A Lesson in French

She did WHAT????
That’s gasporrific!
With the gardener?

On the curb,
outside the pub????
When was that?

Did he know?

The honey
on bland porridge.
But beware.

Gaspalicious can turn into
far too quickly.

it’s best to
fermer la bouche!

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. De asks us to include the word “gasp” or a form of the word in our quadrille, a poem of exactly 44 words sans title. I had a bit of fun with the word. Image by Sam Williams from Pixabay

At 76 years of age, the phrase, “fermer la bouche” is one of the few phrases/words I remember from my three years of high school French. It means “shut-up” or more politely, “close your mouth”. Other phrases I can still say in French are
Where is the library?
Please pass the butter.
My name is Lillian.
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose.
Hmmmm…..don’t think I should depend on my French if we travel to Paris!

Ode to the Lost

1972 . . .
High school field trip chaperone
battered yellow school bus,
ear plugs needed.
Kids chatter
shout across aisles.
Loud and louder voices join,
belt out singing, grins on faces

bye bye Miss American Pie
drove my Chevy to the levee
but the levee was dry
and them good old boys
were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
singing “This ‘ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die.”

2019 . . . 11 AM
High school field trip chaperone
battered yellow school bus,
kids plugged in.
Heads down, thumbs fly.
Some lips move
no sounds heard.
Eye contact? There is none.

2019 . . . 5 PM
Commuter rail, going home.
Same scene,
different place.
Heads down, thumbs fly.
Some lips move,
no sounds heard.
Faces never seen.

Don McLean’s American Pie
turned sardine humanity,
schooling no more.


I’m hosting OLN today at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Folks can post one poem of their choice – no particular form, length or topic. By the way, “schooling” is a very social behavior of fish. It requires coordinated body positions and synchronized movements. And for those of you not familiar with the song American Pie, click below for a listen – topped the Billboard charts in 1972. Photo from pixaby.com  Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

A Sign of the Times

Day after day, he stacked the mail
catalogues, ads, all on the steps
in rain and sleet, and snow and hail.

So I sat by the window, waiting one day
caught him as he was walking away,
and queried him nicely. Why?

Why don’t you use the LETTERS slot
that’s right on the door, quite plain to see.
He stared and looked blankly at me.

“Well ma’am, I see the sign on your door
capital block letters, all in blue,
and that little slot thing too.

But I have no idea what LETTERS means
and the slot’s too narrow to ever fit
all this important stuff you get.”


“Excuse me ma’am,”
the young man said with a grin,
“That’s an important text coming in.”



Mish is hosting Poetics at dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to write a poem about signs. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Stop by and join in the fun! Photo in public domain.

People . . .

Some exhale fresh air
with every breath.
Others spew pollution
from every pore.

Some sow smiles
like Johnny planted trees.
Others hurl thunderbolts
of anger and fear.

Some believe in we
live in the our.
Others tout two,
us versus them.

Some stand tall
no matter their stature.
Others think small
no matter their height.

Some people hope
as they pray for the others.
Willing the others
compassion for all.


Shared with dVerse OLN today….the virtual pub for poets. Everyone is invited to share one poem of their choosing. Bar opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join the fun! Photo in public domain.

September 9, 2009

And there they sat,
some agreed and some did not.
All taught as youth,
the tenants of democracy.
Respect the office
if not the man.

One voice spoke to all
until the word was harshly flung.
Liar! then gasps within the pause.
Heads turned to find the voice
whose tongue had struck,
lashed civility at its whipping post.

That word’s echo
replays throughout the land.
The fabric of decorum
a scrim forever rent,
as thread by shred
our dignity is torn.

U.S. President Barack Obama Visits Connecticut Town Where Massacre Still Fresh

Written in respons to a MOOC University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop assignment.
Explanation:  On September 9, 2009, President Obama was addressing Congress when South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson interrupted him by shouting “Liar!” There were audible gasps and stares. It was unprecedented for a president addressing Congress to be heckled. Representative Wilson later apologized and was formally rebuked by Congress. Some critics believe this was a watershed moment in the behavior of politicians. Somehow, I’ve always connected this event to the refrain in the song American Pie, “…the day the music died.”  In my mind, this was the day decorum died.