Archive for September, 2008



Remember when POT meant the pan that held stew

And GRASS meant the lawn and a golf course, too?

When HOOKED meant the rug Grandma made with care

And FIX meant arrange,  or even repair?


Remember when BREAD meant that which made toast

And COOL meant weather on Alaska’s coast?

When SWINGERS were tots on swings in the park

And TURNED ON was done to lamps after dark?


Remember when TOUGH meant meat hard to chew

And CHICKEN was fowl that we’d barbecue?

When RAP was a knock you’d hear at the door

And WAY-OUT meant country or distant shore?


Remember when BAD meant awful, not great

And TURKEY was a fowl that we cooked and ate?

When THE PILL was something you’d take when ill

If suffering with headache and maybe a chill?


Remember when PAD was a cushion you’d use,

Instead of the place you would go for a snooze?

Remember when JUNKIE was something not neat

And FUZZ meant lint, not cops on the beat?


Oh, bring back the days when words waxed true

And fractured English appealed to few.

When slang wasn’t used except on a dare,

And my speech was flawless, ’cause I was A SQUARE.



3/12/92            Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck

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He doesn’t hear his Mother call

When he’s engrossed in play.

He doesn’t hear a thing she says,

Like, “Clean your room today.”


But when she whispers to his Dad,

“McDonald’s where we’ll eat,”

If he’s a block away he’ll come

Like fire’s at his feet.


When Mother asks, “Is homework done?”

Or, “Did you break this vase?”

It seems the child has gone stone-deaf.

No clue’s upon his face.


But when there’s secrets to be told

Mom hopes he has not heard,

His hearing is acute, of course,

He heard each whispered word.


When Mom commands, “Go wash your hands,”

Or, “Please pick up that mess,”

The fact of does he hear or not

Is anybody’s guess.


Then, rooms away, in muffled voice,

Are words , “The Ice Cream Store.”

His hearing’s back, I guarantee;

He’s waiting at the door.



8/20/93       Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck


5’th … Indiana NPD 1994

1’st … Arkansas NPD 1997

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People are aghast at my neighbor’s ugly yard

Because it insists on doing its own thing,

Surrounded by pampered manicured lawns.

At first glance it looks like Don King’s hair

In a windstorm, wild and untrainable.


I think Don King would like this yard,

That dares to be different.

Actually it has great appeal, and I yearn

To copy-cat, but I don’t want to face the wrath

Of the “Committee For Getting Rid of That Damn Yard.”


Lawns that look like velvet carpets are nice to lie upon

As you stargaze or cloud-watch,

But it will never offer up the glories of my neighbor’s

Patch of nature in the wild:

Wild flowers unfolding their beauty among the rocks,

Wisteria curling around a rusty wagon wheel,

Woodfern unfurling their fiddleneck fronds,

Bluebells ringing in sweet accord,

Sly jack in the pulpit peeking out from

Behind a piece of log,

Tiny bluets, hugging the earth, hoping not to be crushed,

A burst of yucca, slcing the air with it’s leaves,

Blue lupine, firebush, forest-green moss, poppies—

Flashing a symphony of color.

There are many minuscule flowers, so dainty

They take one’s breath away.

This little piece of paradise is a haven

For the butterflies, ladybugs, fuzzy caterpillars,

And toads who call it home.

Nature at its best.


My neighbor’s ugly yard?


            Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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Just once in every lifetime
Someone comes along
And hearts then blend in harmony
With words to love’s sweet song

Just once in every lifetime
Two hearts fill special roles
And fall in love from the start
As destined kindred souls

Just once in every lifetime
A union’s meant to be
When those hearts join and beat as one
For all eternity
3/26/95 Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck

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“I wish you’d read to me awhile.”

My daughters often said,

So I’d tuck away the mending

And read to them, instead.


“Mom, can you play a game with me?”

My growing son would ask,

So I’d put aside the sweeping

For that far more urgent task.


We often sat with drawing books,

Coloring in designs,

While laundered clothes awaited

Their turn upon the lines.


There were times the sink held dishes,

‘Though I didn’t like such piles,

So I could romp and play outside . . .

Rewarded by their smiles.


At times we’d lie upon the grass

As cloud ships sailed on by,

While the beds awaited making,

And dust was left to lie.


Nothing’s changed by dirt or dust,

Or bed that lies unmade,

But the hours given to a child,

Build memories that won’t fade.


The most important times in life

Are the hours wisely spent,

When shared with a little child,

For they are heaven-sent.



5/22/97    Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck


4’th. … Indiana NPD – 2001

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The scent of summer



There are bushes in my backyard

And some are in full bloom

Emitting fragrance all day long . . .

My garden’s sweet perfume


Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck


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