Pennington brings out the best in those who know him

The other day I received an autographed copy of Lee Pennington‘s latest offering to the literary world. Aside from being a past Poet Laureate of Kentucky, retired college professor and film maker, he is a two-time nominee for the Pulitzer in LIterature, and rightfully so.

Pretty much every morning I rise early, and before time to walk my dog, Brody (about sunrise), I read to get my mind fresh for the day. Though I have been into a novel by a best-selling author, when I got Lee’s book, Appalachian Newground, a combination of arresting short stories and crisp poetry based on his youth in rural Kentucky, illustrated with remarkable drawings by world renowned artist, and mate of Lee’s, Jill Baker, I couldn’t help replacing the novel with Lee’s book, which is much better written than that of the best-selling novelist. I highly recommend  it to anyone who loves the charming past and is into nostalgic, well-thought out writing. I’m also looking forward to getting one of a few remaining sets of Jill’s prints from the book.

Lee’s work is so out-of-the-ordinary that it inspired me. Rhonda and I have been beset by some tough circumstances of late, and I needed some inspiration. I’m certainly no Lee Pennington, buy my inspiration led me to pen the  following poem.

Imagination’s Window

It’s a sticky wicket,                                                                                                                    Such a slippery slope;                                                                                                               A stodgy old curmudgeon                                                                                                         Digesting his own jokes.

Imagination’s window                                                                                                               Seems to crack a smile,                                                                                                        Then deafening silent darkness                                                                                               Blinds the brightest minds.

As I tossed my thoughts together                                                                                            They struck a pitchy chord                                                                                                      And I watched a silver granny                                                                                                 Her rusting trinkets hoard.

Tomorrow looked at Yesterday,                                                                                               And shook hands with Today;                                                                                               Then imagination’s window                                                                                                       Had nothing more to say.

 

4-16,17-2016

 

Does your dog “talk to you?”

Our little dog, Brody, responds so well to what I say that it is remarkable. When I told Rhonda yesterday, she said, “One of these days he’s going to start talking to you.”

Brody knows what I’m saying to him, no doubt, a great deal of the time. When I say “‘short walk” he knows to head around the house instead of out to the street. He protects our older female cat, Shia, from our younger, playful male, Fonzie. When I call him to be a disciplinarian he comes running and gets right to it. When he starts pulling me in a direction I don’t want to go, I say “We’re not going that way,” and tug a bit on his leash and he changes direction. When it’s time for him to go to bed, I just say, “Time for bed,” and he hops up and heads for his crate with its soft warm blanket. Sometimes it seems that he is talking to me. When he wants to go out, he comes and paws my feet. If that doesn’t work, he whines a little.

The relationship between a dog keeper and the dog is almost like that of a parent and child. If they are trained right, and gently and lovingly disciplined, they will learn to obey and they will cling to their human.

This is demonstrated in verse in my little upcoming book, I Walked My Dog This Morning, featuring a poem by that name which I posted on this blog a few months ago. It will be out sometime next year. But right now, I’ve got to get to work putting the finishing touches on the first volume of Exploring Our Exciting World. It will be out shortly. I hope others enjoy it half as much as I enjoyed writing it. It covers the entire Southeastern US and Washington, DC. I’ll post when it is released!

New poem not spooky enough for Halloween

My latest poetical composition does mention the creepy day coming up, but is not intended to scare. I hope you enjoy it!

LIFE AND SEASONS

Halloween approaches fast.

Sir Autumn has donned

His dazzling kilt—

His yellow mustache

Waves from the willow.

His balding cranium

Relinquishes its deadened tresses.

Soon a pallid blanket

Will envelop all that endures.

Fluffy clouds of mutation

Drift through the boughs.

While one is departing,

Another arrives.

Life and seasons

Nourish change.

10-29-14

For more of this kind of mild verse, get my upcoming book, I Walked My Dog This Morning. In the meantime, visit us at stclairpublications.com .

Do you dwell on the past?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t think about our successes and failures or learn from past mistakes. I love the study of history, now more than ever. Genealogy and DNA have become hobbies through the years.

But those thoughts of going back to the “Good old days” are senseless. Things are not ever going to be the same, whether good or bad. We all need to focus on making our world a better place. That can start in the heart of each of us.

Today while letting my mind rest between tasks, I wrote the following poem:

THE FOCUS OF OUR LENS

I know that I cannot return to the past,

For it is but an elusive trail

Of botched memories:

A crape paper kite floating ever upward;

Its gingham tail with knotted bows

Flapping behind in the misty breeze

Of wanton dreams.

 

No, the past, as the future,

Is hardly as the camera of the mind envisions.

Both are better left alone for what they are.

 

We live in the uniqueness of the moment,

And that must be the focus of our lens.

10-9-14

It will appear in my next book of poetry, I Walked My Dog This Morning, due out next year.

Poetry in Memorandum

Today I want to again post a poem: one which I composed yesterday. But its roots go deeper than the memory of this horrid day in 2001–it embraces the life experiences of us all. Each of us has taken part in experiences, both good and bad, which have shaped our individual lives and set us apart as unique.

When in New Jersey recently, my cousin and friend, Steve St. Clair, took me on a special journey into Manhattan, and specified that he wanted to first show me the 9-11 Memorial first. Many thanks, Steve! This poem is dedicated to you! It will also appear in my future poetry book, I Walked My Dog This Morning.

I’VE BEEN THERE

 

I’ve trampled old bricks; the Forbidden City

And ambled up China’s Great Wall.

I’ve forged to the summit of grim Kilauea

And basked in the mist; Yelapa’s quaint fall.

 

I’ve roamed the mystical ruins of Mayans;

And dined with dignity; Halifax coast.

I’ve pounded the pavement in Lower Manhattan,

But mused at Ground Zero the most.

 

I’ve savored the chicory at Café du Monde

And ogled the dives on Bourbon Street;

I’ve chauffeured a coupe through Charlotte Amalie,

And trudged endless miles of soft golden wheat.

 

I met Jimmy Carter and Jimmy Doolittle,

Made friends with both nobles and peasants.

The rays of the sun have fallen around me

Upon the great shrines and the deserts.

 

The White House before me, the West to my right,

I’ve lifted my heart in great praise,

Remembering Old Faithful blubbering heavenward,

My love for creation ablaze.

 

9-10-14

Remembering 9-11

Hope in Tragedy – Poetry for Reflection

In my dogged determination to remain positive I have allowed three weeks minus one day to elapse since the tragic loss of my youngest son. During this time Rhonda and I went on a historic tour of Virginia and Washington, D.C. and I met with my cousin, Steve, for a jaunt into Manhattan.

Before the trip, while waiting for my daughters to arrive from Ohio, I wrote the following poem:

HOPE

It’s not the best and not the worst

But wavering in between.

Crayola candles blue and yellow

Melting into green.

The wick is flickering in a lamp;

A beam drifts through the fog.

Then plunging onward into darkness

Daggers pierce the bog.

Soft raindrops splash into a keg

Beneath a mangled oak

Then bravely peeping through a cloud

Faint light the fetters broke.

This verse will be in my forthcoming poetry book, I Walked my Dog This Morning. More on the trip later.

 

 

I walked my dog this morning

For me, writing poetry takes the right mood and inspiration. For about a week now I have felt a poem coming on. Like many, a lot of my inspiration comes from nature, and the early morning ability to think with a clear mind. As I have walked my little doggie, Brody, each morning, words would come to me. Today I put it all together in this poem which I want to dedicate to my friend, former Poet Laureate of Kentucky and two-time Pulitzer nominee, Lee Pennington. Not that my poety comes close to the grandeur of his, but because I respect him so much.

I WALKED MY DOG THIS MORNING

 

I took my dog for a walk this morning

‘Ere the advent of the sun.

Fall was heavy in the air

And the first hint of frost lay low on the lawn.

A lazy three-quarter moon

Hung tight against a treetop in the West.

Could this truly be the same shy moon

Which hid behind earth’s black shadow

Two mere nights ago?

My doggie paused to smell and mark his territory

Then pulled forcefully ahead.

By dawn’s encroaching glimmer

The ruddy and blanching leaves

Dotted the darkened greens about me

As onward we ambled around our suburban block.

A brown fringe of fallen foliage

Lined the edge of asphalt.

My small companion stopped and sniffed

Where yesterday had laid a silenced squirrel,

Its relative barking incessantly

From the quivering limbs above.

Some kind soul had scooped it up

And whisked it away from the view of passersby.

As we rounded the corner, morn’s soft rays

Arose in the East as a florescent vapor.

The roar of the mowers had been quelled for the season,                               

I mused, and I was glad.

We soon were home again—safe and warm.

 

Stanley J. St. Clair, 10-21-13 In honor of Lee Pennington

Getting ready to relax

As we prepare to get away for vacation this year to enjoy some much needed relaxation, it came to my mind that when I first journeyed to the area where we will be traveling this weekend, the beautiful white sand beeches of the Florida Gulf Coast, where I lived for two years, it was just as Hurricane Eloise was hitting. Later, when it was easier to laugh than cry about that traumatic experience, I penned a few verses about it now found in the just-for-fun section of Reflections on Life, a volume of my poetry. I will include it here, and am happy to know that the forecast will be lovely for the coming week. And Happy Holiday to all.

ELOISE’S KNOCK

In late September Seven’ five,

When at the Gulf, I did arrive;

Oh, such a welcome to receive,

The howling knock of Eloise!

 

A schoolhouse beckoned all about

In hopes we’d safely set it out.

An elder gent was brought in there

Whose hearrt was failing from the scare.

 

A nurse was present, God be praised;

With respiration he was saved.

Miss Eloise soon bade farewell,

And we went home to rest a spell.