All poems are protected by copyright
© Penny Frost McGinnis


On days your blue skies
turn gray,
smiles fade,
and joy seems like a star flung
light years from earth...
reflect on hope~
I imagine hope as tiny rays of sunlight
that sneak through clouds
after a rainstorm.
The same magical rays that form a rainbow.
Perhaps you see it in the eyes of a child.
One who stumbles and balances
and stumbles again~
as he learns to put one foot in front of the other.
Or maybe you smell it
when you bury your nose in sweet honeysuckle.
I see hope in you, in your future,
in your dreams my friend.

Wait-one of the most difficult verbs on the planet

We wait in line at the grocery store, to part
with our hard earned cash.
We park in the chair at the dentist office...
peruse magazines we care little about.

We wait like thread weaved through rope
to renew our license. We stand
in line at the amusement park, so our insides
can be shook up and twisted.

We wait at the traffic light, for the green
signal. We hold our breath when we wait
for lab results, then breath deep when the doctor
says, "relax, you're in the clear."

We wait for our children to return home (close
to midnight). We recollect waiting, years ago...
through killer labor, sweat and tears for them
...to arrive.

Spring is when...
garbage buried under yesterday's snow
blooms along fence rows
and street corners.

This poem was written after I assisted my daughter as she took senior portraits:

The Future

At eighteen~where's the future?

She poses in the water, a waterfall
of beliefs cascade over
rocks~rushing past.
Catch them~quick.

She sits on a rock~contemplating
what's ahead. A river of intentions
flow, swirl~
College? Career? Marriage? Children?

She rests in grass wondering
where she'll be in eighteen years
from now~where's the future?

A smile creeps in, light
cuts through clouds, insight
tumbles down like a waterfall.
Her hands grasp the rushing
She stuffs them in her pocket~
Threads of life
to weave into her future.

Such is Life

Breezy summer's day
Old Adirondack
Poetry, prose
Steamy hot tea, lemon
Pond ripples lapping sand
Air stirring
Head back
Hat down

My Snowman

My snowman is a funny fellow
Kind of short and dumpy.
He hopes the sunshine stays away
So we can't call him lumpy.

His eyes are black and button-like,
His orange nose is round.
The circles making up his mouth
Will never make a sound.

The scarf he wears is much too small,
The hat a little wide.
His boots are blue and furry 
And they keep him warm inside.

He is a happy little man
He smiles as you go by.
So please remember as you pass
To wave a friendly hi!

The Secrets of Springtime

The wood was calling out to me
To come out and explore.
The squirrels skittered happily
Across the forest floor.

The maple trees bent and bowed
From all the life inside.
The mockingbird called out my name
As I ran to hide.

Snake skins stretched along the trail
Where once their bodies slithered.
Worms and bugs crawled in and out
Where fern and trillium withered.

Jack-in-the-pulpit had lived here
Now Indian Pipe has grown.
The blue violet just a memory,
The seeds of spring has sown.

The secrets of the springtime woods
Call out to me each year.
While bluebirds sing out joyfully
As summertime creeps near.
-March 1995

Happy by the Sea

I scampered on the shore today
"Neith skies of blueish-grey.
The seagulls sang their song to me
To watch them swoop and play.

I dashed to catch an ocean wave
Cool ripples at my feet.
I stepped down low to snatch a shell
Before it could retreat.

The waves sailed high, the sun shone bright
The sand felt warm as toast.
I laughed out loud and danced about
Along the beautiful coast.

Then mama brought a picnic lunch
We dined beneath a willow.
With tummy full and eyes half-closed
I crawled upon my pillow.

I dreamed of places I could go
Of things I'd like to be.
But when I woke I looked around
Happy by the sea.

Butterfly Waffles

This morning while making my breakfast
A butterfly lit on my nose.
He gazed at my plate
And said, “Oh please wait,
I think that your waffle’s still froze.”

He swooped down and snatched up my waffle
Then flew to the toaster near-by.
He dropped it in quick
With one flutter kick
And disappeared into the sky.

My waffle popped out of the toaster.
It flip-flopped up over my head.
I held my plate out
Then tried not to shout
A dragonfly snatched it instead.
Now what would I do for my breakfast?
A red ant climbed up on my belly.
She said, “how ‘bout toast,
You like that the most
Smeared with sweet butter and jelly.”

The red ant squirmed into the breadbox,
And found there the tiniest crumb.
He peeked out at me
And said thoughtfully,
“Now where will your breakfast come from?”

 A ladybug zipped to the counter
And landed on cereal bowls.
She said, “Don’t fret yet
And please don’t forget
The wheat crunchies made with the holes.”

I opened the cereal carton
And poured out the crunchies, I thought.
When nothing spilled out
I started to pout
Then my stomach grumbled a lot.

I searched through mom’s old corner cupboard
And spied a container of oats.
I mixed them up quick
With water, ‘til thick
Then hoped they weren’t eaten by goats.

I set the oat bowl on the table
Then searched all around for a spoon.
But when I returned
I suddenly learned
The clock chimed twelve times. It was noon!

My breakfast time ended abruptly
There’s not even time for a brunch.
My breakfast today
Had dwindled away.
Now what would I do for my lunch?

Watching the Stillness

As I lay dreaming of sleep-filled nights
Your fussy, feed me cry opens my weary eyes.
I wrestle with the patchwork quilt
Until my feet meet the floor and shuffle to your crib.

All four limbs wave in the air, your tiny mouth
Curls into a “my mamma” smile.
Changing your diaper, I slip your perfect little toes,
Wiggling and stretching, out of your sleeper.

All clean -- your bottom smells like pink lotion,
I tuck your toes back into the warmth.
Lifting you up, I sprinkle your nose with kisses and
Hug you tight, as we walk to the moonlit window.

Snuggled in the twilight, you nursing, me rocking
Together watching the stillness,
Listening to the quiet, enjoying the peace,
Treasuring my time with just you. 

Bookstore Girl

On the floor
sandwiched between
beginning chapters
and faithful classics.
She sat- cross-legged.
Raven pigtails,
Tortoise shell spectacles,
chocolate eyes- focused, intent.
She slurped up Janie's story
Like a child slurps alphabet soup.
Letter after letter
forming words, thoughts,
As the world walked by on Friday afternoon.

Bookstore Boy

Perched atop a stool.
Legs moved like windmill blades on a lazy summer day.
A chocolate bar, paper peeled, teeth marks.
Squiggly milk mustache painted his upper lip.
His eyes fixed on the
Knights and dragons who battled across the page.

Did they fight over the last bite of chocolate?
Or the last drop of milk?
Or did the dragon roast marshmallows for so'mores?

mistflower--a fuzzy-headed lavender feast
adorned by arrow leaves
nectar for the sachem skipper (butterfly)

Small Town: A Poem about Growing Memories

snows drift deep.
Dapple gray huffs
through arctic pastures.
Evergreens bow on the 
edge of town.
Snow day!
Sleds fly downhill.
Small town streets retreat.
Plows heap
snowflakes into parallel parking spaces.
Shoppers climb like mountaineers
to double parked cars and trucks.
Winter in a small town.

children tromp
through snow.
Slush on small town
Valentines crush in mittened
Boxes glued with hearts and lace
float by.
Will he, won't he?
Does she, don't she?
Will they drop a card in mine?
Life depends on it
in the month of love.
In small town.

winds whip
the willow trees.
Maples dream of green.
Along the streets the tall woods
stand grand like guards 
over small town.
Kites dance in the sky.
Hung over the creek-
Ol' Turtle Creek.
Laughter floats to kite tails
kicking in the azure sky.
Simple life, small town life.
Laid back, slow down life.

gold, yellow hues,
Church beds
burst with saffron,
mustard, lily white.
Easter egg hunt.
Peek in the grass,
greening with new growth.
Under rocks, nest in a hedge.
Purple, pink, blue
hard boiled rainbows.
Yellow chicks, chocolate bunnies.
Spring in small town.

bells ring.
Freedom sings.
School doors spring.
Breath deep, fresh air.
First of the season in small town. 
Amble downtown,
your favorite
out of school
Record shop, malt shop.
Library trip-
only books
you want to read.
Schools out in small town.

crickets sing
down by Turtle Creek.
Bullfrog giggin'
worm diggin'.
Late nights
lit by the silvery moon.
Cane pole
lines bob,
up the street
from small town.
Blue gill for dinenr.
Fried up in a pan.
Crispy outside, tender inside.
Summer feast in small town.

cracks open.
Fireworks flash
red, white, blue.
Allegiance to the flag
of the United States 
of America.
Rejoice for the freedom
to choose a path.
Rejoice for the freedom
to live and grow
in a small town.

nights, heat lightning.
Lightning in a jar.
Watermelon picnics.
Quick dips in Turtle Creek.
Hide in the covered bridge
Search for a drop of shade.
Freeze tag, you're it
Swing the statue.
Out late.
Wait for the first 
stars to twinkle.
Breath in the 
last days of summer freedom
in small town.

Fire trucks,
tissue paper roses
decorate floats.
Majorettes and marching bands.
Scouts, both boys and girls.
Candy floating thought he air
reaches waving children's 
hungry hands.
Labor day, fair week.
Back to school in small town.

sweep the streets.
Cowboys, bunny rabbits,
a little princess
follow lighted
porch trails.
Parents call
annual hellos
to passersby.
Gummy, chocolate,
sweet and gooey.
Popcorn balls,
candied apples.
Trick or treat
in small town.

leaves cover the ground.
Hum of quiet streets.
Children nestled
inside, reading
favorite tales.
Turkeys bake.
Pumpkin pies,
cranberry sauce from a can.
Football games and \
big parades.
Thankful thoughts 
of small town.

candy canes grace
small town
Main Street.
Santa's coming,
Jingle Bells plays,
Nativity's in place.
Carolers jostle down the street 
Christmas tea.
Evergreens twinkle 
in windows,
on street corners.
Christmas lives
in small town.

Small town.
My town.
Your town.
Grow up
And grow memories
In small town.

This poem is based on the experiences of myself and my children as we grew up in a small town.

All poems are protected by copyright
© Penny Frost McGinnis

All poems are protected by copyright
© Penny Frost McGinnis

A traditional Japanese haiku consists of three lines divided into a five-seven-five sound unit pattern. When American’s translated these small Japanese poems, they found that the sound units and syllables differed. The result, American haiku does not hold to the five-seven-five pattern unless it is natural to the poem.

A haiku is meant to capture a moment in time. Written in the present tense and usually containing a seasonal word, the tiny poem is almost like a snapshot catching that one instance that may have been missed. Most haiku contain a short phrase of description and a fragment or aha moment. This form of poetry is fun to write and collect. I like to sit outside for a while and just observe. I almost always find something interesting to write about, along with that aha flash.

Here are some of my haiku…Enjoy!

Tater’s tail wags,
jump, dive, romp-
circles in the snow
 wobbly goats
born before midnight—
spring renewed
 queen anne’s lace crowns
county roads—
blue chicory salutes

crimson moon floats
across chilly skies—
pumpkins grin 
crystals glisten, sun
shine through jeweled glass-
ice covered trees

signs of spring
daffodils, pansies, crocus—
real estate for sale
trillium unfurls
snow trickles into the creek—
God blows the kiss of spring

crocus spring up
gives brightness to earth—
hope to the heart

tiny blue eggs hatch—
in the corner
of the porch basket
by love—
red tulips
rain pours
grass grows—
mower rests

2016 Haiku

riot of white
confetti stings my face
February snow squall

ruffled fungi
adorns old stump
beauty in death

stretches to bloom
blood stained tears

purple flox
dot hillside
wake up sleepyhead

fat bird
evasive in the bush
how do wings hold you up

bearded man
two dogs
comfortable life

dutchman's breeches
sway between emerald leaves
elfin laundry

almond pink roses
sprinkled with November rain
-unexpected gift

crooked-stemmed aster
bouquets along a wooded path
autumn's star, God's gift

2017 Haiku

gnome in the garden
hyacinth blooms midnight purple
—soothes my weary soul

red cardinal squats
on top branch of young maple
—music for God's ears

finch feeder in place
waiting for yellow wings—
delightful diversion

trillium emerge
from the damp forest floor-
—sweet discovery

bird wings flap in puddles
splashes mama bird's beak
—bath time for baby

wind wraps around the
bushes, they shake and rattle
—clearing winter dust

pink and blue feather
across the morning sky
—hope awakens the day

startled into graceful
flight- the blue heron squawks
             —protector of the nest

thistle in feeder
yellow finch clings to purple branch
—a shy little guy

fern fronds bow their heads
curl tight against their mother
-independence waits

fog hugs the lamp posts
light penetrates pushes through
-prisms of hope

green-blue carpet
juniperous squamata spreads
-crimson tulips sprout

1 comment:

  1. Ooh! I m loving all your poetry. We really need to spend a few hours together just getting to know one another more!


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