A Found Poem of the Former Confederate States of America

During our Spring weekly workshop meetings I offered writers, as a prompt, a list of the 50 state mottoes. Given the controversy about conferate monuments, I am posting the poem I found. The poem is followed by a list of the state mottos.

We pledge

To be rather than to seem
Like-minded confederates
Who in friendship swear
Thus always to tyrants
Big government and Washington overreach

We dare defend our rights
State rights to our peculiar institutions,
Our lost cause and battle flags,
Our monument avenues

We declare
The birth of a nation where

The people rule
Not dark-skinned foreigners
In a land they call home

With wisdom, justice and moderation
With all deliberate speed
As molasses flowed on proclamation day

While I breathe, I hope
Ready in soul and resource

To fend off audacity and uppity-ness
Dam mighty streams of righteousness

In God we trust
O, vengeful God, we are your people
Dedicated to agriculture and commerce
The harvest of cheap labor

Union, justice, confidence
Forever just us

By valor and arms

State Mottos:
North Carolina: To be rather than to seem
Texas: Friendship
Virginia: Thus always to tyrants
Alabama: We dare defend our rights
Arkansas: The people rule
Georgia: Wisdom, justice and moderation
South Carolina: While I breathe, I hope/Ready in soul and resource
Florida: In God we trust
Tennesee: Agriculture and Commerce
Louisiana: Union, justice, confidence
Mississippi: By valor and arms

Recent comment in this post
Eilah (pronounced ay-luh) Elan
Brilliant prompt and LOVE: To fend off audacity and uppity-ness Dam mighty streams of righteousness Those two lines have so much ... Read More
Friday, 18 August 2017 15:13
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The Door Rattles When She Steps In

 The door rattles when she steps in.

The floors creak in agreement.

The birds wait their turn to twitter,

And the trees sway in the wind

The windows rattle when she calls.

The clouds reply with thunder's voice,

Hail hammers the rain gutters

And traffic slows to a crawl.

Foundations falter when she finds fault.

The walls, like curtains, tremble.

The furniture vibrates, slides askew,

And knickknacks fall from the shelves.

The breeze whistles when she sings.

The sun shines down on every note.

The birds return in harmony

And thunder stops to listen.

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Featured Writer - RoseMarie Navarra

Four Months on the Couch

128px Steve Nash Andre MillerWe sit and talk and laugh, he at one end of the sofa, I at the other, with cups, saucers, fruits and cakes covering the glass-topped coffee table and music pouring from CDs on the dining-room player. The TV, without sound, is showing the Lakers and the Suns in their third playoff game. Paul Simon sings; John Coltrane plays - background music, underscoring the Lakers and Suns moving balletically back and forth on the court - to Chopin now.

I say, “ Horowitz should see his Chopin being used to accompany these seven-foot giants in a basketball ballet, passing and leaping and layups and slam-dunks.

He laughs, looks at me. “How could it be, thirty years later, we could meet again and connect like this?  Who could have predicted this?”

Before I can answer, he yells “Yes, Stevie! A three-pointer!”

Steve Nash, his eye swollen, his lip bleeding, smiling as the score moves up from his astonishing three-point jump shot, taken completely off balance; and this, after he had played his usual brilliant passing game.

“Our boy is so amazing!” I say.  (We’d never had children together, so we  decided to adopt Steve Nash as our incredible son – a harmless eccentricity of old age.)  “I think he takes after me,” I claim, “I was a pretty good shot in high school.”

“Maybe,” he says, “but he does have my blue eyes.”

And so we sat for four months – learning from each other what had happened during the thirty years since we had known each other when we were mere youngsters (in our forties),  psychologists at a college counseling center.  I look at him, a bit wrinkled, gray hair, thinner now, at 71, and still see the handsome man I knew thirty years ago.  He looks at me and can’t possibly be seeing me as I am.  He says I’m “gorgeous.”   But I know what he sees.  It’s impossible to look at each other now and not see each other as we were and as we are somehow blended into some version of us no one else sees.  It’s The Enchanted Cottage here in my living room, where we experience each other’s former beauty and strength as it blends with our much more developed senses of compassion, humor and wisdom.  

The basketball game over, we face each other. “It’s been four months,” I say to him.

“Yes, I know.  Four months—on the couch.”

“Four months is a long time to spend on a couch,” I say.

“True,” he says. “What are you suggesting?”

“Well, I know older people do move more slowly.”

“So I hear,” he says, smiling. “Are you telling me to put on some speed?”

“Well, not exactly, but even at my age, four months of foreplay is a bit excessive.”

“You are a shocking old dame, aren’t you?” He laughs.

“Yes, a shameless hussy.  I admit it.”

“And I do love a hussy,” he says.

Ocean waves, music crescendo, fade to black.


© By benefit1970 (Flickr: Steve Nash and Andre Miller) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Featured Writer - Bythema B. Bagley

Bythema B. Bagley is an educator, administrator and musician, who now explores communication and creativity through the artistry of the written word. In recognition of her career achievements in education, the arts and her contributions to community development, she has been awarded the Doctorate of Humane Letters by the Board of Trustees and the President of Delaware State University.

Grandpa's Garden

Bagley Grandpas Garden2Grandpa was super. He was very, very tall. When we looked up at him, his hat blocked out the sun. Mom said, “That happens when you’re short like you are.”

He was nice to children and regular people, but he said, “Children are my favorite people. They listen, learn and ask good questions.”  In his garden, there were so many interesting things to learn: the names of flowers, plants, and why bees, butterflies and worms were so important. He always took time to explain and made sure that we understood.

Much of the bounty from his well-tended garden would be canned, pickled and stored away for winter when the growing and harvesting had been completed. Onions and garlic dried and hung –corn, beans and tomatoes blanched, canned in scalded Mason jars, and stored in the root cellar to be made into winter soups.

When the last snow melted, and the ground was mushy and muddy, we began to get excited. As the trees assumed a faint pale green or pink or red at the tips of the branches, our excitement heightened. That was when Grandpa began to walk about the garden patch at the end of his day n the coalmine.  My brother and sister and I were at his heels every day, absorbing like little sponges his love of gardening, waiting for the most important news of the planting season.  

When at last the ground was tilled, the carrots, beans, corn, tomatoes and potatoes planted. Early one Saturday morning, we saw Grandpa in Bagley Grandpas Gardenthe one bare patch of ground left.  He had a heavy pointed stick in his hand making lines in the dirt. We leaped out of bed, ate the quickest breakfast possible, and ran out to the garden to see which of our names had been scratched out in large letters. Grandpa planted the seeds for planted in scratched out rows.  As that lettuce matured, it proclaimed to the neighborhood in whose honor the garden was planted that year.  

Everyone, even, Grandma asked permission of ‘that person’ to take lettuce from that spot.

©MRBQ Photos reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


© ©MRBQ Photo reprinted with permission.  All rights reserved.

Recent comment in this post
Colleen Geraghty
I was so touched by this story about your grandfather. I could feel the excitement of spring and the children's joy at being able... Read More
Monday, 20 June 2016 22:02
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Featured Writer - Melissa Fischer

Melissa Fischer is a dog trainer, an artist, and a writer, as well as a wife, a mother and a friend. I love what I do and strive through my art and writing to share the beauty I see in life. Melissa was artist-in-residence at Acadia National Park, October 14 -31. The following is an excerpt from Melissa's Musings and Doodles about the experience. She writes about the artists struggle to believe in oneself and one's cretive vision.

FischerM Schoodic Point Rocks at Sunset 111515When I was first at Acadia, I had a couple of easy painting days, then a few days when it felt as though my brushes were bewitched and wouldn't do anything they were supposed to do. I felt discouraged and had to take a step back, to spend some time hiking, sketching and praying to recenter myself. When I had started getting frustrated, I had begun comparing myself negatively to other artists, so I had to remind myself to paint in a way that is true to who I am and not feel that I need to paint like other artists.

FischerM Ravens Nest 102115After a day of reflection, I returned to my painting with more focus and a more relaxed confidence that allowed me to immerse myself in what I was doing and paint from my heart and out of my connection with whatever aspect of creation I was observing at the moment. This was one of the biggest lessons I came away with from my time as artist-in-residence. The concentrated time immersed in art with no other distractions brought the issue unavoidably to my attention and pretty much forced me to deal with it, which then set me free to move forward. 

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