Winter poetry

’Tis the season for celebration, anticipation, inebriation, hibernation… and remembering. Local poets submitted a treasure trove of wonders — angels and eggs and ice houses, coffee and convertibles, birds and cats and dogs — oh my! — and (as always) love. All of it awaits your pleasure: for the holidays and those long, cold months that follow. May your spirits be bright and your New Year happy!

— Doug Wilhide is the Poet Laureate of Linden Hills and poetry editor for the Southwest Journal


PrintAngel Speech    

Melissa S. Anderson


Angels are forever going around

saying the same thing – “Do not be afraid” –

but they don’t always sound the same.


Some are tender and reassuring,

like a mother bending over a toddler’s bed in the night.

Others are jocular and upbeat,

like a leader summoning courage from his motley band,

undaunted by the odds.

Some are calm and steady,

like an instructor at your back,

who knows you can do what you think you can’t.


One angelic being shows up in heavy boots and a work coat,

driving a big truck down the snow-packed freeway.

He slows to a stop on the shoulder and backs the rig up.

Before you realize what’s actually going on,

he has wrapped a chain around your trailer hitch,

and his vehicle is heaving you and your sorry car

out of the snowbank where you were trapped.


Before he drives off, he leans out the cab window

and yells, “Hey! It’s OK. Yer gonna be fine.”



PrintLove Haikus for a Technical World

Carolyn Light Bell


You smelled like roses.

I chewed on your ear

How do we do it screen-time?


Love is now instant—

Cell phones, ipads, GPS

Rechargeable you!


Glass breaks, plastic melts—

Resistent, rechargeable

Hold me in your ear.


I dial you in.

There’s still room in my contacts.

You look funny in FaceTime.


Instagram for days

before our flesh met.

We touch, we kiss—wow!



Doug Wilhide

I own an imaginary garage, a large building

housing my collection of transportation,

archived until we perfect teleportation.

Here you will find my MGB —

the British Racing Green convertible

with freedom dreams of my youth still intact

and seats so tight I can no longer get in or out of it.

Here are my Jaguars —

gorgeous styling, crappy engineering.

One has a double exhaust and two gas tanks:

You throw a switch on the dash to change them…

but knowing when requires a mystical connection to mileage.

Here is my Bentley and my Silver Shadow —

built for kings and pashas and for me

as I’m chauffeured through my movie-star, estate-owning 1920s.

Here is my Ford Woody station wagon —

that carried my big board to beaches and breakers

I never actually saw or surfed.

My right-off-the-production-line Model-T is over there, never driven,

and my shiny 1950s beauties —

the Corvette and the T-bird convertible.

The Duesenberg rarely goes out — an F. Scott mirage.

The Morgan roadster, with suitcase strapped to the back,

is reserved for driving on weekends down to the country house.

My garage sits next to my hangar

which houses my Spads and Spitfires —

all in mint condition, never shot down —

and the Pan Am Clipper ready for its run to Hawaii:

flights of fancy for another poem.

PrintClouds In My Coffee

John O’Connor


Pour the half-and-half in the coffee,

And a little small voice, hasty and shrill,

Says “Stir it! Stir it quickly!

Those roiling clouds are unacceptable!”


It isn’t the coffee talking —

This is before the first cup.

You sit there listening.

Eventually, it shuts up.


And then a Zen voice says, quite quietly,

That maybe haste is not so good.

It speaks in favor of serenity.

It says that some things work out as they should.

No matter what you think or what you’ve heard,

Sometimes you just leave everything unstirred.


PrintAn Abundance of Eggs

James P. Lenfestey     


These kind little brown people visit

from the grocery store where they live

alone in a rack far from the moist worries

of the greens and the desert of dry cereals.


We keep them in the best bedroom

in the refrigerator, though like all good guests

they are pleased to lie at ease on the couch

of the counter at the temperature of the day.


They are neither orbs nor ovals

but light bulbs lighting up the morning,

gentle bullets bent on healing the world.


They hide inside cakes,

thicken sauces,

live with lemons in the soup.


Eggs reveal themselves one at a time

in the form of a human child,

or several gathered warm in the hand

under the hard pecks of annoyed mothers.


From the pan two yellow eyes stare

up at us, sunny-side up indeed,

despite the spray of sea salt and black

cinders of pepper rained down upon them.


Every egg awakens wide-eyed and

innocent, even on a frying dawn

portending storm, or at sunset

dropped in the boiling sea.


PrintOver the Edge, Again

Daniel Shaw


Two sips into a 6-oz cappuccino

gratitude blossoms

desert flower on the heels of a shower.


I seize my cell

in a blur of fingers, fashion

passionate text, embellish

with an emoticon, hit send

before reason

can slam on the brakes.


Remorse is a heartbeat behind.

I tremble like a thief

who hears a floorboard creak overhead.

I slowly scour the message for relief

a drunk replaying the revels

of last night’s binge,

beg history for a reprieve

Samsung for malfunction.


No luck.

That wild, unedited declaration —

lion’s roar, naked soul —

is loose in the world.


PrintWinter Time    

Bruce David Peck


As a child I found winter enchanting.

The sound made as boots crunch in snow

Was a very different kind of alive.

With a child’s enthusiasm

And a child’s metabolism

Nothing would keep me indoors.


Hard water fishing is what they called it.

Sitting in shacks on frozen lakes

They farmed ice in the winter,

Teams of horses and wagons on lakes.

They would drill large holes with augers,

And cut precise blocks of frozen lake water.


Piled onto wagons, stacked in ice houses,

Covered over with saw dust

They lasted all through the summer.

On hot steamy days people came

To buy ice for ice boxes and coolers,

To keep food and bait cooled.


It was marvelous.


Now I harvest frozen memories

Cover them in moon dust

And keep them for summer.

Soon we will reach Winter Solstice –

The shortest day of the year, then

The days will be getting taller.


Harvest your ice.


PrintPreparing for a Change

Laurie Lykken


The leaves are shed…

well, almost anyway.

Winter with his icy voice

clearly is on his way.

I linger by the window

taking in the view:

a woodpecker, a squirrel

both collecting winter fuel.


For me a change of oil,

a shot against the flu,

and checking all my outerwear

another time or two.

My scarf could use a washing;

my mitten needs a mate.

Each year at this time I find

there’s less to celebrate.

Like the bears that once lived here,

I’d prefer to hibernate.


Of Birds                                        

Miriam Moore-Keish


I sat and thought

about rain and

living in a cloud

and I thought about

Detroit and how

you called it home even

though your heart

was never there

but your heart was

never anywhere,

I suppose.


My eyes hold yours.

We weave raindrops

into a blanket for two,

for me and for you.


You played hearts

and I played spades.

You called me flighty

and it reminded me

of birds.



Mark Gehrman                


The cats have left notes all over the house

that say they are tired of moonbeams

and algorithms.

They have grieved, apparently,

and are also grieving

the loss of summer.


I have offered the crispy skin of my dinner,

a shot glass of whole milk,

a white bath towel folded in the sun

and barely got a sniff or testing paw.

This malaise maligns our weekends

leads to blank stares, more napping,

which leads to dreaming.


I ask them to please remember tuna,


the dazzling, dangling glint of December,

the buffet of aromas on guests shoes,

open windows, open doors,

flies, bugs, birds, boxes, the darting squirrel

and yes — the calm muggy grass of July

as it will all come again

very very soon.


Beautiful Morning

Quentin Moore


We lay twined like vines in deep spring

Crawling up each other’s hearts

No parapets or horns sounding war

Just you and me and our quandaries.


This morning

There was no need for jargon

My brown soaked legs wrapped around your olive tone

Our limbs spoke of love far below the surface

Far beyond the ticks and tocks

Far beyond the holidays celebrated in the name of…


Your lips slight and slender

I watched as you dreamed —

How one smiles while so still is a beautiful trick!


The birds began their call and response.

Our three-year-old boxer hates poems

But loves waking us up with kisses.

Your eyes opened and said “beautiful morning”

And I fell in love all over again.