Friday, April 10, 2009

The Last Thursday Poetry Contest Winners

We have a winner for the first week!. The library will annonce all four winners at the end of the series but weekly winners will be announced here on my hear it here first.

Congratulations are in order for Diane Lockward ..her delightful poem, "Organic Fruit" was the first week's winner and if you haven't read the poem, please take a look--Diane's layout is a winner in itself. Great job, Diane!

Next Friday, we'll be announcing the second week's winner.

Please go to the Last Thursday Contest site ( and read this weeks entries and vote for your favorite poem--pass the word to other poets to vote too ..the more the merrier. If you haven't entered a poem yet, please do it now -we'd like to get it in time to post before April 30. Who knows, you may be harboring a winner!

Again, congratulations, Diane!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Trinity Celtic Band"

Before I move on into April, I want to share one of my happiest March moments with you Irish eyes were smiling on March 17 at Middletown Library! The Trinity Celtic Band was performing iand, to my amazement, about 200 people had shown up ahead of me...some weren't even Irish! Marion Lawlor, founder of the sextet welcomed everyone "We want you to tap your feet, clap your with your hands!", she said. For two glorious hours, we sang and a few did an Irish Jig in the aisle. It was great fun and the members of the band played all the traditional Irish songs on both traditional instruments as well as the Uillean, the mandolin, fiddles and of course - the Irish Pipes. During intermission, I was invited to read a few Irish poems, and of course, I read about my grandparents who came here from Ballyhauness in County Mayo, My Irish Proteatant Grandfather was Irish Catholic Grandmother were forbidden to marry in the Auld Sod...,so they came here to wed. I closed with a poem about my guy, Ed Healy--you can't get more Irish than that! I'm sure he was jigging around the Golden Gates It was a glorious Saint Patrick's Day. If "Trinity" comes to your area, don't miss them and not only do they perform in libraries, theatres, etc, they also do weddings and occassionlly they're asked to do a funeral...we Irish, love music!

Rites of Passage

My name is a history of sheep herders,
farmers, singers, dancers
who heard words coming from a new land
and had the courage to seek and explore.

My name is a song of praise for those who dared,
a song of thanksgiving for the Irish Catholic lass
who sailed to marry her English bridegroom,
in a free country where it was possible.

My name is a quilt, a quilt of intricate design,
complex patterned pieces.
I am all my ancestors were, yet
there is so much more to be,

I will pay my dues for those ahead,
as mine were paid to me.
I'll write the verse
so they may sing the chorus.

Gloria Rovder Healy

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Last Thursday Poetry Contest

Kathleen Ligon, Program Chairperson at Middletown Library, has found a new way to celebrate National Poetry Month, 2009. Poems read by poets who were featured readers from May 2007 through March 2009 in the Last Thursday Poetry Series, will be hung in the library's meeting room from April 1-30, 2009. Ballot boxes will be available for poetry lovers to for their favorite poem. At the end of the month, the four poems chosen will be announced and the winning poets will be featured readers in the April, 2010 reading.
The poets who are eligible to have their poems on display are Renee Ashley, Svea Barrett, Laura Boss, Virginia Bryan, Carl Calendar, Wes Czyzewski, Emari De Georgio, Jessica DeKoninck, Cat Doty, Anna Evans, Frank Finale, Vera Gelvin, Jim Gwyn, Karen Haefelein, Lois Harrod, Penny Harter, Charles H. Johnson, Laine Sutton Johnson, Agbajah-Laoye Gina Larkin, John Larkin, Vincent Larkin, Deborah LaVeglia, Diane Lockward, Laura McCullough, Bob McKenty, Peter Murphy, Elaine Olaoye, Priscilla Orr, Alissa Pecora, Tom Plante, Wanda Praisner, Linda Radice, Edwin Romond, Bob Rosenbloom, Susan Rothbard, Nancy Scott, Michael Thomas, J.C. Todd, Madeline Tiger, Christine Waldeyer, BJ Ward, Paul Victor Winters, Gretna Wilkinson, Sander Zulauf and memberts of The Cool Women. Eligible poets may submit a new poem or have the library post a poem they previously submited for our pending anthology.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years.
On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage. My family celebrated to speak.

The Clan

My name is a memory

Seans, Bridgets

Maggies and Paddys

who came before me

to this new land.

My name is a song

A sea chantey

sung on Galway Bay

Danny Boy harmonized

ina Dublin Pub.

My name is a quilt

a kaleidoscope of green

kelly green shamrocks

emerald eyes of a lass,

nile green of the river Shannon.

A Ballyhauness Craig am I

great grand-daughter of

Irish Catholic Delia,

Irish Protestant Tommy

who came here to marry

when their love was forbidden.

Endowing their heirs with

sounds of joyous laughter

songs of ujnconditional love.

They wrote the verse

so we may sing the chorus.

Gloria Rovder Healy

Danny Boy

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling

From glen to glen, and down the mountain side

The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying'

Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide

.But come ye back when summer's in the meadow

Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow'

Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow

Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying

And I am dead, as dead I well may be

You'll come and find the place where I am lying

And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me

And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be

If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me

I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

"Top of the Morning to You

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More Snow

The Blizzard of 2009

Silently it came…
As if God pulled a thorn from His Son’s crown
and angrily pricked an innocent white cloud.

In minutes the earth disappeared,
so did the sun, moon, and stars.
Hibernating perennials were smothered and
stately sycamores bowed.

It whorled over the deck’s railing,
Rested briefly on the two seated glider,
then curled like an albino cub
on sheltered window sills.

It blanketed streets and sidewalks
Blocked cathedral doors, locked schools,
lung like gossip from telephone lines.

Familiar highways became
one-lane alley ways.

When His whitewashing was finished,
children, in coats of many colors, scaled
mountainous drifts to create snow angels
draped in tarnished gold roping.

—Gloria Rovder Healy

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sander Zulauf's Eulogy

Eulogy for Ed Healy

My friend the great language philosopher and poet Kenneth Burke, died fifteen years ago in 1993 at the age of 96. But he visited me the other night in a dream. He was in heaven. I said to him “KB, you look terrific!” “Yeah,” he said. “I gave up drinking a month ago!” In one of his essays, KB says “names temporize essence.”

I think Ed Healy is a perfect example of KB’s theory. For Ed’s very presence was “Healing.” Every time I saw Ed he made me feel welcome and good and he always seemed so genuinely glad to see me that I was suddenly happy to be alive. Ed will remain with me as the very embodiment of Jesus’s Great Commandments: he loved God, and he healed us all by loving his neighbor as himself.

A few days ago in the Times an op-ed piece appeared entitled “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” It told of one writer’s mission to transform his typically anonymous neighbors into a neighborhood by asking if he could sleep over for a night at his neighbors’ houses.

His first sleepover was at the home of the widower surgeon who lived next door. The surgeon told him that most people usually asked him how long he had been married. His answer was “52 years,” and the inevitable comment that followed was “Ah—at least you had a good long life together.” To which his reply was “I was just getting to know her.”

Isn’t that the ecstatic sadness of our short lives?

Ed Healy, we were all just getting to know you.

—Sander Zulauf
Poet Laureate, Diocese of Newark

(St. James Catholic Church, Red Bank, New Jersey,
July 1, 2008)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bob McKenty's Poem read at Day's Funeral Parlor


Do not go docile into your decease.
Storm heaven’s portals boldly, arms flung wide.
Rail, rail against religion’s “rest in peace.”

Run. Jump. Dance. Sing with childlike caprice,
Where pain’s unknown and where all tears are dried.
Do not go docile into your decease.

Enjoy the Banquet where no one’s obese,
And yet there is no appetite denied.
Rail, rail against religion’s “rest in peace.”

No terrorism here. No Canada geese.
No petty politicians to abide.
Do not go docile into your decease.

You’ve waited all your life for this release
From those corporeal bonds with which we’re tied.
Rail, rail against religion’s “rest in peace.”

What ear’s not heard, attend without surcease.
Soak in what mortal eyes have never spied.
Do not go docile into your decease.

Rail, rail against religion’s “rest in peace.”

© 2008 by Bob McKenty
(with apologies to Dylan Thomas)