With just 2 more days before we cut off submissions for February, I thought you might like to review our poets and their poems so far. Here they are without the comments that you see on the poetry pages, just to make it easier and faster to see them. Voting begins on the 23rd. Enjoy!
1) Field Distraction
By Steven Withrow
We’re too free to move beyond daffodils.
The eye, too quick for a single beauty,
Lunges toward tire marks, toadstools,
Poles on the road that furrows this garden.
There’s too much here to fix on,
So nothing sticks. Nothing is enough
To hold, so nothing is holding.
Still, the daffodils, willfully gold,
Grow overbold, and the eye finally goes.
We are too free to tumble past anything.
loose asphalt chunks form
a small mound on the shoulder –
deep hole in the road
3) It’s Not Too Late
By Gay Fawcett
We share the road.
Me—on the left,
He—on the right.
Me—fit and middle-aged,
He—frail and very old.
Me—Monet umbrella above,
He—rusty wagon behind.
To pick up the mess that others made—
Candy wrappers, empty cans, plastic bottles.
Of all the times I’ve cleaned up someone else’s mess–
Dirty rooms, ugly quarrels, careless mistakes.
The times someone else has cleaned up my mess!
Angry words, selfish decisions, empty lies.
I’ve made more messes than I’ve cleaned up.
But it’s not too late
to pick up more bottles and cans than I throw down.
Not too late to clean up more messes than I make.
I cross to the right.
I pick up the mess that others made.
He pulls the wagon.
We share the road
4) End of the Road
By Brian Miller
from the dark shadows
living in basement corners
at the edge of light
the tattered map finds us,
breathing new life
into the afternoon sun.
up the step we fly
before our new wings
collect the weight of dust,
slowing us down, nor
dashing our dreams
into the afternoon sun.
down forgotten roads
rising to kiss wetly
black rubber bike tires
we follow our finger
along drawn dotted lines
into the afternoon sun.
at the end of the map
dangling our legs over
the edge of the world
we look down on the clouds
on their way to tomorrow
into the afternoon sun.
i dare you to jump.
and so we do,
before we get to old
5) The Classic Family Road Trip
Where are we going?
Christmas is in Louisiana for a change of pace
Said my father with a smile on his face
As he loaded the station wagon with the last suitcase
It’s only 12 hours to Grandma’s
You need to go to the bathroom, already?
Didn’t you just go?
Junk food, NO!
You don’t need a truck stop souvenir memento
Only 11 hours and 45 minutes to Grandma’s
What are they like, Dad?
The Italian side of the family tree?
My 5 younger brothers look just like me
All with dark hair and brown eyes, you’ll see
It’s only 8 hours to Grandma’s
What about Santa?
Yes, Santa knows where we will be
And there will be cookies and a tree
And tons of Italian food (mmmm, spaghetti)
It’s only 6 hours to Grandma’s
Don’t you have something to read or play with?
Why do you have to be such a bother?
Just stop looking at your sister!
Gee wiz, stop touching your brother!
Only 4 hours left to go
Why does the car sound like a helicopter?
That is the sound of a flat tire flapping
Kids on the side of the road crying
Father muttering with mother just praying
(That we survive the) last hour to Grandma’s
Do we have to go home?
At last, the two week visit comes to an end
The cousins cannot bear to lose their new found friends
We’ll be back next week, the children pretend
Only 12 hours back home…
6) Life’s Road
Only a few more days
At last, she is here!
Daughter Cameron is born.
Round two approaching,
And we’re done!
Darling son Carter completes our family.
Raced by went the time,
Off to kindergarten she goes,
Away from me all day.
Does she wish we could go back in time a little?
Ready for kindergarten,
Only it’s not his turn.
Always sixteen months behind her.
Don’t grow up too fast.
Ready to graduate.
On thier own now.
Adventures await them,
Don’t forget to call your mom.
Ready for marriage,
One wedding for her
And another for him.
Dance with your mom and dad.
Only a few more days,
And we become grandparents!
7) Between You and Me
When you don’t know me,
And I don’t know you,
I dreamed about getting in touch with somebody,
That somebody could be anyone, including you.
When you don’t know me,
And I don’t know you,
I pictured in my head for my dreams to come true,
Upon then, my life will be upgraded, fresh and new.
Between you and me,
There are distances, near or far,
Between you and me,
There are roadblocks keeping us apart.
The path that connects you and me
The light that shines our way
Eventually, both of us are ready,
We meet with a click of our mouses,
Joy and satisfaction have gone steady,
As we network and enjoy one another without leaving our houses.
8) A Nomad’s Eyes (Pay Attention)
for E. E. Cummings
1. Wisdom Seems Distant…
“There are truths
in the wear and tear,”
my grandfather advised,
looking to the rear;
“Life is a fare game,
but you have to pay attention.
Otherwise, you won’t have the cents
or the write to succeed.”
I wasn’t really listening.
How could I comprehend?
I no what I know.
2. Time Teaches In Steps…
I took his arm and slowly
walked a trail of sweat and dust, of lowly
sorrow and inspiring muscle, all in the world that he held holy
kept sacred within
the side-view mirror.
I can still hear her:
3. The Truth Is A Glimpse…
“I’ve often wondered how it would be
if I had possessed within me
A Nomad’s Heart.”
For just one moment, I understand:
I’d never be a home-bound man.
Would living be worth the going way?
Could I ever look back and say
A Nomad’s Prayer?
For just one moment, make my mind still…
4. The Key Is [In]Sight.
“This old, weathered truck has wondered there,
and here, and back, and in between,
and that’s just in the memory of the machine!”
They saw each other
through joys of pain
when spirits had soared
and wills had waned;
Only then did I know what I could afford:
A Nomad’s Eyes.
And so I took my grandpa’s advice.
I lived without fear, and to my surprise,
my gaze followed his to the glass at his side;
I found the greatest wisdom that age could hide—
“Objects in mirror are
closer than they appear.”
By Diane Mayr
waiting for the light
we see cobblestones through
the worn asphalt
her talk turns to trolley cars
and the old rag man’s horse
10) Roads Unknown
By Mary Nida Smith
The road I travel
I journey with the best
of my ability
from the desert road
through open meadows
where the grass is green.
The road continues upward
twisting and zigzagging
as I travel the goat trails
up the south side
of the mountain range.
I arrive where the road
ends at the lake’s edge.
At the summit I stare below.
Relieved, that the seasonal hike
ended, without dangerous encounters
with wild cougars and wolves,
and where gun toting
mountain men roam.
I am an Idaho mule deer
enjoying the fresh aroma of spring
in the Sawtooth Mountain range.
By Tricia Stohr-Hunt
She walks slowly
past village and farmhouse,
leaving silent prints
along the road side.
Dreaming of Thoreau
she longs for a simple life,
communing with nature
in all its grandeur.
But it is winter,
and the arctic wind
has burned her cheeks
and dampened this desire.
Her feet carry her forward
around the lake,
where she steps lightly
on its frozen edges.
She smiles and imagines
a soft muffler,
This evening she will sit by the fire
and remember youthful winters,
where enthusiasm for snow
12) Once Upon A Time
By Barbara J. Turner
There are no roads to yesterday,
to Was or Might Have Been.
Turn around, the blacktop fades,
the path obscures in murky shades
of memory, fogged with Olden Days
and I Remember When.
There are no roads to yesterday
to days once so sublime.
The country lanes to Days of Yore
are overgrown with Nevermore.
Gone is the road I’m searching for,
to Once Upon Time.
Somewhere along that road
you will see
The footsteps I left behind,
so you could follow me.
Can’t you see the rocks on the road
that I’ve left behind?
It’s for you to find me here
going almost out my mind
Sitting here, on the dusty pavement
they call the road side
Saying no to the kind old man
who’s offering me a ride.
I shall wait for you even when
the darkness starts to fall.
I shall stay here and wait for you
even when you don’t heed my call.
14) Lovers’ Quarrel
Come on, come on, it’s time to go
What’s your problem, I need to know
You always do this, you’re so slow
Hurry, hurry; we’ll be late for the show!
Hold on, hold on, I’m packing my stuff
I’m so frustrated with you and your guff
Like a baby stomping around in a huff
Frankly, I’ve had it, more than enough!
Stop yelling, I really don’t want to fight
We need to go and you know I’m right
No matter what, you’ll surely be a sight
You know, with your dress so darn tight!
How dare you poke fun at my weight
While I’m trying to dress for our date
It’s so rude and we’re not even late
I’ll be quicker if you just simply wait.
If we’re late, my career could implode
You know my boss, he will explode
I really hate that big, fat, warty toad
Now put on your shoes, let’s hit the road.
I just need my purse and then I’ll be ready
But now I’m mad cause you’re so damn petty
We’ve not had a date since we went steady
I wanted to look nice; I wanted to be pretty.
I know, I know it’s an uncommon treat
But being on time shouldn’t be such a feat
Forget what I said, you’re trim and petite
Now will you go faster, since I was sweet?
When you say such things, I want to cry
Why can’t you see, I try, I really try
But, when you’re so mean I wonder why
What did I do wrong, what’s gone awry?
This isn’t the right time to have this talk
I’m being a jerk, but you know you rock
Now, when you hear this, try not to balk
I can’t find the keys, so we’ll have to walk!
15) New Maps
searching for alluring roads
paved with broken certitude
sweat of another man’s toil
so that a map could be lent
to all of life’s followers, who
was this pioneer that dared
to brave wild new territory
clear out overgrown doubt
pave the path of aspiration
liberating another frontier
future progeny dare follow
was he a simple man like me
16) THE ROAD
By Judith Lachance-Whitcomb
people to see, things to do.
Never in this direction.
Cars, trucks, jams.
idiots, jerks, surrounding.
seeking more hurry ways for
must be quicker. Scuttle down
Turn left then
curve, two lanes unite, now one. Speed slows.
trade for verdant greens. Rapid breaths ease.
In the calm,
tunes float on prairie winds with placid timbre.
Bubbling bells of bird chatter, cross meadow’s sweet murmurs.
Rasping bass of Pickerel Frogs join the simple song.
Soon begin crescendos of tambourines, cicadas’ sounds.
Queen Anne’s Lace on road’s edge, swaying sweetly to joyful tones,
Majestic Bur Oaks lead dazzling sunrays to the stage.
Strident calls of people, things mute as mind-soul renews.
17) The Road to Indiana Dunes
By Jackie Huppenthal
We follow an asphalt road that winds through the sand dunes
On either side, hills roll up and away from us
Reaching out to a cloudless blue sky
Nature trails beckon to me but I must pass for now
for we are going to the lakeshore and our arms are full
We walk past prairie grasses and purple field thistle
I spot marshes and bogs ahead in the distance
Red barberries hang from sturdy stems among lush green leathery leaves
While pine trees dot the landscape
Abundant plant life thrives here in this desert-like oasis
If you concentrate on the beauty and notice the colors and textures here
you almost forget about the heat and humidity
You almost don’t notice the sweat that beads on your forehead
or the bag straps that cut into your shoulders
You almost can’t hear the common complaints of hot anxious young children
It’s not often that the road that leads to somewhere grand
is just as magnificent as the destination you are seeking
I make a point to express my joy and wonder and I invite my boys to look around with me
Awkward flip-flop steps bring each one of us closer to the cool Lake Michigan water
and their excitement grows as we march on and now search for animals along the way
What kinds of small lizards and frogs live here and drink from the wetlands?
a determined and patient eye is needed to find these quick tiny creatures
but they are here, hiding somewhere
perhaps in the cool shade of a shadow close down low just out of site
Eagles and hawks are here, soaring somewhere
perhaps on the other side of a dune far up high just out of site
Sometimes we are rewarded with a glimpse or two of something rare and wonderful
Even snakes are here slithering somewhere – although I must admit
I’m somewhat grateful I have not encountered them here yet
Eventually we arrive at the beach
My children play happily in the sun, sand, and water all afternoon
When it’s time to go home an exhausted family
will once again appreciate the unique beauty that this road cuts through
Oh how perfectly it links the parking lot with the sparkling lakeshore
Someone said “The Road to Hell
Is paved with good intentions.” Well,
I do not know and I have pride
That on that road I do not stride.
But as I sat, deep in thought
My heart was troubled – is all for naught?
If good intentions pave that way
Then what will keep my soul away?
I sat and pondered for a while
Interrupted by my child
‘Daddy, Daddy – What’s on your mind?
Why the tears and all the sighing?”
As I explain her face alights
“Oh Daddy dear, it’s alright”
Then she explains – skips back to bed
Her simple words inside my head.
The road to hell is just a road;
Paved, but cracked; broken … old.
The road to hell is downhill grade
Broken pavement; poorly made.
“You want to keep from going there?
Then turn around, the road won’t care”
The upward lane isn’t smooth or wide
But it’s paved with ‘I really tried.’
By V. L. Gregory
Bleached bones, rutted trails–
Silent tribute to the road
Across the Wild West.
20) Clem (a limerick)
By V. L. Gregory
There once was a cowpuncher named Clem.
He rode on a horse sleek and trim.
They gathered the beeves,
Fought rustlers and thieves–
Lived a life full of vigor and vim.
“Old Paint,” said Clem, “I’m Nebraska bound.
We’ll herd our beeves and mavericks we found.”
With saddle cinched tight,
Provisions packed light,
He set his face North and covered ground.
Trotting along in Kansas one day
A prairie dog hole caused Clem dismay.
Being caught off-guard,
His horse went down hard
And somersaulted Clem quite some way.
Thistles and thorns shot straight through his shirt.
Exposed body parts were caked with dirt.
He rose up groaning.
He limped on moaning.
Never had he felt so pained and hurt.
There once was a sodbuster named Clem.
He plowed fields with a horse sleek and trim.
They gathered the crops,
Cut off roots and tops–
Thankful for surviving where they’d been.
21) 1860’s Destiny Road
By V. L. Gregory
The beeves stamped their impatience,
drovers opened the gate.
Click, clack, pop! Ankles snapped a cadence as
they headed toward their fate.
There was a rhythm to the bawling,
The clashing of their horns,
The jostling of the bodies–
Destiny wouldn’t wait.
A bitter cold Nor’easter roared across the plain.
Howling, wailing, it plowed through like a runaway
Man and beast were pelted with hailstones.
No refuge to be found.
Squatting beneath their saddles,
Destiny dealt them pain.
The tiresome road stretched far beyond human
Zzzz, snort, cough. Heads nod, bodies sway in
tedium from morn to night.
A cowpuncher slides from his saddle;
Lies sprawled on the ground–
His neck, broken by the fall.
Destiny released his plight.
Fire rages in the West spawned by lightenings
Zap, sizzle, crash–it encroaches ever closer with
searing, scorching glow.
Roundup the beeves and get them away
But don’t run them too hard–
A pound shed, is profit lost.
Destiny can pay low.
Atop bluffs, Indians watch the movements of the
Whoops and yells signal their advance. Friendly!
The sojourners will survive.
Barter is made for crossing their land:
Eight beeves, sugar, flour, beans,
And a wool coat for the chief.
Destiny left them alive.
Cowpunchers reigned in their impatience–market
Jokes, laughter trickles down the line. Pay is
doled out for three months past.
The road left behind: rutted, furrowed–
Fashioned with joy, death, fear.
A beckoning road many followed.
Their destiny, my history.
You plan your trip and your destination
You decide on the routes to take
considering every ramification.
Armed with all the details and plans
you set out on the road
road takes over from you implementing its own plan.
At places it is smooth as butter, luring you to speed through it
enjoying the thrill of being in charge
And then, suddenly there are bumps and potholes
giving you a reality jerk, very harsh.
At places it is straight as pine
you may glide and even take your eyes off it
At places it gets serpentine
with twists and turns
you need to be alert and make the right moves
a wrong one can put you on an unwanted u-turn.
This way your journey goes on
sometimes the road is guiding you
sometimes it becomes part of your crew.
And then one day, you reach your destination
and your journey ends
You bid adieu to the road
and it moves on and on
guiding some other traveller to his destination.
Such is a road
Is it any different from life?
By Liz Korba
I want to walk a road of light –
A road made by a star.
Not sure where I’ll be going,
But I hope to travel far.
And when I get to where I’ll go
I’ll see the sights,
Enjoy each new adventure
In good time resume my tour
Of all the stars
Each galaxy that spins…
Right here beside my window
In a sunbeam