Seasoned Featured Poets

Welcome to the world of Calliope, eldest of the Muses and Goddess of Poetry.

Poetry offers rewards at all stages of life, and those rewards subtly change as we change,
both for the reader and the poet.

In 2019 Border Voices featured three seasoned poets on the Border Voices ITV “Virtual” Fair. They appeared on the TV set along with award-winning students to read their poems and talk about poetry. Here are their poems which also appear in the 2019 annual anthology. This launched our Seasoned Senior Poets Program. These shows continue to be available on ITV.


Dirty, don’t, dumb bruised his tender heart. He stopped listening,

stopped talking, his words muzzled dogs he dragged behind him.

One day he left the house where words hurt tosit on the sandy

bank of the Rio Hondo. In the shade of awordless oak he began to

read Black Beauty, the book he stole from his sister’s nightstand,

lovingthe silence of horses, their sad liquid eyes. Each day he

went back to that tree, to that book, learning new words. Soon

leaves of words in riots of color tumbled down, landing on his bent

head. He grew lush with words; they sprouted from the tips of his  

fingers, fell out his whorled ears, spilled in a water fall from his

astounded mouth: verbs, nouns, whole sentences. He talked to

anything that might listen, his voice a rusty nail from all that

silence. He talked to the lizard doingpush-ups on a boulder, talked

to the horned toad he held in his open hand, talked to the sun he

thought might be God. And the wind in winged tongues talked back.

IN AUGUST by Lynda Riese

We sit on the sun porch and watch the storm
roll in from the Rock River,
he with Jane Kenyon’s Otherwise,

her luminous poems about dying,
cradled in his lap,
a book I bought him on impulse.
He brings it with him

to the dinner table where he can’t eat;
it sits beside him
on the sofa when he watches TV.
His thin hand rests on its cover

as black clouds shiver and spin,
his own dying a few monthsaway.
We don’t speak its name
though death slumps

near his shoulder, a weary angel,
and I want to tear at its wings,
beat it back with my fists.
But we sit in our wicker chairs

watching the summer storm
talking of nothing
while rain pelts the roof,
lightning splits open the sky.

The Painting of Snow by Mary Harker

Packed in my trunk some fifty years ago
my mother’s painting traveled to Berkeley,
hung on my sorority wall, mounds of snow
a reminder of cold beauty beneath the trees

of how I watched Mother wield her brush –
a dab of palest grey, a splash of green
here a streak of brown and there a flush
of faintest blue, for sun could not be seen

and ice still clung to branches on the firs.
I shivered as I stood yet stayed, entranced
and thrilled to have a chance to be by her
though silent, unrewarded by a glance.

Do you know, she never did paint snow,
just shaped the paper’s white to let it show.

Desert Sparrow by Mary Harker

Nothing moves. Sun-seared sidewalks

border sheets of cool green. Palms
rear up against an assault of blue.

A loud thud startles the silence.
A sage sparrow struggles to rise,
peers at the pane of glass before it.

I watch its wondering, remember
my surprise when cancer hit,
the settling in to wage war.

I want to hide, not see that bird
dropped upon the walk, too stunned
to move except its little eyes.

Moments, minutes pass. It remains
motionless. I later realize
it was gathering its strength to fly.

OPTIONS by LaDean Berry

To feel dislike, to feel animosity
To feel hostility, means to feel hate
Did you pick it up as a child?
Or is it something picked up of late
Who was your teacher, what the date?
Did it seep into your soul unaware?
Or did you accept it as the future’s fate
Have you embraced it without thought or care?
Life is a journey where we pick up things
An idea here, a seashell there
What have you chosen to keep, love or hate
What will those who love you and cherish you find?
A scarred soul, a discarded rind
Like an idea, or a trinket, it may be a burden
That will grow heavier in the time given
Now is the time to make a choice
Listen to love’s choice

What the Wise Mexican Told My Cousin (and Mr. Trump)
by LaDean Berry

I got a post from my cousin
and here’s what she said to me:

“Sell California for $5 billion –
what a bargain that’ll be.
Then build a lovely wall
for the Mexicans to see.”

And here’s what my buddy told me
after he read what my cousin wrote:

“Walls were installed in iron ages,
in the days of cannon smoke.
But in a time of immigrant sages
walls are just a joke.

“In these years of drones and sensors
we laugh at a silly wall.
We dump our shovels and ladders
and buy freedom with a cell-phone call.

“Our shovel is now a ticket, our ladder a plane
that’ll fly us to your country
where we can simply – remain.”


LaDean would like to thank Jack Webb for his gentle editing and various
suggestions. Jack would like to congratulate LaDean for her wit and patience.