Eve in Bloom

LifeWay back there in birthing bed
alone again she’d weep.
Year after year, new flesh, new bone,
pushed out like temporal teeth.
Ripped from its sockets by the roots,
life gasped and screamed for air,
then quieted down in perfect peace
to rich maternal fare.

Grandmother soil, warm and fertile,
the perfect garden spot.
She was Eve in efflorescence:
Black-eyed Susans, Blazing Stars,
Snow-drops, Spring Beauties,

Ragweed and Clover.
She was Eden, perennially pregnant.

Wildflowers, we speckle the landscape,
earth’s laughter, we nourish and flavor the land.
Spawned one by one in darkened rooms,
loosed as fledglings from cradling hands:
farmers, herders,
builders, teachers,
healers.
Grandchildren,
we explore, we discover,
we dance, we sing,
we think.

Anita Stubbs

LOCKS

old women on porchShe sat, reflected.
Locks of silver trembled in fingers reluctant,
Hesitant.
The brush stroked indulgently,
Sensually, unrestrained,
One hundred times.

She sat, reflected.
Strands of silver shimmered in attraction,
In friction.
Crowning highlights bristled in ritual.
Hair, alive and crackling, flew,
Unrestricted.

She arose, retreated,
Locks of silver tightly braided, pinned down,
Properly.
Hair, alive and crackling,
Decently subdued,
And bound.
Anita Stubbs

 

 

Women and Children in Need

living in poverty
Photograph by Steve Liss

When my husband was a little boy, according to court documents, his mother, a widow, left him and his sister in the care of “vicious and immoral people, without proper food or sanitation.”  Due to her neglect, the county removed her youngest two children—my husband and his sister—from the residence and she lost all parental rights.  The older daughter, thirteen-years-old and pregnant, was sent to a state school for girls, where her baby was born and placed for adoption.  An older son, age sixteen, joined the army.  My husband and his sister were ultimately separated from each other.  When he was two and a half and she was five, they were adopted by different families.  They never saw their mother again. Continue reading Women and Children in Need

On The Banks of Running Creek

running bridgeOn a Texas August day
Back in 1948,
Daddy took me for a ride.
How well I do remember there was no interstate,
Just a dusty county road,
One car wide.

Riding in the front seat,
All the windows down,
I sang along with the radio.
As the wind blew the music and the sweet gum scent around,
Daddy whistled softly,
Sweet and low.

On the banks of Running Creek,
We stopped by the bridge,
Free as the music and the wind.
Bending and swaying, we bowed to the breeze,
And Daddy took me gently
By the hand.

On the banks of Running Creek.
Me and Daddy danced,
In the middle of the dust and heat.
The woods gathered round us, ancient guardian trees,
And rustled with the rhythm
Of our feet.
Anita Stubbs

Roots, Trees, Facts, and Fiction

cropped-untold-story.jpgAlex Haley’s book, Roots, first sparked my interest in the study of family history. It fostered an acute awareness in me of the strength, the pure willpower of each of our fore-bearers, to survive. The legacy we all share, regardless of our biological beginnings, is that we are all descendants of survivors—generation after generation of survivors. That book gave me a better understanding of the miracle that each one—in his or her own place and time—survived at least long enough to produce what would become us! You know, that is an astounding thing when you think about it. Continue reading Roots, Trees, Facts, and Fiction

The Spirit of Poetry

bluebird sings
E. M. Forster, the English novelist, short story writer, and essayist whose work was one of my earliest inspirations, remains one of my favorite English authors. Forster’s creed of life can be summed up in two words, “only connect”, taken from the epigraph to his novel, Howard’s End.

The first of Edward Morris Forster’s work I read was his essay, What I Believe, and his words had a very personal affect on me.  It seemed as though I had met a new friend with whom I shared a “secret understanding” and felt reassured about my own beliefs. Continue reading The Spirit of Poetry

Reflections of Real Life in Fiction

write bravelyMy greatest challenge in writing the Velvet Bridge was to tell the tale in such a way to expose the flaws in my protagonist, Mattie Featherstone, and not leave the reader disliking her. Even though the behavior and life decisions Mattie makes in the beginning are below the standard of acceptable behavior and decency, particularly for a mother, my job is to make sure the reader loves her anyway. Continue reading Reflections of Real Life in Fiction

Decade After Decade!

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Art by Fred Swan

What a difference almost a decade makes!  Going through my files, I found the following written, as you can see, in 2008.  I was asking then what I had to show for my sixty-five years of life.  And here I am approaching my 75th year way faster than I ever thought I would! Still, I am wondering, what do I have to show for my life!   Well, reading through this, I am even more grateful now than I was then!  I’ll save the why of that til the end.

Here we are in the year 2008, the year I turn sixty-five. I have already received my Medicare card. It seems impossible that my life has come to this point so quickly. Where did all the years go, and what have I to show for them? That is the question on my mind, and a worthy one for pondering.

Continue reading Decade After Decade!

Childhood

girl and old house

While poking around old memory chambers,
Revisiting my childhood years,
I was surprised, not by ghosts from the past,
But by locks on so many doors.
Did you ever have a birthday cake?
With candles for making a wish?
Did they all gather ’round with the birthday song,
and watch you open your gifts?

Did someone sing you to sleep at night,
After gently tucking you in?
Can you recall being told you were loved,
Then saying it back to them?
Did the tooth fairy come as you slept?
Did you ever see a clown?
Did you believe in the Easter Bunny,
Or go to the circus in town?

Did your family all laugh together?
Did you sit on your daddy’s lap?
Did your mother read you stories,
Before your afternoon nap?
Oh, you must have had lots of parties.
No telling the times your family ate out!
I’ve just been wondering, for comparison’s sake,
About the kind of childhood you had.
Anita Stubbs

Down Home Sickness

Home sickness image
“He came with her.  Mary said it didn’t matter what anybody thought.”

“Mary’s the daughter?”

“No-o-o-o.  Mary’s the mother.  I can’t remember what the girl’s name is, but she’s the one that lives up north, someplace in New York.  Anyway, that’s where she met that nigger man she married.”

“Mother, please.”

“What?  Why, I have to watch everything I say to you, Lana!” Continue reading Down Home Sickness