
filled with surprises,
bringing joy,
making dreams come true.

But none of these gifts,
not a single one,
wrapped in shiny papers and bows,
matters at all, not at all
compared to the gift
of the newborn Christ child
wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Saturday Morning Simplicity

Saturday Morning Simplicity

She struggles to surface 
from the soft sea of sleep.
Sunshine sneaks through 
the slats surreptitiously.
She stands and stretches 
and slides into a robe made of silk.
(She has an affinity for this slippery amenity.)

In the kitchen, she serves herself 
a slice of sugared, cinnamon bread. 
She smiles at her spouse (still sleepy). 
Sitting at the table, he is cradling
in his hands a cup of strong coffee.
Together they soak in easy serenity.

She savors the sweetness of the bread 
between sips of steamy sassafras tea.
In sync, they share a comfortable silence 
in this, their Saturday morning simplicity. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Never Alone

Never Alone

The little girl gets lost in her books,
giving no thought to the way she looks.
She perches sideways or upside down in her chair,
her arms akimbo, her legs in the air.

Snug in her quiet, cozy spot,
she submerges herself in the twisting plot.
Her friends are the characters on the page. 
She watches them live and dream and grow and age.

She sees them struggle and make mistakes.
Other times, they get all the breaks.
Their lives fill hers and become her own.
They are always around. She is never alone.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016



I'm overwhelmed
by my list of things to do.
Instead of doing more,
I need to escape,
relax, unwind, renew.

I need to find respite
in nature's soothing balm.
I need to stroll in the garden
and check on the mums.
Let the cool breeze make me calm.

I need to listen to seed pods rattle
and leaves rustle in the air.
I need to hear squirrels chatter
and blue jays shriek
as they issue each other a dare.

I need to feel the sun
warm on my skin.
I need fresh air to breathe,
 releasing the stress, 
stopping the spin.

I need to center my thoughts 
on the yellow begonias
and the flitting honey bees.
I need to sit and spend some time
in the shade of the maple trees.

I need to watch the clouds
drift by in the sky.
I need to clear my mind
and set free my spirit
before I give life's chores another try.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Facebook Frenzy

Facebook Frenzy

I'll be ready in a second. Just hang on.

Just let me check my Facebook. It won't take long.

I need to see what my friends have to say.

I have to see what they're up to today.

Oh look! A dog chasing a squirrel around a tree,

and I love these giggling babies--they make me so happy.

Here's a picture of my dear Aunt Nell.

It's good to see she's doing so well.

Don't leave without me. Be patient and wait.

Don't worry. It's fine. We won't be late.

Politics, politics. Scrolling through all of that!

Haha! Another video of a funny cat.

Oh dear. Fred's in the hospital. Shirley's asking for prayers.

Show-off Cheryl. Posting vacation photos AGAIN. Putting on airs.

How pretty! Sunsets, butterflies, and a sunny beach.

It's nice to be in touch with those who are out of reach.

Yes, I heard you! I'll be right there!

 Let me take this quiz and watch this dancer in Times Square.

Look here. There's breaking news. Someone's been shot!

The weather alert says we better get ready, it's going to be hot!

Facebook has something for everyone.

Friends and family and games just for fun.

There are fancy quotes about gratitude.

And angry people with an attitude.

Selfies, selfies, selfies galore.

Doesn't anyone take pictures of other people anymore?

I have just a bit more to do.

Let me share this post, and like that one, and write a comment, or two.

Good grief! I'm coming. You don't have to moan.

See I'm closing my laptop. I'm ready to go.

Just give me a moment while I grab my phone!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Night Sky

Night Sky

I miss the vast night sky 
of my youth:
a canopy of endless black silk, 
pierced by the tiny beams 
of a million stars.

When I was a child,
in the flat lands of Ohio farm country,
stargazing was as easy as breathing.
Spread a blanket over the dewy grass,
lie down, and look up.

In this rust belt city, 
there are too many buildings and trees.
Garish, glaring city lights 
drown the glow from the stars,
crowd out their soft sparkle, 
render them invisible.
Stargazing does not exist in the city. 

In my youth, stargazing calmed my spirit,
centered my soul, and gave me hope.
The symphony of the night
was a soothing serenade,
a soft mix of silence and sweet serenity.

I wish I could look at the stars with you again.
If I had a second chance, 
I would linger there,
bask in the moment with you,
and resist the call 
to come in from the night.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Location! Location! Location!

Location! Location! Location!

Are you buying a house?

From shacks to mansions
and everything in-between,
this poem will help you figure out 
what those "House for Sale" ads really mean.

"Cute and cozy" means postage-stamp size.
A "fixer-upper" means it's a sight for sore eyes.
"Waiting for your own decorating style"
means making it livable is going to take a while.

"Newly painted" means purple and orange from ceiling to floor.
"Inviting" means there are no locks on the front door.
"Quiet neighbors" means it is next to a cemetery.
"A backyard garden" means lots of weeding will be necessary.

"Quaint" means shag carpeting from 1972.
"A river view" means buying flood insurance
is something you'll have to do.
"Spacious" means high ceilings and high heating bills.
"Historic" means old plumbing, no air conditioning, 
and windows painted shut to their window sills.

So, before you sign on the dotted line.
Take my advice and inspect that house well.
You might be surprised by a thing or two,
because there's a lot more to a house
than what those real estate ads will tell.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Swimming Evolution

Swimming Evolution

As a child I swam 
with my brother and sister 
at the city pool.
It was our
summer vacation way
to keep cool.
At one o'clock
the gate would open.
The kids would file in.
Towels were spread out
on a patch of grass,
and the fun would begin.

We splashed, 
we swam, we played tag,
and we raced for plastic rings.
We dove 
for marbles, pennies,
and other shiny things.

At the top of the hour
the lifeguards 
would all blow their whistles loud.
We scrambled out of the water 
and to the snack bar,
trying to beat the crowd.

During the break, we dined like kings
on frozen candy bars
and potato chips.
We never once worried
that what crossed our lips
would pad our hips.

Now, when I swim,
it's in the pool
in my own back yard. 
I can swim any time I want.
I don't need a lifeguard
or a membership card.

But I dog paddle like an old lady--
partly floating on a pool noodle
to keep my head high,
because I want to leave my glasses on
so I can see,
and I want to keep my hair dry.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Callie's Sunny Day

This is a children's story poem that I wrote based on memories I have of kittens we had as pets when I was a little girl. It was also inspired by the beautiful, sunny weather we have been enjoying the past few days. Happy 4th of July weekend, everyone!

Callie's Sunny Day

Nosing through the grass
with kitten whiskers tinged in dew,
Callie the calico stepped lightly
where the dandelions grew.

The fluffy, white seeds tickled her nose
causing her to blink and sneeze.
The seeds floated away in the air
drifting on a warm, summer's breeze.

Callie saw Missus in the garden
picking lima pods into her basket of beans.
Callie purred and climbed into the basket.
Missus carried her along to pick some salad greens.

A beetle crawling through the dirt
caught Callie's curious eye.
She wiggled her backside ready to pounce,
until she saw a butterfly!

Callie jumped out of the basket
in excited pursuit of the butterfly.
It fluttered higher just out of her reach
and away and above into the summer sky.

The sun was warm on Callie's fur.
She settled beneath the pea vines for a nap.
There she purred and slept peacefully...
until her brother George, a ginger cat, tumbled into her lap.

She chased George a short way up a tree trunk
and then she bounded away.
She had too little time and too much to do
to be bothered with George on this sunny, summer's day.

A bird chirped at Callie
scolding her from high up in a tree.
Mighty Callie switched her tail and chattered,
"I see you bird. You better watch out for ME!"

Callie spent the day as kittens do:
chasing leaves and dodging little people feet.
She listened to the buzz of a bumblebee
and snuggled up to Mama Cat, warm and sweet.

She daintily stepped around a puddle.
She hid behind the tall grass--ready to stalk
a wee green and brown grasshopper
who was out for his daily walk.

The grasshopper got away,
but Callie didn't seem to mind.
For a calico kitten on a sunny, summer's day,
there is always another adventure to find.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sounds of Summer

Sounds of Summer 

Do you hear the ice cream truck's rinky-tink jingle,

the electric fans whirring up a breeze,

and the splash from a backyard pool?

Looking up, the sun's so bright, it makes me sneeze.

The "ffft, ffft, ffft" of the yard sprinkler

is keeping the grass green.

A lazy fly buzzes in the window,

bumping up against the screen.

A motorcycle roars by and, for a moment,

drowns out the robin's song.

It's another reminder to take delight in the day.

Summer is fleeting. It won't be staying long.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ovillejo Poetry: The Answer, Father's Day, My Flowers

For this post, I attempted to write some poems in the poetic form known as Ovillejo. I was reading about this form, and it was new to me, so I decided to give it a try. I found it to be much more challenging than I expected, but I did finally come up with the following three poems. They felt forced to me when I wrote them, but I think I followed the rules, and it was interesting to try something new. For more examples of this type of poem, read this post and the comments that follow it. Their examples are much better than mine.

Ovillejo poetry is written in the following form:
Line 1: an a rhyme in 8 syllables
Line 2: an a rhyme in 3-4 syllables

Line 3: a b rhyme in 8 syllables
Line 4: a b rhyme in 3-4 syllables

Line 5: a c rhyme in 8 syllables
Line 6: a c rhyme in 3-4 syllables

Line 7: a c rhyme in 8 syllables
Line 8: a d rhyme in 8 syllables
Line 9: a d rhyme in 8 syllables
Line 10: (Line 2) (Line 4) (Line 6)

In other words, it is a ten-line poem that is comprised of three rhyming couplets and a quatrain. Lines two, four, and six are repeated to create line ten.

This first poem is somewhat of a response to all the sadness that has been in the news lately.

The Answer

Best route to peace? Both hers and his?
Kindness is.

What will end hate, dissolve anger?
The answer?

Having compassion is our call.
Above all!

Build a new bridge. Tear down the wall.
Communicate. Have empathy.
Look through their eyes. See what they see.
Kindness is. The answer. Above all!

        *     *     *     *     *

This next one is a small nod to Father's Day this weekend. Happy Father's Day to any Dads who might be reading this.

Father’s Day

Who’s there for you when times are bad?
Dear old Dad.

Head and shoulders above the rest?
He’s the best.

What’s the right thing for you to do?
Say thank you!

On Father’s Day, if you’ve no clue,
give Dad some love straight from your heart.
He has been there right from the start.
Dear old Dad. He’s the best. Say thank you!

     *     *     *     *      *

This last one is about the flowers growing in my yard of late, just because they bring me so much joy.

My Flowers

What brings me joy in every hue?
My flowers do.

What do they do all in a row?
Nothing but grow.

Why do they bloom triumphantly?
To please me.

For the butterflies, bees, and me.
They show off in color and style.
They stay for a day or a while.
My flowers do. Nothing but grow. To please me.

     *     *     *     *      *

So that you can enjoy my flowers too, here are a few photos of what is in bloom lately.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

Summer's here!
Time to take a trip.
Pile all the family in the car.
"Are we there yet?"
"Don't start asking that already!
We haven't even gone very far!"

"Mom, he's looking at me!"
"He looked at me first!"

"Would you two please try to get along?"
"We're bored! What can we do?"
"Play the alphabet game or twenty questions,
or maybe you can sing a song."

I'm not sure who first thought 
that family vacations were a good idea.
"Hey, let's drive for hours together in a cramped space."
It doesn't take long 
until we get on each other's nerves,
and  in each other's face.

I guess it never occurred to us
that contempt 
is bred by familiarity.
After this vacation,
maybe next summer, 
we'll plan to get away together...separately!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pink Clouds Over Kmart

Pink Clouds Over Kmart

Peaceful pink clouds float along
in the bright blue sky over Kmart.
Inside, frazzled shoppers toss clothes 
 from clearance racks into a cart.

Blue collar workers, struggling to make ends meet,
clutch their coupons and look for a great buy.
When they came in, they didn't even notice 
those wispy, pink clouds drifting above the store 
in that blue, blue sky.

Their faces are pinched and distracted.
As they leave, they are lost in thought.
Already they are worrying
about the money they just spent
on all the things that they bought.

They're searching for happiness 
through retail therapy, 
but they have yet to realize
that true joy isn't found in a shopping cart.
If only they knew, they might find delight
in the soft pink clouds drifting by 
in the blue, blue skies over Kmart.

*   *   *   *   *

I snapped the photo above with the camera in my phone while riding by in the car. I thought the pink clouds were pretty, and I liked the way they stood out against the blue of the sky. I took the shot below just a few seconds later. I was quite surprised to see how differently the second shot came out in comparison to the first. In reality, the sky was blue not pink, but this is how the picture came out. I did not, to my knowledge, change any settings on the phone to make the photo look this way. I also did not edit it to make it look this way. I don't know why this photo turned out like this, but I liked it, so I decided to share it with you. To me it almost has an eerie retro or lost-in-time kind of feel to it.  Maybe the imaginary shoppers in my poem above would have noticed the sky if it had been pink!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Time Out

Time Out

It’s been a long day.
Junior has broken every rule.
Mommy has put him in time out.
He’s sitting in the corner on a stool.
She steps back to survey the mess. 
Crayon marks are on the wall 
in red, green, and blue.
Toys are thrown 
in every corner of the room.
Mommy whimpers a little. 
She needs a time out too.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Whipped Cream Trees

Whipped Cream Trees

White-blossomed trees 
line the street
appearing overnight 
like a dream.

They look as if 
they've been festooned
with cotton lace, popcorn, 
or maybe...whipped cream.

Branches make canopies over the walk:
fragrant, delicate, and sweet.
A slight breeze stirs up a few white petals 
that float down like wishes,
drifting across the path at our feet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On the Defensive, That's Just Silly, and Last Cookie

I'm continuing with poems written from prompts. The prompts for today's post were: write a "defensive" poem,  write a "silly" poem, and write a poem with the title "Last ____ (fill in the blank)." Truth be told, I think all three of these poems ended up fitting into the "silly" category, but here goes. 

On the Defensive

You can’t blame me, Ms. Mosquito.
You gave me no other choice.
You, with your dive-bombing needle nose,
and your annoying, whiny voice.

You attacked and put me on the defensive.
I’ll tolerate no more bites from you.
You’re an itchy nuisance.
Farewell, Ms. Mosquito. I bid you, adieu!

*   *   *   *   *

That’s Just Silly!

Have you ever seen a giraffe wearing a scarf?
Imagine how long that scarf would be.
Have you ever heard a toad play a saxophone?
Now that would be something to see!
What if pigs carried parasols
to protect them from the sun?
What if cows could dance a jig?
Wouldn’t that be fun?
Chase those cobwebs out of your brain.
Let your imagination run free.
Don’t be afraid that someone will complain,
“Oh!  That’s just silly!”

 *   *   *   *   *

Last Cookie

You took the last cookie?
How could you? I was saving that for me!
I was going to enjoy it
with a nice cup of tea.
Oh well, never mind.
You won’t hear drama from me.
I won’t make a fuss.
I won’t whine and cuss.
I’ll just have an apple instead.
No chocolate chips, no crunchy nuts,
just healthy fruit...
grumble, grumble, mutter, mutter, munch.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hideout, Optimism Is, Rage Is

I'm posting more poems written for prompts today. The prompts this time were to write a poem about a hideout, and to write a poem with an emotion as the title. I wrote two different poems for the second prompt because I thought it was an interesting challenge.


When I was little, I would hide
in the bottom of my bedroom closet
beneath the hanging clothes,
amidst the bags and shoes on the floor.

When I was a little older,
I’d climb up and hide in the branches 
of the old maple tree
that grew outside our back door.

Now my favorite hideout
is being at home, cup of tea and book in hand,
with the phone turned off, and the doors locked.
Who could ask for more?

  *   *   *   *   *

Optimism Is

Sunshine peeking through the storm clouds.
Flowers thriving in the presence of weeds.
Continuing to garden in spite of drought.
Watching the weather and planting seeds.

Rage Is

…Grating, volatile shrieks.
…Fiery, scarlet red poison.
…Rumbling thunder shaking windows.
…Acrid, billowing, black smoke.
…Crashing, slicing, jagged lightning.
…Anger, exploding, uncontrolled.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Urban Decay and Doodle Dee Doodle Dee Doodle Dee Dee

Below are two more poems that I wrote based on the prompts from the poem-a-day challenge. The prompts this time were "Urban ____ (fill in the blank)" and "Doodle." 

The first poem I wrote is quite dark and depressing and unlike the type of poem I usually write. The second one is just sort of silly. It's been fun trying these prompts and stepping outside of the type of poems I usually write. It doesn't hurt to try something new once in a while and stretch the writing muscles. I hope you don't mind that I am sharing these experiments with you.

Urban Decay

Spray paint graffiti, obscenities screaming,
masquerading as art, takes the place of dreaming.
Drunk or high, a man is weaving, stumbling 
down concrete sidewalks, cracked and crumbling.
Boarded-up windows keep out the light.
Shady characters, wheeling and dealing, creep about at night.
Beer bottles shatter on the sidewalk when tossed from cars
by after-hours drinkers, kicked out of bars.
Overgrown weeds crowd vacant lots.
Nothing good flourishes here. Everything rots.

                          *   *   *   *   *

Doodle Dee Doodle Dee Doodle Dee Dee

I’m taking notes during the meeting,
or so it would seem from afar,
but really I’m sketching, drawing, doodling
flowers, curlicues, and a random star.
The speaker drones on and on
about nothing of interest to me.
My pen continues to dance on the paper
creating kittens, birds, bullfrogs, and a bee.
So bored. So bored. Oh mercy me.
Will this ever end? Will they ever set us free?
Doodle dee doodle dee doodle dee dee.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Experience and Hope Returns

The next two poem prompts for the poem-a-day challenge were to write a poem about the word  "experience" and to write a poem inspired by art. The "experience" poem I wrote has a rather negative tone to it, so to balance things and end on a more positive note, I tried to make the poem based on art more uplifting. Also, I tweaked the second prompt a little by writing about a photograph instead of a work of art (poetic license gives me the right, you know--Ha ha!). 


Experience is a strict teacher
who gives hard homework
and focuses on difficult lessons.
The lessons can only be understood
with the investment of time, energy, and money.

Once your resources are exhausted,
your innocence is gone, 
and your dreams are spent,
you realize too late 
that you should have done things differently.

Experience leaves with you the rueful thought,
“If only I had…” 
along with the dubious distinction, 
of course, 
of being older and wiser.

*   *   *   *   *

Hope Returns

A triumphant daffodil,
bright pinwheel of sun,
held high on a green stem,
celebrates its emancipation
from the dirt and dry, brown leaves
of the forest floor
by softly fluttering 
in the gentle breeze.

*   *   *   *   *

My husband and I took a walk on the Daffodil Trail in the Furnace Run Metro Park here in Summit County where I live over this past weekend. The weather was perfect, and we really enjoyed the chance to get out along the trail. Unfortunately, the snow we had the previous weekend was very hard on the daffodils, and many were damaged by the cold. Some survived, though, and I took a few photos including the one above. 

Below are a few more photos from our walk including one of my husband and walking companion. The trail winds through the trees with different varieties of daffodils planted in bunches along the way. A deep ravine with water running through it is on one side of the trail for a while. In other spots little creeks of water trickle through and around the trees and sometimes cross over the path. Someone (not us) had carved hieroglyphics into one of the trees. I also found a few yellow Forsythia blooms at the end of the trail. We heard birds singing in the trees and a woodpecker hammering on one at one point. We also saw a few chipmunks along the way. You can click on the photos to enlarge them if you want to take a closer look at any of them.