About Laura Gross Smith

Writer

Poem: The Stillness of the Morning

Cathy Melesky Dante, 94′, is an aspiring poet and writer. She has previously published a prayer for the Catholic Climate Covenant (catholicclimatecovenant.org).

The Stillness of the Morning In Three Parts

I.
Cicadas and katydids sing
their heat-woven songs with
bursting-forth energy
that pulses rhythm
through the morning air.

Voices, people chime
in succinct steps with
words as lovely and harsh
as daisies in the sun.

O, to pick a bouquet
of word flowers, each
petal with a letter
or two or three until
a whole new meaning blooms.

If I could just pick the words
so similarly hued as to
complement, make beautiful the
simplest of gardens.  Then
my poetry might bloom, too,
with beauty and ease.

Pick them quick before
they darken and die, seen
out of context and viewed
through sterile glass screens and vases
that don’t hold nearly
enough water to sustain.

Pick them, that their blooms might
bring hope to those lonely
and afraid.

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Poetry: Mexican Sunflowers

Grace E. Gray (1981) is a professional writer and editor, with publications that include scholarly articles on developmental neuroscience, feature writing, medical writing, nature writing, and interviews. She has been writing poetry as long as she can remember. Her only published poem, included here, is “Mexican Sunflowers,” which was published in Poet Lore, 2005.

Mexican Sunflowers
My daughter plays in my mother’s shadow,
Hiding in the unpredictable shade.
She stirs up the murky water,
Groping after goldfish and water-lily roots.

Flanking the fountain
Huge planters filled with exotic and half-wilted plants
Run the length of the museum courtyard.
My sister and I wander around them, avoiding my mother,
Faking interest in the limp Tithonia and elephants’ ears.
Oppressed by the sun,
Too much tourism, and each other.

My mother—Obstinate sunflower–
Disgusted with us and the whole inadequate planet
Turns her arrogant face
Directly into the light.
Looking back I have to wonder how my daughter
Who wasn’t even born at the time
Managed to get loose in that tired courtyard.
In my mind she flings up her wet hands–
The drops shoot from her fingers
Flying beyond my mother’s shadow to flare briefly in the sunlight.

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Envoy and Other Poems

Polly Brody received her BA from Mount Holyoke College in 1955.  She earned an MS in Biology from Southern Connecticut State University, in 1982. She has been widely published as a poet and essayist.  Her poems have twice received the Winchell Award from the Connecticut Poetry Society. Polly’s poetry has placed first, second and third in national competitions, the most recent in 2006.

Polly is the author of four published collections:  Other Nations (poetry), The Burning Bush (essays with poetry), At the Flower’s Lip (poetry) Stirring Shadows (poetry). The following selection of poems is from her latest, Stirring Shadows, which, if you would like the book to be personally autographed, can be ordered directly from Polly’s email:  berylline33@yahoo.com.

Envoy

She is withering.
Sunken cheeks clearly reveal
the orbital rims’ concave bows,
and her dear eyes, still Mother,
are encased in wrinkled skin.
She is puckering
like sun-dried fruit.

Her flavor intensifies
like sun-dried fruit.
I duck my head to kiss
a cheek once level with mine.
Each night I think of her
laid out in her single bed,
arthritic hip grumbling
its unceasing discomfort.
Mother will hoist that painful hip
up the side door’s inconvenient stairs
lest she disturb the phoebe
nesting by her kitchen entrance.
My mother, even now,
will stoop to lift a turtle from the road.

Today she telephones, to tell me
how a small black doe has come
each morning, to browse windfall apples:
how she has softly gone outside,
sweet-talking, tossing quartered apples—
easier to mouth than slippery round ones—
and how today, the small black deer
with smooth-skinned cheeks
and long-lashed, liquid eyes,
has come step by step
upon its dainty, pronged hooves,
to stretch its supple neck
and take the apples from her hand.

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