Shirley Powell

March Hovers (written in 2002)

March hovers between wind and mud
Cold and opening sounds of spring

White flowers, snowdrops, push out first,
through mud, leaning on the same promise
though we go to war.

Let's leave this place, Love. Let's
be together where there's no vengeance

No plans for Pax Americana and
we're not World Police

Forget we ever knew our homeland

Without a country a ship at sea.


Since surgery I'm getting used to
nakedness: my own belly's bulge
fragile skin resiliency of flesh

this wrinkly marvel

Reminded of a trip years ago
with mother and mother's mother
returning to motel suite
I found them naked
pale giggling girls
running through the rooms

(This poem was previously published in Oxalis in 1990.)

Grammarian's Poem (first appeared in Alternate Lives, The Poets Press, 1993.)

Buckminster Fuller said, "I seem to be a verb."
That made me think. My granddad was a genuine article,
my cousin Jill an adjective modifying every person
place and thing.

Some men I know are mostly
ejaculations and
those Joneses we keep up with would be
prepositions, wouldn't they ?
They have so many objects.

Politicians? Pronouns, surely, saying they stand for
something of substance until
after the election.

And I? I'd like to be a conjunction,
all the lost parts
so that my Life's Sentence
has more meaning.

(This poem has been published several places, but first was Chalk Lines, a small literary mag somewhere in the wilds of New Jersey.)

About the Author

Shirley Powell was born in Ohio during The Great Depression, and lived there 40 years, except for 10 months she spent in California, near San Francisco. She came to Manhattan in 1971. Her first book of poems, Parachutes, came out in 1975. In the following year she compiled and published Womansong from a Women's Liberation reading at NYU while she was in graduate school there. She hosted The Village Poetry Workshop and The Sign of the Black Cats, co-hosted (with the Great Baruk) poetry readings at The Cafe Feenjon and in 1981, began Stone Ridge Poetry Society, in Stone Ridge, Ulster County, Grandma of The Woodstock Poetry Society. With several area poets, she formed The Catskill Caravan, traveling through the metropolitan area and New England, spreading imagery through poetry readings. She also hosted Catskill Caravan for the Woodstock public access, and Talespinners (prose readings) at the same venue. In 1981, her novel Running Wild came out from Avon Books. She and Barker began Crazy Ladies Press in 1999; the latest book, in 2005, an anthology by area poets: Companions.

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