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Poetry in Motion

"A Winter's Tale"

Poetry by John Travato

Read by Janet Miller Haines

Video and Production by Peter Bloch


Poetry by the John Hay Poets

 previously published in the InterTown Record



On days of gray Santa’s spirit sank out of sight;

His delivery elves had joined Amazon year-round.

His toy makers couldn’t match speed of light

Gem-cracks. What could he reasonably propound?

His cookie makers had left for self-employment.

Fact staff now worked in NY city for the ACLU.

The Reindeer had lost forage to the climate tint

What could neglected Santa possibly do?

Well there is the annual greetings to small kids

With little ones sitting on Santa’s lap as guests

And the importance of being Santo for all on the grids

Surely Santa knows best how to channel requests,

Dan H. Allen, New London NH


Santa is a spirit filled with the magic of Christmas,

A magic seen in a Christmas tree that shines its ornaments

Through windows of a neighbor’s house

Where excited children wait in anticipation of Christmas Day.

Santa, however, is not always dressed in red,

Wearing a white beard, and carrying a sack full of toys.

He has many helpers, some of whom are mothers and fathers.

Sadly for some, Christmas does not hold 

Their wishes to surprise their children.

It was written in olden days, “There are times to give and times to take.”

Christmas has a deeper meaning than Santa.

Gifts or not, Christmas is Love!

Love is the joy of Christmas!

Florence Wiltshire Millett, New London


Santa didn’t feel like delivering toys

To all the good little girls and boys

Often feeling sick and tired

Hypoglycemic and uninspired

His tummy was so bloated

His insides felt explosive 

So full of gas

Few could surpass

Bad allergies galore

And a troublesome coldsore

With asthma he did writhe

And could hardly breathe

Santa was depressed

And overly distressed

With bronchitis, osteoarthritis

Sinusitis and acute gastritis

He began to inflate

As he piled on weight

He was eating a lot of cookies and bread

Maybe that’s why his cheeks were so red

Mrs. Claus had read about gluten

Thought maybe this was the solution

So on a gluten-free diet Santa went

And his health began to reinvent

All his symptoms went away

As long as gluten-free he did stay

Santa was able to deliver the toys

To all the good little girls and boys

He hopped in his sleigh

And was on his merry old way.

Anne Sarkisian, New London NH


Mrs. Claus’ once happy face is wearing a frown

As she watches the way Santa’s been going to town.

He’s on-line buying toys for a much younger man

Thinking he’s due to enjoy all that he can.

A Fitbit new watch and a new exercise routine

Just doesn’t seem like Santa, if you know what I mean!

How many kids will be disappointed on this Christmas day

To find all those cookies left untouched on his tray!

And what’s with the shiny new red Corvette - all for show

It’s not like he can even drive it in North Pole snow!

Santa’s sleigh now sits so forlorn outside the barn

While the Vette sits inside, toasty and out of all harm.

The reindeer are worried, not eating their hay -

Wondering if they’ll even fly on Christmas Eve day.

They heard Santa talking to some high-tech boys

About using drones, of all things, to deliver the toys!

But worse than the clothes and his new toys small and big,

Is the new ‘do’ with dyed hair that looks like a wig!

An IPad now replaced the ‘List’, Mrs. Claus realized -

The Naughty and Nice kids are now computerized!!!

Who to turn to and ask, Mrs. C ponders in vain

Santa’s mid-life crisis is driving her totally insane!

Sandra Little, Newbury NH


An elfman woke me up last night by dancing on my head.

I asked, “Is everything all right?”, and this is what he said:

“We’re warning everyone we know that Santa’s gone awry:

he won’t put on his Santa pants and says, ‘I’m not that guy.

I’m way too cool to ‘Ho ho ho’ and drive a dumb old sleigh.

I’ve joined a gym, and do tai chi, and now I’m on my way

to jog around the entire earth—I’ve got my Nikes on.

I may be late with Christmas gifts—too bad—but now I’m gone!’”

The elfman shook his tiny head, and looked so very sad

I looked into his tearful eyes and told him, “Little lad,

you’ve got the toys, you’ve got the sleigh, the reindeer know the route

and Mrs. Santa’s just the size to wear the Santa suit.

Perhaps she’ll take his place this year delivering the gifts--

No one will know the difference, and no one will be miffed.”

The elf man smiled a little smile, and to the North Pole flew.

He told the plan to Mrs. S., who knew just what to do:

“Bless your heart, you tiny man, but everything’s all right.

Christmas Eve will always come, and Christmas will be bright.

But after all these many years, poor Santa needs a break:

He needs to get his mojo back, and heal his every ache.

Remind the world, this special year, we’re sisters and we’re brothers

and not to wait for Santa Claus--give love to one another.

And think how happy all will be to look up in the sky

and marvel when Cool Santa Man jogs into their July.”

Joan T. Doran,New London NH


Santa Claus was feeling quite frumpy,

since Mrs. Claus no longer looked dumpy.

Her diet last year, left her full of good cheer

and her cellulite was no longer lumpy.

Santa exercised and starved on the Keto diet,

his wife just watched him and got very quiet.

Checking his figure with much vim and vigor,

liked what she saw, booked a room at the Hyatt.

Then Santa decided to give his reindeers a rest

and thought horsepower this year would be best.

A Ferrari he bought, without a thought,

and passed his USA driver’s test.

Then the grey beard and hair had to go,

it made him look too old and slow.

He dyed it all black, and loaded his sack,

but now he had too much to tow.

He hired some trucks, to carry the toys

for all the good little girls and boys.

Then a new white suit, he bought to boot,

and a snappy red tie stamped with joys.

Things went smoothly for a little bit,

until the first border crossing he hit.

No visa or passport he had to retort

when told by the guards these to submit.

Eyes are a twinkle, your nose red as a cherry,

get out of the car sir and do so in a hurry.

Sirs, that white stuff in the bag, with no Merry Christmas tag,

keeps me wide awake this night, and now I really must scurry.

They did not believe he was Santa Claus

told him so with never a pause.

Patting him down, they started to frown,

knowing he had broken some several bad laws.

But suddenly in the air Mrs. Claus did appear

with Santa’s sleigh and all of his reindeer.

She unloaded the trucks, and called to the bucks,

we can still save Christmas this year!


So this is the story of Santa’s mid-life crisis.

Seems they thought he was a member of Isis.

Looking quite dapper, he spent the night in the clapper,

which Mrs. Claus thought was quite priceless!

They all heard her exclaim as she drove out of sight,

My Darling, my Dear, have a very good night.

You can thank me later, to me you will cater,

for making your Christmas Eve flight!

I’ll keep the Ferrari, don’t take it back,

if you want to keep this marriage in tact.

I’ll post bail and out you’ll sail

then we’ll write a new marriage contract.

It will state I’m your equal,

since I am brilliant and bilingual.

Only then I will write you out of this blight

while holding all legal rights to the sequel….

Dianalee Velie, Newbury NH



I see in you a strong beautiful woman

Whose talents reveal your inherited backbone

A gift giving you the courage to be the best you can be

I see in your eyes the magic spirit in a wishbone

The spirit dreams are made of

What greater gifts are there?

You have met some unfortunate times

Though your strength has carried you 

You are a true survivor

Cherish each day as a precious offering

While in your gratitude

Let your backbone shine

Let your dreams be contagious

And never stop sharing your funny bone!

Florence Wiltshire Millett, New London NH


The Wishbone Football Offense Formation

They all had strong backbones those in the wishbone.

Quarterback, fullback and two tailbacks.

Take the snap from the center. Ball can be thrown

Or pitched to trailing speedsters for your attacks.

Or tuck the ball into the FB's gut

For a plunge into the line

And watch him cut

Downfield into the endzone - goalmine!

Darrell Royal Texas Longhorn,

Bud Wilkinson Oklahoma Sooner - the coaches. 

The 4-man backfield triple option was born

And electrified 1960's/70's fans with its exciting approaches.

Skip Hause, Sunapee NH



At first, they ribbed each other

but soon they were at cross-bones,

for Backbone’e eyes bored holes in things,

while Wishbone’s eyes were never bored

and saw things holy everywhere.

And though the Fates conspired

to wall them off from one another,

Wishbone’s longing summoned gold

and from it, Backbone made 

a ladder, strong and tall,

forged from possibility and will.

Then Wishbone painted rainbows

on whatever clouds came into view.

Backbone molded clouds to bricks

and built their dream on bare-boned grit

and granite sparked with mica stars.

Their bone china bore the sweetest meat.

Their bone pile was always full

and they were blessed with funnybones.

Joan T. Doran, New London NH



Instead of breaking the wishbones of Thanksgiving,

I’ve kept them whole with wishes. I don’t want to hurt anything

especially that which once connected a Y to wings.

In the comfort of my own despair, I honor the backbone

I seldom knew was there. From the beginning of me, it seems

someone or a group of them has wanted to crumple me like a bag

of dirty laundry. “You have to grow a backbone” some said.

No, I say, I don’t; you create it for me day by day, disc by disc.

Those people would pull so greedily on a wishbone, 

the magic snuffs in the snap, because they are ignorant.

Instead of breaking the wishbones of Thanksgiving,

I’ve kept them whole with wishes. I don’t want to hurt anything,

especially that which once connected a Y to wings.

My vertebrae mean everything to me—no one can break me.

Amber Rose Crowtree, Grafton NH



Backbone gives one stature

Wishbone gives one hope

One will raise you up

The other gives you scope

Solid foundation on one hand

A prospective on which to dream

Profound thoughts come to mind

Opportunities so it would seem

As we stroll down many paths

Life unfolds along the way

With our Backbones and Wishbones

We will certainly have something to say

W. D. Tighe, New London NH



for Linda Whipple

Five bushels of apples she peeled 

and cored, doing most of the work

herself. My arthritic hands pared slowly,

blessing our friendship, praying and 

remembering the turkey wishbone

we snapped one Thanksgiving 

calling it a draw. Now I desire only

to take away her pain as she seeks

balance after losing her love to cancer.

The backbone, the core of our camaraderie,

lies in tragedies borne, joyous occasions 

celebrated and sharing stories of our kids

and grandkids. Today she’s apple saucy 

and smiley, peeling and organizing my pantry 

as our November days grow shorter, darker.

Now, with the backbones and wishbones

of our friendship, we harvest 

what we have nourished, awaiting 

the inevitability of winter’s hibernation.

Dianalee Velie, Newbury NH



You are graciously invited to come for Thanksgiving

but, first you should know there are certain conditions.

Do not bring your dog, we have two cats,

when they feel threatened they are known to attack.

Conversation is encouraged, however, there are rules.

Climate and politics are okay to discuss,

as long as you watch the same news that I do.

Wishing you are healthy and if you are not,

keep the organ recital to a minute or two.

I will serve a bronzed bird with all the trimmings,

including stuffing, cranberry and mountains of mashed.

And, something green but not that bean casserole,

because my mother always said, “why gild the lily?”

For dessert I will serve my signature pie,

don’t bother to add yours, we’re trying to diet.

Can’t wait to see you and just so you know

we don’t eat marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes.

If you comply you are welcome back.

See you on Thursday, Happy Thanksgiving.

Mary Blohm, Newbury NH



My heart yearns for what it cannot have

but gulps my privilege.

History has taught availability.

Old Age has refined choice,

has encouraged disorder, entropy, 

which is arrested by a backbone.

Dan H. Allen, new London NH




To my wife, Melanie

The wheel turns

       under your feet,

your hands wrapped

       around me, gentle, sweet.

I am lost, found,

       reborn, to be

whatever you make me.

       I surrender

to your kiln’s heat.

-Ala Khaki, Amherst NH


Before you can be clay, you must be still,

lying prone without a ripple or a wish—

no chasing flags, no leaping walls.

Your ears must be wide-open, grounded

so they hear the earthworm’s words, the songs of stones,

the sibilance of silicate and stars. You must be 

parched, cracked open, sun’s fair game. You must be

slurried by relentless torrents, dissolved 

in the imperatives of streams, carried

like raw treasure ransomed from the wilderness

until you’re slippery no more, no longer filled with grit,

but quiescent, pliant, firm enough 

to bear your being formed to something

far beyond the tumbling of the ages,

reborn through fire to service and to beauty,

become a stolid brick that weathers well, 

a vase so sheer the light shines through—

transformed at last by burning 

not to death

but to impossibility.

-Joan T. Doran, New London



Someday, someone could mold the clay

    Into a bowl with my ashes to save

        To dissolve back down to the 

                 Earth, under a wave

-Loa Winter, Newbury



What is it, this ball of clay?

I see it as nothing more than an inanimate object of little or no value

When in my imagination, creative thoughts are born.

My hands slowly knead and stretch the clay

Propelling it forward in a nurturing process

Until it no longer resembles its original form.

Among the storms and rainbows in life,

Are our relationships not like balls of clay?

All moving mysteriously in calculated precision

Toward unforeseen goals.

-Florence Wiltshire Millett, New London


If I were a ball of clay

I’d be enticing you to play

You could pinch me into a pot

Or anything I’m presently not

Or center me on the wheel

Throwing a pot with great zeal

While you form my lump of clay

Your mind might go astray

Dozens of shapes you could make

Wonder which one you’ll take            

As you steadily improvise

My shape begins to grow in size

Soon a beautiful bowl

Made with great control

Into the kiln it goes

The result – nobody knows!

Once a fired pot

You really like me a lot

Covered in blue glaze

Beauty it conveys

Once a lump of clay

Now an artistic display!

-Anne Sarkisian, New London        


I'd name myself Cassius Clay.
If I were fine soft ceramic rock
I'd sculpt myself  rising up every day
Modeling my fists so they could knock

Out my opponent to the floor
And knead him with glaze firing speed
That he'd call to me "no more"
my punches causing his porcelain nose to bleed.

I'd be self hardening.
Standing, jabbing, spinning
On the pottery wheel -
The ring - where I'd be winning.

-Skip Hause,  Lake Sunapee


As a ball of clay, I would never want

to be taken off the potter’s wheel, 

begging the potter to keep caressing

and pressing, his hands keeping me soft 

and pliable, my moist lips forming

the rim of a vase to hold flagrant

pink peonies then, changing his mind,

fashioning them into edges of a platter

to hold succulent oysters. 

Still on the wheel, I can become anything

he desires, anything his imagination conjures. 

Forever malleable I can teach his students 

so very much, when to gently caress, 

when to press with more force 

and when to let me collapse 

into a happy ball of wet clay.

-Dianalee Velie, Newbury NH



A ball of clay

has  no eyes

has no brain

no sense of smell

how mundane

A ball of clay

no appetite

no taste buds

no need to be fed

how calm

A ball of clay

no sense of hearing

no sense of urgency

no need to be - anything

how peaceful

-W. D. Tighe, New London


A ball of clay is round

A ball of clay is inert

A ball of clay is quiet

A ball of clay is curious

It could be baked in a kiln

It could be passive

It could be aggressive

It could be lonely

After all it is only a ball of clay

-W. D. Tighe, New London

Literary Publications

Visual Verse Poetry Reading and Photography


The second volume of Visual Verse, a book of poetry and photography published by the Literary Arts Guild of the Center for the Arts, Lake Sunapee Region and Lake Sunapee Protective Association.  

Visual Verse


"Visual Verse" 

Art and Poetry inspired by The Fells 

Purchase your copy 

at Morgan Hill Bookstore, or at The Fells 

or order your copy by emailing us HERE