Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shepherd's Center Poetry Anthology 2012

from the Shepherd’s Center
Winter—Spring 2012

This short collection is the fifth by our Shepherd’s Center Poetry Group.

These pages are meant to be a memento of our weeks together during the winter and spring of 2012, which I believe have emboldened us to find and affirm the poet in ourselves and others. Thank you again for sharing your talent and insight with the group.—Bob Demaree

Leo Kelleher

The family called him “BROTHER” from birth-at-home  to a Green Mountains grave.  If he had not become famous his mailbox name could have died with him. He walked with God from his youth.  He was still an altar boy when his peers had outgrown that.  Their home was north of the city.  Tall pines formed colonnades for Gods Temple, right next door. 

He had a dozen siblings and three dozen young folks called him “Uncle Brother”  .He had a special care for his little sister.  She was so alone in the crowd.  She would sit on the floor by his chair.  He would regale her with fleecy-cloud stories.  How her knight in shiny armor, astride his white steed, would gallop  into her life.  He would sweep her away to his sky castle. They would  live happily ever after.

Their street climbed a hill and turned west into a broad meadow, their meadow. They often took home the bright colored wild-flowers to replace those that had died yesterday. It was a sea of green.  When the Mariah wind blew green waves rolled from one end to the other.  It had been carved from the forest for a failed housing project, She asked him why they wanted to build many houses so near theirs.  He answered in jest hat maybe there were just not enough caves for all the people.

One day they discovered a treasure.   The gentle forest light glimmered on a shard of  glass partially buried.  Clay covered, she washed it inn the creek.  It was blue, a happy blue, a sky blue.  He told her it was her  special secret treasure, just hers, a no show no share treasure.  Like all treasures it should be buried.   To help mark her secret shrine   they dug under the only dogwood in the forest.  As time passed she came to her shrine only on her blue days.

She never really dug up her treasure.  Eons later she did dig it up in her mind as she told  Brothers fleecy cloud stories to her children.

Sherry A. Kelly

He brings paper whites and places them beside the Crèche
To celebrate my birthday on this winter solstice, the darkest day of the year.
One lone blossom bends gracefully over the manger,
Its gold center a beacon for the hope and promise
Of the Christ Child.

We’ve had forty nine years of paper whites.
Paper whites and diplomas to earn, careers to begin,
Mortgages to pay, children to cherish and pets as well, travels abroad and
    chores at home.
Planting and pruning, watering and weeding.
Papers to write and papers to grade. Lessons to plan and classes to teach.
Celebrations and tribulations.
Agreeing and disagreeing and through it all remaining true
To our promises to love unendingly til the end.

On Epiphany morning as we shower, letting streams of water pelt us awake,
   pelt us alive,
I see our now listless skin is the shade of the lather that cleanses us;
Stunned by the promise our paper white shrouds hold for us now in the dead of

“Ten and Counting”
Martha Golensky

I watch him smile in his sleep—
probably dreaming of a chance
encounter between some alien
and his alter ego, Astronaut Alex.
Space is his passion now,
supplanting dinosaurs.

Baby fat virtually gone,
every day I see his father
more clearly in the contours
of my boy’s still downy chin.
The lanky frame so like his;
no visible Mom traces left.

Don’t grow up too soon.
Don’t lose the ability
to love spontaneously,
arms wide in generous hugs,
flashing your whole-face smile,
cuddling with me just because
it’s where you want to be.

“Dawn & Dusk”
Dave Upstill

Out of the dark womb of night
Day begins as the sun is born
So fast we are enchanted
By the growing glow.
When fully rounded
The infant sun begins its crawl
Less noticeably up the sky of day
It has aims to carry through
Measurable in shadows shrinking
We likewise have things to do
Turn to give them our attention
At mid-day we may ;pause to notice
Shadows disappearance.

Then growing again in afternoon
Pointing toward time departing
The sun again demands remark
With perceptible speed in leaving
Pulling the light of day with it.
No wonder awesome dawn and dusk
Inspire so many rites of celebration.

“Airy Confidences”
Lois Losyk

One from the west
One from the south
our lives intersect
southeast heading north.

Squeezing into too tight
for comfort seats
we fly  into gentle,
pillow clouds miles away
from our every day.

We circle each other,
search for a connection,
with meaningless words,
polite questions.

We chat about our families,
ourselves; the circle
widening and deepening,
a canyon in our reveal.

Spouses gone, one by death
one by divorce.
We share pain that resembles
each other’s but different

Deep regrets, secret desires,
future dreams,  hopes
unrealized, all laid out naked.
Some of it unknown,
even to ourselves.

We arrive north. Goodbyes
and good wishes expressed.
Moving out of our circle
into our lives.
Our names never revealed.

“The Necropolis”
Cynthia Schaub

We walked the hills
My old love and I
A grey drizzly day
For Glasgow, for us

And saw the mausoleums
Stolid, grey stone
Built for lawyers, grocers
Solid burghers
To last forever, so remembered.

But now,
Not even a century,
Fallen, marked by yellow
Tape – “Danger”
And so forgotten.

“What Matters “
Kathy Coe

some measure
the worth of a thing
by the attention it is paid:
how many votes,
how many viewers,
how many sponsors it attracts.

at our home away from home,
nestled in the wrinkle
between high windblown hills,
it is not so.

there a thing’s value
is noted by the rising sun
as it creeps over the eastern ridge,
tinting first our treetops
then their outstretched arms
and soon the lower yard where
a mess of squawking turkeys

what matters there is the slow healing
of a certain tulip poplar
on the facing hill,
ravaged by last year’s ice storm,
or the ponderous parade
of slow-marching clouds eastward
across the wide valley,
shifting shapes and hues
in convincing display of evolution,
in case you had harbored any doubts.

what matters is the scent
of rain in the mist that meanders
up the ravine of a morning,
rendering our panorama
a blank grey screen,

or the wood-smoked air
filling the den
where stacked books await,
and the only sound
that matters
is the roar of wind in the pines.

“The Library Table”
Elmer Billman

It was in the living room of the home in which I was born.
The living room was my favorite. It had two French windows,
And two double windows with window seats flanked the fireplace.
A Seth Thomas clock on the mantel struck the hour.

In the large armchair my father would hold me in his lap and read to
 from the daily paper “Little Benny’s Notebook”
And the happenings in a family of rabbits.
The family was headed by Uncle Wigglety
And looked after by Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy.

The library table had two crescent leaves and six legs.
Perhaps the adjacent bookcase legitimized its name.
It has followed me to my present home.
I hope it will travel on.

“Wedding March”
Caren Masem

In the White Garden
where Lohengrin will play
through June’s warmth,
rose bushes stand bare,
their lace covered
white gowns still
not pulled down
over shivering shoulders.
They wait at the alter
patient in March’s
lingering chill.

“Witch Hazel”
Jenny Ward Angyal

a handful of berries
a blue glass bubble
of remembered light

the trunks of birches
the old crone’s shadow
on the white moth’s wing

dust motes
in a circle of light
the bubble
shrinking to a stone
inside the chest

to build a fire ring
flame from ashes
before dusk

the scent
of apples—
bubbles rising
each a different mirror
to a changing face

hearthstone ashes
the price of wisdom  paid—
can witch hazel bloom
so deep in winter

firelight fades
the old crone follows
the glint
of drifting bubbles
through the dark wood

“Witch Hazel” appeared in Lynx, February 2011

Judy Harris

Proud design of bare branches.
Medallion? Badge?
Pasted on a heavy winter sky,
You know. And you speak.
Yes, I know you speak.
Strange calligraphy?
Teasing segment of the jigsaw puzzle?
Affirmation of existence?
Your message is cleverly coded;
But is that what you are saying?
I will know, too, someday.

Judy Gecinger

Red comes unannounced at dawn's dim light.
It stabs at the day.
It rouses expectation.
It drapes and clings to body form
As it creates the day.
Red almost justifies oppression.
It challenges the exuberance of life's unfolding
Because it makes my day.
Red comes unannounced at dusk's closing light.
Then, it fades away.

“Three Milestones”
Audrey Elmore

I looked around and there you were!
Growing so tall, it seemed too rapidly.
So fair, with grace—astounding!
And now—almost fourteen—ready to make your
Commitment of faith in the belief
Of that awesome power behind us,
Seeking possibilities we can only imagine.
Good journey, cherished grandson.

Today, my son, you too reach a milestone
And I am blessed to be the one
Who has watched, and often cared too much!
As you followed the path of delight in living
And with all the good, the inevitable scariness.
Now, through pride and total acceptance
Of the man you have become.
I salute you with deepest love.

Here in act three of my existence, still young in my heart,
I am grateful and humbled by gifts received;
For lessons learned—some painfully
Of blessings through God’s grace bestowed on
   such an errant one as me!
My desire is that of giving more than taking.
Seeing love’s power overcome disappointment
   and shortcomings, leading forward
To the greater knowing promised!

Bob Demaree

At 73, I have long since given up
Soccer and basketball with him,
So we have devised a new game,
My grandson and I,
To play in the back yard on afternoons
Thick with the warmth of late spring.
I am the pitcher,
He the rest of our baseball team.
We toss the ball back and forth,
Field grounders and pop flies,
Each catch an out.
Sometimes the other guys reach base,
An errant throw skittering
Into the monkey grass, hidden by
Fallen azalea blooms.
My teammate, playing deep,
Somewhere between childhood and
Adolescence, applies tags to phantom foes
As they foolishly try to stretch a hit.
Our team scores a run
Each time we retire the side.
We have never lost.