Free Verse


Paisley moon shadows–
a canopy above pine trees
near a marsh
where dogs bay in hunt
for the buck trapped there.
Young dogs not smart enough
to catch the deer, and old ones
not able to rush him. A steed whinnies
and its hooves jar the ground,
alerting the fish in Cade Hollow Creek
which runs catty-corner across Nimrod Park.


The buck flees, the dogs circle,
and the game warden smiles
while on the hill a hunter
holsters his rifle.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

America’s Story

Eagle at Banner Mt.Flag of the U.S.A.cropped-dsc_0436.jpg

America’s Story

Do you see upon the canvas
in that painting on the wall,
how our country won its freedom,
why our soldiers stand so tall?

Do you see the purple mountains
high above the golden grains
posing there in modest beauty,
background for the wind-swept plains?

Purple mountains in the distance,
rising high beyond the hills,
hiding dust of my ancestors
where the ancient river spills.

Eagles’ wings spread wide in splendor
blending with the twilight sky,
in this land where freedom’s arrow
silenced every battle cry.

In the distant purple mountains
ranging inland from the sea,
kinfolk battled one another
in the war that set men free.

On beaches claimed at Normandy
in the battle of the brave,
truly dedicated soldiers
fought with courage to their graves.

Others lived to tell the story
why America stands tall . . .
their account depicted boldly
in that painting on the wall.

Our flag raised on Iwo Jima
island in Pacific’s blue,
symbol that our battle ended
successfully in World War II.

North Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq
and the clouds of Desert Storm
bring back thoughts of Nagasaki,
and the dropping of The Bomb.

The message on the canvas
speaks in clear and native tongue–
and all who understand the language
are true daughters and true sons.

Purple mountains in the distance
standing tall in majesty–
a symbol that America
is still the land of liberty.

© 2015 Freeda Baker Nichols

A Tough Old Bridge

The train came through a tunnel, down to town
across a bridge that spans the Little Red–
a bridge of steel that reaches bank to bank
above the river flowing fast and deep
enough for young and old to dive and swim.

The angry flood of nineteen eighty-two
bear-clawed and pulled apart the cobbled streets
and quickly claimed an ancient concrete pier.
The boiling waters scarred a path so wide
the river steamed onto the shore and caused
the bridge’s portal to float free in stream.

But strong-willed men rebuilt the broken link,
restored the aged bridge–a tough, old bridge.

The railway bridge at edge of my hometown
no longer hears an engine’s chugging sound,
no longer shakes with jar of clacking wheels.
Old timers spin a thousand tales and more
of whistle blaring near the mountain bend.

Though trains no longer cross the Little Red,
the bridge has earned the honor to remain.

by Freeda Baker Nichols

Train Bridge at Shirley, Arkansas