I found the wild azaleas growing pink
as cheeks hot-flushed in fever from a cold.
I drew the water for my mother’s drink
and placed the petals in a vase of gold.
I saw her shaking hands turn pale and dry
and move along the rim of china vase,
and then extend just as in days gone by
to mine. No one can fill my mother’s place.
Please do not bring to me your roses red
nor wipe away my tears that fall in sheets
to cover her new cemetery bed.
In Heaven she now walks on golden streets
while I go down a dark and dusty trail,
in search of pink azaleas for my pail.

© Freeda Baker Nichols


With Honor I Salute America

With honor I can stand, salute the flag,
feel happy that I live where we are free.
I can be humble if I wish, or brag
of lands that lie in splendor by the sea.
I can condemn or praise our president
as he proceeds with plans  not guaranteed.
I may support his cause without comment
or bellow loudly that I’ve disagreed.
And as I worship in my church of choice
on Sundays when the sun breaks out to shine,
I pray with gratitude as I rejoice
to claim this costly freedom that is mine.
May Glory ever wave atop her stand
in every yard across my country land.


© 2014 Freeda Baker Nichols

Flag of the U.S.A.


A Lamp to Guide

San Juan Capistrano
God’s word is like a lamp that guides my feet
when evil tries to push them far away
from narrow path that leads to golden street
of Heaven, where I want to go someday.
God’s love is like a lamp that shines soft white
into my heart to ship away black sin
and steers the way through shadows of dark night
until bright sunbeams glow like flames within.
Forgiven, I am now the Shepherd’s own.
Redeemed, I daily walk with Him throughout
the tangled pathways strewn with jagged stone.
His power shields me from each blackened doubt.
You, too, can have redemption that I claim:
forgiveness asked in Jesus’ Holy Name.

© 2014 Freeda Baker Nichols

A winner at Ozark Creative Writers in 2000

Free To Those Who Qualify

Oh, how I wanted a streamlined rocket ship
like Luke and Patty bought in ‘fifty-three!
Or one like Sam and Kay took on their trip
in Space where the Stars and Stripes wave free.
They traded in their shiny hover cars
for spacecraft well equipped with window view.
They rocketed to Moon and then to Mars,
did not invite me, left me here to stew.
Today, I smile and preen with pride of heart.
I got a raise, but friends are very few–
those few and I began to break apart.
We had a spat on Solar Avenue.
They needed dough to fix their rocket’s deck.
Their nerve! They asked me for my Welfare check!


© 2014 Freeda Baker Nichols

Embed from Getty Images

Calendars are for . . .

Freeda Baker Nichols, writing on porch of the Pfeiffer House at Hemingway Writers' Retreat

Freeda Baker Nichols, writing on porch of the Pfeiffer House at Hemingway Writers’ Retreat

keeping notes. For reminding you of places to go and places you have been. They tell you that time is marching on . . . does not stand still.

I suppose no one really wants it to.

I wish I would use my time to write poetry and stories that would bring peace, happiness, joy and all good emotions to people who read my creations.

I wish I could write humor.

Freeda Baker Nichols

and still the jonquils bloom . . .

Chimney --

Return to the Homeplace

I walked along a dusty country lane
Where roses wound around in wild bouquets.
I saw the house with broken windowpane
beneath a cluster of green ivy leis.
A chimney covered with a thick-leaf maze
half-leaned like lanky sentinel of late
who guarded secrets of forgotten days
as though his duty was so very great.
Blue smoke no longer drifted way up high.
No voices filled the air with lively hum.
The well that gave fresh water had gone dry.
The orchard though was purple proud with plum.
The taste of juicy plums’ sweet memory
then yanked my yesterdays back home to me.

© Freeda Baker Nichols




Peppermint Sticks

Bluebird house for rent






Dad brought pink peppermint home in a sack
and gave it to my sis, Yvonne, and me,
each time he made his monthly trip to town.
My sis and I would race each other down
to meet our dad each time that he came back.
Yvonne school-hopped on past the white lilac.
She was the first to reach Dad– she was three
and I was only two years more than she.
Two sacks he held within his weathered hand.
We smiled and thought that he was simply grand.
He parked his Model T beside the fence,
then gave our mom a hug without pretense
and she was happy with cake flour he bought
but candy was the best thing that he brought.

© 2014,  Freeda Baker Nichols

Who Are The Poets?


Who Are The Poets?

Who but a poet whose talents are rare
can bring out the laughter, also a tear?
Who but the Poets’  Roundtable will care
when one of their members trembles with fear?

Who but a poet can furnish the glue
to hold words together upon the page,
compressed, compacted–a story so true–
to capture attention down through the age?

Some have collected Fair Heaven’s awards;
their poetry, though, shall ever remain
in hearts, anthologies, sharp as new swords,
indelible as the great works of Twain.

Who are these poets that I hold in awe?
Why, they are the Poets’ of Arkansas.

© 2014 Freeda Baker Nichols


These horses are the same color as two mules my daddy owned in the late 1940's,

These horses are the same color as two mules my daddy owned in the late 1940’s,

I Remember Daddy

I liked to watch my daddy bale the hay
and haul it to the barn at end of day
where little sister and I used to play.
We climbed up in the loft so we could see
our daddy drive the mules, Shorty and Kate,
up from the hayfield, then on through the gate.
Our mama called from kitchen, “Don’t be late,”
and then she sat with baby on her knee.
Those days were short it seems when I recall
the heat, the smell of new-mown hay in stall.
What fun when daddy made the final haul
and walked back to the house with Sis and me.
At supper time , we bowed our heads for grace;
the baby’s cooing lit up Daddy’s face.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

Looking Through the Door into the Hemingway Barn-Studio

Freeda Baker Nichols at Hemingway's Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

Freeda Baker Nichols at Hemingway’s Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

From My Notes:

At the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, I put my pen to  paper to write and I look around, thinking, “Hemingway was actually here in this barn-studio, in this house, on these grounds.”  I’m impressed and excited when I think of that.  After all, he received the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.  And I love his story, “The Old Man and the Sea.”  If only I could write like him.

In June of 2007, I attended my second Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas and signed up for the next one.  Because writing is a lonely job, it’s encouraging to gather with other writers.  The Retreat inspires writers to reach toward goals at their own pace, in their own way.  I always leave eager to create new stories as well as finish my stories-in-progress,

At one of the retreats, I set my goal to finish my first novel at the end of 2010, but it was one year later that I completed “The Call of the Cadron,” a 200-page fiction, set in Arkansas. In May, 2012, I had a printed copy in my hand. My self-publishing experience has been both rewarding and successful.

In November 2012, the staff at the Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas hosted a book signing for me, along with two other authors, Donna Austin and Jo McDougall.

This year of 2013 is the first time  in seven years I’ve missed attending the Writers’ Retreat in Piggott. Sometimes other things become my priority, but writing is my destiny and always on my mind and in my heart.  The poem below is one I wrote at the Retreat and it was published in the Retreat’s brochure.


Although I try, how can I write like him,
a writer honored with the Nobel Prize?
I watch the robins light on dogwood limb
and hear the sorrow in their constant cries.
Have they descended from red-breasted birds
that looked for worms in cool of early dawn
and sang contented songs with smoothest words
when Hemingway once strolled across the lawn?

Today, I write from break of day to dark,
not far from Ernest’s barn loft studio,
beside an oak where lightning cracked tough bark.
Goodbye, great oak.  How sad you have to go!
If I create one sentence that is true,
might I be worthy of the Nobel, too?

© 2006, Freeda Baker Nichols

Freeda Baker Nichols at her book signing at Hemingway Writers' Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas

Freeda Baker Nichols at her book signing at Hemingway Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas

Cat and kittens at Hemingway's Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

Cat and kittens at Hemingway’s Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas