New poem recently added – Feckless Desire by Allison Cusato.
Voices of Valley Women 2016
Voices of Valley Women, writing by and about women living in the Shenandoah Valley. The Voices of Valley Women is a forum for women to share their writing with each other; a place where each unique voice can be heard. This can be in the form of a poem, a letter, a haiku, a story or your thoughts on any topic. A long term goal is to gather enough material to make a book featuring the voices of local women. Email submissions to email@example.com or send to FRWRC, PO Box 1748 in Front Royal.
By Allison Cusato
February 16, 2016
Meditation falls in powder
Its stillness fills my mind
I beg it to leave, a needed reprieve
But silence stops it blind
Painted in markings sharp and cool
A simple curving line
A steel, a glimpse, of a wandering tool
The need for extra time
This crisp gift begets a madness
With idle hands I fall
Creativity spare me the sadness
One moment of them all
Luxury, a breathless empty
The glass is halfway full
A shovel, a sweep, exhaust me to sleep
To dream a mental pull
The hue crosses from pale to red
So warm, it rushes in
We coax them gently, each fluid vessel
To travel deep within
Following release with tension
Images crossing by
A breath, mumble, I begin to stumble
Soft aches belli the fly
There is this mistress looking out
Forewarned, avert your gaze
She feeds your mind whole, then steals your soul
Leaving you in a daze
By Mary Ellen South
I watched her run around the pond
Colored streamers trailing her
Flowing beautifully -she ran so fast
Keep going -my mind coached-keep going.
Suddenly she stopped -the kite fell.
The flight was over
Little legs tired
Colored streamers touching the ground.
Get up, run again.
I want to see the beauty aloft
I want to see your success
So it is with life
Find beauty, keep running
Fall down -get up
Victory won on a beautiful day.
This winter forsythia bloomed at Christmas.
Viewed from the mountain
the valley disappeared beneath a
roiling sea of clouds that sent tendrils
winding into the hollows.
an armistice before cold rain.
With havoc to the west, we exhaled relief
for our brief lived respite
knowing weather mimics life,
its bumps and potholes, curves and hills
rarely straight and smooth.
In February icy ground crackled underfoot
while new green nestled beneath dry leaves.
Abundant snow, heralding joy and misery,
filling aquifers and floods,
remained in patches like white hair
defying a colored head.
Green and white, brown and dry,
a symbiotic co-existence
of Spring and Winter, youth and old age.
Weather, with so much to occupy
our minds and time,
thoughts of you intrude like a vulture
circling overhead, bearing
snowflakes and sunbeams,
always present, always there.
by Cathy Wolniewicz
April 15, 2013
On Memorial Day we’d go to Franny’s house on Foxhurst Road
and sit in the front yard waiting for the parade.
We always had a good spot right there on the grassy hill
overlooking the street just across from the duck pond.
It seemed like a long time before a noise would begin to rise.
But then they’d appear. Drums and horns and flags, and flags.
Batons twirling in the air. Pearly girls in mini skirts. Uniformed old men in open cars
stiff jawed, looking grim. Parading by slow, and deliberate.
My sister and I would busy ourselves with four leaf clovers in the blanket of grass.
While mommy sat under the crooked maple, alone, swatting at her thoughts.
Dad would stand in the walkway near the giant pine staring just beyond the procession
at the Vietnam memorial, sucking on a Marlboro, leaning on his one good leg.
Finally Franny would come out with a tray of cookies she called crackers.
Big and sweet with too much sugar on top. When there wasn’t a parade going on,
a wedding party might drive by, honking their horns in merriment On those occasions Franny would open the kitchen window and in a sing song voice shout, “you’ll be sorry!”
*Front Royal Voices awarded Cathy Wolniewicz the prize of Second Runner-Up for her poem “Memorial Day”.
by JoEllen McNeal/2016
the rolls of thunder, the heavy beat
of rain falling outside the window,
the narrow bed, the simple peace of it .
This remembered room with its
slanted ceiling, the teddy bear
with the sad rubber face, the books
straight-backed on the shelves
read and now forgotten. The
high school trophy draped
with graduation tassel, the picture
of the blue ballerina in the plastic frame.
In this room I once reached for my
new husband, moved to desire by his
polished shoes waiting to be worn
to my mother’s funeral.
Now years later the same wallpaper,
white, dotted with yellow flowers,
and the rain. The thick heat of the day
spiraling upward, pushed by the cooling air.
In this last night of my visit I remember my
girlhood when the dreaming of something
was enough to make it real. When there was no
distance between myself and what was beyond
and the ballerina in the blue tutu was my life
twirling into a shining future.
*Front Royal Voices awarded JoEllen McNeal the prize of First Runner-Up for her poem “The Visit”.
Below is an example of a “Where I’m From” poem. The Front Royal Voices Poetry contest is accepting poems related to the loose theme “Where I’m From” until March 31, 2016. Email poems to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where I’m From
by Heather Davis
I’m from a giving tree in Jersey and grimy forts in Hershey,
from seven star-lit, full-to-bursting homes, places that tasted
like bitter mint, smelled of caramel and burning cloves.
I’m from rolling hills in a five-mile radioactive swathe,
from flea markets selling centuries, crackle glass, and dust.
I’m from the late-night ladies’ story swap and bunions of death,
from Emma & Bill, Betty & Floyd. I’m from crazy can’t stop cleaning
despite the nervous breakdown hurtling my way.
I’m from factories and fields, from
this is my kitchen let me feed you.
I’m from blessed be the peacemakers and I’m gonna
tan your hide. From no dancing, no swearing, no card game
Baptists (but Bunko’s okay).
I’m from follow Jesus’ lead even if you don’t believe.
I’m from Delaware, Wales, Ireland, Germany, and France.
I’m from the invisible white privilege handed to me at birth.
I’m from wide-footed, broad-hipped women
wielding hammers, stethoscopes, and mops,
from poets, artists, and engineers, from Pop-Pop hot
in the boxing ring, hitching rides on wild trains,
from Mom-Mom’s cosmic arms.
I’m from let’s have another baby and
another and another and another and another.
I’m from chaos and cacophony, from soft, from tough,
from a thousand and one ways to make something infinite
out of ordinary sweat. I’m from stay curious and keep on
breathing bleeding breeding, never ever stop.