Poets’ Brew – February

February’s prompt from YCP is, “The hill we climb.”

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Elaine Smith

Living Above the Interstate, 1995

It’s not hard to spell
civilization’s knell;
Nor can all we tell
now of how it will fall
serve to quell
the Myrmidonian swell
on Interstate 5, pell-mell.

Expect hope to dispel,
generations to appall;
for there’s yet no call
asphalt to forestall.

Claire Carpenter

In Defiance of Winter

The little hen sat
in the corner of the barn
through the dark days of January.

Feathers fluffed against the cold
she kept the faith
that life could grow despite the darkness.

With the warmth of her body
and her will to wait,
she fought the forces of winter
and found it was enough:

Two yellow chicks hatched
from two brown eggs
to take shelter under her canopy of feathers.

Like her, I want my work rewarded
by the peep of new life.
I want to thrust my body
between the lives I cherish
and the darkness.
Want my canopy of feathers
to be a haven against the cold.


Dotty Armstrong

Five Year Old Harold Meets His First Snow

The backyard does not look like itself.
Around me polka-dots of snow swirl.
My boots make big holes in the snow.

My snowsuit is cozy
but I have to pee.
I don’t know how to get it off.

So when I do pee,
I am even cozier,
warm and wet inside of fleece.

When I press flakes together
I can make a ball,
stick it down my brother’s collar.

No, shouts my brother and dives for me.
My snowsuit is cold now.
My brother cracks a snowball on my head.

I cry, of course, but now I know
that even if you are in a big bubble of happiness,
things can go boom.

Polo Muñoz


     “There could be more beautiful times,
              but this one is ours.” —Sartre

Here I am
after 20 winters in this valley
still dancing with the night
under innumerable snowflakes
beholding the sleeping apple trees
and waiting for the first lark
of the new spring…

Ask me how the time passes by
why the weeping willows are covered with holy whiteness
why I long for the chirping of the red birds
the lilies on the banks of the Yakima River
and the squirrels jumping over the pines?

But I swear after the winter
the sky and the blue bird of the morning
are waiting.
I swear the plovers will cry again
before the rain germinates the pastures
there still exists an unedited melody of mockingbirds
in the highest branches of the oaks!

Ask me how the time passes by
why I cannot forget the flutes of the wind
of that summer 53 years ago
in front of the Atlantic Ocean
when my soul was a seagull
playing with the sun
like a child playing with a shining ball?

Ask me how the time passes by
today because I am still alive
and the polar wind soars in my window
but for this time
I am not scared of living!

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