Autumn 2006 Edition
October through December
Sol Magazine, A Quarterly Poetry Journal.  2007: The ninth year of a ten-year project of volunteers interested in the education of poets.
 © 2007 Sol Magazine

To all prior staff members of Sol Magazine.  Your hard work and dedication helped make this publication possible.  Thank you.

(Narrative Style)
(Etheree Form)
(Short Form)
(Quatrain Form)
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~ Each quarter, we choose one winning poem to honor with the title of EDITOR'S CHOICE.  This is our pick for Autumn 2006. 

Kunuk carves 
his last figure 

from soapstone,
a polar bear
on the first year's ice.

The seals 
have not returned
nor have the caribou.

If he could slip 
thru the ice 
like thread thru a needle,

he could tie
the ends of his life 
into a knot,

his spirit woven
into the thinning ice
he once called home.

Cindy Tebo, Catawissa, MO, USA

POET'S NOTE:  *Great Bear (star constellation) ~ Source:  Inuktitut Living Dictionary

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We asked poets to write a short poem about what life might be like in a very particular place on earth after the year 2020, after the effects of greenhouse gasses, deforestations, massive population increases, and lack of available resources change the face of the earth.  These were some of the responses.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2162

When the waters rose
higher than tides,
cutting all links and
burying the future,
our Citadel sat
amid the ruin; ghosts of

colonial soldiers echoed along
corridors and ramparts of
weathering stone,
marking time with the living
who watched for others
somewhere, anywhere
along the new horizon.

Betty Dobson, Halifax, NS, CAN 

Newport, Oregon Coast: 2050

There's still a town, in spite of everything
houseboats moored among the treetops,
floating shops tied up to Yaquina Bridge,
a fishing fleet in the estuary one hundred feet
above the old coastline. Still fur seals barking
and the smell of fish guts. Still fog drifting
every morning through tall cedars,
now standing dead with their feet in salt.
Every day the crabmen drop their pots
over the old boardwalk, where, they say,
the crabs hang out among the drowned
shops and galleries on Cannery Row.
We don't get many tourists anymore,
but there's still work, sunlight, rain, life.

Tiel Aisha Ansari, Portland, OR, USA

S. Sossio, Italy 2030

Awakened by the knocking 
sun on lids still closed,
the ear savors the chatter 
of a stone lips fountain,
voices of buyers and sellers
of home sown goods,
softness of steps
carrying home their fare
remnant of a world
drowned in blood
blackened in ashes… 
The flash! The flash!
A brand new earth
another chance 
at starting again.

Frances Schiavina, Ardmore, PA, USA

Davao City, Philippines 2113

Masked faces of strange beings
all mere shadows of souls
grappling others for sustenance

Cockroaches scurrying along
black tar riddled monuments
worn down reminders of the past

No more beaches. Nothing but sand
dark and grey not pearly white
streaked with rotting remains

Everyday, acrid smoke permeates
on roads corroded by acid rain
filling the air with stench

No trace of what once was
not of dignity or humanity
not a shadow, none at all

Maria Eugenia Stanphill, San Antonio, TX, USA

Write a short (no more than fifteen lines, no more than five stanzas) poem titled in exactly four words that name a certain place, and include a date.  Examples:  2020, Dime Box, Texas;   2030, Flat River, Arkansas; Mississippi Trace, Tennessee, 2102; London, England, Earth, 2100.  Write about what life might be like in a very particular place on earth after the year 2020, after the effects of greenhouse gasses, deforestations, massive population increases, and lack of available resources change the face of the earth.

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We asked poets to write a titled Etheree that spoke in a fresh way of being happy, sad, or simply thoughtful about away from home, or family, or friends at Thanksgiving, the key word being "fresh," or new, vibrant.  Those poets who wrote in a unique way to this rather mundane topic but challenging form are to be commended! 

Listening For Home

full of surf)
echo always
the music of home.
Wavelike voices whisper
through the chambers of my heart
through the listening silences
that deepen the thickets of my mind.
Thanksgiving: wherever I am, I'm home.

Tiel Aisha Ansari, Portland, OR, USA 

A young vegetarian writes…

is not 
an option; 
each year I flee, 
avoiding watching
thankless, unforgiving, 
carnivorous, bone-cracking, 
grey-flesh-ingesting, cranberried, 
vaguest kith and slightest kin, who wolf, 
throughout my mourning, dead-bird, noon and night.

Phill Doran, Johannesburg, RSA

A Soldier's Holiday

in wind gusts
from desert's dunes
and settles in film
across Euphrates face.
Course grains ride ripples' foam to
cat tail reeds bowing to corkscrew
whirls of devils in counter clock spins
and stabs the loneliness with thoughts of home.

Yvonne Nunn, Hermleigh, TX, USA
Senior Poet Laureate of Texas 2006

Home Again

The doors 
squeak, the floor 
creaks in spots but 
I remember where 
to step -- as a teen, late 
dates made me hop as over
a creek on rocks. Thanksgiving, in
the dark hall, we tread with care so not
to splash our young sons awake in my bed. 

Angela Papalas, Glenview, IL, USA

Interlude to Thanks

heart stopped
for a moment
eight thousand miles
from here. Phone calls, emails
filled empty space between us—
my sis and me. A special time
that begs for togetherness; we're left
holding our breath so that he may have his.

Brady Riddle, Muscat, OMA

Camp Anaconda

Pressed meat
Powdered spuds
Milk-free pudding
Long lines gathering
In company mess tent
Desert sand infusing food
With revolting grittiness plus
Coming up empty at mail call made
First Thanksgiving in Iraq abysmal

SJ Baldock, Lancaster, TX, USA
Georgia Dietitian's Rounds

Island, I
Checked hospital
Thanksgiving meals for
Each person, spreading cheer.
But a lump rose in my throat
When I sat down to eat dinner
Words of a sad Jamaican patient
Rang in my ears, "I wish I eat at home." 

Lois Lay Castiglioni, Galveston, TX, USA
Fourth Floor Walk-Up Thanksgiving in Brooklyn

my cold
I eat frozen
turkey and green beans,
wishing for family
and some fresh cranberry sauce.
There is nothing good on TV - 
in my present mood, that's no surprise.
At my nadir, someone knocks on my door.

RJ Clarken, Hillsborough, NJ, USA
Georgia Dietitian's Rounds

Island, I
Checked hospital
Thanksgiving meals for
Each person, spreading cheer.
But a lump rose in my throat
When I sat down to eat dinner
Words of a sad Jamaican patient
Rang in my ears, "I wish I eat at home." 

Lois Lay Castiglioni, Galveston, TX, USA
Yams in Cans

in cans
with frozen
peas and carrots
last minute turkey
undersized, overpriced
thawing on the bottom shelf
below a box of fledgling wine
for toasting in case guests should arrive
or for getting toasted as the bird burns

Betty Dobson, Halifax, NS, CAN 

Faces will 
Grace the Dixon
Food-laden tables
This brisk Thanksgiving Day.
And though the gilded poultry,
Piping rolls and spicy stuffing
Will warm us up, from the inside out,
A persistent chill will enshroud our hearts. 

Kathy Kehrli, Factoryville, PA, USA
Thanksgiving Away from Home 

to this room,
so sad, so white.
Sleep is coy; bed  strange, 
alone, Thanksgiving night. 
I share  with moon my turkey. 
I call each cup a name, your names. 
Moon smiles her rotund smile and shines on; 
I sigh; if only I'd stayed home today!

Agatha Lai, Sabah, MAS
Fanatic Football Fans Delay Thanks

football games,
Thanksgiving treats,
Texas stadium
annual family trips.
We've watched thirteen teams to date
and Dallas wins most games we've seen.
Our son buys tickets.  We pay our share
and give thanks over hotdogs the next day.

Carol Dee Meeks, Artesia, NM, USA
New Faces ­ Old Memories

the same
old farm house,
our family
gathered to give thanks
in the large, bright kitchen.
Wooden table stretched ­ two leaves
added make room for all prayers.
Bountiful feast, strange scene ­ memories;
some faces are gone ­ we smile, reminisce. 

Jeanette Oestermyer, Rochester, IN, USA

Passed a
Window of
A well lit house
Music and children
Aroma of spices
Swallowing a knot raced the dark
A single bed scent of Clorox
Pulled the sheet to wipe my eyes, alone
And away from home on Thanksgiving night.

Frances Schiavina, Ardmore, PA, USA
Far from home

choking back
poignant sadness
as I sit alone
so far away from home.
I miss the lighthearted mood
brought on by food and my kinfolks.
Nothing says Thanksgiving more clearly
than the warmth of one's family and home.

Maria Eugenia Stanphill, San Antonio, TX, USA

box of 
rocks, each one
with a story
of some place fine I
went with you. If I lose
the memory behind each 
that will be proof of Alzheimer's.
Use them then to pave the drive so the 
hearse and I won't stick in Thanksgiving mud.

Gary Wade, Bellingham, WA, USA

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We asked poets to write a brief titled poem about a neighbor and friend that mentioned the friend's name in the title.  Winners were determined not only by how well poets wrote to the topic, but also by how closely they followed the rules.

Ruth Hewitt, Cultivator of Gardens and Minds 

Loneliness left and contentment came to take her place 
The day I met Ruth while pulling weed by our back fence
Soon we were sharing family recipes and classical books
And watching Masterpiece Theatre on Sunday nights. 
When she could no longer drive, I was her chauffeur.
She repaid me by baking bran muffins and tart lemon bars.
At age 99, her final days drew near. Every 15 minutes,
My granddaughters went with me to check on her. 
They took turns pushing her wheelchair at bedtime.
Four small hands held up her water cup for her last sip 
Ruth smiled at the girls. Our eyes met as we silently said,
"Goodbye old friend and thanks for being my neighbor." 
Today, I weed alone by the fence – pause and listen
To echoes of Ruth's voice and laughter
Weave around hibiscus and bougainvillea. 

Lois Lay Castiglioni, Galveston, TX, USA

A Pearl of a Girl

I have a friend in our small town
who keeps the weeds and grasses down,
deters the cause of sneeze attacks
and plants by signs in almanacs.

She keeps a parrot in a cage
who often throws a tirade rage
and calls her names of ill repute
then dodges bullets when she shoots.

On Sunday morn in church you'll find
her singing hymns, a note behind
but that's o.k., she'll know you heard
and once again she got last word.

She says she's shy, I guess that's so
but I would really like to know
why dangling feet in water's flow
makes words she paints rival vanGogh.

Yvonne Nunn, Hermleigh, USA
2006 Senior Poet Laureate of Texas 

Her name is Rosalinda

and she waters the plants
like she always does.
She touches their leaves
with wrinkled hands of brown
browned by the sun and summers
she had lost count long ago.
Her hair with silver streaks
proudly worn with no adornment
adorning a soul of strength
born out of weathered fate.
In quiet contentment I watch
my gardener friend as she plants
planting more than blooms to share
she infuses my life with new color.

Maria Eugenia Stanphill, San Antonio, TX, USA

INS Sweeps The Corner

My friend who ran the corner taqueria
she didn't speak much English, always smiled
when handing me my tacos, quesadillas,
which we'd eat sitting down, in family style.

A cold wind blew
through the bright facades
of the Mexican shops
on the corner.

They vanished overnight, the counter lady,
the baker, Hair and Nails, the import store.
The neighborhood's “improved” but I still miss
my friend who ran the corner taqueria.

Tiel Aisha Ansari, Portland, OR, USA
These are the things of my favourite fuse...

Two-metre brick walls surmounted by wire,
which carry enough charge to start a small fire,
close-circuit cameras, such is the way
we here keep psychos and madmen at bay.

Bullet-proof windows and movement-detectors,
private policemen from plods to inspectors;
floodlights and laser-lines turn night to day
while we sleep safe, keeping strangers away.

If the dog barks an alarm rings –
armed guards are deployed,
who then make routine security checks;
not that I'm paranoid...

Corridor bulk-heads of hardened grey-steel doors,
microphone-sensors recording, without pause –
but why my friend never calls, who can say?
Still....people are strange...around here, anyway. 

Phill Doran, Johannesburg, RSA
Court of Three Sisters

Three spinster sisters next door kept a close eye on us
They snipped peepholes in the hedge to allow a clear view
Watching six kids grow up served well in those pre-TV days
I wonder if they knew how closely we were observing them

We privately called Miss Ruth, Grumpy, Ugly or Witch"
She wouldn't let us retrieve stray balls from their yard
Redheaded Mildred was full of fun, dropped title of "Miss"
Mildred came to our house with baskets of town gossip

Sister Lois had a beau, Mr. Ferrell, who courted on Sundays
We spied on our friend hoping to learn lover's ways
As they sat on the veranda softly talking and laughing
Romance rockets showered our imaginations for hours

Today the old house stands stark, the hum of sisters hushed
Empty windows stare our way with hollow eyes
Looking back through the telescope of time the three sisters 
Demonstrated how to be ornery, friendly and loving

Kay Lay Earnest, Smyrna, GA, USA
Mrs. Hilson Plays Traffic Cop

Half-grown feet pumping gears,
We pedaled for our lives.
You to one side, me to the other,
Mrs. Hilson sandwiched between.

Like our carefree sneakered soles,
Her hand ground a different crank.
This one releasing the confining glass
That soundproofed voice from ears.

“To the right, the both of you.
Stay to the same side of the road,”
Her commandeering voice a slap
More stinging than any hand.

That neighbor who played traffic cop
No longer lives next door,
But echo still those prudent words
Imparted old friend to two youths.

Kathy Kehrli, Factoryville, PA, USA
Hometown Hero Turns Helping Hand

The stands are full of roars from fans as I
watch number forty-six run down the ramp.
Every player in fast strides - but him,
the only one who catches my eye in orange

and black, wearing smiles on his face.
I watch him play the game, his second
love.  Rodeos are his passion, but football
is his talent.  He disappears into college life

and rodeos to buy books and pay his tuition.
Years prance past, and my husband turns ill.
I forget the lad's first game smiles, but one day,
I see his picture in the daily news.  He's returned 

to teach and coach.  Later, a new neighbor mows 
and grooms our lawn with the same smile still on
his face.  I remember that former football star 
and relish him as our new neighbor and friend.

Carol Dee Meeks, Artesia, NM, USA
My Neighbor, Chong

Passing by, I heard Chong read Li  Bai's lilts.
This neighbor loves to hum the Chinese rhymes.
For Fung-Sui charm, he hangs a few wind chimes.
They  reel, they spin and roll in clanging tilts.

I met  the Chongs  while  walking  round   the   zoo. 
Perhaps, I'd  ask them to our house for lunch.
But kids would be back, there's hard work to crunch.
We shook hands and bade each other adieu.

His children asked  mine to play ping-pong one noon.
I heard the ball bounce this end to that end.
I mused, " Well, the kids are already friends.
If Chong plays the game, here's a player to prune."

They have been here for almost a month now;
It's time to show them what good neighbors are.
Yes,  I'm going to Chong's house, it's not far, 
To play ping pong and read Li Bai or Tao.

Agatha Lai Sabah, MAL
Maria Diletta

Etched in light
the day your heart my friend 
was joined to mine.
I stood aghast!
My clothes… Your name renown
In your nobility
you counted wealth my mind.
I left invited
skipping like a lamb
on grass yet tender
before the mower bent.
Back home had death
a glacial darkness left
but not as black
as when your life swept.

Frances Schiavina, Ardmore, PA  USA

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We asked poets to send in observational third person quatrains that show the effect of one season upon the next. 

prized blooms of wild

to autumn, offer all possible shades of red
from orange-red tones through to cerise,
purply reds and deep scarlets, the dahlias
blooming madly, to last until winter's frost

Maria Eugenia Stanphill, San Antonio, TX, USA

setting the table

persimmon about to fall
for every seed that is split
a fork, spoon or knife
will predict the winter ahead

Cindy Tebo, Catawissa, MO, USA

Attack of Cold

Trees decorated with color
Glimmering in fiery shades
Until the icy bit of cold
Attacks and steals the color

Sharon Alsop, Clinton, MO, USA 


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Sol Magazine meant to offer a writing prize of $50.00 to the best 3rd person titled narrative poem on the topic of "Rising Temperatures in the Arctic."  Because of a typo in the copy, poems written in 2nd person were also accepted. 


Kunuk carves 
his last figure 

from soapstone,
a polar bear
on the first year's ice.

The seals 
have not returned
nor have the caribou.

If he could slip 
thru the ice 
like thread thru a needle,

he could tie
the ends of his life 
into a knot,

his spirit woven
into the thinning ice
he once called home.

Cindy Tebo, Catawissa, MO, USA

POET'S NOTE:  *Great Bear (star constellation) ~ Source:  Inuktitut Living Dictionary
Midnight Sun

A strong wind
is blowing up north, 
in the land of the midnight sun.
An old man calls out,
'When I was young, 
this was a good place.
The land of the ice.
An ancient world.
An old way of life.
What's wrong with that?'
But he knows what's wrong.
For a warm wind
is blowing up north, 
in the land of the midnight sun.

Colin Campbell, Kunming, Yunnan, CHN

Sea Change

Above the line they drift, albino floes,
cathedrals wrought in glass, primeval snows
through which cracked lines extend sea-salted veins
and fractures pare diminishing remains.
More southerly each year, abandoned ice
points to a shift in seasons, sets the price;
the debt, as balance tilts and shoals abscond
to some elusive latitude, beyond.
Strained, ancient chains recoil beneath the weight
of changes made on scales so vast, too great
for naive man to comprehend perhaps,
while dominoes of consequence collapse.
Yet, death is life; genetic games decide
and though men roll small dice their morbid pride
misleads them into thinking Life's own death
hangs balanced solely on their metal breath.
Too vibrant, Life will not be stayed; machines
defile, debase but can't deter blind genes. 
Below the line, strange flowers cling where chance
has settled them upon the ripe advance
of newborn shores, delivered through the acts
of deep titanic plates. Dark, fecund tracts 
of land arise like hump-backs from the sea, 
great unploughed beasts of fertile earth set free 
and while a fevered Arctic sweats fresh seas, 
so spores ascend; small pilgrims on the breeze.

Phill Doran, Johannesburg, RSA

Small Things Make Big Differences 

Spring came early to Alaska, 
came early again this year. 
The solid roads have splintered 
Leaving only liquid and air as paths 
To the world beyond the bay. 
The melting ice sheds tears 
For the colder days of decades past, 
Before the blue ice grew gray 
And the temperature rose "just a little." 
What difference could a little heat make, they asked. 
What's wrong with warmer winters? 
It only takes a few degrees 
To make a fever. 

Katherine Swarts, Houston, TX, USA 

The Sea Bear

Nanuk's flesh is melting
like a snowman the children
created with glove-covered hands 
and left to the mercy 
of an unconcerned sun.

Nanuk is translucent 
in the light that fades him.
He searches for food
but he has only visions 
where his tatkok roams 
the ice of cold moons.

Nanuk has never had a Coke
or a smile but he starves
on the warmth of such things.

Lise Whidden, Bessemer City, NC, USA

Beautiful Doom

Falling through the ice
that separates these rooms
was the measure and mete
of her beautiful doom.

As she fell into the sea,
she forfeited the fumes
that ate away the ice
of her beautiful doom.

And falling, she was frozen
by the memory of the gloom
that had caused her to falter
before her beautiful doom.

For nothing was as final
as this watery tomb
that closed upon her life
like beautiful doom.

Joe Blanda, Austin, TX, USA

Found it in the box, didn't you?
A photo of your pup, Lucky,
Sadly misnamed.
Scraping lichens in the storage shed,
You saw him arrive, twisted paw,
Dragging himself.
An hour later, still warm, you carry him. 
You lay him near the foundation of the first house;
The house that burned the day the shelf cracked away and
Vibrations peeled the cold-soldered patch from the propane tank.
You were on the edge when glacial silver 
Slit the icing from the cake.
You saw the first water rise where no water had ever run
Free on the land streaking an icy meander scar
You take the faded photo, and tuck it inside your parka.
You sit on the old foundation 
And whisper goodbye.

Carmen Bashore, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Stones grow from barren rock,
Balanced one upon the other, like
Men in step with nature, standing
Testament to Inuit passage through time.
How will the people know they were here
When each permanent path that forms
Through melting ice floes
Spells the end of ancient ways?
Stones rise but ice recedes
In the wake of passing ships,
Crews heedless of the cost of 
Balance overthrown.

Betty Dobson, Halifax, NS, CAN 
Modern-Day Tyranny

Slowly creeping,
Like the Colonial white man,
As mercury rises it claims
More Arctic territory for its own.
Now Aski chief like Custer
Firmly stands
And watches solidity shrink
While aborigine rime liquefies;
Just as through blitzkrieg the pale-face
Filched the red-skinned's landsake.
No whooping cries nor arrowhead
Potent enough to arrest
This modern-day tyranny.

Kathy Kehrli, Factoryville, PA, USA
The Final Escape

Beyond their world
Spread a bleak escape
A hideway unknown
Of indeterminate awe, of white serenity.
Then came the great machine that wore the tie
To spread its wings upon a frail dot
What some call Earth
Others do not name 
For what is a home needs no labels.
And the great machine burned fires
and covered beyond the span 
Even of its own arms 
with a cloud black and blinding
with a flame great and sweltering.

And the white Eden could hold its breath no longer
So spilled its waters the cool gelid desert. 

Alina Mergelova, Mystic, CT, USA
Farmers and Gin Managers

In the fields of West Texas near Abilene
farmers and gin managers
await a cold snap frost.
High winds whirl through rows
of cotton.  Burrs give up lint string
to hang on stalks like Christimas tree
limbs support tinsel.
Crop worth slips away day and night
as leaves remain green
while yields fall.
Farmers tighten up frayed belts
and face bankers for mercy.
Seasons dance to tunes of Arctic ice chunks,
confuse nature, bankrupt plow boys.

Yvonne Nunn, Hermleigh, TX, USA
2006 Senior Poet Laureate of Texas 
Monitoring Volatile Organic Compounds 

Gulf of Mexico northwestern shores 
forested with steel towers of highly reactive 
volatile organic compounds flowing 
through lines of intertwining piping. 
The escape of HRVOC seeded in parts per million 
raising Arctic temperatures. 
High tech monitoring each third month 
tending towering metal spires 
reaching silver and purple metallic tags. 
Attached by men, yellow markers fluttering 
in the wind indicate loss of ethylene, propylene 
butadiene, propane and benzene. 
They cannot stop rising Arctic temperatures. 

Oscar C. Pena, League City, TX, USA 
The brown & ROOT of all evil.... 

Antarctica was a tropic zone where lizards once vacationed
and grew to heights beyond basketball regulations a fault
that has been theorized may have brought on their demise

my yammering warrior TV would once again inform me in my
otherwise unknowing and isolated state the poles will melt
with a lot of scarce fresh water (the most preferred by otters)

gone to waste not to mention ice bridges for migrating Mongols
frozen cakes from which white bears dive to smiling walrus tusks
midnite suns dimming on wind-flapping tin ruins rusting willywaw

winds no longer sweeping snow across the crags where the last 
surviving Japanese soldier again eludes the stalking Kodiac while
Eskimo soldiers prepare to deploy to the killing grounds by the Tigris

given C-130 bridges to human-hunting these Brotherhood of the Bear
men will take up the cause of oil from the ground not from blubber
Eskimo elders will see sons return from lands soon to be flooded

while the ice bridge is gone and replaced by the C-130 bridge over which
some will return never better and some bad from a place turning quicksand
while oceans rise and dinosaur ghosts laugh and fat men count their money 

Tony Smith, Galveston, TX, USA
As the Ice Melts

Nature calls out a warning
in terms all too certain.
More destructive weather
felt all around the world.
A sinking island, once home
to now displaced thousands.
From the plains of the West
to the top of Mount Kenya
more illnesses to fend off.
While man decides to change
or not, the ravages continue.
Mother Earth, she braces
for that which is inevitable.
For better or even worse yet
her future still lies in wait.

Maria Eugenia Stanphill, San Antonio, TX, USA
Endangered Bear Hollywood Style

Fly to Kaktovik
Polars made endangered
Camera, crew, lights
Ready to roll 
That's our male
700 pounds 
Pure white 
What a profile
Trim those claws
Inupiats stay clear
Melting ice shelf against the sea
Take two
Under the Northern lights
He's making
A snow angel
What an angle.

Ramie Streng, Ashland, OR, USA
No Place is an Island

From the dawn of time, Max your people have lived in this frozen scenery at Point Hope.
Although you are a lad, your pride swells within. You revere the rivers and glaciers and
varied terrain and you have great respect for fowls and wild animals.
Your sub-arctic climate seems hallowed with nature bursting forth and night stars so near.

You learn how your land overshadows the world and iced poles reflect sun rays above and into space. You see large masses of ice shrinking that protect heat from warming the 
oceans, which affect salinity. Your wheat crops require freezing temperatures and lack of 
crops affect the market. You wonder how rising air pressure can discharge gasses trapped in permafrost ice may release viruses and bacteria for migrate animals and fowls to spread.

Your deep concern poses a question, what can I do?
You sit and stare in deep thought.
Then a young moose wanders by lost from his mom.
You leap and bring him in, bottle feed, care for him and call him Tiny.
As he grows, you put him in with the cows.
Now your yearling is free to leave but you say he thinks he is a cow.
Come Spring your dear pet may take off as his manly traits rise.
However, for now you and Tiny are happy here.

Troyce Leona Tollison, Anderson, SC, USA 
Blue Ice

He never thought he would hear the ice was melting,
slushing up the Arctic, drowning the big white bears,
isolating the people of the far North even more.

Down here he hardly noticed the warming
except when the Caribbean gave birth to many of its 25
or was it 27 tropical offspring in 2005?

He blamed the terrible storms on El Niño or La Niña
but never considered the trappings that made his life run smooth.
He began hearing about Arctic temperatures and one day

as he read that a native from Ontario said
the ice wasn't solid blue any more and toxic waste was moving north,
he looked up into the eyes of his 4 year old grandson.

That's when he decided to go green.
The natives say that everything is connected; the earth and the plants
and the people depend on each other for balance.

Now when he hears about Arctic temperatures rising,
he knows he is part of the solution
and his sleep has greatly improved.

Rebecca Hatcher Travis, Friendswood, TX, USA
Wet Feet

She lurks by the frigid water
White bear among eternal virgin snow
Black eyes pierce through morning mist
Where seals frolic out of paw's reach

Her angry hungry body weaves 
Side to side along the water's edge
Thick, padded feet now miss
Last summer's helpful bridge of ice

She is not as fat this year
Precious spotless fur not quite as rich
Likely, winter's perils will 
Freeze and swallow her prized cubs

Wistfully, she scents elusive game
Come to taunt her once again
Her empty belly burns, yet silently
She retreats, shaking her wet feet.

Tyger Valverde, Mineola, TX, USA

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We asked poets to write a titled poem on one or both of these topics in a unique but brief way.  Here are a few of their replies, all tied up, it seems, with bows of pebbles and stars.

Stars or Pebbles

A winter pretence, a rocket-bright sunrise
explodes cold. Sipping tea in the kitchen
I hear Lynn separating from the night,

slipping into a mask and a pose,
a space bit shooting to a star,
or the pebble in my shoe.

Mike McCulley, Montesano, WA, USA 


what brought you to the window 
was not the crying of night creatures
nor the tapping of dry leaves
against a cold window pane
nor the rising crescendo of the wind.

it was only the light
into which you gazed to see
not one star but galaxies.

what dimmed the light
was not your feather breath
but your vapor mind
moving through glass
moving through night
to find a clear path to many lights
and many stars.

Anna Wilke, Conroe, TX, USA

Brevity... and Pause

Commanding solitude
shushes the desert night

pin holes in velvet
illuminate the stage.

poise sought 
for the monologue

deep breath, drawn.

Brady Riddle, Muscat, OMA

Gather up the Stars

ever changing in the dark of night
and dress the skies in ancient art
to shine on down and touch the seas
with its shimmering wondrous light
then, skim the surface like pebbles
and blanket the heavens in cold fire
to stir a brew of nonsensical desires
woven by frail shadows cast from afar

Maria Eugenia Stanphill, San Antonio, TX, USA

Meteoric Redondilla

What's more romantic than a star
that's falling? But when night is through,
it hits the ground, and changes to
dust and pebbles. How dull they are.

Tiel Aisha Ansari, Portland OR, USA

EDITOR'S NOTE:  A Redondilla is a Spanish stanza form consisting of four trochaic lines, usually of eight syllables each, with a rhyme scheme of abba. Quatrains in this form with a rhyme scheme of abab, (sometimes also called redondillas) are more commonly known as serventesios. Redondillas have been common in Castilian poetry since the 16th century. 
Wonders of Nature.

Barefoot on the path,
pebbles underfoot.
I might well be humbled
by these frozen echoes
of an ancient world.
But above my head
I might see the stars.

Colin Campbell, Kunming, CHN
Celestial Musicians

We spent late summer evenings lying in pastures 
Listening to Dad interview the bright stars 
Altair, Deneb and Vega,
They circled in sync on wings of Eagle and Swan 
As he whistled to music from the celestial Lyre.
Tonight, I search for these constellations
And listen for concerts by Orpheus and Dad
Echoing his extraterrestrial whistle.

Lois Lay Castiglioni, Galveston, TX, USA 

I skimmed a shooting star across a stream.
It was really a pebble with a sparkly vein.
A wet constellation of rings was agleam
in the rush of that satellite's streaming refrain.
Imagining space, like a vast lucid dream,
I was grounded by a watery stone with rough grain.
I slipped down the banks, but it wasn't too far,
so I pondered the fate of that quartz and light star.

RJ Clarken, Hillsborough, NJ, USA
I was never one for singing...

Few people shine, immortal stars, 
while many form a darkness
and those with brilliant repertoires 
ignite against our starkness.
Denied this dark no star remains
so who of us may say,
the night hangs futile when the chains 
of Time secure each day?

Phill Doran, Johannesburg, RSA

A spring bubbles up creating a creek at the feet of
Strong-shouldered John's Mountain inviting
Adventurous campers and picnickers to wade its
Cool waters in search of salamanders and crawdads.
Fragrant watercrest waves against bare ankles.
Mist rises like a renaissance of nature as it
Shrouded its first Cherokees whose flint arrowheads
Lie among smooth pebbles beneath flowing eddies.

Kay Lay Earnest, Smyrna, GA, USA
Chubby-Fingered Robbery

Strawberry red and boysenberry blue,
They tantalizingly tempted
The retinas of my eight-
Year-old innocent eyes.

So while you weren't looking,
I bottled them inside
My golden-haired, removable
Baby doll's empty head.

Shamefully I never dared
Admit to you my covert,
Chubby-fingered robbery
Of all those years ago.

Today those garden pebbles still
Reside in their hiding place—
A secret I will now never get
The chance to confess to you.

Kathy Kehrli, Factoryville, PA, USA
They Are Stars in My Eyes

The freeways are quite chaotic
and raises my pulse, dicrotic.
My sons are my stars;
they drive their fast cars,
on same paths - makes me psychotic.

Carol Dee Meeks, Artesia, NM, USA

When streaks
hurled through dark skies
hit pockets in worm holes,
the mind plays games of What If God
plays pool with burned out stars in August nights
like country boys skip flat pebbles
'cross the moon's reflection
on ponds.

Yvonne Nunn, Hermleigh, TX, USA
Nature's Lights

On clear nights, stars light the sky,
pebbles lie still on the beach.
Near lakes and in streams 
as they rush by.
When the moon is full, 
lights the land,
pebbles sparkle like stars in the sand.

Jeanette Oestermyer, Rochester, IN, USA
Pebbles of Light

Sticks and stones crack the bones
Words rock the heart
Bones may heal with time
The heart turns to pebbles or
Turns the pebbles into stars

Frances Schiavina, Ardmore, PA, USA
In Silence

In silence 
you led me
to a pool 
we could see stars 
in water films 
on black pebbles.

Gary Wade, Bellingham, WA, USA

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Ampersand Poetry Journalhttp://Ampersand-Poetry.org
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