Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Poem Collection

In the early 80’s, I returned to school (Virginia Commonwealth University) to earn my BFA, and as an elective took a writing class……wrote some poems for class projects and later in the 1990’s while living at Virginia Beach for a class given by Lyn Hunter, at our Episcopal church, for those interested in writing…..three that I am listing were published in a Journal for Virginia poets; one received 4th place mention in Poet Society of Virginia….so here goes!

And the last one “My Amen” has gone far and wide…..was read in Europe, one of the Baltic countries, by a friend at a Genealogical convention….


This little poem was inspired by my memories of being so happy finding a pencil stub with which to draw a picture …….but the child in this poem is a boy!  I love little boys…(and big boys)…had three brothers and 4 tow-headed sons.!




………a bit of crayon

                        a pencil stub……….

The Artist finds a scrap of paper on which to


                       his Masterpiece.

A Sunset, a Rainbow, a Flower in Bloom…

Or the Magnificent Oak in the front yard?

He steadies his hand, squints his eyes,

Takes a deep breath and carefully draws a



Lyn asked the class at Eastern Shore Chapel to take an inanimate object in the classroom and make it come alive…!   This was my offering:




The door knob tastes of adventure,

With a tantalizing scent of places unknown,

Feeling like a golden treasure in my hand,

Cool, yet hot as a trumpet’s blast

Heralding a forgotten dream.


The next poem of rhymed couplets  was an assignment at VCU….. I imagined myself as a Southern Belle…the inspiration came from a faded photo of a young woman….…:.



 Papa gives me ‘most anything I fancy.

Once when second-cousin Mary Nancy

Came to visit all the way from Olde Town,

She was driving her new caramel brown

Rig embellished with real silk tassels

And leather seats the color of Uncle Russell’s

Favorite Port.  Well, Papa went right

Out and bought me a marvelous sight

To behold---the very latest in Horseless

Carriages! Obviously, Papa was making it a


Another time, when I was studying the ancient

Classics, Papa asked Cousin John and Aunt


To escort me to the Grecian Isles, and, as a


(as Papa was wont to do without compromise)

He tucked in an introduction to the famous


Dr. Clarence Soames, No 2 on the Who-who’s


When Papa and Mama went to New York City for

Little Herbert’s christening, my throat was sore

From exposure to inclement weather and I

Had to stay behind. Papa thought he would buy

Me a ruby ring from Tiffany’s, even though

     Mama thought

Garnets would do. Persistent-like, he went

ahead and bought

It anyway, remarking to Mama (as though he

    were addressing the world)

“I want only the best for my  little girl.”

My coming-out gown had lace imported from

     Paris, France,

And Papa ordered extra.  He said it was for

another dancing dress.

Really, Papa had something else in mind.

A gentleman, a Southern beau, was part of his


That lace is lying fallow in the bottom of my

Hope chest.

Crammed and packed with the finest, and

certainly the best

Papa couldn’t buy me everything I fancied.

  Poor Papa.


The next poem is a bit naughty….depending on your imagination!

..entered in the Cenie H. Moon category of the ’98-’99 Poetry Contest, The Poetry Society of Virginia….I love the title…to brag a bit!  Took 4th place.

      ….the inspiration is my secret!!!!!!!!!!!!.



 There I was….

Laced and corseted with Mammy’s foot

At the small of my back, than a tugging

Conforming my innards to Pappy’s thinking

That I might not waste myself being me.

Me, mine, pronouns discarded early on

In favor of you and yours, his and hers.


Then along came someone promising love;

That ice cream concoction of whipped cream,

Slathered with caramel and cherries piled on top

Sliding down the slope of the Promised Land.

I bought his line, this Moses.  The years I gave

Him tightened the Yoke for he branded me

With the iron of yet another’s will.


So, here I am…

Someone new has come along.  He scorches

My eyes looking for the Me in faded blue.

The taste of the shrouded wildness

Is on my tongue and in my nose.  There is

A slow heat, and than a boiling down to the

Small of my back erasing Mammy’s footprint.


The following poem was  selected as a Foreword in a historical novel for young people….the author of the novel, Murphy Gordon,  heard the poem read at a DAR meeting in California…he was a guest…he contacted me for permission to use “My Amen”  in his novel  “ Lucy Kilgrew” and I was happy to do so…

This  poem  won 2nd place in National DAR Heritage competition in 1999.  At that time, I was a member of the Adam Thoroughgood Chapter, NSDAR, Virginia Beach, VA.  



                                     MY AMEN


You who haunt my house, disturb my dreams,

        tug at my soul,

I sense you beside me in my mirror, reflecting,


Ghostly figures in gray and sunlit silver.

You beckon me and bid my soul to give you credence.

My heart is filled and swells with your persistence.

What of these shadows that make me and all of mine

What we are, cradling our past and shaping

        our future?

Is my daughter’s shining face the legacy of

        the English woman

Smiling back at me? Is there a Celtic lilt in her

        childish voice,

Rejoicing, glorifying, imitating, inspiring her to dance

The music of harpists, flutists, that only her soul

Can hear and only her spirit can understand,

\      embracing that

Wild song from afar?  Is my son’s love of

       this fragile earth

The gift of those of you who roamed our

       Virginia woodlands,

Or his canoe trip down the James as exciting as that

       of the young sun-bronzed brave I see now and


Is our love of freedom born of stuff from twelve

        generations ago

When a score of Dutchmen waved goodbye to friend

        and family

For adventure or death, bestowing on us the

        legacy of discovery?

I hear your footsteps on the march of the Revolution

        your drums

Beating in unison for valor and honor.  I hear the

        dull clank of the

Loosening of chains of slavery, I hear your

        joyous laughter

And eagerly skip to your lively tune…

        skipping, skipping.

I will not suppress you, my Ghosts of the Past..

You rise with me in the morning, kneel beside

        my bed in

Evening prayer and guide this pen as I write.

You tantalize me with glimpses of another time

        and with your promises

Of wondrous tomorrows!  Hold my hand,

       give me your vision

And walk with me into those tomorrows.    Amen