Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Susan has chosen bittersweet as the
theme for this week’s Midweek Motif.
The word conjures rambling country
roads edged by fencerows adorned
by a vine called bittersweet.
Submitted to Poets United Midweek Motif
November 29, 2017

While to most of us bittersweet means a melding of pain and pleasure, in the hills of Brown County in southern Indiana, home to the author, James Alexander Thom, and the singer, John Mellencamp, a vine called bittersweet can be found growing along the fences of the rambling rural roads.   Named bittersweet because, on the one hand, it is quite invasive and has been known to kill trees by wrapping around them so tightly the trees are strangled (called girdling by arborists); yet on the other hand during the Fall season the deep yellow of the berries bursts to reveal an orange jewel, while the foliage changes to a beautiful yellow and fencerows adorned with bittersweet become glorious to see.   Beloved by the residents of the area, it is often used for making autumn wreaths and decorations.   Vermont folklore tells us it was believed the root of the bittersweet provided protection against evil witches and malevolent magic.   Perhaps so.  Brown County is known for its log cabins and rural atmosphere, and it is difficult to believe malevolent magic lurks in those beautiful hills.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017


All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is a part of ourselves.    ~ Anatole France


It's Poetics Tuesday and Paul has
asked us to talk about "change”.
Here are my thoughts, submitted
to dVerse Poetics Tuesday
November 28, 2017
Once I was like the rock that fell
from the mountain face into
the stream… all sharp edges,
seemingly unchangeable. 

Life happened.  Like the rock in the river,
I was tumbled , bruised and battered
on my journey, edges smoothened
and honed on my passage.

Today I stand in the valley … change
softening and polishing my sharp edges, 
my solid core remaining, but enforced
now with lessons learned.

Friday, November 24, 2017


I’m sure we all have happy memories
of  holiday dinners with family.
This poem is a tribute to those meals
at the home of my paternal grandparents …
Grandma Katie rotund and loving, and
Grandpa Fred small in stature and long
in Baptist spirit!
Submitted to Poets United Poetry Pantry#380
November 26, 2017


I remember Grandma’s kitchen
From those days of long ago
For never king nor president
Saw such a wondrous show.

The smell of Grandma’s dumplings
I remember to this day
And, just as surely I recall
Grandpa saying “Let us pray”.

And large and small we’d bow our heads
Each seated in our place
And over all a silence fell
While grandpa said the grace.

“The crops”, he’d say, “are mighty dry.
Lord, we pray you see fit for rain.
And Neighbor Brown is poorly, Lord
We pray you ease his pain.”

And the trails of steam grew shorter
Over Grandma’s wondrous bounty
As Grandpa brought before the Lord
Each sinner in the county.

Then “We pray, oh Lord, for wisdom
For the leaders of our land
That they may steer this country
With a sure and steady hand.”

His burdens laid upon the Lord
Grandpa would finally reach “amen”
When heads were raised, our forks were poised
All ready to dig in.

Now I know Grandpa’s in heaven
As it is his rightful place
But, when God’s hungry, I’ll bet he says
“You set the table, Fred, I’ll say the grace!”

Painting by Eric Enstrom

Sunday, November 19, 2017


A little bit of fiction and a whole
lot of truth in this poem.
Submitted to Poet Pantry #379
at Poets United
November 12, 2017

Take me back to my belonging place
Back to that simpler time
I’ve grown tired of the city
Its traffic gridlock and crime.
I sicken at the words “mass shooting”
And the senseless loss of life
It seems whichever way I turn
There are tales of anger and strife.
I don’t even know my neighbor
I doubt he knows my name
I’m tired of paying this mortgage
All the houses look the same
The pastor seems to preach money
And the church’s financial load
I long to be sitting in a simple pew
In the chapel beside the road
Let me walk barefoot in clover
And smell the fresh, sweet air
Drink clear, cold water from the well
No hint of chlorine there
Let me have the innocent faith of childhood
And belief in all things good
Trusting each person I meet
Will treat me as they should
Let me hear the rumble of Daddy’s voice
As he comes in from chores at night
Feel again the warm hugs he gave me
That kept my world safe and bright
Let me see Mother again in her garden
In the place that she loved best
Holding her gathered bounty
Against her aproned breast
Let me smell the perking coffee
And hear the rooster’s morning crow
See sunrise over the prairie
As the cattle start to low
I know they say you can’t go back
But I’ve lived long and well
All my friends have gone before
Now there’s just me left, truth to tell
So, when my time is ended
Lay me beneath the prairie sod
Take me back to the beginning
Just me, myself, and God.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Poets United Midweek Motif
asks us to consider saints.  I’ve
chosen to think of the anonymous
ones among us, who quietly make
a difference.
Submitted to Poets United
November 1, 2017

There are anonymous saints among us
Who ask not for reward or acclaim
Their faces and forms are varied
Most likely they’ll not achieve fame.

Their small acts of kindness are many
As they quietly make their way
Sometimes they just only listen
Sometimes they have much to say.

They observe their fellow life travelers
Seeming to find those in need
And in ways that are humble and subtle
Leave their legacy of kind word and deed

And when their time is ended
And they reach the Pearly Gate
St. Peter will wave them inward
For anonymous saints there’s no wait.