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Family valued - 12.28.05

Every family needs a little poetry at this time of year. We've gathered some here by local parents, a few of whom are published poets, but most of whom are just folks who write an occasional poem.

Of Historical Significance: A Mother Caught Daydreaming

I imagine my child

conjuring the elements

of global peace

or divining the next Great Age,

achieving historical significance.

Our house of unimposing beige

with white trim, transforms

to a tourist attraction.

Groups of six or eight

wander through our kitchen

to see the historical sponge juxtaposed

with the authentic sink before

proceeding to the sitting room

where the coffee table

is stacked high with reproduction Algebra

and French books.

They step to the sliding glass door

to envision the dog being let in and out

and in and out. They move en masse

to our study and see a mannequin

positioned behind a velvet rope.

It poses as my now-famous daughter, as a girl,

working at her antiquated computer or

lying on the carpet,

on her back, staring at the ceiling,

dreaming to music of the era.

People smile and reminisce

about the good old days,

before heading into the bathroom

with working, period fixtures.

They gaze into the vintage mirror and see

my daughter staring back,

brushing and flossing.

"Surely her parents knew

she was an exceptional child," they'd murmur

in hushed reverence,

gazing upon a sliver of soap

excavated and preserved

for posterity.

--- Margie Rolleston


The philosophy of shouting

Is well founded. Like causality,

Respect is invisible

But inexplicably real.

Lodged in the body

With no guide but instinct,

We walk that line

Of awkward love.

Making more and yet more room,

Their stories must become,

Letting them grow

Into complete strangers we meet

After it's far too late.

--- Edward Graham Lynch

Finding the Flaw

Iris pauses to focus, your

proposition in her sights, wide

green eyes far away and searing.

The matter settled, she waits for

nothing, lays out her point, no pride

taken, nothing in her bearing

besides frankness. This five-year-old

philosopher, keeper of gifts

so staggering, charms and annoys

in equal measure. Neither cold

nor warm, her contrary way lifts

my spirits, but God help the boys.

--- Adam Wilcox


Chilled by the early morning frost,

I check on you one more time.

Again, you've kicked off your blankets,

Crouched like a frog around the one Grandma made.

Your legs were made for kicking.

You like your bed unmade.

I cover you anyway

And go downstairs wondering

How you'll leave home.

Before you were born, I slept too much

And cried too little.

You clipped my wings

And pulled me to the floor.

Looking out the window I think, "This is where I live."

You'll be awake soon,

Hitting the floor running.

I won't have time to do puzzles

And you won't wave from the window.

There will be time for new games.

But right now, the house is still

And my body is warm

As thoughts of you expand and contract

In the womb that beats in my chest.

--- Charlie Blum

On My Father's Seventieth Birthday

When little Nat cries at night

and I hold him

until he feels calm and safe

and loved,

I echo all your hugs,

sensing your arms around me.

--- Will Hubbell

West Church Street

Driving in the summer dark

with the moon

roof open and the Beatles singing "Girl"

you let out a screech

flailing at some spider

I can't see as I careen

off the curb and pull

to a stop to let you out

dancing beneath

the shuddering stars

--- Dave Tilley

My Boy

Come lay with me my little boy

and tell me about Helen of Troy,

of Injun Joe and CowboyTex,

of lion safaris and the witch's hex.

These fantasies from your mind

are my delight; tomorrow I'll find

you no longer my little boy,

but a man who has no time for toys

or Indians, cowboys, lions & bears;

you'll be consumed by adult cares

that take you away from me in my bed--

preparing yourself for what lies ahead.

So come my child, let's tell silly jokes,

for soon I'll be just one of your folks,

and all these moments will forever be

locked in my heart. Only you'll hold the key.

--- Jennifer Sanfilippo

Morning Tea

After thirty-one years

the teapot's smooth white porcelain

still reflects the morning scene

in two gleaming curves.

Crisp spring sky,

leafless branches,

and the sunlit side of my face

mingle at left with

a delicately drawn blue landscape.

At right, a curving miniature

of reflected shadows

blends with the thin cobalt lines

of waves and blossoms.

This teapot and six small cups

were a wedding gift

when, at the age of twenty, I married my first husband.

The note from a childhood friend read

"May you have a baby for every cup!"

Perhaps this morning I'll get to some housework

before I call my son at school.

We'll talk about summer, writing, and Spain

after I've washed and dried the dishes

from this morning's meal

and put away one small chipped cup.

--- Karen K. Anderson


Sledding in the park

Push, rush, hold tight, steer, Steer, STEER

Cold mouthfuls of snow

Elmo and Patsy

On the radio again

Hand me the hammer

Midnight bells outside

Broken shingles in the snow

Boot stains on the rug

Who baked these cookies?

They're funky, but taste okay

What's this stuff on top?

--- Craig Brownlie