A Poem to Honor Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni (1888–1970)

In Rosa’s Honor
(a Dorsimbra)

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
speak clearly
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.    ~~~




No Sanctuary

The white-tailed doe ran through the woods alone.
She’d left her fawns in patch of thick, green fern.
Obeying her, the twins appeared as stone
and waited silently for her return.

A pack of coyotes
sneaked through the brush
where the young ones lay.
At the sound of their cries,

the doe rushed back to patch of thick, green fern
which now lay trampled on the still-warm ground.
Her nostrils flared and burned as though with fire.
The white-tailed doe ran through the woods alone.

© 2015 Freeda Baker Nichols

A Time to Love

English: Cherry blossoms Polish: Kwiaty wiśni.













When green leaves broaden on the cherry tree
and cherry blooms have started to depart,
it’s May and all things beautiful and free
are born anew like love inside the heart.

I watch soft clouds
like cotton
stretch so thin
they disappear.

This is the time for fishing at the creek,
for catching crappie with a cane and hook.
The butterflies appear like strings of silk,
when green leaves broaden on the cherry tree.

© Copyright, 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

When Last the Dogwood Blossomed . . .

Dogwood on the  Hill

Dogwood on the Hill

When last the dogwood blossomed on the hill,
the sun was bright that April kind of day.
The birds sang sweetly and the breeze was still.
My love promised: “I’ll never go away.”

Walking up the hill, I thought
how vows are sometimes broken.
Pinned to the tree, I found his note,
its only word: “Goodbye.”

I might find someone else and fall in love.
But I doubt that will ever be the case.
My heart turned cold that April afternoon
when last the dogwood blossomed on the hill.

Copyright 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

To Write is My Dream

Along the way to Piggott

Along the way to Piggott

Writer on location at Piggott
Freeda Baker Nichols at Barn Studio where Hemingway wrote at Piggott, Arkansas

When I return to Piggott in the fall,
I often write of Ernest Hemingway.
An author, among others, he stands tall.
His books appeal to readers still today.

Although I write
my best,
my work does not
compare to his.

His masterpieces line library shelves,
the titles bold as black and silver braids.
My dream to write becomes reality
when I return to Piggott in the fall.

c Copyright 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

This poem, in the Dorsimbra form, was written recently at the Writers’ Retreat at Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center at Piggott, Arkansas. While I was at the retreat, the staff hosted a book signing and reading. I read from my book, “Call of the Cadron.” I read also from my poem collection. Two other authors  participated in the reading and book signing–Jo McDougall, mentor for the retreat, who is the author of a memoir called “Daddy’s Money”, and Donna Austin, author of “The Sunflower Principle.”  We read in the living room of the Pfeiffer House, which belonged to the in-laws of Ernest Hemingway.  It’s always inspiring and exciting to write in a location where a famous author visited his relatives, and wrote stories in the barn studio.

The Pfeiffer-Janes House