Category Archives: Poem

Featured Poet: Evelyn Atreya

Evelyn Atreya lives in Guilford where she is a member and past president of the Guilford Poets Guild. She is a member of the Connecticut Poetry Society and attends its Greater New Haven Chapter workshops. Her poems have appeared in Caduceus, Long River Run, San Diego Poetry Annual, Plainsongs, Connecticut River Review, and in a chapbook, Olives, Now and Then, honoring Donald Hall on his 83rd birthday. Her first book, Regarding Rock, was published by Grayson Books in November 2015. Evelyn also is involved in the Guilford community as an active member of both the Guilford Rotary Club and the Leete’s Island Garden Club.


Summer Sunday Memory

In the January cold,
wearing layers of protection
boots, hat, and gloves
as I scraped my windshield,
I imagined a lazy beach day:
wearing just my bathing suit,
I walk barefoot in the sand,
jump into the cool, salty water,
then sit in my beach chair
to soak up the sun
and read on my Kindle.

But, today, on this July Sunday
it is smoldering hot.
Without flipflops, the sand
burns the soles of my feet.
There is no cooling off
in the water because a bloom
of jellyfish is drifting by.
The beach is crowded with umbrellas
that offer spots of comforting shade,
but sitting and relaxing is impossible
because of pesky horseflies.

I know next winter,
I will daydream again about my ideal
summer Sunday beach day
completely forgetting
these discomforts and irritations.
Strangely, in summer
I never find myself
daydreaming of winter.


Sound Choices

This summer afternoon
gulls and terns soar
over the rippling tide
with relaxed assurance
that hunger will be satisfied.
Each repeatedly dives
to catch a glimmering bite.

Then I see one young tern,
wings frenetically beating,
hover like a helicopter
just above the water.
With a silvery fish in its beak
and another swimming below,
it must choose one.

I understand, I think to myself.
I, too, wild with desire
have faced impossible choices.


Locked Out

He shuffles to the front porch
and sits silently staring into space.
I ask for the key to the shed.
He shakes his head, not knowing.

A dumpster sits in the driveway
overflowing with the old and used.
Emptying the shed is the final
preparation for Dad’s move.

Sitting there, Dad reminds me
of that padlocked old, green shed,
both weathered with signs
of fading, flaking and rust spots.

Both hold mysteries locked in.
I’m locked out of both.


Coming Clean

This morning a teenager
arrives at the coffee shop
wearing a breezy summer dress
and heavy-duty combat boots.

I’m reminded of the snowy
egret’s radiant white plumes,
spindly legs and feet tucked
into enormous yellow galoshes.

Perhaps both, wading into life’s
murky waters, seek protection
so they come out clean,
even if they muck-up.

GPG Poets Featured in International Anthology

The Guilford Poets Guild is well-represented in Coffee Poems: Reflections on Life with Coffee, a new anthology from World Enough Writers.

Editor Lorraine Healy explains, “Whether central to the poem or sitting on a side table, a mere accessory; whether a prop in an internal conversation with a you absent these 25 years or a desperately needed substance without which there is no facing the day, a cup of coffee inhabits each of these poems…Breathe in the scent and may it keep you awake.”

Coffee Poems contains 167 richly-roasted, verbally aromatic poems by poets from 34 states, 5 provinces, and 12 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, France, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Singapore, Spain, and the United States.

Included among the 139 international poets are GPG members Gwen Gunn (“Cafe Cilantro Haven”), Patricia O’Brien (“Midnight Call”), Jen Payne (“Measuring Water by Sound”), and Ed Walker (“Drifting through Quarters”).

Click here for more information and where to buy copies Coffee Poems.

Featured Poet: Carol Altieri

Carol Leavitt Altieri is retired from teaching English, American literature in New Haven Public Schools. Published five books of poetry and winner of the CT Environmental Award for helping to save the Griswold Airport Property in Madison, CT. She loves hiking, reading and the whole world of nature. She is a member of the Guilford Poets Guild.


Blessed Black Cherry Tree
The black cherry is native found from Maine to Florida. Used by native Americans in spiritual practice. Lakota people harvest its branches to mark the end of ceremonial ground. They use its sticks to hold red flags as a prayer to their ancestors.

I wedged myself within the branches
of a black cherry tree,
glad to be positioned there
next to our red barn.

Once its young bark was smooth, reddish- purple,
now plated, leathery, dark gray.
Silver-green lichen scatters on inner tree.
Saw- edged, gold leaves curl, touch one another,
form a pattern against purple- blue sky.
A delicious legacy and nectar for bees.

A Baltimore Oriole flies out from its basket nest
hanging from a fork of the cherry tree.
It catches a spider, then swoops away.
Dressed in rich plumage of flame orange and black,
a pair sings with rich whistles and chatter.

In spring , clusters of hanging blossoms
droop from the stem like locks of white hair.
Fragrant snow squalls of dropping petals
fall when they must.

When I return, I hope you’re still standing
there in your rightful place,
never to be hewn down.


Cedars of Lebanon

Here where mountaintops snare clouds floating
in from the Mediterranean ,we saunter
through the cathedral arched forests
of cedars. Once vast, used for temples and palaces
across Assyria, Persia, Egypt ,Greece and Lebanon.
They enhanced the territory of the Bible
where Jesus revealed himself to his followers.

Enormous trees seem as high as the Cliffs of Babylon
spill light through tracery of limbs.
Some stand alone with distinctive shapes,
others insinuate themselves into relations
with neighbors offering their majesty and homage.
Lines of solid branches crosshatch trunks
send roots into craggy limestone.

Branches in tiers sway in the wind.
Oval blue-green cones break open, scatter seeds.
Fragrant with balsam perfumed resin,
cedar trees intertwine with history of 10,000 years.

Now they must migrate up the mountains
chasing the cold winters
to escape warming, the conflicts of war lords
and colonizers.

Emissaries of the parade of civilizations
and what we owe them, Cedars of Lebanon
tremble. They have seen the past. Will
they see the future?


A Titanic Colony

In our cow pasture
amoebas exude through
New Hampshire soil
clonal, single-celled,
a vast and slippery empire,
40 feet across and genetically
identical.
A giant organized colony
spread by cows in muck.

A billion strong, they
cooperate and coordinate,
reproduce
by shuttling cell parts around
and assisting each other
in dirt and dung.

Scientists say they are persistent
living everywhere underfoot
nurturing life and death
feeding elements on
Earth, never running off
the land, faithful to their place.

Shouldn’t we worship
the ground we walk on,
instead of mocking
and blacktopping it over?

GPG Hosts Sharon Olson, Author of Will There Be Music?

 

The Guilford Poets Guild is pleased to host member Sharon Olson for an afternoon of poetry on Saturday, April 27 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Guilford Free Library. She will read from her new book of poetry, Will There Be Music?

Olson is a retired librarian, a Stanford graduate, with an M.L.S. from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Oregon. Her chapbook Clouds Brushed in Later (1987) won the Abby Niebauer Memorial Chapbook Award. A previous full-length book of poems, The Long Night of Flying, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2006. Her second book Will There Be Music? was published by Cherry Grove Collections in early 2019. She has published (with co-author Chris Schopfer) numerous articles about the Sandford family of New Jersey in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey. After retiring from the Palo Alto City Library she and her husband moved initially to Guilford, Connecticut, and presently live in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. She is a member of Cool Women, a poetry performance ensemble based in Princeton, New Jersey. She has also been a member of the Guilford Poets Guild since 2008.

Remember to bring your own poem to share during the Open Mic. Refreshments will be served after the reading, and Olson’s books will be available for purchase. This event is free and open to the public.

The Guilford Poets Guild, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is a group of poets from Guilford and the shoreline area who meet regularly to share poems and promote a general appreciation of poetry in the community. Throughout the year the GPG hosts a number of poetry readings including its popular Second Thursday Poetry Series, a Holiday Roundtable, the Guilford High School Poetry Contest, and coordinates poetry/art events with the Madison Art Society and the Florence Griswold Museum. Watch for its 20th Anniversary Anthology being published later this year.

The Guilford Free Library is located at 67 Park Street in Guilford. Please register by phone (203-453-8282), online (guilfordfreelibrary.org) or in person. For more information about the Guilford Poets Guild, visit guilfordpoetsguild.org.

April is National Poetry Month!


National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.

Join the Guilford Poets Guild for our SECOND THURSDAY POETRY READING on April 11 featuring poet Margaret Gibson. (Thursday, 6:30pm at the Guilford Free Library, click here for details.)

Then click here to discover more than 30 other ways you can celebrate National Poetry Month yourself!

Poetry at Florence Griswold: Jac Lahav

Poetry at Florence Griswold
Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m.
Great Americans: Portraits by Jac Lahav

What do Benjamin Franklin, Oprah Winfrey, and Albert Einstein have in common? Each is represented in the exhibition The Great Americans: Portraits by Jac Lahav, on view at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut, February 9 through May 12, 2019. Organized by the artist and the Museum’s Curator Amy Kurtz Lansing, the 30+, larger-than-life works explore the ideas of who we consider “great” and the cultural underpinnings of our perceptions (whether fact or fiction). Lahav’s nearly seven-foot-tall images of famous figures are layered with references to history, lore, and imagery that have shaped our understanding of that person. Through his cheeky, psychologically complex treatment of iconic figures from politicians to celebrities, Lahav explores the nature of cultural identity, pushing us to contemplate the very notion of “greatness” among American historical figures and exploring the concept of fame itself. Lahav created several new works for his series to reflect the evolving canon of American heroes.

Poets from CT. River Poets, Guilford Poets Guild, and students from the Old Saybrook Creative Writing Class will be presenting the poems they’ve written in response to works in the Jac Lahav’s exhibition. Please join them on Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m. at the Florence Griswold Museum. The program is included with admission to the museum. Light refreshments will be served. Please call the museum with questions: 860-434-5542.

Deadline Extended – CALL TO ARTISTS for GPG’s Anthology Cover

Shoreline Artists – this is your chance to be seen! The Guilford Poets Guild is hosting an art contest for the cover of its 20th Anniversary Anthology, to be published in 2019. The theme for the anthology is “Our Changing Environment” and artists are encouraged to submit images that fit the theme in its vast and varied interpretations (i.e. natural, world, national, local, personal).

All mediums will be considered. For reference, the printed Anthology book will measure 8″ x 8″ square. Images can be sized to fit or will be cropped to fit as needed.

DEADLINE: December 15, 2018

Please submit your image as a high-resolution JPG and email to guilfordpoets@gmail.com with your name, address, and a short 3-4 line bio.

Winners will be announced in February 2019.

For more information, visit http://www.guilfordpoetsguild.org.

Please forward to artists you know.