Archive for June, 2008



   petals flutter

      from the peach tree blossoms,

         forming a fragrant pink blanket


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I wrote this about a river in Pascagula, Mississippi. My sister lived in Gautier. MS and lost her home in Katrina. Lung cancer took her life in 2007. This is for Patricia DeWitt-Dixon.



In the evening’s velvet darkness

Along a distant shore

You can hear mystical music

Steeped in Indian lore

Usually heard in the evening

When silence has stilled the night

It floats to the ear in cadence

Ethereal, whispering, light

         Indian voices whispering, sighing

         To the white man, mystifying

Its essence is almost dreamlike

As it swells, then fades away

But its source remains a secret

At least that’s what they say

But there’s an old Indian legend

That will touch the coldest heart

Explaining the soulful music

And how it got its start

         Indian voices whispering, sighing

         Victims of the white man’s lying

Back in time of Indian strife

When the white man stole their lands

Their beloved river was taken

So the tribe all joined hands

Then singing a song of sorrow

They walked into the stream

Until the water engulfed them

And the tribe could not be seen

         Indian voices whispering, sighing

         Frightened children softly crying

They cannot sleep in peace there

Their restless spirits roam

Their tears are felt within the mist

Where once they made their home

Their song of lament still lingers

It’s the music that one hears

On the banks of the Singing River

Still flowing with Indian tears.

         Indian voices whispering, sighing

         Singing of their tragic dying



7/13/91      Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck


6’th … PAW (in Pa) 1992

4’th … NFSPF 1993

1’st … Arkansas NPD 1997


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The Blue Waltz



Of all the songs he played for me

With violin and bow

My favorite was The Blue Waltz

He played so sweet and low


I’d whirl around the room alone

In time with that sweet song

And often I’d just close my eyes

And softly hum along


I rock-a-byed my little ones

Humming those sweet strains

And as they grew, I’d hum again

To sooth their growing pains


The violin is silent now

Stilled when it’s owner died

It lies upon my closet shelf

Stained with tears I cried


But in the early morning hours

And frequently at night

I think I hear The Blue Waltz played

Ethereal and light


It flows through years of memory

As lovely as before

Oh, how I wish that violin

Could play that song once more


3/12/01          Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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If I could make the world a poem

There’d be a verse called Peace

And all the hate that’s in the world

Would fade away and cease


And wouldn’t it be wonderful

To have a verse called Share

No hunger, thirst, or suffering

For those in need to bear


If I could make the world a poem

There’d be a verse called Smiles

You’d see no frowns or furrowed brows

For endless happy miles


And wouldn’t everyone approve

To have a verse called Love

For family, friends, and everyone

With blessings from above


If I could make the world a poem

There’d be a verse on Joy

With happiness for young and old

And every girl and boy


The world could be just like a poem

If we could all agree

To unify such attributes

And live in harmony


08/16/95  – Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck


1’st … Indiana NPD 1995 

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The Heart Within Me Stirs



When I was just a little thing,

She’d hold me in her arms and sing.

She led me when I learned to walk

And helped me when I learned to talk.


She helped me dress, and tie my shoes

And made me laugh to chase the blues.

She even joined me as I played

And knelt beside me when I prayed.


She wiped my nose and dried my tears

And nursed my ills throughout the years.

She brushed my hair until it shone

And cared for me ‘til I was grown.


But now she sits and stares at space.

I wash her hands and bathe her face.

I read the lines her eyes can’t see

And help her with a cup of tea.


I help her dress and tie her bows

And take her everywhere she goes.

I comb her wispy silver hair

And give her tender loving care.


She gave such love those years ago,

Bestowing care that helped me grow.

I feel the heart within me, stir;

As I return that care to her.


6/8/97 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

1’st …Indiana NPD 1999


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Mama’s Apron

        MAMA’S APRON


I came to close the old homestead

Its structure old and frail

And found a token from the past

Left hanging on a nail

Just a piece of faded gingham

Plain and gathered full

With bands my Mama tied behind

Which Papa loved to pull

A tear sought solace on my cheek

I held the apron fast

For memories stirred my heart and soul

As I recalled its past

It carried eggs in from the nest

And apples from our grove

It carried harvest to the house

And kindling for the stove

It wiped away the children’s tears

It chased the flies away

It often was a wrap-a-round

When sister went to play

When Mama cooked and baked for us

It held hot pots and pans

And if the kitchen got too warm

It=s corners served as fans

It also was a shoulder cape

When Mama cut our hair

It made a dandy hideaway

When draped across a chair

I saw it chase the birds away

In Mama’s garden rows

And once it stemmed the steady flow

From brother’s bloody nose

On week-end nights when I was small

And washtub baths were due

The apron hung between two chairs

Protecting me from view

And now it functions once again

As in those by-gone years

It’s folds are lifted to my eyes

To wipe away my tears



3/23/92         Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck


1’st Ind. NPD 1992       4’th. Ark.NPD 1993

1’st PAW 1993          1’st. Ark. PWC 1994

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