Our students were asked to recite a few of their chosen works at a luncheon which will be held at the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLIChesterfield.org) in Midlothian, Virginia on Tuesday, July 19th, 2016. LLI provides educational, cultural, and fitness and health classes, as well as social opportunities for lifelong learners, age 55 and better! Some of these works have been published previously on Lithatte.com. Here are the program and the planned list of the poets are looking forward to recite:
July 19, 2016—Recital by the Students of Murray Ellison’s LLI Poetry Workshop
Program—Our LLI Students will recite one or two poems (time permitting) that they wrote during or after the Spring Poetry Workshop (in alphabetical order, by last name).
“Graves at Harper’s Ferry”
“The Hairy Coo”
“A Dance Ago”
“Take a Breath”
“I am a Child of the Universe”
“Yorkshire Dales, 1976”
The Poets and Poems
In the 40’s and 50’s a penny in the USA had much value.
It could buy many things that could satisfy you:
Like eight Kits in flavors of chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and lemon.
We mustn’t forget bubble gum and cookies of delicious cinnamon
With a penny, we could buy many commodities at Mr. Farrow’s store.
We could buy more than what’s mentioned; so I’ll tell you more.
Two ginger snaps and a Johnny Cake made us salivate.
Licorice in flavors of many a color,
Satisfied the taste buds like no other.
An empty Pepsi or Coke bottle we could trade for a penny.
Other drink bottles also had a penny’s monetary value, yes many.
Two Mary Jane’s and two Squirrel Nut Zipper candies made our mouths water and we’d sing.
With a penny, we could even a delectable candy ring.
Some lollipops were so big it seemed they lasted all day long.
Yes, when we had a penny, we were monetarily strong.
And if we had five pennies, we were considered “rich.”
We could even buy delicacies-many a gourmet dish.
A scoop of ice cream separated the rich from the poor.
Five pennies made all this possible-Who could ask for anything more?
The neglected penny has been replaced by as much as five dollars today.
However, memories of its once grandeur are with us to stay.
LLI by Lydia Aikens-Wilson
LLI can be expressed as an acronym for “Thanks” that best describes our gratitude for the Lifelong Learning Institute
“T” stands for the “Tremendous Thanks” for all of your bountiful benevolence.
“H” means our hearts are filled with “Happiness,” for you’ve allowed the “old gray matter” to perform gymnastics, keeping our minds young.
“A” represents the lack of “Anxiety” that you’ve “Afforded” us in our winter years.
“N” says we’ll “Never” forget the joy of the camaraderie that we experience at LLI.
“K” helps us associate with “Kindred” minds and spirits.
“S” says you should “See” the faces of “Satisfaction,” as we learn, commune, interact, and meet with lifelong friends.
Put it all together and it spells “Thanks” – a word that puts the life in the Lifelong Learning Institute
“Graves at Harper’s Ferry” by Bob Ferguson*
What stories of long ago times might those who dwell here tell?
This quiet, green, and peaceful place has put me under it’s spell.
The old headstones march in a ragged line along the hillside
They cast long shadows across the field where the departed now abide.
The worn words hint of families’ sorrows, untimely death, and even love.
I wonder at the lives of those now gone and hope their spirits dwell above.
Who were they? What if they could speak to us, it would be a thrill,
But I fear they are locked forever in the grasp of the graves dark chill.
They seem so alone, have they been abandoned to rest below this loam?
Were some lost in nearby battles, perhaps fallen far from family and home?
My questions find no answer, they cannot tell me, so I can only pray
May they rest in peace in their meadow, to await God’s glorious new day.
*Photo by Bob’s son, Mike Ferguson
“The Hairy Coo” by Bob Ferguson
It’s kind of hard for me to see
Because I’m as hairy as can be
But in Scotland’s damp and chill
My heavy coat just fits the bill
Its reddish hair is nice and thick
Plus, I have a handsome cowlick!
Don’t be scared cause I’m so big
Running and chasing is not my gig
My motto’s live and let live.
I’m happy if some pleasure I may give
To folk who stop by to visit with me
In my rocky meadow near the sea
My long horns might look very fierce
The better some enemy to pierce
But mostly I just like to browse and sup
Upon my favorite food, the buttercup
Don’t get me wrong, other grasses will do
But life’s best, when buttercups bloom anew
“A Dance Ago” –on the Last Dance of Ballerina, Lauryn Fagone April 2016
Swirl, twirl my pretty girl, let your
When you’re not dancing, your soul is
Sinking, weighted to the ground.
Your heart beats heavy, while gravity
Holds you, your mind begins to lead.
So change your shoes, lift up your arms,
For you are freed.
The minutes pulse, a passionate dance,
No longer so rehearsed.
A sweeping bow, an updated glance,
The darkness has dispersed.
It’s here you’ve longed for, within this
Second, when all sorrows lifted.
A gentle smile, a silent prayer, to God
For being gifted.
Your feet are bare, the dance has ended, only you hear a sigh.
Memories take you, a thought can break
You, you hadn’t meant to cry.
The time is brief, the pain is back, a
Moment felt so right.
Another day, you’ll dance again, and
Walk slowly toward the night
“Reflections” by Nancy Kunnmann
Through the lace curtains.
A kaleidoscope of white shapes
Dance across the scarred, wooden planks of a weathered floor.
The small child watches
A tiny kitten flitters over the dancing pattern
Slowly she scoots closer to the light.
Amused by nature’s toy.
A shadow emerges
A darker curtain has covered its layer of lace.
The pattern no longer present
A kitten no longer plays
A child begins to cry.
Nature giveth and nature taketh away.
“Take a Breath”
Fires out west, floods down south
Take a breath…
Back after this commercial message
Killings in Chicago, Orlando, Dallas, Saint Paul
Build a wall, arrests, and indictments
Heat wave continues
Take a breath…
Is this America?!
The place of my youth, the land of my dreams?
Disneyland, where are you when we need you!?
Is there not another story,
The one not covered?
Take a long, deep breath….
There it is…
Picnics in summer, bike rides with family
Ice cold lemonade, hot dogs on the grill
Tall cool shady forests to walk
Scenic overlooks swimming pools
Rivers running free from mountain streams
And places of silence…
Take another breath…
There it is…
Puffy white clouds
Scattered across an azure blue sky
Children at play in the distance
Birds chirping up in the trees
Listen to the silence underneath
And take another deep breath….
Here there is time to think and
Contemplate our riches
We are free to go where the heart desires
To speak without fear of judgment
To dance and sing
Ah, sweet liberty!
This is America without distortions
Or other interpretations
America! Where dream flow free
From inquisitive, unencumbered minds
And it is summer
And it takes my breath away!
“I AM A CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE” by Timothy Pace
I am a child of the universe
My elements were created in the stars
Perhaps some asteroid brought my beginnings
To this lonely distant shore
A molten earth, to stew, to steam and simmer
For these many years
This earth, a rock with a sky blue venire of water
But am I not a part
Of those bright beaconing stars
That adorns our midnight sky?
I ponder this as I gaze up
And contemplate the myriad clusters
Beaming back bright against my retina
Do I not have some distant recollection of some
Fermenting form from long ago?
I am a child of the universe
No less than the trees and the stars
I long to nestle again in the comforting womb
Of those beginnings
That birthed me, wide-eyed and wondrous,
So many years ago
Photo and Poem by Charlie Wayland
It has been there all along,
Maybe even back to Noah.
I caught the scene fleeting by
A true view of Shenandoah.
The serenity of the meadow,
The diagonal of the stream
Gave the flock of grazing animal
Their own sense of self-esteem.
Flow gently living waters
Through you, we can abide.
You show patience and reflective measures
Of continued journey’s stride.
“Bob – Bob White” by Charlie Wayland
Oh wondrous bird of grace and quiet
You who gives us joy and peace,
Most colorful is your feathered attire
Your true embodiment of family ease.
So native to our verdant farmlands
Subsisting ever on nature’s call,
You show us true determination
Of overcoming plight, as your numbers fall.
Though few in count we honor you
To have you join our own demise,
Of constant effort to perpetuate
Our species eventual compromise.
You came to me one day in June
The hour I learned my father died,
You spoke to me by your native call
To say “All’s well – He’s with us now,
With us, he shall abide.”
The comfort of your “Bob-Bob White”
Stays with me to this day,
Your song of hope and peace and joy
What more can anyone pray?
“Yorkshire” Spring 1976*
Newborn wooly lamb
Gingerly wobbling her leg
On the rugged moor
Fragile in the springtime breeze
Near the abbey wall
High on distant hill
Ruins of a castle stand
Silent, still, so old
“Yorkshire Dales,” Spring 1976 by Pat Winthrop
While we warily watched our two children
boisterously cavorting on the slippery, mossy banks
of the River Wharfe, its sparkling waters
flowed lazily through the dale named for this peaceful river.
Behind us an ewe kept watchful eyes on her
wooly lambs ambling among the ancient weathered tombstones
in Bolton Abbey’s overgrown priory yard.
The spring sun was warm on our backs on this special occasion:
our first picnic in the Yorkshire Dales.
Later as we drove off, we slowed to admire the yellow daffodils
dancing in the breeze near the abbey wall.
If I close my eyes I can still see them!
When I announced we’d be stopping at Skipton Castle,
four-year-old Jenny chimed, “Oh, no, not another castle!”
Jenny celebrated her forty-fourth birthday yesterday, and
her little-girl voice and that lovely day are still fresh in my mind.
Our year in Yorkshire was magical, and I cherish the memories.
*Photo Credit: Stone walls & barns-Gayle- Wensleydale, Yorkshire Dales James Herriot’s, Yorkshire, 1979