A female cardinal fluffs her feathers in April’s cool breeze, one Ozark Mountain day.
runt of the litter
born in an old wash kettle
a furry, black cat
© Freeda Baker Nichols
A MOTHER’S CELEBRITY
Today, I saw a cenotaph
near where the children played
and there for hours I stayed
and thought I heard the children laugh,
for carved upon a stone
by little hands unknown,
I found a famous autograph.
© Freeda Baker Nichols
From: Tigers and Morning Glories
A Lanterne is a 5-line poem originating in Japan. The poem has a syllable count of 1,2,3,4,1. The words are centered on the line to create the shape of a Japanese lantern.
with the wind
© Freeda Baker Nichols
Old Sport Loved Peanuts
The peanuts grew on the bank of a stream that gurgled through the south pasture of our farm at Tame Valley. My siblings and I had to help pick the peanuts when it was harvest time. I hated pulling the vines from the clinging, dark soil. I didn’t like shaking the dirt from the plants. So I complained a lot. Didn’t do any good. I still had to help.
I preferred playing with our dogs, Old Sport and little Brownie. But I couldn’t play until all the peanuts were harvested. Mama told me not to let Sport eat the peanuts. He liked peanuts. But I knew Mama thought our big family would need them for snacks. So I obeyed.
Later, that winter our family gathered in the living room when snow fell like goose feathers flying through the air. Mama parched peanuts in a tin pan on the wood stove. The peanuts tasted so good, warm and salted. When Mama wasn’t looking, I was tempted to drop some peanuts on the floor for Sport. But I didn’t.
And I regretted it because Sport died the next spring before planting time. When I got older, I knew that if Mama had known Sport would die, she would have given him her share of the peanuts. And I would have given him mine also. © Freeda Baker Nichols
In Rosa’s Honor
As poet laureate, Rosa was great!
October 15th marked her special day.
She gave her time and talent to our state,
encouraged poetry along the way.
Her poems still
as year after year
we think of her.
We meet to keep the torch she lit aflame.
We watch it glow when our own fire is low.
We think of her and write our best because,
as poet laureate, Rosa was great!
by Freeda Baker Nichols
From the brochure for National Poetry Day in Arkansas, October 20th, 2012.
Each year, National Poetry Day is hosted by Poets Roundtable of Arkansas in honor of Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni. (1888–1970) Marinoni was named poet laureate of Arkansas by the Arkansas General Assembly on March 28, 1953, an appointment she held until her death. Governor Winthrop Rockefeller in 1969, proclaimed October 15, the date on which Poetry Day is observed in Arkansas, to be Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni Day.
The upcoming Poetry Day is scheduled for October 13, 2018 at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies in the Little Rock River Market area, 401 President Clinton Avenue. Featured speaker will be Pat Durmon of Norfork, Arkansas. Pat is an accomplished poet and has just released her fourth poetry book–Women, Resilient Women. ~~~
Photo by Freeda Baker Nichols
From my journal: “It is raining very hard. The sky is dark and heavy with clouds full of water. It is a day in which I am usually lonely, but today my heart is filled with joy that is lasting over into this dark and rainy day.”
I am a writer and I must write. Often, I wonder what is new to write? Even if, like Hemingway, I should begin with one true sentence, how would I complete a work that I haven’t even thought about? It’s amazing how sometimes my words and phrases tumble over each other to crowd the page, and other times, the page remains blank because a long, dry spell has control of my sub-conscious. Writer’s block is for real from time to time in a writer’s life. And it’s to be expected. As far as I can tell, there’s no quick cure for it.
Journal entry: “I have no creative thoughts but I feel compelled to write something. Drove out to Banner Mountain. Enjoyed the peacefulness of the woods. I always like to go back there.”
Going back to Banner Mountain is like going back home–the place I left at the age of barely nineteen. On an autumn day following our wedding and honeymoon, my husband and I loaded our wedding gifts into the car he had borrowed from an Air Force buddy and we began our journey in life together. A couple of days later, we arrived at Smoky Hill Air Force Base out on the Kansas plains–the countryside so different from my beloved Banner Mountain, with its woodlands, its songbirds, and its kind and gentle people. I would meet other wonderful people as we followed my husband’s military career. I would live in other states in the United States and in one foreign country before my husband retired. After his retirement we moved back to Arkansas, back to the Ozarks to live not very far from Banner Mountain. © Freeda Baker Nichols
May your New Year be happy and blessed!
Cedar Waxwing in the Ozarks in winter.