Keeping On: The Poems
SIX – THE SUM IS SIX
There are six
some of cedar or
perhaps of spruce
Six stand upon a hill
along a border
or in a valley
…..Or perhaps they take a walk
Six for shelter
Six for shade
Six for safety
And six for social
Six in a family
Six in three couples
Six in a story
…..How mysterious is theirs?
These six are salient
serene and steady
perhaps in prayer
Perhaps in song
…..or in a dance
Six souls meeting
in 2020. masked
Six selves strong
frozen in time
Poem by Elizabeth Possidente. Artwork: Group Gathering by Linda Edwards
The eyes are blue.
At first glance, blue.
Gaze deep into the blue,
The blue and more blue,
The beautifully blue eyes.
They should suffice, should win.
Tousled hair atop the head.
And, yes, the eyes are blue.
As blue as anything.
As blue as everything.
Above the blue
A furrowed brow.
My God, the life of the mind!
And, yet the eyes are blue.
As blue as…mmmm.
As blue as…aaaahh.
As blue as…yeah.
Poem by Norman Thomas Marshall, Artwork: A Portrait by Scott Paterson
LADY OF SPAIN
she seems about to whirl into a dance
this Spanish lady so precisely arrayed
in a pattern of black and white
with a perky red feather in her hat
curved arm and fist resting on a hip
heart-shaped lips in a pursing pout
eyes slightly slanted mysterious
staring back at those studying her
remaining opaque so that no one can tell
if she’s full of tabasco or sweet cream
Poem by Gwen Gunn. Artwork: Flamenco, a pottery pitcher by Anita Griffith
I’LL TRY TO REMEMBER
When I look at your face there’s something familiar,
I’ve seen you before, I’ll try to remember,
Perhaps it’s your eyes, those long lovely lashes,
Or maybe your lips, rosy red and mysterious.
I’ve waded the waters on tropical islands,
Clear and warm, my feet in soft sand,
Bermuda, Grenada, Barbados, Tobago,
Aruba, Bonaire, Saint Kitts and Nevis,
Antigua, Saint Martin, Saint John, and Saint Lucia;
I thought I saw you there, your mermaid hair
Floating in the ripples of the sunlit sea,
Frolicking over the glistening waves.
At night with my father on the way back from Mattituck,
Just the two of us sailing, homeward bound,
My hand in the water glowed green as lime jello,
The luminous plankton excited and smiling,
Or was it your tail, swishing and splashing?
On Lloyd’s Neck, Long Island, across from Stamford,
Stones, oval and white, my father had gathered,
The remnants of glaciers worn smooth by the waters;
He sailed them to Stamford, and painted on faces,
By the picture window, in our home he displayed them,
The sun in the west, warmed and caressed them,
In my long-ago memory, they remind me of you.
Poem by Daniel E. Goldberg. Artwork: Empowered by Cheryl Tuttle
Eighth grade celebratory trip was to Play Land
Our local amusement park
We all bought tickets and spread out
I went to Dodgems where you drive around in small cars
Trying not to get hit
But if you do—if, say, George keeps bumping you
It means he has a crush on you.
And then the House of Mirrors
If you’re fat you can look fatter
Or thinner, how you think you really look
And if you’re thin, don’t look
And then the Roller Coaster
Open only to ages 12 and above
Don’t stand directions say
Absolving Play Land of suits
When thin is thrown to standing
And maybe even killed
Next are the Biggest Wheel cages’ gentle rides
Up and around with distant views
I went with Hillary, most popular eighth grade girl
And shared my binoculars.
She turned away and oohed and aahed
Oohed and ached at far away Long Island Sound
And when we disembarked, I had to ask again
For my binoculars back. Not once, but twice
As George ignored me but greeted her.
Mom asked later, was your day amusing?
I answered, Hilarious!
Poem by Jane Muir. Artwork: Wonder Wheel by Julie Ryan
Of all the artwork on display
I keep returning to your portrait.
What is it that draws my eye
back to this small painting.
Is it your pale blue gaze?
Your face filling the entire space?
Or is it…
That fiercely arched eyebrow?
Poem by Juliana Harris.Artwork: A Portrait by Scott Paterson
SUGGESTED TITLE: TENACIOUS
No matter what we think
or how it feels,
we don’t really break break,
even our break downs
imply eventual turn ups.
Oh sure, we bend a little,
(bend over backwards, too)
fold under pressure sometimes
lean into the pain
collapse with exhaustion
appear to come apart at the seams
Upon this holy ground of spirit
there is still room to breathe,
we are not damaged, we are flexible
we are not falling apart, we are rebuilding
we are not broken or undone.
By the very fibers of our being,
we are strength and grace
Poem by Jen Payne. Artwork: Untitled by Lisa Wolkow
Each day of seven days
a repeat that neither sails
beyond the rest nor lags
In laziness or in duress
but sits handsome in its
reticence, its nudge from
earth to foggy brush to
heaven’s vague offering
until we neither know to fly
the vaguely referenced
place of smudged trees,
of swamp, of a heaven
clearing just enough to
send us to our calendars
to recover day or month
or year, to wonder if,
in the layers of this universe
our families still dwell, never-
mind old friends, our grocer,
the neighbors we haven’t
spied for … who knows …
the days or years,
the dreamy week
it’s been since when …
Poem by Patricia Horn O’Brien. Artwork: Cylinder Series by Alice Chittenden
The flowers next to me
are real, I don’t know
who puts them there
Their presence comforts me,
and this is all I need
for now, it is not forever
Poem by Edward Walker. Artwork: Far Away by Marcy LaBella