All posts by Fred Wilbur

Walking Beatitudes by Fred Wilbur

Photo of Fringe Tree
 

During the months of our restricted movements, my wife and I have continued our nearly daily walking. Although we had developed the habit pre-Covid for the health of our bodies and minds, the pandemic has added an ironic value to the endeavor. We circumnavigate our village of several hundred souls, masks at the ready, seeing other residents sweeping their porches, watering their flowers and we pause to spend a moment or two commiserating over the hedge or across the yard, a nearly extinct activity now in most larger cities. This is one advantage of country … Continue reading Walking Beatitudes by Fred Wilbur

Farmstead by Mark Belair

Photo of old house on hill
 

Alone, timeworn—but still standing, even if its paint-scuffed radiators give no heat and its window frames leak and its doors don’t shut tight, everything foundering since its elder keepers died, the next generation, though paying the property taxes, too dispersed to steward or even sell it, the farmstead’s absent presence like a stark stare from the back end of old age, from a hardened place that sees our younger, ongoing lives— no matter how well built— as false fronts set for collapse; sees our blossoming memories forming, like the farmstead’s (love in the bedroom, children … Continue reading Farmstead by Mark Belair

Midnight at the Antiquarian Book Shop by Gary Beaumier

Photo of antique books
 

“I was most grievously undone when I lost my footing on the shelf and swan dived to the floor splayed and back broken”, says the complete works of Shakespeare who now leans against the cash register “We are—so many of us—a musty assemblage of forgotten words. Trees pressed into paper to hold our messages. Conceived by some dreamy word dabbler long gone. Escorting the appreciative few from womb to tomb Yet now shorn of dust jacket now a deterioration of spine dog eared pages and torn scripts Are we soon to be consigned to a … Continue reading Midnight at the Antiquarian Book Shop by Gary Beaumier

Reading Wallace Stevens at Pen Park by Stuart Gunter

Photo of trees reflecting in lake
 

Building rituals out of nothingness, I’m sitting on a park bench, reading Wallace Stevens on a sunny day when the flashing shadow of a crow darkens my library book. Perfect, I think. Where are the tigers? Where the red weather? I am a drunken old sailor dreaming and asleep. Where are they? In the grudging light that asked for day the mothers look around, covering their startled babies’ ears. We pick and choose our indignations. Stuart Gunter is working toward a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Longwood University and lives in Schuyler, Va. … Continue reading Reading Wallace Stevens at Pen Park by Stuart Gunter

Christmas Eve Parable and Singers, 2 poems by David Huddle

Photo of christmas carolling figurines
 

Christmas Eve Parable Phoebe, my five-year-old granddaughter adores the tiny wax Jesus who lies in the cradle of the creche that came down to us from now dead great grandparents. Wise men, Mary and Joseph, two sheep, a cow and a donkey, it sits atop an antique chest of drawers, at the perfect height for Phoebe to study the scene, occasionally move the humans and the creatures as she likes, whispering softly to them all. Two years ago Phoebe carried the Baby Jesus in her sweaty hand all over the house until he went missing … Continue reading Christmas Eve Parable and Singers, 2 poems by David Huddle

Chopin’s Heart and The History of Our Vagrancies, 2 poems by Jason Irwin

Painting of person hanging from heart
 

CHOPIN’S HEART A brief apocalypse has taken possession of my person. The streets are full of melancholy. Yesterday I fell asleep on the bus. The sound of someone crying woke me. Was it the woman slumped in her seat like a bag of laundry or my mother forty years ago, the night Elvis died and I held her hand as she trembled at the kitchen table? In The Times this morning a story about Chopin’s heart, found, submerged in a brown liquid thought to be cognac. On his deathbed Chopin asked that his heart be … Continue reading Chopin’s Heart and The History of Our Vagrancies, 2 poems by Jason Irwin

Flash Flood by Helga Kidder


 

after Marie Howe It doesn’t matter that the sugar maple is leaning closer to the house, that the cluster of seeds I planted yesterday will wash away. Something doesn’t add up. The dishwasher still leaks after repair, wrens nest in the window box, and the cardinal rules the bird feeder. Another woman gives her unborn to the knife. February is too wet. Each day spiders crochet webs like bridges across the living room windows I have to unravel. The mailbox shuts its mouth to good news. The neighbor’s cat prowls in yews. The flag wraps … Continue reading Flash Flood by Helga Kidder

On A Cappella Lane by Fred Wilbur


 

At university, I lived on A Cappella Lane, which dead-ended at the railroad tracks. Elm cool, the house had ivy as a front ‘lawn’ chaperoned by a short picket fence. The landlady had a walk-in basement apartment and lived between hot-water heater and oil furnace so that her children’s rooms could be rented out. My first night the trains woke me in a nightmarish sweat, bed shaking, books falling out of alphabetical order, coat hangers chiming in the closet. Soon enough I slept unawares. On occasions thereafter I would wake in the middle of the … Continue reading On A Cappella Lane by Fred Wilbur

A Study in Red and White and Keeping Up Appearances, 2 poems by Valerie Griggs

Photo of bright red rose
 

A STUDY IN RED AND WHITE Perhaps a poinsettia-shaped arrow, aimed perfectly by the mischievous son of Venus, brought pomegranate seed mayhem to this soul of mine. A red velvet cake secret snowballed sweetly until I was pale with no sleep, no appetite for anything but you. A December rose blooms above fresh fallen snow— how did you slip between my silver lining? KEEPING UP APPEARANCES On our bones we painted strawberries to hide cracks made by life in the desert. Hidden grief lives in our bones; the painted life of the desert hides what … Continue reading A Study in Red and White and Keeping Up Appearances, 2 poems by Valerie Griggs

The Puzzle Club by Fred Wilbur

Photo of leaves and sticks on ground
 

  In this time of social distancing, I have opened the box as Pandora must have done; 1500 pieces dumped like a pestilence onto the table, but like school children, all begging to know their place. During my working life there were business conundrums enough, but now in seclusion (which is a more positive word than quarantine), I have turned to picture puzzles. 3-D puzzles don’t have the same attraction to me because once you figure out the ‘trick’ you tend to remember it, the fun is gone. And besides they seem head-splittingly mathematical. Same … Continue reading The Puzzle Club by Fred Wilbur