In Retrospect

walked down
a worn trail
at end of day
as darkness spread long,
graceful shadows slowly
upon the valley of green.
I listened to sweet call of quail
serenading its mate in meadow
where once my love had sung a song to me.

© 2018 Freeda Baker Nichols

Photo by Brett Sayles on

NaBloPoMo#28 Runs in the Family


granddaughter (Photo credit: anothernamedrose)

Runs in the Family

An appliqued red apple in the corner
of the scarf caught my eye.
The scarf covered the scratched
walnut finish of the pie-cooler that
was Grandma Lizzie’s hand-me-down
from her mother. The apple looked
good enough to eat.

“How do you write poetry?” Grandma
asked, the spring I visited her in the Ozarks
when dogwood blossoms appeared
like snow across the hillside.

“Oh,” I began, wondering how
serious she was.  “I start with a word,
or phrase maybe–” I stammered.
“Then I persist until something                                                                                                                                                                                                         
clicks and sentences tumble out, as
though they’ve broken free from a
locked cell.  They land on the page–”

“As gently as the baby quail
you found?” she asked.

The baby quail! Orphaned, it had
come running to me, hungry and thirsty.
I gave it too much water, and it died.

“Yes, Grandma. Like the baby quail.”

itty bitty baby quail

itty bitty baby quail (Photo credit: cskk)

Poems, too, need the right amount of words,
or they die.

“But tell me, Grandma, how did you make
the apple look so real?”

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

Baby Bobwhite’s Lullaby

Cougar 008


The daddy quail was singing to his young
a brand-new song no other bird had sung.
He sang a baby bobwhite lullaby–
but then he hushed when Tom, the cat, appeared.
He flew away and hid from Tom’s keen eye.
Old Tom Cat was the only thing he feared.
A brand-new song no other bird had sung,
the daddy quail was singing to his young.

Copyright 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols