by Joshua heston
I can’t write poetry. Let’s get that out of the way right now. What I write doesn’t rhyme and I’m okay with that.
However, I grew up with poetry and it’s high-time we took the art form seriously once again. Poetry is the foundation of song, obviously a multi-billion dollar business.
But poetry? We all-too-often don’t take the art seriously, regarding poems as of the realm of the effete — not gritty, not working class and certainly not masculine.
As though emotions are limited to the intellectual? As John Wayne would say, “Not hardly.”
No, true poetry is the power of emotion — good and bad — put on paper, then shared. In literary terms, it’s difficult to estimate the power poetry holds over us — and guides us.
That was obvious last Friday night as poet after hopeful poet shared works emotional, evocative, and the ether around us seemed to change as these words, charged with power, were voiced.
It was a breathtaking moment, when the voices of real people shared real emotion. This was not academic — no, this was real.
You should have been there. It was really somethin’.
September 29, 2015
plate I. “Missouri Blue” by Paula Jacobson.
Nature Bound by Paula Jacobson
- Slowly down the River
- I’m free at last you see
- Cares, don’t really matter
- My spirit can be free
- Birds high in the Sky
- No tears to cloud my vision
- Just an Eagle with a cry.....
- Never asking why
- Peace...the Sound of Music
- My ears can hum the Tune
- Just rippling like the Water
- As peaceful as a Loon
- Buzzing Bees
- Sycamore Trees
- Peaceful floating Leaves
- Stand or Grace the water
- A person only sees
- When the heart....Believes
- High above the Tree Tops
- Red Bluffs stand like Kings
- Golden Sun above me
- Oh, how my heart sings
- Nature song
- Spirit Strong
- The Hope that comes along
- There’s nothing like this healing
- A place where I belong
- Heaven’s Nature Throng
- So take me down the River
- Through trickling, laughing stream
- Let my spirit touch the sky
- Tears of joy, to fill my eyes
- Let the Sun kiss my cheeks
- Embrace my every being
- Take me down.....
- I’m Nature bound
September 29, 2015. Nature Bound is the property of author Paula Jacobson. The article is reprinted here with permission.
plate II. “Red Oak” by Joshua Heston.
Ozark Fall by Stephen J. Meek
- I saw a forest of trees aflame
- With fire which caught my eye
- I saw ten thousand golden leaves
- Glow as we passed them by.
- Beauty beyond my words describe,
- In these Missouri hills,
- From the trees and rocks and brush,
- I felt a thousand thrills.
- The greenest grass relieves the scene
- Of orange and gold and red
- While past it all my sleeping family sped.
- Though clouds of grey make dark the day,
- The fall illumes my eyes
- To see the forest, hills, and cliffs
- ‘Neath these Missouri skies.
- The rural view receives a break
- As through a town we pass,
- But shortly goes and turns back to
- The cliffs and trees and grass.
- Old run-down barns and grazing beasts
- And clumps of evergreen
- Upon the sloping Ozark Hills
- Commonly are seen.
- A rocky creek bed dry and dead
- As leaves upon the trees
- Winds down a hill and flowers fill
- The crisp fall day with bees.
- The hills are strewn with underbrush
- And hosts of elm and oak
- Who with the winter’s early snap
- Dawn their red-gold cloak.
- A streak of tawny orange-red clay
- Brushes through the green
- And a patch of limestone grey
- Adds something to the scene.
- To feel the leap inside my heart
- As I crest the hills
- Brings me closer to my God and
- With love for beauty fills.
- More rocks break through grand sloping earth
- Grey splotched with white and black
- And ivy climbs the jutting cliffs
- As if in full attack.
- The proud rocks now as towers seem
- To bar these plants from living there
- As if to guard a king.
- The royal hill-top crowned with flaming ruby trees
- Betray his country home.
- Gold and jewels of red and green
- Adorn him as a gown.
- The endless wave of hostile brush
- Now climbs upon the stones
- And join the jewels of the king
- To make his feet their homes.
- A pond of lily pads we passed,
- My sister pointed out,
- And for a moment Autumn joy
- Was shared upon our route.
- Now back to sleep my sister went
- And I watch alone
- As we pass a haunted place,
- Condemned it would seem.
- A rotting finger pointed up—
- Too broken to redeem—
- Forgot by all but vicious time
- The silo fell apart.
- Its forlorn state, the reprobate
- Weighs heavy on my heart.
September 29, 2015. Ozark Fall is the property of author Stephen J. Meek. The article is reprinted here with permission.
plate III. “Riverside Blue” by Joshua Heston.
Standing by Chris Hoy
- Standing in my yard
Looking around the garden
Weeds are my rivals
Vacation for me
Is not thinking of all that
Needs to be started
Look at everything
I made, fixed, or created
My muse is my wife
I feel most at peace
When I return to the past
And turn off my cell phone
Now night comes to us
In a very quiet change
Showing us her stars
September 29, 2015. Standing is the property of author Chris Hoy. The article is reprinted here with permission.
The Moon Is Shining by Blake Boyce
- The Moon Is shining
The Wolves Eyes Gleam in The Light
It’s a winter Hunt
- Love Is more than words
Use a pen more Than a Sword
Words Have More Movement
- Scars are not Ugly
It means you Survived Battles
Be Light in Darkeness
- The Step to Failure
Giving Up On Anything
Succeed Never Stop
- Beauty Is Not Love
Love IS More Than A Mindset
Heart Mind and Soul Loves
September 29, 2015. The Moon Is Shining is the property of author Blake Boyce. The article is reprinted here with permission.
plate IV. “Far Hill” by Joshua Heston, Blue Springs, Current River, Missouri, February 20, 2008.
plate 1. “Reflection” by Paula Jacobson.
plate 2. “Sunflower Bee” by Paula Jacobson.
plate 3. “Hollyhock Summer” by Joshua Heston.
Remember Me? by Lisa Ray
- Although I know your face, I can’t think of your name
- You look so familiar, didn’t I see you yesterday
- Maybe someone I knew years ago, but its such a mystery
- So why can’t I remember you.....you remember me
- You tell me many stories, I laugh as if I know
- You talk about the family, and how you love them so
- A tear falls from your eye while you hold my frail hand
- I know you wish with all your heart, that I do understand
- I may not remember all the days, but I will always smile
- When I see you walk through the door, and visit for a while
- For a second I know you, you are family
- Thank you for the visit, and for remembering me
- Dedicated to my Granny Wanda Horton, written with love by me, Lisa Ray
September 29, 2015. Remember Me? is the property of author Lisa Ray. The article is reprinted here with permission.
plate 4. “Firebird” original illustration by Joshua Heston.
Fire by Brandon Britton
- I see the glowing embers slowly dying
- Just cast out shards of what you used to be
- I know you’ve tried to keep them, feed them
- While struggling and fighting, barely able to breathe
- I see you grasping for straw and broken twigs
- Hoping to feed a tiny spark so you can burn bright and free
- Instead you find nothing but smoke and mirrors
- And it chokes out out what is left of a shattered dream
- But I want to be a breath of life
- I want to watch those fading orange embers
- Crackle with signs of renewed strength
- I want to see your eyes light up as you remember
- Remember what it’s like to feel
- Remember something other than pain and sorrow
- I want to watch your fire burn away all the tears
- So for once you can see the greatness that comes with tomorrow
- I want to feel the heat of unbridled passion
- Not just fading lights in an old mason jar
- If you’re a wildfire set upon a mountainside
- I wanna be the match that makes the fire start
- So smile for me and laugh with me
- Let it be as powerful as a can of gasoline
- Poured upon the glowing embers dying
- Now rising like a mighty Phoenix wings
September 29, 2015. Fire is the property of author Brandon Britton. The article is reprinted here with permission.
plate 5. “Patriot” by Joshua Heston.
Flag Staff Stand by Lindel Gore
- Gazing through the window… flag staff is loose; it’s leaning, not standing. Such troublesome news.
- Lately she’s folded, my flag has been bound. She’s flying no longer but held to the ground.
- With all of her honor and highest of bars. No stripes will be showing just the blue and the stars.
- The stand has been damaged; staff torn from her base. The pole has been dipping it dips in disgrace.
- “Dipping “Old Glory” would bring her dishonor. The flag- staff- stand- is dipping, so I detached her with honors”.
- I stare out my window “oh” gazing so long, complaining and whining; who did this wrong?
- The pole is still there. It’s straight and still strong. But loosed from her base, how long? “Oh”, how long?
- Who broke the two loose, the base from the pole? Who pulled her down from her honorable role?
- Pointing my finger at a dastardly few, pointing my finger at whoever and who, what seemingly matters, what’s seemingly true, I looked in the mirror and find it is you.
- Was I standing up strong? Did I hold to her grace? Or... Was I sitting while holes were dug at her base?
- So many lives were given at “rockets’ red glare”. We’d all understand, if we all had been there.
- Needing concrete, rock, and some sand. Needing Americans to help my flag stand. God is her refuge! God is her base! God is the Father who restores her to grace.
- She’ll fly with the Eagle, she’ll fly once again. If we stand for honor she’ll stand once again.
- So, who stands for honor? Whoever and who? You there! In the mirror, is that American you?
September 29, 2015. Flag Staff Stand is the property of author Lindel Gore. The article is reprinted here with permission.
plate 6. “Home Oak” by Joshua Heston.
The Crooked Road by Dave Margolis
- High up on these ridges I am walking towards traditions
- With the glow of all things bygone from my sight
- Somewhere in the middle plays a sentimental fiddle
- With the drone string just- a’ cryin’ in the night
- Spotted, sorted vestiges of life with all its passages
- She stands out on the porch and holds a broom
- It doesn’t really matter that her thoughts just seem to scatter
- As she sweeps the dust of life’s so many moods
- This ain’t a life
This ain’t a life
This ain’t a life
This just ain’t a life
- The oaks and walnuts loom above a crested hill that soon
- Will bear the broken souls against the Ozark moon
- A calico rendition of a quilt that lies unfinished
- With the hands of ages crippled by the loom
- Poverties impressions and those one room school house lessons
- Labeled mason jars in cellars cool and damp
- Lost in the confusion of this relic institution
- Dims the wicks of all those lonely mountain lamps
- Where are they going all these melancholy Appalachian souls
I can’t believe that they’ve crossed the creek and left the jubilee
I feel so lost because the last chord of this frailing banjo leaves me with no peace
- ---I hear them singing down the road, na na na, na na na, na na na
- Na na na, na na na, na na na, na na na
- A pot of boiling sorghum in the kitchen greets the morning
- As some tangled sunlight dances off the dew
- That crooked road grows distant I can barely stand to witness
- In the darkness boils another kind of stew
- The crooked road bore sympathies in stories of antiquity
- Passed through their hands like precious heirloom seeds
- Those that passed before me their departures leave me lonely
- For the love I knew the life that I believed
September 29, 2015. Crooked Road is the property of author Dave Margolis. The article is reprinted here with permission.
plate 7. “Mine Once” by Joshua Heston.
The Friend by Cindy Clark
- How many times has the Full Moon smiled
- As He poured out His golden beams on you…
- There were soldiers of love and of war you implored
- Come rest by your side
- And take pause from the struggle
- If just for a while…
- Can you measure the raindrops that succored your heart
- When you were so thirsty and dry….
- If you can’t know these things, how could I know anything
- I’ll just rest my head on you and close my eyes…
You’re strong, you’re the calm in the troubles that threaten
- You’re a tower in storms that friends rush to for shelter until it is clear …
- I marvel in silence, how loud and how violent
- You seem as you shout at the wind
- When she pulls at your arms…and ruffles your hair…
- I’m drawn to your charms…..you’re my friend and you’re always there.
The Cold doesn’t harm or weaken your body, but causes your color to burst forth in glorious red, orange and gold..
- You undress in her presence and show yourself stronger than you were just a season before…even though you are old
- The Cold’s bitterness drives you
- To store up inside you the sweetness of Life…
- Which you share with others
- And though you’ve no eyes to see those you are nurturing,
- You can see better than I…
- That all Wisdom above comes through Giving and Love, and in order to really live…
- You must die.
September 29, 2015. The Friend is the property of author Cindy Clark. The article is reprinted here with permission.