National Poetry Month 2020 – Final Edition

Poetry is everywhere.  All around us.  But it’s shy, elusive, and difficult to see. Unless you’re a poet.  And they don’t find it easily.  They break a sweat, seeing the half seen beauty around them.  And capturing it for the rest of us with their clever words, sometimes tricking us into thinking that we had seen it all along.  This is our final collection of poems for National Poetry Month this year.  Read them with fierce attention, the way they were written.



It was bone-break cold.
A train was stopped, wheels
frozen to the rails.
Wet snow swirled around the three engines,
their brakes locked tight.
The hoses wheezed and hissed into the
bitter night air.

Nearby, two hobos fed sticks and paper
to a small campfire,
pulled on second pairs of socks, cursed
into greasy coat sleeves and
blew their noses into wool mittens
stolen from a dollar-store.
The wine was gone; the empty bottle
tossed aside.
Conversation–loud and obscene–
focused on women, failed employment and
memories of their old pal,
quit of life,
in the right of way weeds.

A thaw–not Spring, but just as welcome–
will come soon; perhaps at dawn.
The train wheels with brakes released
will begin to roll on the parallel road
destined for Texas or the Four Corners.
The hobos will grab one last handful of
campfire warmth, locate an open boxcar door
and continue their journey leaving
their friend,
now wrapped in makeshift cerements,
alone at his final destination.

–Nick Graves


As evening falls
A poem written when a Welsh friend died.

As evening falls
The wet mist rolls down the mountainside;
A cold miasma chilling our bones.
Even the deep red sky turning grey with age
Where sodden sheep wander the dank earth leaving their lambs calling,
On the land that rich men plundered,
That shackled good men and boys,
Took its toll in the villages, leaving black, black pit silt dripping through its cracks.
Today the valley is closed,
And the mournful bell, that tolled from the church over the hill, no longer rings.
While the slate grey chapel where we once prayed for deliverance stands empty;
Where we said our last goodbyes… was it only today?
The choir is silent,
And children with blackened lungs are  strangely quiet.
For today the valley grieves while black decked mourners speak in hushed voices.
And, as one by one, the men begin to sing, their deep Welsh voices, in harmony, break through,
and one of *David’s saints climbs his final mountain, home.

*St David: Patron saint of Wales

–Doreen Shambrook



When death called on my mother
He was no gentleman.
He came uninvited even though
On several occasions
She had told him he was not welcome.

Ignoring her protests, he came,
And like a greedy lover,
Threw her down
Upon an airport floor.
A public display you might say, of his intentions,
A consummation
Of a deep and committed relationship,
The beginning of an endless journey.
(A bit vulgar really, in front of so many people.)

We had no warning of their meeting.
Neither of them asked for our opinion
On the matter.
But then, why would they?
She always went her own way
And he, I assume had his own timetable
Of griefs to cause and lives to end.

We were not prepared
For such an event.
For a flight with that new partner
To such a permanent place,
Or their trip to a destination
Other than the one we had agreed upon.
But she, walking towards a final cup of tea,
And a quick inhalation of a needed cigarette,
Was wearing her Sunday best
And her hair was permed helmet tight
And her soul was full of the joy
Of the seasoned journeyer,
Moving towards a new world.
She was prepared perhaps.
But we were not.

–Joyce Carpenter


nature talks

trees rippling in the breeze
sending sweet melodies
back to me
songs of romance
songs of sadness
of love part of the past
of happiness from new chances

I could hear the owls
cooing to me
telling me to be wise
not to let these
opportunities pass

take notice of the glances
offering visions
of future delights

the full moon smiling down
the birds screaming their warnings
to watch out for
the traps of fools

–Richard England


Spring Forward

Where did that hour go
I don’t know
I saw it somewhere
But it escaped
Slipped through my hands

Where did that hour go
I wish I could tell you so
Which shell it is under
Is it sleight of hand
Or simply canned magic

Where did that hour go
I saw a bird fly away
He had something in his beak
When I seek him
What time will he say

Where did that hour go
The sun now meets the moon
At a different time than before
The moon pushes
The sun up later
Soon they both soar
Into the evening gloom

–Richard England


If the poetry you’ve read here has triggered your own interest in writing, remember that we have a new OLLI Shared Interest group (SIG) called “Write Time for Poets.”  You can learn more about it by contacting Cath Mason at

Again, our apologies to the poets who used spacing as well as words to carry their message.  WordPress left justifies everything, and that’s that.  –Editor

Nick Graves has been a member for six years. He has taken classes in literature, science, history, sociology, creative writing, poetry, music, politics, technology and lifestyles.


Joyce Carpenter studied drama at college in England and has degrees in special education and social work. She joined OLLI-USF in 2010, has taken OLLI courses in literature poetry, history, improv., reader’s theatre and co-taught drama courses for OLLI. She is a member of the great books and the poetry groups.

Since 2015, Richard England has taken many OLLI courses in literature, poetry, writing, performing arts, science, art and history.

We have no biographical information or photo for Doreen Shambrook, but we have her poem, and that’s the most important thing.


4 Replies to “National Poetry Month 2020 – Final Edition”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights