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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



Hear the prescient thunder, as we sit upon our dock

Watch the weather changing, our fingers interlocked

Feel the lake’s embracing grace, in thundering refrain

Breathe with full assurance, after thunder follows rain

Catherine A. Feeney, Durham NH


Another winter day

And nothing to do.

Who’s that calling?

Maybe it’s Drew.

Raining down there?

Snowing up here.

It is rather pretty…

Oh, not so in the city?

Well, I’m not sure 

How I’ll spend the day.

Skiing, skating, hiking, or iceboating….

Can’t really say.

Perhaps snowmobiling

Or get out the snowshoes…

You’re watching tv 

To see who will lose?

Well, it’s just another winter day

And nothing to do.

Thank you for calling

Nice talking with you.

Al Peterson, Sunapee NH


Once, in that snapshot, 

we were all brunettes.

Seated at a white clothed table,

with fragrant bowls of pink peonies

posing with us, we huddled together

for the unknown waiter/photographer. 

I am wearing a poetic floral dress,

my baby sister is in business black,

and the middle sister wears a modest 

teacherly white blouse. We have vowed

to meet for dinner frequently but we will fail.

All we have left of three connected sisters

is this photo freezing us in time.

Moving, careers, marriage, divorce,

illness, families, problems of the sister

now deemed the other sibling, 

left only two still huddling close, 

raising the other’s daughter. 

A wide unbreachable chasm 

split open and grew monumentally.

Now, baby sister is blonde and successful.

I keep my white hair dyed brunette,

still immersing myself in poetic lines.

The other sister has gone gray,

a fact we only know because we

invited her to her daughter’s wedding

and tried, but failed, once again

to huddle close. 

Dianalee Velie, Newbury NH


Machu Picchu

In the Danish Bogs

Imbedded in Amber

Egyptian Mummies

HMS Mary Rose

Warship Vasa

RMS Titanic

Caves of Altamira

The Woolly Mammoth

The Iceman of Switzerland

The North & South Poles

All frozen in time

W.D.Tighe, New London NH


I see the curtains part 

In the neighbor’s window.

They let me in on secrets

Below the shade pulled halfway down.

A child leans against the sill -

Excited to see the snow.

He watches it change to flashes of ice -

Dancing up the glass.

Soon - he forgets the snow

And moves his toy soldiers

In front of the frosted pane.

He guides them - one by one - up wooden blocks

And down again to make space -

To begin again.

Florence Wiltshire Millett, New London NH


Memories are not always

neat and tidy like peas in their pods, 

in boxes stacked in the freezer, 

preserved perfectly

to savor any time we want.

Recall is more like a desk drawer

somewhat jumbled, you know

it’s in there, but so are

missing parts… and pieces

that no longer make sense.

Then there’s what we know now

which changes how we remember

what happened then… to say nothing

of whose version is true, as if

your truth and mine were the same.

Anyway, time never freezes

It’s always moving, making more

of what we don’t need and

leaving less of what we now want

perhaps, then, we are what’s frozen in time.

Pat Whitney, Sunapee NH


This most famous speed skating race

Is a Dutch tradition since 1890

The Dutch pray for the cold every year

They need two weeks of cold

For the ice to be at least 6 inches thick

1997 was the last race held on the frozen canals 

In the Netherlands, Hank Angenent

A Brussel sprout farmer won the 125 mile race

In less than 7 hours

This year The Alternative Elfstedentocht was

Held on a lake in Austria, a friendly Dutch invasion 

Many champion Dutch speed skaters and 

Families drove 11 hours to get there 

This unique event includes a ‘Blister Bowl’

After party, as the Dutch and new friends 

Celebrate with a traditional sing-along 

The Elfstedentocht has a 10% chance of ever 

Happening again in the Netherlands. 

I am proud of my Dutch ancestry and love to skate

On canals and lakes, indoor skating is a thing of the future 

A new story for Hans Brinker and Dutch skaters 

Adapting to a new normal of rapidly warming temperatures

Loa Winter, Newbury NH


I spent hours preparing studying words,

learning their origins in Latin and Greek.

Autumn, loquacious, catarrh, conundrum,

antonym, anonymous and tricky foreseeable.

When I could spell sarsaparilla, I said

“test me, test me please, now test me.”

When the day arrived for the tri-county bee

I walked to the podium ready to compete.

I survived three rounds and was reassured,

since I knew how to spell all the other kid’s words.

It was my turn, “tacit” he said, and I froze.

“Please say it again,” but it was no use.

Never seen it, heard it and so I guessed.

Perhaps it meant cushion, a tiny French stool.

I spelled TASSET. No, take your seat.

The word meant “understood” and I did,

so unfair such a little word to misspell.

I quit that game, the odds were bad.

You only win if everyone else fails.

I learned to compete at tennis and cards.

Sometimes I won and was triumphant, 

had a baby and felt, afterwards, euphoric. 

But, then I heard malignant and curable. 

So, I anxiously repeat my earlier words,

Test me, test me, please now test me.

Mary Blohm, Newbury NH


Here I sit 

Year upon year

Decade upon decade

Frozen in time

Solid as can be




To ocean waves

Tickling my surface

To ice crystals

Forming in winter’s freeze

Here I sit for millennia

Rock solid

Holding my own

Soaking up the sun’s rays.

Anne Sarkisian, New London NH



From my old lover I live a long way

although she lives only three miles

from me. From my old lover I live a 

long way although as the crow flies

it's minutes away. From my old lover

I live a long way although from where

she works it is not even ten miles.

From my old lover I live a long way,

thousands of memories from her.

From my old lover I live a long way.

Robert Manchester, Concord NH



Everything I love

                      in this hair like fragile tightrope of life

can disappear in 

                     the slash of a silver blade

                     the flashing of red lights

                     the hysteria of a grief-gutting call

                     the harsh reality of a black hearse

This I know for sure.

                     This is why I smile .

Dianalee Velie, Newbury NH


Is it the breeze that ruffles my hair

On a cerulean day in June?

Or the site of the full moon just cresting the trees

spilling gold in the Lake when it rises?

Or finding that perfect coral leaf that fell

when we hiked last October?

Or the mournful call of the loon 

then answered with a chortle far away?

It is all of these and so much more.

But, this is the one that I cherish most.

I love when you call my name.

Mary Blohm, Newbury NH


Lounging in my recliner downstairs,

I see staring at me-Mina, our tortoise cat.

Yawning, I realize she’s done it again:

 Herding me to bed.

Finally my love and I are in bed, holding hands.

He’s on one side, I, the other.

Mina jumps up, nestles next to me.

 Each night we become a family of three.

Natalie Davis, New London NH


People were thin.

My uncle Freddy came to visit from Fitchburg. 

I remember Mom stopping our Crosley 

beside the road In Hingham to pick up 

a hitchhiker she recognized, her brother.

His much earlier car accident had cut short his prospects.

Later I learned his much-loved girl-friend died in the collision,

and his significant intellect was lost.

A new BMW 3-wheeled Isetta sat unused in his yard forever.

Dan H. Allen, New London NH


May your love be constructive,

Your demeanor generous,

And may your heart host a smile.

Dan Allen, New London NH


Books, libraries and

seats of Academia

Life, liberty and

the pursuit of happiness

Freedom, fresh air and

a vibrant countryside

Research, evaluations and

a sense of history

Time, good friends and 

a keen interest

Poetry, fairy tales and

challenging rhymes

Anything which tickles

your fancy

W. D. Tighe, New London NH




Of course, I love my human family 

And my domestic animals

I love my wild animals too

Fish, frogs, salamanders and toads

Birds, fox, deer, bear and bees 

I love my gardens and wooded places 

I have made a place for these loved ones


I love clean water, water is life

All life depends on water to survive 

Rain and snow falls to the ground

Spring water comes from the deep earth

Water is our most valuable resource

In India, the Ganges River

Is consider to be a sacred Goddess 

Spiritually protected

In reality

It is dangerously polluted with human waste

What are we doing to protect 

  Love of life and our clean water?

Loa Winter, Newbury NH



Articulate my

Lighthearted sharing of

Everything I love,

Not to mention

Time spent playfully fusing

Intention and design

Neglecting all else

Except for blissfully

Sitting, cutting and pasting.

Pat Whitney, Sunapee NH


Are just

Little reminders of

Exceptional family,

Nurturing friendships and

The many kinds of love

In a world too often

Neither generous nor kind 

Enough to encourage 



Pat Whitney, Sunapee NH


 We awake — my love and I —
To the breath of morning —
Silent — in all its magic.
I rise and move the curtain.
Gone is the night.
Its subtle shadow lingers
On the face of the distant moon.
I whisper softly to my love.
His answer — an amazing smile —
His gift of love to me.

Florence Wiltshire Millet , New London NH 



Diary response from his wife at home on the farm

I’m coming home in February, Ella.

   - You have been gone four months already, Joe.

I have heard some talk

   - Who is telling you this?

Do not go to town after dark.

   - I went to the theater to hear my sister sing.

“Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”

   - I once went to dances, parties and teas.

Your role is to care for the children at home.

   - What about me?

You are spending too much. I want an account.

   - Feeding and clothing five children costs money.

I have a piece of jewelry for you. It’s very expensive.

   - That is not enough.  I want more.

Your picture is next to my mantle.

   - That’s so you won’t forget me.

It does not do you justice.

   - You do not do me justice.


- Mary Blohm, Newbury NH



Dearest great-granddaughter, Anne

Like your grandmother Jenny

You come from a line of women

With strong traits so many

Though I departed earth too soon

Your grandmother was raised

By a loving devoted family

I was so pleased and amazed

Jenny loved to garden

With flowers everywhere

Arranging fresh flowers like you

With an artistic, creative flare

A fabulous cook was she

Everything from scratch

Donuts, pies, fancy desserts

Whatever was in the veggie patch

One of the first B & B’s

Up to the country to relax

Card games, puzzles, shelling peas

And freshly made flapjacks.

A strong voice had she

In church and the community

She was a giver and a doer

At every opportunity

You have her creative flare

And love to compete

Knowing you both 

Would have been such a treat!

Anne Sarkisian, Sunapee NH



 Words from an ancestor I never knew

My great aunts and uncles, 

who played contract bridge, 

and summered on Governor’s Island, 

knew how to make memories.

I can see them, still, acting out elaborate skits 

and rolling back the rug in the dining room 

to dance after dinner, wishing I were

grown up enough to join them.

As the first grandchild and great niece

my memories include Radio City, Central Park, 

and the Bronx Zoo; lunch at the Waldorf

and my first pair of patent leather high heels.

And while I never met my Great Uncle John, 

sometime in the 1920s, he came home 

to visit his mother (my great grandmother)

telling her that he must say goodbye, 

that he was about to do something he could 

not explain to her, that he loved her but 

they would never see each other again.

Family alliances being what they are

my great grandmother shared the story

with her granddaughter-in-law (my mother)

and that is all my mother knew when

she passed it to me, not long before she died. 

Did Great Uncle John become a spy, 

commit murder, move to another country, 

marry someone the family disapproved? 

Was he gay, terminally ill, suicidal?

And there it sits, for almost a century,

this mystery among the memories.

Pat Whitney, Sunapee NH


Born March 1897- died 1944

As I leaf through the old family album

your photo caught my eye. 

Unlike other photos of family members

standing seriously straight, you are smiling 

and casually seated posing with fishing rod 

and dressed in white blouse and white pants.

I found no other photos of family women 

dressed in pants, unlike now when most women

wear pants more often than dresses.

You may have been an embarrassment to your 

family because you were different.

You wore different clothes and may have been

discriminated against because of your actions.

There were barriers that no longer exist today.

I read the many praises for your work in the appreciation letter from 

The Business and Professional Woman’s Club Of San Benito, Texas. 

I read,“making progress in the welfare of women workers 

whether their work was in a home, a shop or office”.

Thank you Aunt Buena, you were a good woman.

I wish I could talk with you now and let you know

How many things have changed for women.

Progress has been made because of women like you.

Loa Winter, Newbury NH 

She died of a brain tumor in 1944

The year I was born




Imagine! The year is 1778!

Picture yourself at age sixteen.

You are married with three babies.

Your home is in a rustic settlement in Upstate New York.

Martha, my 4th great-grandmother was this young woman.

The American Revolutionary War had raged for fifteen years.

It was a time of fierce and bloody conflicts,

One being the historic Cherry Valley Massacre.

With her husband, Joseph, father, and brother-in-law

Having been captured by the Oneidas, and her farm ablaze,

Martha chose to take her babies, one horse, and sister, Mary

On a 3-day, thirty-three mile journey to Cherry Valley. 

It would be treacherous, traveling through ominous wilderness.

Determined, Martha persevered as she had faith that her friends in

Cherry Valley would provide a safer place for her family.

Here, time and space do not allow for more narrative,

Although Martha’s complete story has been written.

A beautiful ancestor, Martha is a forever friend.

A true roll model for her sixteen children and their descendants.

Florence Wiltshire Millett, New London NH



From the ground I stare, gazing high above

At the leaf-covered limbs of those I love.

Closest to me are family members I knew

Higher in the tree there are a few

Names familiar from family lore

Of ancestors that I’m told had come before.

One name not so far up that I cannot see

Is one close to my mother in our family.

Bert Butler, my grandfather, gone before my time

Made me wonder what traits of his are now mine.

Do I purse my lips the same way that he did?

Tell a story or joke in his way as I kid?

Or do I take after others in my line instead?

My son’s red hair comes from Bert it is said -

But whatever else he passed on to me and mine

Is lost in the memory of family gone over time.

The family bible has facts that don’t paint the man,

Bert Butler, as the lost patriarch of my clan.

Wish I knew him - had a chance to sit on his knee

While he shared his life stories and loves with me…

The man I never knew from my own family tree.

S.J. Little, Newbury NH



Could offer kind words

of encouragement

Would relish the pride

which would surely exist

To see what their

offspring produced

Enjoy  with  them

their descendants success

Know their efforts

were  not in vain

W. D. Tighe, New London NH



 Anne and Thomas

Catherine and James

I could only think

Having never met them

They would offer warm

Words of encouragement

Some in Irish

Some in English

Words of wisdom from

The nineteenth century

To be heeded wisely

What they would say

Live well

Cherish life

Enjoy your endeavors

Honor and respect one another

Slainte Mhaith

W. D. Tighe, New London NH


                       If in the twilight of memory we should

                      meet once more, we shall speak again

                      together and you shall sing to me a deeper song.

                                                                Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


I wish I could tell you, from the sepia colored photo at which you stare,

   my life with your grandfather was happy; 

      that I forgot the color of my skin; 

         that I forgot I was once his slave. 

I wish I could tell you I raised thirteen children to full adulthood, but I can't. 

   Your father, the sweetest, and the youngest of my four surviving children,   

      possessed my dense, green eyes, blazing with

         all the colors of my homeland, a land of a proud people.

But, I will speak to you, not of weakness, but of strength.

    In the country of my birth, the land you now call Ethiopia, 

      we believed a spirit only answers when called. 

         You have resurrected my soul. 

Your eyes have the shape and color of mine, 

   your children the curl of my hair. 

      Future grandchildren may one day wear my coffee colored skin, 

         longing for the warmth of a night air felt only in their dreams, 

            my spirit dancing in their veins. 



My homeland was warm and abundant; 

   we had not yet heard of famine. 

      My valley grew rich with the rains

          and our tables were always full. 

The desert stretched out before us, 

   an eternal mystery to our minds until theycame: 

       men, with skin lighter than ours, but baked by the sun, 

         thundered across the desert, one with their animals, 

            but of lesser heart. 

They stole many young girls that day.

    I was bound for servitude; 

      freedom now only in my brain; 

         my beloved land only in my heartl. 

Of my capture, there is little I remember; 

   the Gods give us strange, mysteriously needed gifts. 

      We traveled by land and by sea,

         by horseback and by camel. 

The air became thin and I held my breath, 

   hoping each one would be my last, 

      until I was handed to your grandfather. 

          His name was Ghaspar. 

In my land, the name, Ghaspar, was that of a wise old king. 

   Your grandfather: neither wise nor regal. 

      He had cruel thin lips and eyes that undressed me. 

         He possessed my body but never my spirit. 



We crossed the ocean to a new land called America

   and once again strange words surrounded me. 

      I learned this new language and soon had four young children. 

I began to tell my babies stories about my country, 

   longing for the land of my birth, 

      singing them my mother's lullabies 

         and searching your father's green eyes.

For there I saw my birth, my mother, my father, and my sisters: 

   my paradise. I began to know, in this life, I would find no peace. 

      I became indifferent to my surroundings. 

         I soon refused to speak. 

My silence enraged him. Then, he put me away. 

   Then, I ended my life. 

      My spirit now dances, wild and carefree. 

         I am everywhere now, my essence

            is in your very bones,




You must allow me to tell you more: 

   it is the story of my life.

My mother, in the land of my youth,

  sang to me the poetry of Sam-enna warq

      the poetry of wax and gold. 

         Through these verses, myth and legend survived. 

The literal meaning we called "wax." 

   The deeper secret meanings we called "gold." 

      After a goldsmith had made a form of wax,

          he molded the clay around it. 

The clay hardened, the wax was melted, 

   and then liquid gold poured inside. 

      When the clay was cracked, 

         only the purity of the gold remained. 

The wax and the clay will return to earth, 

   but the gold will continue

      to be shaped and reshaped, 

         melted and reformed, rebirthed like our souls, 

            our bodies just clay vessels, good only for a certain voyage. 



You have come to the mid point in your life now, 

   the wax melted, the clay formed, and the gold poured. 

      There is nothing to fear when the clay support is 

         cracked and discarded. Your true essence remains. 


But for now, you are the keeper of the myths, the storyteller of the dreams, 

   the dreams of your ancestress across the seas. 

      Call me Azeb, the name my mother gave me,

         a name meaning brilliant and free. 

Call me often. I am always there, an unconscious answer to your prayers.

   You bestowed, upon me, the ultimate power to be

      a part of your life when you resurrected my soul.



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

Visual Verse Poetry Reading and Photography

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 Poetry Reading and Photography

Visual Verse Poetry Reading and Photography


"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