Defiant Winds

Funnels of fallen leaves
swirl across my porch
as gusts of angry winds invade
and usher out November.
My efforts to chase them
into hiding are in vain.

They defy me in scolding whispers
on frigid concrete.
My broom is a useless tool
to chase them out of mischief
and on to where it is
that lovers meet.

By Harding Stedler

leaves blown against a fence


After graduating valedictorian of his high school graduating class, Harding Stedler went on to earn his B.S. in Ed., M.S in English Education, and his Ph.D. in English Education as well. He taught writing courses under the umbrella of the English Department in universities where he taught. In 1995, he retired from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, with 34 years of service. He now makes his home in Maumelle, Arkansas, and is an active member of the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas as well as the River Market Poets in Little Rock.

Photo by Ronel Potgieter

Pieces of Tranquility

Piece by piece my kids
Add in soft colors, fresh air,
Sounds of carefree bliss.

Lights in the windows
Touch the field humming for joy
With a horse’s kiss.

Each unique shape fits
Into a scene where dreams and
Realism thrive.

Not just a puzzle
But a reminder to feel
Each moment of life.

cottage puzzle scene


Heather Gelb grew up hiking through the Colorado Rocky Mountains. She feels most fulfilled leaping from hilltop to hilltop, as she writes in her recently published memoir about her spiritual and physical journey from the heart of Africa to the heart of Israel, Hilltop to Hilltop. Her poetry has been published in such diverse works as Poetica Publishing, Stepping Stones, Jellyfish Whispers, Deronda Review, Green Panda Press, and Dead Snakes.

Photo by the author of a recent puzzle project completed by her children.

Fertile Earth

I.
In the corner of the garden
we found the perfect spot
for the damask rose “Celsiana,”
but when we dug, we hit a boulder.
I said, “Let’s plant somewhere else.”
“No,” she disagreed, “we’ll find a way.”

For two hours we dug around it,
but couldn’t get it to budge.
With a plank, we made a lever.
The two of us stood on one end
and bounced up and down
and finally felt it dislodge.

It took two planks and the two of us
working all day to dig it out:
there, at last, unearthed,
a rock the size of a coffee table.
Two women, one aging and one old–
we gaped in awe of what we’d done.

II.
With patience, forbearance, and a stubborn will,
almost any obstacle can be made to yield.

She taught me to trust myself to find a way;
she taught me to look for it close at hand.

In the rock’s place grows the sturdy rose,
whose soft pink blooms and golden stamens
delight our summers.

The rock remained, too big to take away;
transplanted ferns now shelter in its shade.

III.
All afternoon before t.he rain,
I clipped the dead hostas’ withered stems
and raked out piles of dead leaves from the beds.

Wet and chill, as if a cloud had sunk to earth,
in the strangely muffled air of November,
I listened to the chirp of a hawk circling overhead.

My body bent to my labors; my mind wandered free.
Make room! More room!

By Anne Whitehouse

flower garden with a rock


Anne Whitehouse is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Meteor Shower, her second from Dos Madres Press (2016). Her novel Fall Love has just been published in Spanish translation as Amigos y Amantes. 2016 honors include Songs of Eretz’s, RhymeOn!’s, Common Good Books’, and Fitzgerald Museum’s poetry prizes. Visit her at AnneWhitehouse.com.

Photo of garden and boulder by uulgaa.

The Sweet Scent

Vivid memories
Of days long past
Senses do not forget
The sweet smell
Of lilacs in full bloom
Warm spring days
Amethyst jewels sparkle
Atop jade green leaves
Surrounded by vibrancy and joy
My father’s favorite flower
Forever in my heart

By Ann Christine Tabaka

woman near  blossoming  lilac


Tabaka Author PhotoAnn Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.

Photo of lilac by Galyna Tymonko

Autumn Shall Garner

There’s a spider on a lilac leaf, he’s brown and green with beige legs and seems a bit drunk. It’s October, it’s cool and

he drifts lazily on a short web, waiting for Indian summer to bring one more gnat or bottle fly.

I’m tempted to wrap him in tissue, bring him inside the house to live out the winter in the cellar.

There he could dine on centipedes, meet some classy house spider babe and (if she doesn’t eat him) they can make spider babies.

(I Think) I can safely assume he’s male, he’s still here uneaten by said spider babies that would eventually make him a widower,

and he’d miss the lilac leaves, ( I think) and drinking the October wind and spinning short webs and dreaming of fluttering

wax moths and mud wasps. And I would not think of him, amid the dust and cobwebs from spiders long gone, (winter home or not)

and if I saw him, I might forget he is here under my protection and I might squash him beneath my heel.

I leave him to the cool morning to build his web, to drink the wind and dine on what may fly or crawl,

before the lilac leaves fall.

By Cee Williams

a small spider on the green leaf


Cee Williams is a gardener and fisherman residing in Erie, Pennsylvania, US. His poetry tends to focus on the observation of, and his connection to the world and people around him.

Photo of spider on leaf by Decha Thapanya