Archive for July, 2009

Shoot and affect


Felled with injured wing

       dove lies beneath my shade tree

              lad with b.b. gun

3/14/90 Phyllis VanVleck

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The children stood upon the stage
Each holding words upon a page
In turn they read a line or two
On what their Daddy’s always do

Dads fought crime, and Dads fought fires
One farmed land, and one sold tires
Jack was nervous when his turn came
And couldn’t remember his own name

Poor Jack’s courage was almost gone
So the congregation clapped him on
But he’d lost the paper that he had
So the Preacher prodded the little lad

What does your Dad do every day?
Jack thought a bit on what to say
Then the little boy in Sunday clothes
Yelled out, “My Daddy picks his nose!”

His dad, embarrassed, hid his face
And wished he was some other place,
When Jack, who then became alert,
Called out, “And wipes it on his shirt!”

5/1/00 Phyllis DeWitt -VanVleck

1’st … Arkansas NPD – 2000

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Traditions of Youth


Gold dandelions

       reflecting under the chin

              affirming young love

2/16/03 Phyllis VanVleck

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Listen to the sounds of night
Such matchless orchestration
Hear those tiny creatures
Employ their syncopation

Birds sing bedtime vespers
Mosquitoes hum along
Beetles click their castanets
As night breaks into song

Crickets tune their fiddles
As bullfrogs start to drum
Cicadas add a shrill whir
And there is more to come

Dragonflies rattle crisp wings
As they dart out of reach
A watching owl gives forth
With high vibrato screech

An old oak tree creaks a bit
Adding a note or two
Its leaves tap, tap a window
Making their band debut

An earlier rain contributes
A gentle rhythmic sound
As drops of rain plink, plink, plink
From leaves onto the ground

As evening starts its tune-up
Sounds blend in harmony
And the orchestration that is heard
Is Summer’s Symphony

4/20/86 Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck

5’th … PAW (in Pa) 1990

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John Edwards

I was just the Old Man. Simply that.
It was as if I did not have a name.
“John!”I wanted to shout.
“My name is John Edwards.”
But, I remained the Old Man.

I am not sure of when I lost my identity
But it was back somewhere in the past.
My contributions as the Old Man were small;
Fetching the water, working in the garden,
And keeping the old stove fed with firewood.
I knew they could do well without me,
So most of the time I stayed out of their way,
And no one seemed to miss me.

But, my friend and I, spent many hours together
Sitting in the sun in an old wicker chair.
It was good to have a friend, even though it was
Just a featherless pet chicken who loved to sit on my lap.

They didn’t understand about the chicken.
We talked a lot, he and I.
He was very receptive to my stories of hard farm life.
Of my triumphs and defeats, hopes and dreams.
He listened, and he often answered with faint sounds.

I know we were an unlikely pair but we found comfort
In our mutual need for one another.
And so I spent the summer, dozing in the warm sun,
Chicken on my lap.
At dusk, the chicken crawled inside my shirt for warmth.
In the fall, I made him a felt jacket, but he caught a cold,
And soon died, in spite of my efforts to save him.

It was only I who wept. Wept for the loss of a friend.
Wept for the loss of being needed.
“The Old Man is crying about that fool chicken,”they’d say.
They didn’t understand about the importance of being needed.

In mid-winter, I passed away, feeling alone and useless.
They wept tears I would not see and uttered words I would not hear.

My epitaph reads –
John Edwards – Our friend
We needed him

8/8/96 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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There they sat, the two of them
A most unlikely pair
Dozing in the afternoon sun
In an old wicker chair
The Old Man knew they laughed at him
But he didn’t seem to mind
For the peace he and Charley had
Is often hard to find
No matter that his new found friend
Was a strange sight to see
The Old Man just told others
It was serendipity
A chicken without his feathers
Is one in dire need
And an old man without a friend
Is a sad man indeed
So the moment that their paths crossed
They both became aware
That they needed one another
So they bonded, as a pair
Wherever one would choose to go
The other trailed behind
They loved the arbor most of all
Where the grapevine twined
And so they spent the summer months
‘Til fall brought on a chill
Charley shivered in nakedness
Then sadly, became ill
The Old Man tried to save his friend
But Charley passed away
And the Old Man wept in sadness
On that sorrowful day
Now he was alone again
And no one needed him
He felt unloved and useless
His future painted grim
And so he lost his will to live
Without someone to tend
And when he died, his last words were
It’s lonely without a friend

5/12/89 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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