April is National Poetry Month. We’ve invited readers from across the Central Coast to share their best original poems dealing with self-identity and diversity.
Here is a sampling of the poems. We will be posting new poems at sanluisobispo.com/entertainment/books throughout the month.
“The Life of a Farmer”
By Glenna Luschei, San Luis Obispo
I grew up in the corn and bean fields of Iowa,
We stripped down to bathing suits at noon,
ran to the trucks for cover when it stormed.
I moved to California to grow avocados. Ripe
ones sell nearly two dollars apiece
at Trader Joe’s. You can never predict
the life of a farmer.
~ ~ ~
“Sowing the Seeds”
By Michael Shanley and Annie Harpel, Cambria
My empty notebook is fresh soil.
I am a poet
who plants words like seeds upon each page,
into a garden of poetry.
~ ~ ~
By Margaret Bertrand, Los Osos
Child sits beneath a pine counting lily pads,
transforming them to ham rolls for imaginary customers.
She carries them in a pail to her restaurant
on a green row boat. She ferries her dog and relatives
willing to pay, moving only end around tethered end
along the warm dock into the shade by rocks.
Her menu expanded to clay sundaes topped with catkins,
petal and berry soup, popular acorn patties.
When allowed to untie the ferry, she rowed alone
to the far side of Willow Bay to a secret spring.
Removing the heavy stone cover, she cupped
her small fingers to taste icy worlds and shiver.
Once she paddled across the river, where
she picked real red raspberries until suddenly
a loud hoot of a Great Horned Owl
made her regret the theft and she fled.
Old woman who was child, remembers journeys
to those sacred places, seemingly alone, yet
never alone, where life germinated against luminous
skies, where imagination soared.
She cries gratitude for that space she had, dreaming
what was to come.
~ ~ ~
By Eve Cone, Atascadero
I remember as a child how I wanted to skate.
I was a country kid from a large family
with lots of range for horseback riding
but not for skating –
I had a small cement porch on the north side
of our square house,
but I had only one skate.
So I skated with one skate.
I put the skate on my right foot and held it on with
two or three Mason jar rubbers.
I'd give myself a good push-off
and glide from one end of the porch to the other
without touching my left foot to the ground.
That's all there was to it, push/glide,
but I practiced over and over for the perfect push
and the perfect glide.
In my imagination I sometimes added another skate
and more space, but actually
I had only one skate and one porch.
Push/glide, push/glide, push/glide.
~ ~ ~
“A Gemini Dream”
By Evelyn Cole, Arroyo Grande
I dreamed I came back as a harbor seal
in Avila Bay, California
I hang out near the pier
swim beneath to dance
for patrons dining above,
peering through their glass tables
I flip onto an empty floating dock
wondering why I’m alone, then sing,
Je suis seule ce soir avec mes rêves,
je suis seule ce soir, sans ton amour.
Some kids on the pier bark at me
I nod at their applause, and, encouraged,
sing, Le jour tombe, ma joie s'achève,
tout se brise dans mon coeur lourd.
The crowd on the pier barks louder
I do a flip flop bow and sing
Je suis seule ce soir avec ma peine
J'ai perdu l'espoir de ton retour,
A big handsome seal swims toward me,
all eyes, and I belt out, Et pourtant je t'aime
encore et pour toujours,
Ne me laisse pas seule sans ton amour
I wake up
You are kissing me
~ ~ ~
“A Frigid View”
By Earl Henry Smith, Paso Robles
The moon is full and shining bright
the rolling hills, glistening, in its light
A million tiny diamonds on the ground
they seem to be moving all around
Each sagebrush dressed in winters best
a frigid view high desert west
Even sounds are crisper here
and travel fast through December air
I cast an eye on this land
and know the scene was thoroughly plan’d
Then the spirit of countless tribes
written down by modern scribes
will reach me here, where I sit
I ask them quietly, please don’t quit
Continue please, touch my soul
Tell me please of times ‘ago’
When man, and beast, and brush, and stream
lived together as a dream
When Mother-earth and Father-sun
and the humans were all one
In thought and deed and spiritual goal
remember in all things a soul
Never taking more than needed
sometimes – the ground be seeded
To fill the gap we humans make
when going further for man’s sake.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~