For more than 20 years The Academy of American Poets has celebrated April as National Poetry Month, a timeto salute the writing form that ranges from the sing-song compositions we had to memorize in elementary school to the soaring and emotional recitations that have taken place at presidential inaugurations, weddings and funerals. Indeed, poetry is a part of Frederick’s history with many in the world knowing the city through John Greenleaf Whitter’s famous poem Barbara Frietchie.
In the spirit of National Poetry Month, we asked Frederick Magazine readers to submit their poetry. After careful consideration, these were the poems that caught our attention.
Kleptomusia by John Hovde
My pen was lost,
so I borrowed hers
and inadvertently stuck it in my pocket.
I discovered my mistake
and wondered about its potential,
Could her Bic describe a hidden attic,
a captive Hell,
or a lifetime of secret poetry?
Will I sign a credit card receipt
and instead write a love poem?
Will my grocery list become a novel,
or a ransom note,
a letter to Dear Abby?
Will my telephone doodle
become graffiti art,
or my initials
enclosed in a heart?
Or, will that pen leak in my pocket
as she reaches in her apron
“That ass—- stole my pen.”
A Light Dusting of Snow by Edie Hemingway
A light dusting of last night’s snow
Glistens in the morning sun against
the stone path—sifted sugar, sweetening
the harsh browns
capturing footprints of
human and critter,
who have flitted past.
The powdered stones lie frigid and still,
flat, yet not flat,
until they wield their power to
trip the unsteady foot onto
a light dusting of last night’s snow.
Winter in Frederick by Anadi Naik
“Earthbound” stands guard at Church and Market
Pedestrians walk alone, in pairs or in a throng.
Young lovers display their affections publicly
Kissing on the sidewalk, holding hands.
An elderly person walks with a cane.
A baby is transported in a stroller
Swaddled in giggles and blankets
A mother to be walks gingerly with her significant other
Inhaling fresh air and coffee.
Restaurants are open.
Happy customers wait patiently to get a table.
Soft sales of hard drinks
Often negates the billboard that says
“Drinking and driving do not mix”
Like pearls on an heiress.
Crystalized snow glistens on branches of various trees.
The days of winter are short.
Falling snow makes it worse
Cutting hours of work and closing shops.
Too wet to garden.
Too cold to shop
Too windy to climb a pole or a ladder
Too dangerous to drive a rig.
How many or how long
Can one go on drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows?
This is winter in Frederick, my home town!
Days by Katherine Heerbrandt
Days stack up like dirty dishes
in a cramped kitchen
where roaches skitter and
last week’s dinner blooms
puffs of rust.
Rather days were strung up
Like bleached white sheets
In a span of green and garden
With strings tying up the beans.
Or grouped like photos atop a sleek, black piano
Remembering by Cora McDaniel
I used to watch you,
And your soft mellow eyes.
They consumed me —
They were pools of matter,
And light, and energy.
Of bursting love
And tearful wonder —
I craved that joy. Needed it.
Silently, I watched,
As you forgot me…
Fall Ritual by Ann Pugh
The cathedral of trees stand
Like tall priests
Celebrating their last russet requiem
Over earth’s brilliant bier.
Shed a silent knell,
Waiting for the afterlife
Frederick City by Jeanne McDermott
The steeples rising in unison,
The shops glittering with each season,
the bell tower in Baker park
chiming for folks at leisure.
First Saturday musicians
making their sidewalk impressions,
Restaurants grinning with patrons,
Carroll Creek vibrant with greetings.
Joggers and dogs dancing
to the rhythm of Market Street movement.
Carriage rides and ice cream cones…
This city is magic to everyone.
Patriotism by Yusra Haroon
You are my love United States of America
Beautiful places, lovely people of America
You are my dream, my destiny
To regard you with high respect is an
honor for me
Let there be all flourishing
Let there be glory and nothing blue
Be it education or any field
To give you the best, is what we feel
I salute to you my great nation
Lovely and beautiful carnation
With technologies and advancements
The society of America has had many
Land of opportunity, the American Dream
We all unite as a team
We are together, we are one
No one can harm our freedom
We will keep us together
And continue to prosper
With all we have, our morals are high
Our heart is strong but not shy
We pray to God to be with us
And make our country fabulous
Take our country as high as the sky
Developments keep on multiply
God already blessed our country much
We are thankful to you a bunch
Our country is filled with flavors of
languages, color, and race
Which makes us stand out with grace
Fill our hearts with all the love
For U.S.A always remain above
Waiting by Willa Little-Gratz
She sits alone in the room
Waiting for a life sentence
She nervously looks around the room
filled with chairs and old magazines
Waiting to be called to the next room
to wait some more.
Finally she is lead into the exam room
She is prepped for an exam
Now more waiting for the Doctor
He examines her body that is tense
Now she is dressed and sitting in the
Doctors office waiting
Sitting alone in the office he gives her
She has cancer
Additional tests and surgery lay ahead.
She leaves the office alone and frightened
She is a nurse and she knows so much
about what lies ahead
Where can she go, who can she talk to
She wonders if she will be able to get
Through the days and weeks that lie ahead
She feels so alone.
She was with him when he got the news
But he is not here for her
She feels so alone.
19th Mission by Bill Anderson
My hands were turning numb from cold
as I stood on the landing track,
Waiting for the 19th Mission, praying
that they’d all come back,
Then I saw them burst through the
clouds, first one, then two, then three,
They were all there but one I saw, as I counted feverishly,
And I thought to myself, they died
not in vain,
They died to keep us free.
To Those Who Have Never Known
Song for My Lost Child—GMN 1966 by Gail Mesa Norman
Before you lived, you died
You never laughed, you never cried
Your song had ended before it was sung
Of pain or joy, you knew not one
Your mother’s body, warm you felt
You never knew the cold without
You heard no voice, you touched no face
Returning home thru light and space
Close ever in her heart encased
Your soaring soul now dwells in Grace
Nowhere Bound by Amanda Goodell
I dream of a sky full of stars
Over rugged red rocks
I dream of dancing blue and green lights
Flickering over snowcapped peaks
I dream of the silhouettes of trees
And the whistling of birds
I dream of the rush of wind coming through my windows
And the humming of the pedals beneath my feet
I dream of early mornings
And late nights
I dream of long, empty highways
Surrounded by wide valleys and tall mountains
I dream of nothing but the road behind me
And everything before me
I dream of crappy diner food
And even crappier coffee
I dream of putting away my phone
And embracing the awe
I dream of warm air
And cool breezes
I dream of cotton candy sunrises
And creamsicle sunset
I dream of murky brown rivers
And crystal clear seas
I dream of tan skin
And wild hair
I dream of leaving nothing but foot prints
And taking nothing but photographs
I dream of meeting strangers and sharing stories
Of small talk and deep conversation
I dream of learning so much about myself
From hearing about others
I dream of feeling at home
Both everywhere and nowhere
I dream of the impossible freedom
That comes with having no destination
I dream of exquisite solitude
The kind that’s never lonely
That comes with going everywhere
And seeing everything
Of finding something within myself
That I never knew existed