Archive for the ‘Free Verse’ Category

(And Whispers On The Breeze)

Sorry I missed you today.
I waited for your return,
thinking it might be any moment.
I was there to tell you how sorry
I am that I allowed so much time
to pass between visits. I came
to tell you how much I love you,
and that I need you in my life.

I sat on your porch swing, where
we shared our laughter in days
gone by. It was quiet there,
and I thought I could hear
our voices from way back then.
I allowed my thoughts to drift,
as I was carried away in memory;
the heady scent of lilacs drugging
my contact with the present.

Perhaps I even dozed, awaking
when I heard you call my name.
I turned, but you were not there.
A butterfly hovered in front of my face,
as if it had something to tell me,
then turned and flew away,
as I heard your voice whisper,
“Goodbye, old friend”.

I learned later,
that you had passed away
that afternoon. A time that I was
wrapped in remembrance of you.
A time of lilac scent, butterflies,
and whispers on the breeze.

Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck – 8/27/03


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I have no wealth to leave behind
But I give to you, the best . . .
Magnificence of the richest kind
From God’s great treasure chest

There’s summer sunset’s splendor
As it paints the heavens red
There’s diamond spattered night skies
And rainbows overhead
There’s dandelions that scatter gold
Across earth’s counterpane
The rippling of a drowsy stream
Near winding country lane
The blessing of a cooling breeze
On scorching summer days
Moonbeams through one’s window panes
And morning’s warming rays
The forest’s cooling canopies
That shelter woodland floor
Embracing life that dwells within
And, yes, there’s plenty more

There’s sweet melodic lullabies
That come from feathered choirs
There’s plains, desserts, and valley floors
And lofty mountain spires
A flash of red against the snow
When cardinals wing on by
And sapphire hues the bluebird flaunts
Against a cirrus sky
The scent of lilac’s rich perfume
That floats upon the air
And the evening’s orchestrations
Of insects singing there
The petaled beauty of a rose
With rich satiny feel
Where lady-bugs and butterflies
Enjoy a nectared meal

These things are mine to treasure
As long as I shall live
Yet, they belong to everyone
So they’re not mine to give

11/26/97 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

6’th. … Ark. W C – 2001

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After she was gone
I found scraps of paper
Each piece torn
from whatever was at hand
when thoughts possessed her mind,
or touched her heart.
Little reminders
jotted down when senses
stirred her to capture
a piece of beauty
or a fragment of emotion.
Words, phrases, ideas
upon which she would
later elaborate.
Drawing from those small
scraps, pages of stirring
discourse that could make
one lose himself
in laughter, or touch
one’s heart to tears.
Those bits of written
emotion reflect how she
found beauty in everything,
and she comes alive
in the words
she jotted down
Musing about their value,
I could not destroy them.

In my closet upon a shelf,
there is a candy box
that holds her essence.
It is full of life and love
recorded on scraps of paper,
reminding me of her.
She was a poem.

2/5/93 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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The sights and sounds of nature
are sweet this time of year.
Scarlet, gold, and saffron tones
announce a change in seasons.
Winging geese form chevron patterns
in a blue enamel sky,
honking their goodby song,
until spring bursts forth next year.
Crickets find their way inside
and settle near my hearth.
They’ll pester us with strident songs
when winter snow is high.
The pungent smell of burning leaves
lends credence to the scene,
as curls of blue smoke fill the air,
and scent the autumn months.
Sluggish bees cling where they can,
cleaning their tired wings.
No longer prone to use their sting,
they’ll exist on succulent
amber drops of hive-honey.
Daddy-longlegs cluster-up
in tangles, for warmth.
Abundant in crevices of doors
and windows, they look like discarded
wads of black sewing threads.
Slow-motion is the essence
of this time of languor,
once again cloaking the land
in colorful autumn robes.
God’s glorious gift of nature.

6/6/95 Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck

6’th … Indiana NPD 1995

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Free Verse till rhyme sneaked in


I grew up rhyming. It’s all I know,
But poets’ elite say its got to go —
Said with disdain that makes me cringe,
So guilt is strong when on that binge.

I think in rhyme, no longer done,
Son-of -a -gun ! They’ve spoiled my fun.
I don’t choose words because they rhyme —
They tumble forth all the time.

The way to go is free verse style.
I tried, but mine’s just not worthwhile.
Using words not understood,
I convoluted, which wasn’t good.

I wrote thoughts backwards and askew,
And used some phrases, old and new,
With content complicated … true,
Thinking that’s what I had to do.

I tried one out, and drew a smile.
The judge remarked, “Perfect style!
I don’t know what this poem means,
But the First Prize, is what it screams”.

Now that’s a puzzle, I must say,
For it meant nothing anyway.
Yet, “Blue” it won, surprisingly.
What was there that I failed to see?

Free Versers say there are no rules,
But certain things to use as tools.
Well, I use them all, within my rhyme,
Doing the same, time after time.

They tell me what I write is good,
And is quite easily understood,
But should be changed to verse called, “free”,
And then, perhaps they’d notice me.

Now Mr. Judge . . . or is it Miss ?
Forget the rhyme you find in this.
I know you think rhyme is a sin,
But this was “free” ‘til rhyme sneaked in.

10/28/05 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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What was it that I saw?
A bird fluttering to the ground?
No, just a leaf that released its hold.
But, oh, what a leaf, to deceive
my aging eyes.
I should have known,
with such pungent scent in the air.
Burning leaves casting their aroma
on the gentle breeze that tickles
the hair on my arms.

What was it that I heard?
The wings of a bumblebee?
A faint hum, unlike the hurried
buzz when touring my garden’s bouquet.
I feel the fan of his tiny wings
as he lights upon my arm
to investigate my perfume.
He spreads tired wings to the sun,
then after a few false starts
he soars off in his last flight.

What is that fragrance wafting by
on a current of autumn air?
Sweet and beckoning.
Brilliant carmine jewels
hanging from bare umber arms.
Their succulent sweetness teasing
me to bite into their aromatic
jackets. A rivulet of juice slips
over my lips, as my pallet is bathed
in rich drops of nectar.

Autumn, seducing my senses.

4/28/96 Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck

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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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