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June 2006

I first heard the poem  "The Discovery of Sex" by Debra Spencer, (from Pomegranate, Hummingbird Press, 2004) read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac.  It struck me that the poem might be more about rediscovery.

Two adolescents discover sex, as perhaps their daughter years later is discovering it somewhat by seeing them. And woven into that is the parents rediscovering something from their past, and the woman recalling her own mother calling to them to stop fooling around - the scene now reenacted by their own daughter.

Sex is certainly one of the things that is always being rediscovered, both by young people who believe they have found something new, and rediscovered by older people who perhaps may have forgotten where they had put it.

For our June prompt, we asked poets to write about rediscovering something.

For more on all our prompts and other things poetic, check out the Poets Online blog.


The first time I came to it
It was from a different direction,
Another way over the Heath,
The land was as it was in his time..

Now it was by a underground.
Exiting, one had questions
About the suburban small shops,
Of a fashionable neighborhood .
Life there did not have a muse in the air.

We slowly tramped down a hill
With my wife looking in dress shops,
While sullenly asking me if I knew the way.
She still smarted from our writing son,
Who said he did not want to have dinner together,
“And start to stop interfering..

The Keats’s House was off the main road
In a neighborhood of well tended gardens,
And old solid fences of propriety ship.
(And a neat sign, Keats House.)
Certainly it was a nice house,

There was the winter green garden
But no nightingale of a warm night..
Yet one had no difficulty
Imagining John sitting there
His life filled with preoccupations and woes
While our trite observation
Barely fill his space in our time.

My wife interrupts
With ordinary questions of the uninformed.
“Was he that great?
He didn’t make much money, and he died early.
But I never understand poetry.”

So I wonder what enchantment
Was I under when this bird beckoned.
When we were in the house
She did her work as an appraiser,
Saying they are nice things
But they are damaged..
It evoked terrible teachers
Of distant time .
Pointing out the weak links
Yet hope is truly made of fragile points.

A young Japanese couple
With infinite patience
Looked at the few artifacts assembled.
They spoke so softly
I did not know their language
But their long trip touched my heart,
(Just as our son could not explain
his pilgrimage ways.).

I could see (him) them as a samurai
With old fashioned horn rimmed glasses
And she as a geisha with a Hermes scarf
The lines flexible as tempered steel
The silk floating as a blue iris.
While my explanation
As calloused fingers to winter metal.

Edward N. Halperin


I don’t have to use these same eyes
All the time
I can change the way
I see the grease
that licks the edge of the gutter water
as it rainbows out, it reprieves
pollution. Its molecules
are mine, too. Seeing them shine
Refracts filth into beauty.

Above this gleaming pool
On a cliff that is a curbstone
a very ugly spider
dances sideways into a crack
the gray marbled stones
all fur and spindled energy
he emerges again. With the tiniest fangs
on the planet, so ugly-beautiful
he stings my eyes to tears.

Or I can look at you
As you evolve from
loved to hated
to indifferently tolerated
Trying to see your eyes. I wish
I could rediscover what made us feel new
But as you
are looking out from under
the fickle weight of my judgment
your gaze remains
hopeful, wary
and oh so sad.

Patty Tomsky


It was so easy
In those early years
To believe in God.

He lay about me
In my infancy.
He played with His angels
While making flowers grow
And wind to blow
And night to fall.

‘Where did they go,
The smoke-rings’ of Faith,
The incense of Hope :

Nursery-rhyming prayers
At my bedtime -
Those miracles of dreams
Keeping devils at bay,
Becoming sheltering wings
Above my pillow ?

For, when The World
Knocked at my door,
His Presence dimmed.

Lip-service remained,
But magic was ‘gone
With the wind’
Of work-to-be-done,
and sensible things
That took all of my time.

Now I am old.
With time on my hands.
I look back at the prayers

And dreams of the child
That used to be Me.
Why did they change?
Flowers still bloom

And winds still rustle
Them as night falls.

In this new quiet
I swear that I hear
Angel wings

Rustling my pillow,
Whispering Hope
In my jaded ears.
I talk to myself
In lisping rhyme
Smelling the incense of Reply.

Nothing is lost.
These Golden Years
Have returned Him to me.

Catherine M. LeGault


You would sit and you would wait,
Your fingers on the table, tap tap.
On the edge of the chair, breath held in,
Waiting for the rabbit from the magician's hat.

Miracles searched, miracles yet to be found,
Miracles you believed your destiny to be bound.
But winter came, and seemed to would never depart,
And still you sat,
Your fingers on the table, tap tap.

But like the coming of seasons, achievements are not,
They come not with the certainty of night and day.
For sudor and success, good friends with a rapport,
For wherever Sudor goes, Success eventually follows.

See the opportunities before you, waiting to be grasped
Leave your seats, cease your tap-taps
Reach in with hope, with the noesis that you deserve what you get
And believe it,
You'll pull the rabbit from the magician's hat.

Sabrina Ritom


I put lipstick on ten times,
rubbing it off each time until it’s
perfect. I do each strand of hair
individually. I brush my teeth, (six times thus far)
because the air tastes sour in my mouth. I hear
the phone ring and have an impulse to
answer it, and then only second thoughts
as it continues to ring. Finally I just rip it
off like a band-aid and say hello. I have
now committed myself to leaving the house.
There is no going back at this point. There are only
a few minutes left to prepare.
I slacken my jaw and say a prayer, then head to the
bathroom for the final touches. I stand up
high in a chair and see myself with no head
in the medicine cabinet. I tie the knot around
my pants so they will hang well. I step off the chair,
and face myself cut off at the heart.
I can tell I am still alive by the way I suddenly
raise my hand like a child with an emergency.

Jen Gates


Most of its life spent on front porches
there was a time when it hung between
two oaks swinging by a bubbling creek
a few miles from downtown Atlanta
back in the days when swinging was
popular for dancing porches and lawns.

No ordinary swing this one is made to
allow half the back to flip over to
the other side creating a cradle where
my wife was often appeased as a baby
decades ago by her grandmother and
mother the swing’s proud owners.

After more years our three children
stilled often in this front porch swing
and later theirs as well while repairs
and paint preserved the swing’s life
as years passed the swing preserved
parental sanity and peace of mind.

Typing and writing this poem at
a window I look out at an old swing
flooding my world with discovery and
memories indelibly strong seeing our
infants children and adults enjoying
it as did two young cuddling lovers.

F William Broome


At lunch we walked to the park we had been told of.
He said, “This brings back memories.
When I was eight, I came here with my father,
As he had business in this neighborhood,
He said take your ice skates.
That winter was very cold.
And I skated on that pond.
The pond looks much smaller then I remember it.
I recall my father as larger than life.
He was a wonderful man.”

Memories bring memories.
I describe my childhood home.
I recall running back and forth in the large windowed porch;
Building a castle from wooden blocks,
Memorialized in my father’s photo I still have.
Playing with electric trains
We eventually passed on to my cousin, the mechanical genius.
And of course, the move to larger quarters near better schools.
Twenty years later I returned to
Find a small house
I can’t believe produced my overflowing memories.

Ellen Kaplan