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?


My sister Bailey plays baseball.

She’s not like other girls at all.

She’d rather slide around in dirt

Than wear a pretty pleated skirt.

I just don’t know why she 
Doesn’t want to be like me.

My sister Beatrice twirls around, 
Hardly making any sound.

She pirouettes, she tippy toes, 

She wears flowery calicoes.

I just don’t know why she 
Doesn’t want to be like me.

My sister Bailey loves the dog.
She asked our dad to buy a hog.

Her overalls smell funny, too.

I think she drug them through the zoo.

I just don’t know why she 
Doesn’t want to be like me.

My sister Beatrice loves our cat.
She made the cat a lavender hat.

She sprays herself with sweet perfume.

It makes me want to leave the room.

I just don’t know why she 
Doesn’t want to be like me.

My sister Bailey drops her junk
And throws her clothes around my bunk.

She leaves her gear beside the door,

So I can’t shut it anymore.
I just don’t understand why she 
Doesn’t want to be like me.

My sister Beatrice makes her bed,
Smoothing out her frilly spread.

She folds her clothes, puts them away.

Oh, I can’t take it one more day.

I just don’t know why she 
Doesn’t want to be like me.

My sister Bailey hugs me tight
When I wake up afraid at night.

She tells me stories, calms my fears.

She dries my weepy, seepy tears.

I’m glad my sister’s not like me
And she is who she wants to be.

My sister Beatrice helps me write
My homework on a busy night.

She quizzes me and makes me study.

She tells me I’m her study buddy.

I’m glad my sister’s not like me
And she is who she wants to be.

So be yourself, that’s what we do.
For no one will be just like you.

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)

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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