Taking Life by the Throat

April is National Poetry Month, and we’re celebrating it (again) with another group of poems by OLLI members.  That fellow in the picture is, of course, Robert Frost, one of America’s best known and best loved poets.  He was Poet Laureate of Vermont, though never Poet Laureate of the United States.  He once described poetry as “a way of taking life by the throat”.

We think he would have enjoyed the poetry we have for you today.  And at the end of the post we’ll share some other ways you can enjoy poetry this month.



Blood Clot

She holds my hand in the pulse pose,
forces me to read poetry to her.

She checks my breathing, stethoscope
cold on my back like the barrel of a pistol—

she confesses that if she had not become
a physician, she would have been a poet.

–Victoria Dym


Last Dance

As soon as the two of them first met
but still barely knew each other yet

Many a mystic wondered whether
the two were born to dance together

He asked her for their only first dance
while she said yes with a friendly glance

Back then the two-step had come of age
and sixties’ do-wop was all the rage

They dated married had children too
as years rushed by before they knew

Middle-age made them again renowned
dancing free style and talk of the town

Home alone again their passion waned
dancing ended their partnership strained

But aging brought changes that did accrue
slow dancing to the blues their love renewed

Knowing one would leave the other here
to dance alone yet yield nothing to fear

And knowing others wondered whether
the lovers were born to dance forever

–Edith Freeman



she seems to love the reruns

matlock dallas gunsmoke

the bedside table cluttered

tissue box and sippy cup


call button lost in the folds of a dirty quilt

no tubes yet no wires no lifesaving devices

screen of the tv flashes blue red grainy white


mother is now sleeping as a CAN

-mouth-breathing to avoid the smells of Lysol and piss-

mops a small section of grey speckled floor

a folded walker leans near the bed


for a moment i forgot she is here

my gaze frozen as gunfights play out in dodge city

i’ve seen this before

it’s a rerun

–Nick Graves


Fowling Seoul Korea

Parrots on skis are the funniest things…

Gliding and squawking, flapping their wings.

next to them, snowboarding owls whistle by

whooing and hooting…no need to fly.

Here come the penguins on bobsleds and luge.

done up in tuxedos. Their fan base is huge!

Finally ospreys appear on the ice…

gracefully twirling; we’ll see them skate twice.

awards will be issued with prestige immense.

And what could befoul this?

MY GOD…there’s Mike Pence!!!

–Nick Graves

Victoria Dym is a graduate of Ringling Brother’s Barnum and Bailey Clown College with a degree in Humility. She has also earned a Bachelor of Arts, in Philosophy, from the University of Pittsburgh, and her Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing-Poetry from Carlow University. Her chapbook, Class Clown, was chosen as one of ten finalists in the Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest by Autumn Hill Press and ultimately published by Finishing Line Press in 2015. Victoria lives in Tampa Florida with her cat, Mook. Victoria teaches writing, storytelling and laughter yoga courses for OLLI-USF.

Her second chapbook, When the Walls Cave In, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. (Use Amazon link)  She will be reading on Sunday April 28, 2019 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Lector Wine Shop and Social Club: Lit & Natty Wine, 305 E. Polk St, Tampa, FL 33602


Edith Freeman joined OLLI in 2008. She has taken classes in technology, literature, life story writing, genealogy, poetry, tai chi, music, fiction and history.


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.


If you’d like more poetry in your life, there are several local events you can check out.

Traci Brimhill will read works from her new book “Saudade:  Haunted Houses in the Amazon” in the TECO Room at USF  on Thursday, April 18, at 6 p.m.

In fact, the Tampa Bay area will be chock full of poetry opportunities this month.  Here is a link to a few of them.

Also there are opportunities for OLLI writers to attend the Sandhill Writers retreat at St Leo university on May 18, 2019.  Classes in poetry writing and performance, fiction, writing for veterans, creative nonfiction and publishing.

2 Replies to “Taking Life by the Throat”

  1. What a pleasant surprise! Nick, I had no idea you actually WROTE poems. I liked the “rerun” better but the “Fowling Seoul Korea” has lines that rhyme. Did you take classes to learn how to write poems? Is this just a natural talent? The only style of poem I have tried is haiku , and that required a dictionary for me to look up the definition first. Please, keep writing! Pat Mickler

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