Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring, Cellars & Squeaky Doors

Three bees keep their distance
allowing each an equal space;
when they return to the crowded colony,
will three more come to take their place?
Photo and Caption by Carl Bernard Schwartz

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Awake and rejoice

Night sneaks out the back door,
sunflowers stifle the breeze,
while timid petals advertise
to be chosen by the bees.

The rooster crows, just on and on,
not content to have it quiet.
Squirrels chase each other up and down;
what one does, the other will try it.

Dew drops, gently sleeping
atop blades of grass and leaves,
now start their daily journey
ever skyward, past the eaves.

Birds gather on their perch
discussing breakfast down below,
while the sun brings hope and promise
like a baker’s rising dough.

Ever onward

A toddler finds a charming bug and
clasps his fingers tight around it;
his mother trains him with a hug,
“Put it back right where you found it.”

Like a great, frozen river
now renewed by warming streams,
schools release their eager students
to go off and chase their dreams.

Our spirit is high, the season’s done,
we can shed our coats and chortle,
as Spring is more than Winter’s end,
it is Summer’s yawning portal.


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

Down in the cellar
Down in the dark
I can think what I want
No one there to bark
Hah! I’ll get even
Wait and see

Down in the cellar
Down in the dark
I can eat what I want
No one there to bark
Hey look out—ice cream


Thanks to today's contributors! Mitz Sackman's Seed of the Week poem (Down in the Cellar) is about dastardly dietary deeds; Joyce Odam (see the LittleNip) wrote about a squeaky door. On the other hand, Carl Bernard Schwartz and Ann Wehrman are thinking spring thoughts. Meanwhile...

Eek eek eek—kk errata!

Unfortunately, I put the wrong date in the current Poetry Now for our next reading: it's April 14, not the 7th! Join us then for Rattlesnake Press's sixth birthday party, featuring a reading by Carol Frith from her new full-length book from David Robert Books, two for a journey. That's at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30pm.

Speaking of Poetry Now, Frank Graham, current Editor, writes that the March/April issue is his last. Our thanks to Frank for his hard work! He says: Best of luck to Trina Drotar, who will be taking over as Editor, and to Richard Hansen, who will be providing layout/design work for SPC. No doubt, it will be a sharply-crafted poetry pubication in their expert hands! Much of the rest of the staff, content, and material will remain the same, so you may rest assured you'll be getting the same product, only with a new twist.
A big thank you to every one of you who helped me make Poetry Now happen for the last two years. I couldn't have done it without you!

Come up the hill to the Peace Show!

•••Sat. (3/27), 3:30-5pm: El Dorado County’s 2010 Season for Nonviolence will conclude this Saturday with a celebration of Peace through words, music and dance at Town Hall, 549 Main St., Placerville. Free and open to the public, the fourth annual “Peace Show” will feature the New Freedom Choir from Sacramento, the Sacramento Women’s Chorus, the Hill Country Band, Dance El Dorado, storyteller Martha De Aquino, poets from Red Fox Underground, and the Barefoot Singers Drumming Circle. There are also some art displays around town; Red Fox’s Irene Lipshin has some of her photography showing at Cozmic Café on Main Street. The Season for Nonviolence ( encompasses 64 days (Jan. 30-Apr. 4) commemorating the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez. This is the fifth year in El Dorado County that organizations, churches and individuals have joined communities around the world to get out the message about the hope for and necessity of creating a more peaceful world through nonviolence. Join us for the festivities on Saturday!

Also this week in NorCal poetry:

(for a more complete listing, go to

•••Monday (3/22), 7:30pm: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Kel Munger and Robert M. Stanley at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Host: Bob Stanley (the other one).

•••Six Wednesday nights: March 24, 31 and April 14, 21, 28 and one other date, 7-9pm: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Kathryn Hohlwein and “The Homeric Imagination” at SPC/Room to Write, 1719 25th St., next to Alliance Francaise in the R25 Arts Complex at 25th and R in Sacramento. The cost is $150 for each six-week session. Please contact Professor Hohlwein with any questions, or to register: [For a more complete description of this workshop on The Iliad and The Odyssey, see last Wednesday's post.]

•••Thurs. (3/25), 7-9pm: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making with John Fox at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. This talk will invite participants to consider the healing power of poetry. $25. [See or the Ticket section of last Saturday’s Sacramento Bee for an article about Fox’s work.]

•••Friday (3/26), 7-9pm: Introduction to Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making with John Fox. Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists, 190 Finley St., Auburn. $25; open to all.

•••Sat. (3/27), 9am-4pm: Poetry, Community & The Flourishing Heart: workshop with John Fox at Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists, 190 Finley St., Auburn. $75, limited to 18 participants. Reg. with John Bowman at 916-751-9189 or


—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

passion has built
a shimmering
wall of tears
rendering me rigid
love peers through
fresh green
gingko leaves tremble
new redwood tips extend
sun unwilling to set
as am I,
body immobilized
after leaving you
love undeclared
I drink the warm wind

tears shake within me
wind moves the trees
dance in patterns
before my clouded eyes
it seemed you leaned close
as I walked by you
leaving tonight


—Ann Wehrman

your voice
its sound changing
more than sight
the sound
of your voice
by day
in my mind
I turn
exact as a blade
one degree
per note
per remembered tone
per sound
sounds inside
inner sound
sound is feeling
is spirit
comes to me
through the night
in waves
through our minds
your voice silent
I know you
again in my mind
middle of night
folded in
night’s black wings
tangled sheets
alone, I
turn once more
one more word
sound of your voice


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

The hinge on the door lets out a sound:

fear with its secret, here again —
enters and seeks you out. Oh, friend,
fear with its secret— old and thin.

The hinge on the door lets out a sound.

Just stopped to browse
along the way.
There is some dinner for me
here, I pray.
Photo and Caption by Carl Bernard Schwartz