Monday, January 31, 2022

Lurching Toward February

—Poetry by Stephen Kingsnorth, 
Cashwa (Carl Schwartz), Joe Nolan
—Public Domain Photos by Joe Nolan

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales, UK

Why do we point, our agèd house—
not least the crumbling mortar mix—
that for those years, its bearing well,
an ancient lady, plastered face,
internal plumbing, just ignore?
Because, despite, we hear about
our neighbours’ draining nagging fears,
their modern box, trim not so prim,
still working through their snagging list.

Though others’ house, now home for us,
framed, timber rings already told,
long felled but salvage, other plant—
cork cambium, the builder’s bark,
bite at workforce, 1908.
Brick bonds of sand compressed from rock,
with ties that bind bulge sagging walls;
thrown pebbledash, grit shingle shower,
like sower’s broadcast, opencast.
That metal forged, crust’s mineral,
its ore-some veins, capillaries,
pig-iron, brittle, round the doors.

This build far older, ever thought,
patina paved at fossil stage,
before a cave was shelter claimed,
when dinosaurs yet twinkle-eyed.
That’s when those new foundations laid—
what we think quaint, as hills unfurled.
We show our edifice, design—
but it’s the sum, materiel,
battle ware, cauldron embraced,
creation fashioned from the world,
a bivouac from Eden’s lore—
its gardens hanging, Babylon—
the dust of stars, first tenancy,
that we encounter, old new home.


—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

I am a giant land tortoise
114 years old, going on 200
same house I started with

you wouldn’t believe all the
junk mail I get daily, solar panels
kitchen remodel, walk-in bath

now and then I might foresee
a use for fire insurance, but
my trust in good luck suffices 














Sitting at the desktop PC near a window at
2:00 a.m., waiting for the clothes dryer to
finish before starting a load of dishes during
this “off peak” time when it is cheaper to use
electrical current, and the wail of a siren
pierces the double-pane window unleashing
all manner of speculation as to what the Hell
is going on:

is it another little fire that got out of control?

or is it a rescue vehicle rushing to save a
life that has perilously lost the use of one
or another vital organ?

or is it a fully armed response to a crime in
progress deeply rooted in the holy protection
of old money?

or is it a retaliatory “that hooligan needs to be
taught a lesson he won’t soon forget!” mission
purposefully designed to bring out of hibernation
all those cruel and unusual punishments that had
appeared to work so well to delimit the correct
standards of behavior?

that sure didn’t last long, maybe it was just a
false alarm…



I ordered some goods from a giant
mail order firm, and followed the
online tracking mechanism to see
my items proceeding on “ground”
transports from one major facility to
another across the country,

magically traversing mountains, ice,
snow, fires, and rain, until finally a
package bearing a label correctly
reciting my name and address was
left at my door, and a message was
sent to my computer upgrading the
status of this order as “delivered”

then the giant mail order firm emailed
me to ask for a comment as to the
service provided by the delivery person;
what person? no contact was ever
made by a human being with a name,

for all I know the delivery vehicle was
one of those driverless automatons,
that used a drone to maneuver over
and leave the package on my porch;
so how does one say a sincere “thank
you” to a couple of machines?

I’ve seen folks kick and cuss vending
machines that have yielded them truly
disappointing results, but I have never
witnessed someone actually voicing
the phrase “thank you” to a machine,
so with no precedent to follow here is
my feebly impersonal attempt: “Good
job, something or other!”

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Might be the entry-way,
Into closer circles,
Where you could

From ear to ear,
With a design
To ingratiate,

While you count
What’s on your plate,
For you to overbear.
It’s a matter of
Mastery and control.

You pretend
To be available,
When you
Are not whole,

And incapable
Of real
Since you are

—Joe Nolan

Things go like:
Into dust,
Unto rust,
Off into the sunset,
No regrets,
We were never
Perfect, anyway.

Hard to make sense
When you spend your days
Smoking weed,
Burning incense,
To cover up the stench,
Like we did
Back in the

Please be at ease!
Line up at the gas stations
On odd and even days,
According to your license plate
For your limited allotment.

Then go back home.
Order take-out.
Give a bigger tip
To the delivery man.
His gas charges have increased.

We’ll get through this
When the Arab oil-merchants
Get greedy, and
Turn the pumps back on. 
Wood Nymph

—Joe Nolan

Nearness suggests
That may not be,
As when things
Fall apart.

Each person
Has his own heart,

Asserts itself
In the face
Of meaningless
That does not
Touch the bone.

We enter life

And thus depart it,
Bearing just one name. 
 Rescue Dogs Headed to Work

—Joe Nolan

It doesn’t seem to make itself clear—
Blood moons in the Autumn sky,
Dense round objects,
Thought able to fly,

Questions concerning
Cherries so red in May!

Wind-blown snowdrifts
That melt away
On muggy, summery days.

Brilliant colors in Fall,
Volcanic eruptions in
Places called Tonga,
Seem as though
Not from this planet
And brook no explanation.


Today’s LittleNip:

Monday is the day of silence, day of the whole white mung bean, which is sacred to the moon.

—Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni,
The Mistress of Spices


Ha!—Another Monday catches us with things to do and poems to write—our last day of January, perched on the cusp of Chinese New Year! Nonetheless, we have a gaggle of good poets welcoming us, and our thanks to them for poems and photos of inspiration, including some responses to our Seed of the Week: “Our 141-Year-Old House”. Tomorrow we'll have another SOW to white-knuckle over.

Yesterday we were pleased to post poetry from Marie and Harold Asner from Kansas, but I mistakenly credited Marie for “Playing the Palace”—actually, it was written by Harold. Mea culpa… again….

Tonight (Mon., 1/31), 7:30pm, Sac. Poetry Center Socially Distant Verse features A Showcase of Emerging Poets: Dee Dee Rae, Keenan Prince, Nick Soluri plus open mic. Zoom at (Meeting ID: 763 873 3462 / pass: r3trnofsdv/.) Info:

For more about El Dorado County poetry events, check Western Slope El Dorado Poetry on Facebook:




Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
 LittleSnake says:
Baseball ssssseason is on its way!

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Palaces and Ice Dragons

 —Poetry by Marie Asner and Harold Asner, Overland Park, KS
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

—Marie Asner

As we near our destination, ice is on the path.
“Go ahead…go ahead,” says the North Wind.
We are watchful.

The old wood cabin was still in the clearing,
walls and roof sturdy. Snow comes in small cracks
as it tries to spy on anything moving inside.
A spindly bush by the door is alerted
to the coming intrusion, and signals to all concerned.
Hidden in a bank of snow under low pine branches
is a wolf, looking at the proceedings with green eyes.

The show is going to be in the clearing tonight,
under full moon with stars in the SRO section.
Aurora borealis shines and colors the snow
in rose and blue, this year’s fashion statement of the North.

Tops of pine trees begin to reflect moon rays down to the cabin,
crystals leave a Jack Frost imitation of a flower
on an old piece of tin, and further on, is yet the ice,
resting quietly on stone, but leaving distinctive marks.

After the show, when the moon has past overhead,
we ready ourselves.  As a token of appreciation,
we leave a red poinsettia blossom,
carefully packed for the journey,
and follow the pathway home under watchful eyes. 

—Marie Asner

Difference between average and perfection
is the last fractional second of the last spiral.
Longing to stand on the winner’s platform
with gold around her neck.
Taunting…the ice waits, smooth and glistening.
Announcer finishes, music starts—deep breath,
it is time to take that chance with the ice dragons of fear
and dodge their mind slashes
with quadruple jumps all in 4/4 time.

(prev. pub. in Rockford Review, 2020)


4:30 p.m. on February 13 and time to shop for that
special card for my Honeybunch, and get it in the mail
so he will have it on Valentine’s Day, ok, I met
him when Obama was in office, but no other guy
kept dating me and here I am
at the corner drugstore card section.
Now to find something, well, he isn’t an aunt or an uncle,
so skip that and he isn’t five years old
so pass those, and there isn’t much left
except to a minister. I buy a blank card and write
in my verse, but the pen goes dry on the third line
and the one the clerk hands me, drips on my name
like a Rorschach Test. I manage to get the dried card
into an envelope and write his address, only to see
the mailman drive down the street. I’m running
alongside his truck and manage to hand it to him,
then, collide with an elderly lady
pushing a cart filled with cans. What she has
in the trash is better than I spent two bucks for.
I look so sad, she hands me a crushed box of
chocolates—I accept—then she says
her son works on Wall Street
and this is only temporary.

(prev. pub. in Rockford Review, 2016)

—Harold Asner

In Israel King Solomon
Lived a life of royalty
Rulers came from foreign lands
Offered gifts with outstretched hands
Pledging peace and loyalty
He established routes of trade
Grand alliances were made
His palace with its pillared rooms
Was rich in style and tone
With tapestries from far-off looms
An inner court of fine-cut stone

Solomon’s understanding heart
A gift from God on high
The king agreed to never start
From God’s commandments to depart
Nor His statutes to defy
Over time he saw God’s wrath
By straying from the righteous path
When did he realize
He was a sinner in God’s eyes
Voices in the desert air
Softly warned, Beware! Beware!
Although he’d seen the Temple built
His once-wise heart was full of guilt
He had taken many wives
They turned his heart from God away
Worshipped idols all their lives
Now he kept idols made of clay
Further into chaos sliding
Now his kingdom was dividing
The Lord called Solomon’s many foes
To rule Israel’s northern regions
The adversaries whom God chose
Came with their assembled legions
In Judah only his kingdom stayed
Solomon’s debt to God was paid

In a dream one summer’s eve
I saw myself as Solomon
Bathsheba seeking my birthright
The prophet Nathan joined her fight
David’s throne now had I won
Next came a dream within my dream
I asked the gift of understanding
Nothing more was I demanding
The Lord told me He’d grant my plea
“Obey my laws,” He’d said his twice
Also wealth He’d give to me
Dominion over land and sea
My people all would honor me
To disobey I’d pay a price
Of a sudden I awoke
Both my dreams a wisp of smoke
Gone were thoughts of Paradise


Today’s LittleNip:

—Harold Asner

Hear, ye!  Hear, ye!  Job Openings at the Royal Castle!

Each royal court had its magician
And jester who acted the clown
As a couple, we chose to audition
To play these two roles for the crown.

My wife’s talent is true magic.
She plucks wonders out of the air.
Not amusing the king can be tragic.
So a jester had better beware.

Hurrah!  My wife was selected.
Give the young lady a hand.
My gags, alas, were rejected.
From the castle I have been banned.

I say without anger or malice,
“She’s in.  I’m out.”  There’s the rub.
While she will be playing the palace,
I have a night gig at the pub.


Today we have a husband/wife team of poets, sending us fine work from Kansas! Harold Asner writes that he has sent “…a poem that I wrote after reading some of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poetry. I was particularly impressed with his imagery. I read him first when I was in high school and liked his writing very much. My poem is about King Solomon, and in it I followed the rhyming pattern and (hopefully) the mood of Coleridge’s 
Kubla Khan."

After working for the Federal Government for 32 years, Harold spent the next 18 years at his local community college, tutoring math. He retired from that job in 2018 and began writing poetry the following year.

Marie Asner is an entertainment reviewer and retired church musician.  She has been writing poetry since high school days and is a former member of Kansas Arts On Tour, which included readings of her poems on Amelia Earhart. Both of the Asners are members of The Merry Bombadils Chapter of the Missouri State Poetry Society; their short forms were included in the Kitchen on Jan. 13 of this year []. Welcome to the Kitchen, Marie and Harold, and don’t be strangers!




Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



Saturday, January 29, 2022


—Poetry by Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


Seekers of the exotic,
riders of water and wind,
shapers of jewels, jet planes & jazz,
builders of bridges & breakthroughs,
explorers of the psyche,
embryos this moment conceived—

whatever we will be tomorrow,
in a hundred years, or
at the last turn of the earth
under moonlight’s incantations,
whatever comes, may we lean
toward the language of roses.

(prev. pub. in Benicia-Herald)


Not only
do miracles
still happen

they stand so
among us
as, hello



Everyone, they say,
keeps an invisible space
around themselves,
a sacred space, a space
they feel most comfortable
if that space is violated.

A man on the waterfront
kept no personal space.
I could have sat
on his wrist or shoulder…
Actually, I clung to
his ear lobe: we chatted
like friends of forty years!


We sense a masculine innocence
in trees under a serene sky,
a breeze lifting prayers
from our pores. We had driven
over mountains, through valleys,

now we camp where Gregorians
chant from cool cloisters.
This afternoon a shaft of light
moves from cedars and firs,
now beaming down on forest duff.

In these redolent woods,
all roots intermingle: we feel
atonement with the universe,
   as after making love,
      or when lighting a candle.


We’re relieved to
pull off the hectic highway,
enter old-growth forest.
Standing under a shaft of sun,
we wonder how one composes
a work of art under giants
which rooted at the time of Christ.

Arriving early, we cross two twigs,
cross two more, scuff a circle,
watch dust rise. We imagine
Indians in this grove. But, no,
appears we are alone… By shaking
sapling branches, we hope words
will fall our way, but no words fall.

Our time among redwoods
will seem both long & short.
We gaze through the canopy,
the sky a blue caesura. Breathing
deeply, we clear our lungs of toxins.
Digging up pens, we spring open
notebooks to the first blank page.


Here, by pastel waters,
we met ourselves
and learned
that love truly given
is truly returned;

that air and sun
from distant worlds
will nourish us and help
us grow, that roots of love
go deeper than we know.

And so, by pastel waves,
we learned with elation
that once created
with and for love,
love is our own creation.

Today’s LittleNip:


Great Spirit,
may we assume
good intentions; believe
that love silently expressed
is heard & answered.

Great Spirit,
may we forgive &
be forgiven for flaws
that prove us all miracles
of nature, in progress.


Thanks to Claire Baker and Katy Brown for today’s beautiful collaboration! Katy, the prodigal daughter, has returned to us with some fine photos to go with Claire’s poems, and, as I say, we are grateful to both of them for sending us this collection.

Today (Sat., 1/29), 2pm: Poetry of the Sierra Foothills (Poetry is Gold in El Dorado County!) Open Mic. Love Birds Coffee & Tea Co., 4181 Hwy 49, Diamond Sptings, CA (where Hwy 49 meets Pleasant Valley Rd.). Host: Lara Gularte.


—Public Domain Photo

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!

Friday, January 28, 2022

Blessings of the Beasts

—Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA
 —And then scroll down for FORM FIDDLERS’ FRIDAY!!


What is this
inside walls?

Outside sun
is casting
bright shadows.

A free breeze
is calling
Come on out!


Beside our country gravel drive
graze three goats and a great white horse.
Our pasture’s suddenly alive!
The horse I know as Galahad,
worthy of a knight; the three goats
eating grass, forbs (“weeds”), and wild oats.
Such blessing of the beasts makes glad.


Warrior flags are hanging at ease
at Veterans Memorial.
This winter morning, a small breeze
recalls the ones who fought for right.
The trees stand at attention, bare
of leaves under sky clear and bright
as peace and justice, free as air.


She stands rapt before the waterfall,
its spellbinding flow of liquid veils, its song
of heights and depths unfathomed by a girl so young, her
misty eyes if she should turn her head to see
rock eroding gently underfoot.

Pencils (eleven) and
pens (thirty-one) which once
perched on the table but
purloined by the cat—not
permanently lost; now
perceived under the couch.
Put in a safer place.



He lived to the end of the ride,
though life is brief as a bird.
A feathered thing lit at his side—
child alone in wildwood. Absurd?
I seem to remember he died
pen in hand alive with a word.

A feathered thing lit at his side,
child alone in wildwood. Absurd:
from sky to earth no rivers bide.
He tasted waters as they stirred.
I seem to remember he died
pen in hand alive with a word.

From sky to earth no rivers bide?
he tasted waters as they stirred,
he was river. Don’t say he lied,
he wrote of silences he heard.
I seem to remember he died
pen in hand alive with a word.

He was river—don’t say he lied.
He wrote of silences unheard,
unchaining an old dog long tied,
its barking at the heavens blurred.
I seem to remember he died
pen in hand, alive with a word.

Today LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Why does
the old
codger pass gas as he hobbles
from kitchen table to bathroom?
It must
give him
a tailwind.


Another Friday brings Taylor Graham, who can hardly contain her excitement at having her neighbor’s horse, Galahad, back, as well as the bonus of three sassy goats! About her poems today, she writes “‘Remembering a Poet’ is based loosely on something I read or heard of Jim Harrison []. The picture of a girl
with a waterfall [last week's Ekphrastic Challenge] reminded me of a search many years ago in Shenandoah National Park.” Thank you, TG, for all the picture-painting that you do for us, both in photos and in poems.

Here are the forms TG used this week: Roundelay (“Remembering a Poet”); Saraband (“MLK Weekend”, and “Overnight Surprise”); Trinet (“Chasing the Bus?”); Tricube (“Cubicle Tricube”); Medusa's latest Ekphrastic/Weave (“Girl before Waterfall”; see photo below); and a Pleiades (“Pilfered”). Keep scrolling down for some other poets' responses to these forms.

And now it’s time for . . .


It’s time for more contributions from Form Fiddlers, in addition to those sent to us by Taylor Graham! Each Friday, there will be poems posted here from our readers using forms—either ones which were sent to Medusa during the previous week, or whatever else floats through the Kitchen and the perpetually stoned mind of Medusa. If these instructions are vague, it's because they're meant to be. Just fiddle around with some forms and get them posted in the Kitchen, by golly! (See Medusa’s Form Finder at the end of this post for resources and for links to poetry terms used today.)

We had plenty of challenges in FFF last week: the Weave, Saraband, Trimeric, Trinet, and the photo below for an Ekphrastic Challenge. Stephen Kingsnorth and Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) responded to the latter, as did Taylor Graham [see above]. Carl’s poem was also in the form of a Weave, as was TG's. Carl was very prolific this week, in fact, so we’ll be hearing a lot from him today (thank you, Carl!).

Last Friday's Ekphrastic Challenge

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales, UK

What is your take? What comes to fore?
Which force predominates your sight?
Precarious. Of course they’re linked.
Her dress, or lack of it, says heat?
A torrent course too vast for space,
a race, this waterflow too fast,
from cut off top, pit bottomless?
Can this trace jungle, backpack place?

Near topless source, the dare of it,
so juxtaposed or asked to pose
for photograph, mist skinny dip—
turn a blind eye to cataract;
site fogged, display of spray uplift,
precipitate of H2O,
a swirl by g-force uncontrolled,
another wonder of the earth?

I’m not impressed, positioning—
if need a shower try bathroom mat;
I wonder if the snapping shot
be better waiting, chasm clear,
to wonder at magnificence
of spume, this water struck from rock,
its spindrift veil of muslin trails—
and not this foamy dizzy froth.

That spewing water cuts by wear—
so poets repeat erotemes,
a snare they may too fall into too,
of language, rhythms, metric fare.
I fear it is some siren call,
at edge, on brink, known primal voice
that beckons over precipice
from not-so-subtle management.

Why name this ‘woman waterfall’,
when I would vice versa frame,
give prime position to the fall.
Perhaps The Fall is lore they take,
and stake their claim on myth at work
though I might honour more, the snake,
which bears the blame that man resents,
repentance’ cost too high a price.

The value to this ageing mind
is having question marks abound,
to stretch a range from lexicon
and feel yet case of learning found.
My need, affirmed uncertainty—
so thanks to those who image set
as subject for licentious breed;
for this poetic licence seed. 

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

army boots touching the ground, shoulders
bare to the air absorbing refreshing mists
bipod serves as camera with lots of memory
dating back to infancy, no strings attached
dependency, relax, let it flow 

Last week, I incorrectly labeled Carl’s “Dressing Up” as a Roundelay—part of this plague of errors I’ve been cursed with lately. Carl writes:

“I composed Dressing Up as a Saraband, with one stanza using the French rhyme scheme, and another using the Italian rhyme scheme, speaking of them as salad dressings. I did not intend to suggest that this was a Roundelay.” Here is the poem he’s talking about, and mea culpa. Again:


he picked a bowl just large enough
for fresh grown greens, and roots, and fruits
the dressing choice would now be tough
the one named French in certain schools
has been hit with a change of rules
the label tries to be correct
but may not say what he’d expect

Italian, he could make himself
a cruet and a flavored oil
it’s all right there up on the shelf
emboldened by “been there, done that”
he might just botch a perfect mix
that wouldn’t look like in the pics
alas, he never ranked tall hat

at least there’s dressing in the fridge
that has survived long term storage
across the pond, and past the bridge
without a name that can be read
it might be toxic, leastwise crude
don’t make this part of daily bread
it’s time to toss this unsafe food 


Here is Caschwa’s real Roundelay:


(in the year of my high school
graduation, 18 was not yet the
age of majority)

there I was in high school classes
final day to be attending
graduation wearing glasses
speeches spoke to hint what’s pending
there we sat still on our asses
ceremonies go unending

graduation wearing glasses
speeches spoke to hint what’s pending
whole thing crawls on like molasses
hidden message that they’re sending
there we sat still on our asses
ceremonies go unending

whole thing crawls on like molasses
hidden message that they’re sending
future steps won’t need hall passes
we’re grown up now, rules are bending
there we sat still on our asses
ceremonies go unending

future steps won’t need hall passes
we’re grown up now, rules are bending
draft cards, service, poison gasses
war torn classmates laid descending
there we sat still on our asses
ceremonies go unending 

Next, Carl jumped into our Trimeric form, sending us the next two poems. The first one is a Trimeric about Turmeric:


she just learned that she has diabetes
now all the benefits of turmeric that
she so happily powdered on her meals
has to first be approved by her doctor

now all the benefits of turmeric that
include antioxidants, glucose control,
lowers cholesterol, and so many more

she so happily powdered on her meals
so she could feel better about feeling better
meal after meal, day after day

has to first be approved by her doctor
posing such a constraint, like grammar police
taking away one’s right of free speech


retirement pay got cost of living increase
and everyone wants a piece of my pie
they all heard I now get a bigger slice
so they want to reach out and take it away

and everyone wants a piece of my pie:
maintenance and repairs for vehicle and
home, plus newspaper subscription soared

they all heard I now get a bigger slice
and they want all of that plus much more
forcing expenses to outpace my income

so they want to reach out and take it away
until I’d need to be fabulously wealthy to
not feel the impact of these rising prices

Then, he braved the wee Trinet:


the ironic
truth of
the matter is not so much
that I lost my virginity as
I finally
found my
missing hormones 

Carl’s second Trinet is a fitting close to today’s post which, along with Taylor Graham’s poems and last Friday’s Ekphrastic Challenge, makes a lovely ending for us:


give in
accept it
you are one with Nature
evolved from the waters
and currents
that hug
the Earth


Many thanks to our SnakePals for their brave fiddling! Would you like to be a SnakePal? All you have to do is send poetry—forms or not—and/or photos and artwork to We post work from all over the world, including that which was previously-published. Just remember: the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!



See what you can make of this week’s poetry form, and send it to! (No deadline.) This week's challenge:


And see the bottom of this post for yet another challenge, this one an Ekphrastic one!


MEDUSA’S FORM FINDER: Links to poetry terms mentioned today:

•••Ekphrastic Poem:
•••TriCube by Phillip Larrea: Each stanza is three lines, three syllables per line, any subject
•••Weave: Syllabic 9, 11, 13,  11,  9



Today's Ekphrastic Challenge!
See what you can make of the above
and send your poetic results to (No deadline.)

—Photo Courtesy of Public Domain


Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.
“Graduation wearing glasses”,
said Carl…


Thursday, January 27, 2022

Moose and Manifest Destiny

Over My Shoulder
Photo by Carol Eve Ford, Kenai, AK
—Poetry by Carol Eve Ford and Carol Louise Moon
—Photos Courtesy of Carol Eve Ford and 
Carol Louise Moon

—Carol Louise Moon, Placerville, CA

I did not know this elder.  
She looked like my deceased
grandmother with her gray-blonde
hair piled on top her head—

her grosgrain brown dress suit, her
support hose and chunk-heel shoes,
her rosy rouge, her aged face—

her angel presence as we
passed each other near
the department store turnstile—

her response to my teary eyes
as I stared at her.

The diminishment of my grief
as she held me tight
was as profound as her vanishing.

(prev. pub. in
Poppy Road Review)
I’m Here For You
—Photo by Alden Ford

—Carol Louise Moon

The old Victorian located downtown
was made up of six studios, #6 occupied
by a lady and her dog. The trick was to
keep the dog from barking every time
someone entered the house.

People-noise would come and go
and warp any sense of memory for the
lady, always bringing in new words,
until her own words were dismissed,
her brain was on hold; her frail figure
a mere shadow on the bedroom wall,

Her aged image appeared and disappeared
as the dog barked again and again.  The
lady grew to love the sound. The sound
grew its own meaning in her half-open
heart—a pitted apricot desiring the return
of its pit—like wanting the dog to remain
with her always.

One day the barking stopped altogether…
he had figured it out:  Don’t let anyone
know she is here. Don’t let anyone knock
on the door. Don’t let anyone take her
away… the lady the dog loved so much.
Weaving Sorrow
—Public Domain Photo

          (A Paradigm)

What is grief to me?
She is gone, but she’ll return.

Was this her black hair?
Fingers run through strands of reed;
the basket weaver’s busy.

It was pneumonia
took her. We gathered ‘round her.
Gray hair was her pride—
said she’d earned every gray strand.
Now, what to do with
her pride, her hair, her mem’ry.

Our den wall stands cold
begging a photo of her.
Let’s run our fingers
through her long hair that we might
know her still, though she has passed.

Grief wreaths are fashioned
using hair of the deceased.
Instructions are clear:
Weave while you are grieving. This
helps in fashioning your grief.

    small wren makes nest—twigs
    woven, cradling wren eggs—
    new bonds are forming

—Carol Louise Moon
My Great Aunt Ethel
—Carol Eve Ford Family Photo
—Carol Eve Ford

She remembered her fingers, clumsy,
always heading the wrong direction,
Mama’s silver thimble, borrowed, spinning,
wobbling on the tip of her right ring finger,
falling into her lap.
“I’ve been learning to embroider initials,” she wrote in her diary,
1908, “so that I can embroider ‘G.D.C.’
on Gerald’s tennis racket case.”

Meticulously she had stitched, stitched,
ripped out stitches, stitched again, wishing her fingers
to dart like Mama’s, the needle and thread
making quick patterns, seams, tucks, edging, pleats, lace, button
holes, cuffs, bodices, slips, blouses, skirts, dresses, coats,
trousers, shirts, undergarments for six women, two men,
mending, shortening, lengthening, hemming,
reworking, making do, keeping up.

“I really don’t like to do any kind of fancy work,”
she confided to her diary. “It hurts my eyes
and makes my head ache. This afternoon I’ve been down to the
She had worked on it there.
Even her little sister Eloise was more
with her tiny thimble than Ethel;
and the other sisters, Edith and Ida, even Linda,
may have teased if they’d seen how many stitches she had done
over. “But of course I like to do this,” she insisted, pluckily,
to the silent diary, contemplating the look on his face
every time he took out his racket
and thought of her and her tiny,
stitches—took out his racket,
set bowler hat and jacket aside to play Mr. Seigold, each in his
crisp white shirtsleeves and tie,
she and Miss Buck calling points from the sidelines
at Del Mar by the Sea.

She recalled snipping the last knot
of the padded little black period
with her silver scissors,
emitting a tiny huff of relief and anticipation,
if not triumph.
She wondered now
if he still played tennis,
if the stitches she’d made back then
had held,
if he ever thought of her
at all.

(Excerpt from "Riding the Fault Line" 
by Carol Eve Ford)
Bullish On Committees
—Larry Ford’s trail cam

—Carol Eve Ford

Rumor has it Moose
was created by a committee.

Maybe it’s the nose.
Way too big for the head.
And the head, of course, is maybe
half-again too big for the overall body size.
Which is big, by the way.
Very very big.
Just not big enough for the head.

And what’s with that scrawny derrière?
They put over half a ton into this thing,
and petered out before they got the job done —
scraped together a measly couple dozen pounds
for the gluteus maximus. What?
Did they run out of moose
juice after investing it all in that nose?

The dangling wattle had to be the turkey lobby.
After they lost the national bird competition
they’ve been bitter,
working underground, behind the scenes,
gabbling under their breath among roadside reeds —
shouting and plotting their big move.
Why they chose Moose as their
spokes-species in making this bold statement,
one can only guess.
Moose certainly did not need or ask
for that wattle.
Attention could better have been applied elsewhere.
But what can you do?
The glutes just didn’t have the votes.

Antlers won out, as they always do.
A big rack carries the day in any species.
All show. Machismo. Rut, baby, rut!
“Look what I’ve got on my head.
Need I say more?”
“And check out the nose!”

Of course, a thick, powerful neck
was a no-brainer with that rack!
The neck ruff sags when nobody’s paying attention,
but in fine fettle, come fall, it’s a real show stopper
with the ladies.
(Rumor has it the lion contingency pulled that one off
at the last committee meeting held in far-off Africa.
But the zebras rallied SEQQAC,
[South-East Quadrasphere Quadruped
Anti-Circumference sub-committee],
filibustering until the full mane was amended
to neck crest only,
and shortened to hairs no longer than 12 inches,
thus allowing the nose, presumably Moose’s own contribution,
to dominate.

Even though it is way too big for the head.

*These speculations are, of course,
confidential and unconfirmed.
That’s the thing about committees.
And rumors.
The Object of His Affections
—Carol Eve Ford
         (Palindromic Mirror Poem)

From thirty-five thousand feet up,
Earth’s wonders mere puckers and pimples,
zippers, scars, and wandering, wild scribbles
marring miles and miles of plain
etched in rigid rectangular deadpan,
mundane anthropoidal industry
east of the Rockies.
No grandure
east of the Rockies.
Mundane anthropoidal industry
etched in rigid rectangular deadpan
marring miles and miles of plain.
Zippers, scars, and wandering wild scribbles,
Earth’s wonders mere puckers and pimples
from thirty-five thousand feet up.

—Carol Eve Ford
(prev. pub. in
Dad’s Desk)
From Thirty-Five Thousand Feet Up
—Carol Eve Ford

Today’s LittleNip:

You don’t have to give birth to someone to have a family.

—Sandra Bullock


—Medusa, with hearty thanks to two Carols: Carol Eve Ford and Carol Louise Moon, for today’s poems about moms and mooses and Manifest Destiny, with photos alongside! Collaborations are always welcome in the Kitchen; we’ve had quite a few lately.
—Public Domain Cartoon

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