Tag Archives: Poetry

Throwback Thursday: Old lady poetry

I wrote and shared this poem nearly nine years ago, and I stand by the sentiment a decade later: I don’t want to be an old lady. But I’m an old lady who wants what she wants. Given the alternative—not getting the chance to get older—I’ll claim the space an old lady has earned.

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I don’t want to be an old lady

I don’t want to be an old lady,
but I want to wear fashionably functional shoes
not fashionably painful ones.

I don’t want to be an old lady,
but I want to wear flashy bras under my girly blouses
not flash my girls.

I don’t want to be an old lady
but I want to drink wine out of a glass
not wopatui out of a paper cup.

I don’t want to be an old lady,
but I wish a buffalo chicken salad with dressing on the side
was as easy on my hips as a buffalo chicken sandwich with a side of fries.

I don’t want to be an old lady,
but I want to carry a cute black bag
not wear them under my eyes.

I don’t want to be an old lady,
but I want to listen to lyrical music sung by singers who make me wanna scream
not unintelligible music screamed by singers that make me wanna wear ear plugs.

I don’t want to be an old lady,
but I want my man of maturity to listen to my hopes and dreams
not immaturely hope and dream I’ll shut up and listen.

I don’t want to be an old lady,
but since I can’t keep a wrinkle-free face and youthful body,
I want to keep a carefree and youthful attitude.

Can I get it in a cute pink jar with collagen-building vitamins?

And you thought insurance has never inspired a poet, huh?

pauls gig

I admire an innovative busker.

Like Paul, for instance. Paul writes poetry.

I met Paul earlier this spring on a trip to Orlando, Florida. I didn’t go there for the Mouse; I was lured there by an all-expenses-paid trip offered by one of the companies for which my Beloved sells insurance.

paul typingOn our last morning there after we enjoyed brunch by the lake, we watched Paul set up shop. When I realized what he was up to, I loved everything about him: His tie, his neatly combed hair, his old-fashioned typewriter–and he was a writer! Who doesn’t love a writer? Certainly another writer appreciates one of her own kind. So I loved his hustle.

So I asked my husband what topic we should give him. “Something hard,” I said. “We gotta make him work.”

So to heck with love or puppies or lakeside views! I walked up and asked him what he charges for a poem.

“They’re priceless,” he said.

“Free?” I said, incredulous.

“Well, you can pay me whatever you think it’s worth.”

“OK, I’m in. Here’s my topic. It’s a hard one, OK?”

“Sure, I like a challenge.”


Paul seemed nonplussed. Apparently he’d had enough with writing about puppies.

He said he needed a half hour or so, and I told him I’d be back in an hour or two.

Off I went to watch the movie “Life,” a chronicle about death on a space station. I returned to Earth, and to Paul.

He wrapped up the last stanza (he doesn’t write boring old limericks, nosiree, he writes 16-line poems!), and pondered a title. He finally settled on a dedication to my Beloved, the insurance salesman.

pauls poem

Paul cleared his throat and performed his poem for me and a small crowd of fans (OK, maybe they weren’t fans of anything more than the cool lake view, but they were fans nonetheless).

To be honest, I don’t think it’s very flattering to insurance salesmen. But Paul didn’t promise purple prose–he promised poetry about insurance. Which he delivered.

So I handed him $10, and he bid me well, eager to get on to his next creation: About puppies.

paul on the lake

Follow Paul Felker on Instagram #paulspoems and #paul_felker.

Beneath the white tree

What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
And one white tree.
~J.R.R. Tolkien

Seven lilies and … a surprise! … in Aunt Helen’s garden

Lily 1

Lily 2

Lily 3

Lily 4

Lily 5

Lily 6

Lily 7

“As all must be,” I said within my heart,
“Whether they work together or apart.”
But as I said it, swift there passed me by
On noiseless wing a ’wildered butterfly.

~ lines from “The Tuft of Flowers” by Robert Frost


Poetry with four-letter words like ‘snow,’ ‘wind’

 A bit on Illinois Public Radio this morning reminded me April is National Poetry Month. I haven’t written much poetry in decades, but I have a manila file  of brilliance from my formative years that I somehow believed was worth lugging around from place to place. Your first clue as to its contents is its location in my file drawer: Between “drama” and “reports.”

I dipped into the narrow-margined-three-hole-punched loose leaf papers to find it filled with poetry about homework, breakups and suicide (I never was, for the record, suicidal but you’d be surprised to hear that after finding all the F-word-filled pieces among my writings).

I also found a story that made me laugh ’til I cried; it began like this: 


[If that’s not an epic literary beginning, I don’t know what is.]

“My name is Negative Images. Really — Negative Margaret Images. People call me Neggy for short. My father calls my Maggy. It was my mother’s idea to call me Negative. Her name is Mary so she wanted her only daughter to have an interesting name. She didn’t name me Positive Images because … well, I guess she’s crazy.”

Crazy. Indeed. But I digress. I was rooting around for poetry, not weird teenage stories. So I shall celebrate National Poetry Month with this piece that is not suicidal or weird but appropriate for a Minnesota native who mowed the lawn yesterday for the first time this season to share at the end of April:

I hate winter:
The air drains my lungs.
The temperature thickens my blood.
The snow blinds my eyes.
The wind bites my cheeks.
The ice greases my shoes.
The fog steps on my hair.
The puddles give me a bath.
It’s almost spring.

The lowly ‘shroom


Had nature any outcast face,
Could she a son contemn,
Had nature an Iscariot,
That mushroom, — it is him.

~ Emily Dickinson

Only a poet desperate to rhyme names a cat ‘Clarence’

Digging through some papers today, I found this gem, written in circa 1982 in my rebellious limerick phase:

The Movie Show

My friend says, “Come along with us,
To the movie, “Let’s Bust It or Cuss.'”
It’s about a czar,
And it’s rated R.
I know my mom will put up a fuss.

I ask my mommy, and she says, “No.”
I ask my daddy, and he says, “NO!”
It’s only a movie
That I want to see.
I pleaded, I cried, “I want to go!”

But no amount of begging and stuff
Will make my parents any less tough.
They’re just mean, I guess.
I can’t leave the nest.
So I walk out on them in a huff.

I’ll go to the movie anyway,
And I won’t speak to them all day.
I know I’ll have fun.
I’ve won! I’ve won!
And I hope they won’t find out, I pray.

I tell my friend that I can go
To that super great movie show.
But she’s gonna bawl.
Her face tells it all:
“My parents said that I can’t go.”

So now I don’t feel so very bad.
I guess it was only a passing fad.
I love my parents
And my cat, Clarence.
Though they wouldn’t let me go, I’m glad.

May showers


“Keep your faith in all beautiful things;
in the sun when it is hidden,
in the Spring when it is gone.”

~ Roy R. Gilson

Winter vision


Snow was falling softly yesterday morning, and a couple of deer nibbled on whatever edibles they found in the wooded area behind my backyard fence.

The scene prompted me to dig up a bit of winter poetry. I found this bit from  Gary E. McCormick, and I changed his word “evening” to “morning”:

It comes very quickly
This winter vision
In the wink of a swift instant
On this will-o’-the-wisp morning.


37 words for snow. Plus this one: Here


New snow. Old snow. Dirty snow. Yellow snow.

Slush. Sleet. Snow pack.

Frost. Freezing rain. Flurries.

Flakes. Falling. Lazy. Sparkling.

Crystals. Needles. Pellets. Powder. Sugar.Whiteout.

Squall. Snowstorm.


The view out my front door this afternoon displayed Old Man Winter's sudden arrival in all its glory.

The view out my front door this afternoon displayed Old Man Winter’s sudden arrival in all its glory.

Anyone who lives in a snowy climate — Eskimo, Inuit, Minnesotan, even Chicagoan, I guess — has ample descriptions for snow. The first snow of the season today gives me the opportunity to exercise my vocabulary.