Sunday, December 30, 2012

Paltry Words

Sometimes when I read another's words
I have my words knocked out of me
And taken to this higher plane
The breath of God rushes in
And I no longer need 
My paltry words to sustain me.

How can I,
A humbled poet,
Open my mouth after this?

So that when I die, I might be carried 
On at least one worthy word of mine
That might pass the lips of God
And on His breath 
For an eternity rest.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Just Another Prophet of Doom

The last Saturday of the year
That was to kill us all
Look around we're all still here
Hearing the piper's call . . .

Drilling's thump, thump, thumping
Mining's pump, pump, pumping:
Water wasted growing batteries
Farmers wasted growing cities
Agricultural products fueling trucks
Petroleum byproducts feeding bodies
Critical mass amassing.

Oh how to protect our ship
In this our space?
Or into oblivion will slip
Genetic memories of our race.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Stories of Hope: His and Hers

Kneeling in prayer on the front of battle
Striving over rights taken and wrongs given,
His true love's laughing face hovers;
His countenance grows grave and sweats fear.

Wisdom of generals submits to plots of politicians.
Bile grows on empty stomach and overflows
Over corpses fragrant with trauma's stench.
In remorse he rose to stop his prayers and screaming ears.

Not in a hurry or prolonging
Death to greet and mete out,
Through the pine trees he remembers
The birds flown away two days ago.

To other heights of trees and truth
Birds whisper songs of pain
Leaving behind hope's last stand.
Bullets from third story rain, he falls.

(Highlight space below for her hidden quatrain.)

Kneeling over love's grave
Wisdom grows fragrant rose
Not to pine away
To whisper hope's story.

Thanks to Sabio Lantz at Fields of Yuan for sharing his
Kabbalic Homonym: A new poetry form.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mood Stabilizing Cosmic Order

Before the siren sounds its clarion call
The earache drives us underground
Where around our ankles begins to pool
Enough water to garden all season.

Followed by season of acorns' bitter dust
To parch the mouth
And bloomless wild roses
The nose forgets.

Drought and Tornado
Apathy and Excess
Moods of a bipolar mother
In need of her lithium.

Birds That Are Blue

The blue jay has perched.
I wear it on my sleeve
Like a heart, elusive
Here and there it flits
Looking for acorns
To fill up the knothole.
Up in smoke
Down they roll
Never filling.
But if only one takes root
This logged cabin is coming down.

From the land of memory
I made the journey long ago
And remember only the veiled Joys
Whom men do not yet know.

And were I nimble now as the
Happiness of Running Barefoot in the Dew
I would not catch the bluest birds
Not here and
Not where the black bird turned blue.

Blue Bird of Happiness

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gifts From the Forest Floor


The ticks' trailhead
Begins at our socks,
Covering curious feet
That veer from the trail
To step into a lost kingdom

Where we sit atop an adders' den:
A reckless hike coup
In ignorant bliss
In December.

Small price to pay for our "big hunt"
The gifts gathered from your floor:

Hiking sticks in the rough,
More useful to us than diamonds;
Tortoise shells and feathers,
Our bangles and ribbons;
Lightning-charred pine cones,
Will they regenerate our homestead?

A Ouachita walk in the woods:
Magic fellowship of four blooming
Outside the confines of four cramped walls.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mistletoe and Shakespeare Quotes

Mistletoe with Cemetery Hidden in the Trees Beyond

Where's my kiss under the mistletoe?
He who gave it lies in a cemetery.
Wish I could join him,
But mistletoe is not that poisonous.

My lover "But doth suffer a sea change,
Into something rich and strange"
"And left no friendly drop to help me after"
Apothecary's or other.

Margot Fonteyn danced with a blade
Claire Danes put a gun to her head
This Juliet acts out her life without a plan,
But to kiss a ghost and to him say good-bye.

Bruno, Foul Farter

My nose hairs burning
He smells up the room again
Smells like rotten eggs.


Bruno has foul farts
The smell almost stops our hearts
Old dog can't help it.

By Falls From Tree


I remember days
You were young and on the go
You smelled up the tent.


Open the window
It's twenty-seven degrees
But we need sweet air.


Friday, December 21, 2012

North Star

My moon is half full.
The other half is spilled years
Spread across the sky like milk.

My moon is waxing,
Growing fuller,
Despite the loss of time.

I have hope, but still I wonder:
If the north star gives directions,
Why does it hang so lonely in the sky?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flying Dream

I have trouble waking up
Despite the clanging bells and sirens
Used to alarm me from my sleep.

So I tried a gentle sunrise call
Of recorded ducks
But they, too, were incorporated into dream.

Now here I am to get report from
Her animosity,
Worn as putrid perfume.

She, perturbed,
Losing fifteen minutes' time
Drinking coffee at the time clock.

But I do not care, because when I heard the quacks
I started flying and remain
Rested, lighter than air.

Stray Dogs

The wagging of her tail stirs up a dust devil
As she sits and begs relief from her rejection.

Get over it.  We are all rejects here.
The refuse of society.  What rules did you refuse?

It matters not.  You can stay,
Because there is no place else for you to go.

In all this great wide world?
Stray dogs can do no worse than to pack together.

Simple Faith

Via Wonder Wednesday #14
For Poets United poets
I give this gift:
The Poet's Simple Faith,
by Victor Hugo.

          You say, "Where goest thou?"  I cannot tell,
          And still go on.  If but the way be straight,
          It cannot go amiss! before me lies
          Dawn and the Day; the Night behind me; that
          Suffices me; I break the bounds; I see,
          And nothing more; believe, and nothing less.
          My future is not one of my concerns.

          Translated by Prof. E. Dowden

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Homeless: Has Car, Will Travel

In the backseat of a car
There is only room for one sleeper
Not comfortably numbed
Half awake.

With forehead placed
Upon the cold glass
To drink the warm stars
Breath fogs vision.

Roll down the window
Let out the backseat driver
Let in the One and cruise.
Take a drive and see it all.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Smoke Signals

A charcoal pencil from the fire
Is all I need to pen my rural oblivion.
But in my hand this pencil smolders
With a heat I barely remember.

And then I need more.
More than a cardinal,
A chickadee, a cedar waxwing,
And a crow can give me.

So I throw my pencil into a bed of embers
And send smoke signals,
But as with all dreams that dissipate
The signals get lost in translation.

I am left bereft of sense and sensibility
And retrace little tracks of tiny birds' feet to tranquility
And breathe.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Joy in Minor Keys

Prophets and Plato
Predicted His baby's death.
The three-day pain He felt
Our three-day gain,
Our joy sung in minor keys
Every winter solstice.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Twelve Days Discordant

Music teachers -
Not in the budget anymore.
The compact disc was overamplified
But Pre-K through Third
Could still be heard yelling
Not caroling
Their Christmas cheer.

I will allow
They were all adorable
Though my good ear
Got my finger stuck in it.
The other finger is reserved
For those who laud the sports
And toss the arts
Along with our Greek-rooted democracy
Of teaching both.

And the evening proceeded
With seven false recorded starts
Until the track to Twelve Days of Christmas
Was launched
Followed by my daughter's classes
A full line behind it.

My son of high schooled
Irreverent age
These discordant days
Leaned over and said,
"About 70 lines to go -
Do the math."
And I, a once most reverent mother
Laughed inappropriately.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Endless Winter

      I'm running towards
      The edge of winter.
      I see my goal
      Oh, so close at hand.
      I spring to it
      The edge of summer.
      I slip and fall
      Back into winter.

 By Me I Am, And Me Alone

View from the Top of a Postcard

Posted for Poets United Wonder Wednesday #13 Postcards:


Start early
For you have several steps
Some treacherous
To take.

Bow down
On awestruck knees
Feel the mist
On your face.

And keep climbing
Then steeper.

On the steps 
Of vertigo
Don't be fooled
Into turning back.

Turn back when
Rock is wet
Lightning is striking
Or handholds not installed.

Grab hold 
Of steel cables
Lean back a little
And haul yourself up.

Walk the top
Crawl to the edge
And reel into

Look down
The northwest face
See climbers

Retreat to middle ground
Meet world hikers
From Israel, France, Romania, Australia.
They all speak English.

To not share your lunch
With begging

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


The frost on the field reflected sky this morning.
I could walk across the field and walk on water.
But from the edge you would grab me by the ankles and pull me under.

But say I swim across this field to the other edge of the naked forest
And seeing it devoid of thickset greenery I take a shortcut
You, in camouflage browns, would ambush me along the way.

And were I to continue my headstrong endeavor through the wood
I would rather meet a bobcat who would run away from me
Than be scratched on the shins, arms, and face by you again.

And all this you do to me in your driest brittleness
Devoid of summer's vigorous verdant virility
For your judgmental thorns know no season's respite.

I heard through the muscadine grapevine you were delicious. 
I rather doubt that; nevertheless, I am going to eat you come spring!
And that was probably your plan all along.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thunder is the Drum Major

Thunder is the drum major.
I march in his band whenever I can,
Once so close to him
My eyebrows were singed
By the lightning of his baton
And the thrill has never gone.
Under his direction
The trees are woodwinds
The mountains and valleys are brass
And the cloudburst the drum corps.
The crowd takes notice
Then the game plays on.

His simple night music I like best
When all the spectators go home
And he slows down the beat
Throws aside his baton
And plays his own drum
Skin on skin rhythmically
Hands upon his lover's body
Teasing fountains open
Finding all her secret gardens
Engendering field and forest.
The grateful take notice of a gentle rain
And life marches on.

I Want Another Goose

Goose shakes sack at me.
Goose hungry today, feed now!
Goose not know, not boss.

* * *

What I wake up for?
Wake up tonight for this shit?
My muse not funny!

     The geese are gone.  Domestic geese can't fly south, can't fly but a very short distance.  But still gone.  Was it coyote or panther?  Gone.  

     I did not realize how much I missed them until I woke with thoughts of a hungry goose.  Thank you funny muse.  I want another goose.  

by Trudy Jo
(Old Lady of the Woods)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ice Cream

I wrote a poem in which two words lived:  
Ice cream.
I did not read it aloud 
Or shout it out
Or post it on the fridge
Someone heard those two words and said,
"Baskin Robbins is awesome."
Now I'm writing a poem about
Black Walnut
Chocolate Fudge
Devonshire Cream
Pistachio Almond
Pralines n' Cream
Very Berry Strawberry
Watermelon Chip
and World Class Chocolate.

Gravity of Thought

The steam of thought
As a dewdrop
A tear.

The cream of thought
In stillness
To make butter for bread
And ice cream.

The smoke of thought
A smudging
In sweet odors.

All thoughts are funny
Like carbonated bubbles
Rising then
Where do they all go?

Where do they all rise from?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

All But Blind, Too

I have seen the multitudes of stars
Through night-vision goggles.
I can do without that greenish glow
And gregarious gathering of suns.

"So blind to someone I must be"
But this blindness suits me.

I am ever compelled to look up
And take just enough not to feel so alone.
But put me in a city with a million people,
My loneliness would kill me not to see a single star.

And tonight the sky is crisp and clear
And the moon is just now rising to obscure my awe.
My jealous sun reminds me, "Get to sleep,
I'll have need of you tomorrow."

"So blind to someone I must be"
from All But Blind
by Walter de la Mare

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


How many will hang themselves with tinsel
This caroling cacophonous December?
Not me!  I will not set foot in their malls
To offer my neck to the creditor's noose.
And even if I had paper money
I'd burn it in the fire before buying baubles,
Because I have tried to warm myself
With this Christmas candle
But not being of strong imagination
I have failed.
I am a scrooge, with nothing to give.
My children will go hungry
Without their school lunches.
My mother will reminisce on golden years
When her country and its children were strong.
I only will be blessed
To get to go to work that day
And not to see their want.

The resilience of my family flies
With the reindeer.
He will carve wooden spoons and walking sticks.
She will sew scraps into imaginative uses.
Mother will cook a Christmas dinner
I know not how, but it will be there.
It will be after dark
When I step inside my Christmas snow globe,
But in that theater I find the way to thrive.
So with the vision of this future in my mind,
I'll find a way to provide.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Censored Silence

My censored silence wise I think.
This I will allow:
At the grand junction of lives
Connected only by space,
Our outer electrons collide.
We become a new molecule.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

de Soto's Swine

Tonight I saw two tusked and bristly razorbacks,
Descendants of de Soto's flesh-eating swine,
On the dark edges of my road home.
And from the dark ledges of my bookshelf
Dusty pages of histories opened,
Of heroes, kings, khans, conquerors
And the ancestors of these wild boar.

Then fear and caution bristled up my spine.

I take no pleasure in the hunter's rush.
Buck fever makes me sick.
But the thought arose:
I need my dog,
I need my gun.

From the dark edges of my road home
These ghosts from the past
Thought to cross my path
And I braked against an inevitable collision.
But these wise ones did not run in front of my tires
Or stand shocked in the headlights.
They turned back and retreated.

Then fear and caution bristled up my spine,
And dissipated out the top of my head
Replaced by recognition
Of fellow sentient beings.

And the thought arose
I still need my dog
To give me fair warning
I would not want to scratch their backs
Nor hear their grunts of pleasure.

Falls From Tree

Falls From Tree,
The day you earned this name
We heard you laughing
And took our time
To find you hanging from a tree
Foot wedged in his strong arms
With a cushion of air
Between the ground and your head.

Falls From Tree,
Today I saw Sabra gallop by
Saddled with no rider
And your name rushed from my lips
And fell unanswered at my feet.
And my heart was laced with frost
From a lying notion,
But a mother's intuition warmed my being
And, perhaps, a whisper in the trees gave me courage.
And sure enough you came plodding
A little worse for wear but smiling.
And I learn
Again a tree has broken your fall
As you were thrown
Upon her rough and waiting outstretched bark.

So today I offer you a new name.
No, not Falls From Horse.
Saved by Trees?
Little Sister of the Forest?
Tree Chosen?
No.  You tell me,
"Falls From Tree."
And so you do,
A cornucopia of
nuts and fruits
and healing leaves.

Old Lady of the Woods Speaks

I have read the books,
The descriptions marvelous.
My donkeys are scamps.

by Trudy Jo

Saturday, December 1, 2012


The feather of a soaring bird
Taught me that to fly
Would be to swim
In the air I breathe
If my bones were hollow
But my bones are heavy 
So I float in water
In which I swim
But cannot breathe
Unless flying 
Through the womb.