Two Poems by Ken Gosse

Our Christmas Guest

There’s a tree in our house that’s been dressed with great care
(not the house, Heavens no! but the tree we brought there,
although not really we, because this year, you see,
I waited at home till a quarter past three
while my wife found the tree on her own, without me,
for the USPS was expected that day
though their tracking site said to expect a delay—
like the five days before, and since then, five days more—
since they’d need a ‘John Hancock’ on reaching our door,
then at twenty past three came my part of the chore:
to bring in the tree that I mentioned before.)

Now where was I? Ah yes! The tree, naked no more,
was propped up in a stand that we placed on the floor.
Well-designed for the task, it had six screws around
its circumference ensuring the tree that we found
would have all due support and not have to resort
to its own missing roots which were once the cohort
of its balance and feeding, which both were still needing
but now were supplied by good people who tried
to ensure its good health to the end of its days—
which were numbered, in deference to our holidays.

Until then, we’ll provide it the very best care
though we burden its boughs with small colored lights’ glare
and a great crowd of ornaments hung heavy there
as remembrance; nostalgia’s soft annual stare
stays attentively watchful to guard against one
who assumes this tradition is all for his fun,
for the dog stays away but the cat loves to play
with the old, beat-up danglers which show signs of fray
from our past Christmas cats whom we never could teach
not to mangle the ornaments placed within reach.

Very soon, many presents encircle its girth
piling up on the floor, wrapped with colorful mirth,
tied with ribbons and bows (though no longer required
“because transparent tape,” yet still highly desired),
with tags attached tightly or taped into place
for the cat, once again, with his delicate grace
assumes anything loose must be his for the taking
(as proof, he’s aloof while it’s visibly shaking
beneath a rogue paw as it plays the outlaw
which precedes the full pounce of his sharply-toothed maw).

And so, once again we prepare for a season
to celebrate life, love, and laughter, the reason
we gather together beneath these strange trees
which we cull from the woods, store, or box (without ease),
but our annual efforts’ results always please
once we’ve finished the task, bought and piled the gifts,
get together with family, when focus shifts
from a dinner-time feast on a table well-set
and we circle around in the warmth we have found
in a raucous enjoyment where joy will abound
as we share our delight in a welcome well-met.


The Moving Window

The UPS has changed its mind.
The window’s closed: I stare but see
no truck—they need more time to find
my house for their delivery.

No roadways here are filled with snow;
the clouds, though deep, are very bright.
The driver knows the way to go—
I hope he’s here before it’s night.

With many promises to keep
along the roads he’ll travel by,
I hope that he’ll postpone his sleep
as I stand vigil with a sigh.

He doesn’t always love this task;
he’ll fence with those who dare complain—
those savages! Do I dare ask
how long I must await in vain?

He’s here at last, so I rejoice!
His mobile app has found the way,
and though fatigued, with friendly voice
his truck drives off like Santa’s sleigh.




Ken Gosse prefers writing short, rhymed verse with traditional meter, usually filled with whimsy and humor. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, his poems are also in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Pure Slush, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Home Planet News Online, Spillwords, and others. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years.

“Populating Thanksgiving” by Ken Gosse

In a world full of people
there’s hate, crime, and war,
but today we recall
what we’re most thankful for.

At the top of the list
let’s place people again,
the young and the old;
girls and boys, women, men.

Our family, relatives,
neighbors and friends,
even strangers unknown,
way out where the Earth ends.

More than things or events,
fame, fortune, or glory,
the people we love are
the best of our story.

So pause to reflect
and take time to give thanks,
even though, now and then,
we’re all crotchety cranks.




Ken Gosse prefers writing short, rhymed verse with traditional meter, usually filled with whimsy and humor. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, his poems are also in The OffbeatPure SlushParodyHome Planet News OnlineEclectica, and other publications. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years.

“We’re Cats’ Welcome Mats” by Ken Gosse

A tribute to domestic cats
who drive us crazier than bats
while deftly they bemuse our views
and weave us into welcome mats.

Kittenhood is just a ruse,
a time pre-cats use to confuse
while they beguile with every wile
the natty mats they’ll soon abuse.

In deft, alluring feline style
their large, round eyes entice our smile,
a ruse in their campaign to feign
they haven’t eaten for a while.

“Feed me!” echoes their refrain,
entreaties which are not in vain
for we’ll concede and feed the lot;
their appetites our pet-peeve’s bane.

Dogs are people—cats are not.
A leopard will not change one spot
nor lion trim the vim of mane
advancing their dominion’s plot.

This ensures we’ll act inane
at playtime and we won’t abstain
nor pause the claws with which they style
each tat of ownership’s red stain.

But once we’ve passed their kitten trial
by proving that we’ll spew no bile
and won’t unloose their tightened noose,
a cat may walk us down the aisle.

Many find this quite abstruse—
subdued compliance with abuse.
So coy, they toy with us like rats
and yet, we’ll kiss our cat’s caboose.

That’s how it is—these furry brats
take pleasure winning our combats.
We’re bling, a string-like Gordian knot
which they drop on our welcome mats.




Ken Gosse prefers writing short, rhymed verse with traditional meter, usually filled with whimsy and humor. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, his poems are also in The Offbeat, Pure Slush, Parody, Home Planet News Online, Eclectica, and other publications. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years.

“My voice has lost its rasp” by Leslie Lippincott Hidley

My voice has lost its rasp,
Bolt fallen from its hasp,
My claw ungripped my grasp,
My hold has been let go,
There’s nothing more to know,
It’s not my fault and so
I’ll do as I am told.
I’m docile to the heart;
I mind whatever I should do
And raise my wings apart.
The air wafts me aloft.
It loves the way I fly.
We play together, air and me
And tumble in the sky.

 

 

Leslie Lippincott Hidley has been writing prose and poetry for her own amusement and that of her family and friends and others for most of her 73 years. And one of her ten grandchildren is named Kalliope. She has lived in Walla Walla, Washington; Frankfurt and Bremerhaven, Germany; Upper New York State; Enid, Oklahoma; Montgomery and Prattville, Alabama; Lubbock, Texas; Dover, Delaware; West Palm Beach, Florida; Goose Bay, Labrador; Washington, D.C.; Fairfield, California; Omaha, Nebraska; and now resides in Ojai (Nest-of-the-Moon), California, where she continues to write.