An Unhappy Ground Hog

I know it’s a little late, but something I heard earlier this month inspired me to write the following poem. Apparently, the group in Pennsylvania that organizes the Ground Hog Day activities creates the forecast, no matter what the ground hog does. Click this link to hear me read the poem. You can learn more about Ground Hog Day here.

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Punxsutawney Phil’s Lament

 

I saw my shadow today,

they said we’ll have an early spring,

not true.

Why do I even bother?

The speeches, entertainment, give me a headache.

They don’t like my forecast.

Next year, I won’t even show my face.

Then what will they say?

 

***

How would you feel if you were a ground hog who came out of his hole, and nobody paid attention to you?

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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Water Color

The following short story was inspired by a poetry prompt. Last month in our third Thursday group meeting, we were given a suggestion to write a poem in a different dialect. After spending six months in Fargo, North Dakota, and listening to A Prairie Home Companion for years, the North Dakota Norwegian way of speaking came to mind. What started as a poem turned into flash fiction. Click this link to hear me read it.

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WHEN TWO NORTH DAKOTA NORWEGIANS WATER COLOR

 

 

In their retirement,       Nils and Astrid spent a lot of time painting since their children were grown and scattered across the country. They took art classes at the senior center in Fargo and worked on their assignments together at home. Their love of painting didn’t keep them from bickering, but they always made up.

That June day in 2015 was no different. They were sitting in their back yard. The early morning sun shone in a cloudless sky. Birds sang, and the flower bushes’ scent wafted across the lawn. As Nils dipped his brush into the small container of red paint a little too vigorously, it splattered onto the white picnic table. “ufta, oh darn,” he said.

His wife looked up and frowned at the splotch of red against white. “Well then, you spilled it, you clean it up.”

“So how come you’re so cranky then?”

“Cranky, I’m not cranky. I’m not the one who spilled the paint.”

“Yes you are. You’re cranky because I dripped a little red paint on your nice white table.”

“Who says I’m cranky? I’m not. So clean up that paint then.”

“You are cranky. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be so mad about me spilling the paint then.”

“Oh shut up then about that paint and clean it up already.”

“Why should I? You made me spill it then.”

“I did no such thing then.”

“Yes you did. You distracted me.”

“Oh ufta tufta, you poor thing. You can’t multi-task so you blame me then.”

“Yeah, so if you’re gonna be so gung ho about it, you can clean it up.”

“Me, I didn’t spill the paint. You did.”

“Yeah, but you made me spill it.”

“Did not.”

“Did too.”

“Did not, but just to shut you up, I’ll…” In her haste to pull herself off the picnic bench, she knocked over the small container of water between them. “Oh ufta tufta, look what you made me do. Now, we got a real mess on our hands, thanks to you.”

“Me, you’re the one who knocked over the water.”

“Yeah, well, you distracted me then.”

“Well, now you know how I felt when you distracted me, and I spilled the paint so let’s just get some paper towels and clean this mess up together, huh?” Nils stood, turned, and embraced his wife. She relaxed, and a moment later, they kissed.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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In Loving Tribute

On this Valentine’s Day, here’s a poem about love that endures through difficult times. I posted this last year, but it’s worth a second look.

The following poem was inspired by a song from a movie that was released in the late 1990’s. I never heard of the song or the movie until 2005 after my late husband Bill proposed to me. He was living in Fowler, Colorado, at the time, and I was here in Sheridan, Wyoming. We met through a magazine, and after a long-distance friendship during which we communicated regularly by e-mail and phone and met face to face twice, he sent me a letter, out of the blue, asking me to marry him. This was in January.

A month later, he sent me a Valentine care package that included, among other things, a cassette tape of love songs he downloaded from the Internet. One of these was “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You” from The Mask of Zorro. It became one of our songs. Even now, after caring for him at home for six years when two strokes partially paralyzed him, and after I lost him three years ago, I still marvel that a man wanted to spend his lifetime loving me. To hear this song, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo4AWDELNiY . To hear me read the poem, visit https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/rise%20fal%20of%20zorro.mp3 . Happy Valentine’s Day, honey, wherever you are.

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THE RISE AND FALL OF MY ZORRO

 

With cape, hat, mask, rapier,

he rode out of the darkness.

“Take my hand. Dance with me,” he said,

“I want to spend my lifetime loving you,”

but happily-ever-after was not to be.

My hero fell and rose many times.

I felt the glory

until he fell for the last time.

Where there’s love, life begins again.

When life dies, love goes on.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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Reflections of Edelweiss

One of my late husband Bill’s favorite shows was The Sound of Music. When we first met in 2002, he was living in Fowler, Colorado, and I here in Sheridan, Wyoming. One of the many cassette tapes he sent me in the three years of our long distance relationship before we were married was a recording of the Broadway production. The following poem was inspired by a song from this musical. Click this link to hear me read the poem and sing the song.

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REFLECTIONS OF EDELWEISS

 

A flower that grows in the Swiss Alps,

a promise of dedication never given to me

but he showed his love in other ways:

his voice, kiss, touch.

Dedicated through pain, sorrow, paralysis,

all I have now are memories of Edelweiss.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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A Winter Poem Revisited

I posted this in July of 2012, but since it’s Groundhog Day, and I don’t have any more brilliant ideas, I decided this poem was worth a second look. It was published in Emerging Voices in 2012, and I’ve made some revisions since then. You can read the original here. It’s not as cold now as when I first wrote the poem so I look back on that day with gratitude. Click this link to hear me read it.

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FIVE WAYS OF LOOKING AT COLD

 

1.

 

At a quarter to nine in the morning, it’s seventeen below.

Waiting for a ride, I stand inside the kitchen door.

Sunlight shimmers on frosted glass.

I rub with gloved hand but make no dent,

hear the car pull into the driveway—

its tires crunch on frozen snow.

 

2.

 

“I don’t have the heat on yet,”

she says when I get in the car.

“It needs to warm up first.”

I don’t complain–

walking would be a lot worse.

In the YMCA locker room, my nose runs.

 

3.

 

Water exercise class in progress,

“North to Alaska” plays on the stereo.

Why would I want to go there? I’m cold enough—

as water’s warmth surrounds me,

I move across the pool–

my mind unfreezes, opens.

 

4.

 

Driving home isn’t so bad.

The car has absorbed the winter sun’s warmth.

When I get home, the temperature is four degrees above.

 

5.

 

The groundhog did not see his shadow today.

Will there be an early spring?

The late afternoon temperature has risen to twelve above,

feels like twelve below.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order from Amazon