Writers: Moira McArthur, Matt Henderson, Maureen Larter, Nerisha Kemraj
Paddock Theater Maureen Larter
Patches of dirt
And grass, green and lush,
Dotted with cattle.
Distance giving the area
Opalescent patterns of bright
Colour, spots all over.
Keeping my imagination alive.
A Poem of Paean M. Henderson
Maybe another word or two; a polished phrase, poised, boot to wing–to unzip
at just the right time, flowing with just the right balance—grace, gusto,
momentum—soft enough to touch but resilient enough to invoke
intimations of reverence to look at with awe and wonder—a red butterfly’s dream
Everything one could expect and delight in from a poet’s words–magic spells.
Daughter Nerisha Kemraj
Dancing, laughing, sharing joy, with her spirit so kind
Always forgiving, and ready to learn, without a quota
Understanding total love, whether through her presence or a chocolate gateau
Giving her all in everything she does, she’s forever smiling
Heart of gold, she strives for truth
Thankful for the things, to her, we’ve taught
Earth has known no greater joy or love,
Radiantly presented through the compassion of a true DAUGHTER…
Style / Meter: Free verse
Theme / Keyword: You are a tree. Tell me what you see.
Leaving ~ Wes Choc
Sprouting lean …I boldly shouted green
But no one up-there heard a word lest such unfolding was even seen
Until once, three winters hence, shiny green grew bark …dark
…gently, intently emerging.
Oh, wind carried my song along, year after year
With naked whims beneath those first slinky darkening limbs
Until roots could don more than just sprigs or sprays
…foraging, flowering, urging.
Like adolescent beard, marking bark to attest its trunk
Amid gnarly branches dancing, bended by the breezes
As mounting freezes triggered tree-rings, counting out inside my core
…concentric circles slowly surging.
And as ages wage those brawny sinews dry
Each year paces by, with dignity as bristly limbs snap and break
To shadow little sprouts that try to grow below my children’s leaving
… overlooking a thousand seeds into the soil converging.
I am a Tree ~ Nerisha Kemraj
Standing in the open air,
birds and bees around
Sun is shining brightly,
Leaves upon the ground
My many branches hold them,
Until the wind arrives,
My trunk is rooted deep,
My fruits bring in the flies
My flowers bloom so beautifully,
An attraction to one and all,
Until they start abusing me,
And pluck them, till they fall
My fruits grow rosy and radiant
And tastes delicious, I’ve heard
I don’t mind when they pick them,
And I love feeding the birds
But then sometimes i hurt,
When they come and hack at me
To use me for production,
Until i no longer see,
Sometimes I do grow back,
To live another life,
And then it starts again,
Until I see the knife..
My Chimera ~ Violet Teagan
Mossy and mottled
keeper of secrets
my stairway to the stars
your heart beats in a wooden box
dreams and chimera
nest in your imagination
all along the length of you
or phonograph music
waiting to be read
or fevered August day
I listen for your rustle
feel your silent lines
over and over again
move with you in the wind
Recapitulations Of An Old Pine Tree ~ Matt Henderson
“Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.”
If you can stand in one place long enough, you would see the connective aspects of this world in a way that you might miss if you move around. Travel accords you to look at a lot but the still point allows for seeing synergy and cycles of synchronicity—the comings and goings of things moving toward or away from each other in circular dances. You would see what little things make the balance up for later, bigger things. If you could see what I have seen…
I sink my roots in and stretch my trunk
and, as above
I stretch my limbs and offshoots of those
all with a great humming OM
a tingling stretch of the elan vital
a reaching out for life and a sinking into roots–
It is how I have stood here and witnessed 200 years come and go.
One night, when I was a sapling, swaying low to the ground
I saw several of my uncles topple over, with their heads high in the wind.
That is what remains, just over the gulch that separates us:
A young boy’s fort in the early days of summer.
At dusk, a couple of teens
I have watched them grow closer together
as they have grown
I can see both their homes across the highway
They take the fort at the first sight of evening stars and
share it as a place to discover the wonders of change
and the sweet taste of new love.
I remember when his wife first became ill.
He’d kneel and pray at a place of comfort and
something to lean on
When it became certain that she wouldn’t make another winter
he would stand against me and beat against the hardness of my bark
One day, in the heat of the summer, 1986
I watched him walk out with a straight and purposeful stride.
I stood tall and absolutely helpless and he leaned against me
said a prayer and took a long drink from the whiskey bottle
that had been drinking from him since she passed.
And then I felt every needle on my limbs shake in frustration and horror
when he pulled out a pistol and put it in his mouth
left this world with the smell of sap, skull and sulfur
on both of us.
His hand landed on the unmarked grave
where the Clason’s buried their infant daughter 75 years earlier.
Style/Meter: Free verse
Theme / Keyword: Gateway, door, portal, opening – something that one must pass through to start anew.
The keyword does not have to be used, but if it is not, the theme must be recognizable.
Closing Doors ~ Wes Choc
My frantic weepings heard…
Eager little arms then held.
Dings bandaged, falls repaired …I soon began to run.
But never fast enough; so no, I can’t look back.
Classrooms entered, then engaged
Knowledge grasped, then explored
Grades sorted, self-respecting soared…
And suitable diplomas thereupon awarded.
Sure, musings about might’ve-beens; but no, I won’t look back.
Partner savored and embraced, then hands entwined
A home invented among those wonders relished.
With created offspring coddled and coached
Amid albums of photos amassed …but now untouched.
Tears about what could’ve-beens; alas no, I have trouble looking back.
Nine-to-fives quashed first chances made, though kids always ate…
Teachers captured their intent …then to dreams off they went…
But what’s worse …now my partner can’t recall those good-times spent.
Descendants then wrote chapters …in languages I could not clench.
God, I can’t translate words inside their books; no, I cannot render letters back.
Travels, trips, and treks once traversed now lay forgotten…
…while younger eyes converge upon tracks never walked by me.
My own epiphanies lay solemn, frozen …hidden behind wrinkles, scars, debris…
Thinking what words thus written might have meant …but I now too far, too late.
My eyes closed, no breaths to breathe; so it’s no, I cannot turn the pages back.
~ Nerisha Kemraj
The door opens, my heart sinks
It is not what I expected…
No golden raindrops, no tasty treats,
No heart-shaped candy
Only plain old disappointment
Leaving all behind me
I thought this would be different.
A new start, another better chapter,
An open opportunity
It is not
I tread carefully, without stepping on nails,
I cannot avoid everything though,
And the prickly plants catch me off-guard
Eyes watching, waiting
I may fall, I will not fail…
Biased Eyes ~ Michael Cottle
With no warning,
A door opens,
I know it.
From the doors before,
I’ve wore out this room,
Staring at its walls,
I’ve never been here,
Yet, it is,
The only constant,
These open doors,
In biased eyes.
Play of Light ~ Sean Bracken
Leonards calling down to us
From a hundred clouds of mourning
He’s looking for a crack he says
So the light can start to dance
He is the man who opened me
And shifted my direction
From over there to over here
He opened up the crack in me
That’s how I came to be
But now the crack is closing
The light is overcast
He doesn’t know it yet
But the Tower that he built for us
Was never meant to last