Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Tag Archives: Seasons

Three Word Wednesday prompted us with: Cease, Heat, and Nasty. A million ways you can go with that, but I was reminded of those punishing Manhattan summers. Thom G, thinking of you and my other NYC friends now.

This is also at our poetry collective, Poets United, which (if you scroll down to the second article) has an interview with… MOI! I was so honored. Thanks again, Sherry Blue Sky, for tapping into my brain. A brave chore, that! Amy

City Summer

City sidewalks
drink in summer heat
absorbing as through pores and
releasing a scalded, nasty smell:

Part spilled lattes
Parts updraft of subway tracks, their litter and rats
Part dog who missed the tree
Part dog owner who didn’t bring a plastic bag

Part bare feet of the homeless,
never to cease their quest for
the shelter of a bit of shade

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Writer’s Island wanted an answer to the prompt: SIZZLE. Perfect time of year to contemplate that notion! Also posted at my poetic home-away-from-blog, Poets United. Peace, Amy

Summer Sizzle

Surrender your boots and your tight-knitted cap
This summer, silk underwear’s taking a nap

Let’s throw all the earmuffs into winter storage
And stock up on ice cream, forsaking hot porridge

Unpack all the swimwear and beach towels as well
Sunscreen 64, lest I burn all to hell

The long winter’s passed, all we see is sunshine
Surrender to summer, a true state of mind

The burgers will sizzle out on the gas grill
We’ll put local microbrews on ice to chill

And speaking of “sizzle,” because I’m so teeny
Just wait ‘til you see me new hot-pink bikini

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Springing to Life Again

‘Tis the season of Winter’s evaporation
as Spring supersedes chill,
tugs at our trowels,
breathes into us tiny moments of joy.

Water, as mist, rising in the fields
as fodder for mudslides in the canyons,
as morning nymph, awakening seaweed
beneath the shoreline.

Water, released from stasis;
then, in Nature’s tightly embroidered womb
disappearing in the evaporation
that will bring the earth full cycle; back to balance.

World awakening.  Welcome!

(c) 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore

For A Whirl of Wordling Sundays, Writer’s Island, and as always, Poets United.

Wordle words:   tugs, seaweed, mist, tiny, released, breathes, slides, evaporation, embroidered, water, river, supersedes


At Three Word Wednesday, we were given the words, Breeze, Mellow, and Tickle.  I’m posting two!  Amy

Tickle of Spring

Wisconsin weather’s fickle,
so imagine my surprise
when a new-sprung weed did tickle my bare legs below my thighs.

The season’s first red robins
were singing in the trees
as waking wisps of summer
hummed softly in the breeze.

There’s nothing quite so mellow
as an overture to summer…
but lest a blizzard interrupt,
the shovel stays put. Bummer!

(c) 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Sometimes you get a prompt from a blog… sometimes from the moon above. Peace to you all, Amy

THE LONGEST NIGHT

Solstice birthed a full moon
A bulging butternut squash
cleaved open to reveal pale orange flesh

No bleak midwinter’s night, this
My world illuminated by moonbeams
peeking through slits of hastily closed drapes

The moon reminds me of life
Life waiting its turn under downy blankets of snow
Life in stars half hidden by a light cloud cover

Life behind facades of houses on Main
as I make my way back from the market
where bored cashiers wish me “Happy Holidays”

Life beyond this Moon and beneath it
To be lived gratefully, audaciously, fully
with a child’s abandon and faith in tomorrow

(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Another take on the Sunday Scribblings “December” prompt, but also for Jingle, Poets United, and other friends. This, in memory of houses and people facing neglect. Amy

OLD HOUSE IN MIDWINTER

Chipped clapboard snags bits of falling snow
The sagging porch, bulwarked by drifts
Cats wander in and out from underneath
through the hole in the latticework
ripped back in 82 by Greg’s whisky-fueled Ford sedan

The eaves troughs droop under weight of icicles
A sure sign of neglect
Bad insulation breeds stalactites
The poorer the family, the longer the crystals

Fernbeds of frost, delightful even on broken panes
Nature’s articulation of frozen beauty
Footprints a sign of life within these walls,
clomp clomp up the stairs, bristled Welcome mat
tracked by carefully brushed boots

Inside, the old man reads every word of the Pennysaver
It was their Sunday pastime years back; now it’s his alone
He clips coupons for items he will never buy
and gazes out, waiting for the gas company
to turn off his heat, the bastards.
He could do without the cable, even the electric…

Tonight he will sleep in their four-poster and let go.
The house senses this; from the crumbling chimney
comes the mournful whisper of a sigh

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Sunday Scribblings wanted to hear thoughts about December. Long ago and far away, I was a Manhattanite…

CITY SNOW AT EVENING

Central Park in December
At dusk the sun has dipped below
the stark skyline
casting reflections of blue
on the new-fallen snow

It’s as if even the snow knows
it’s part of an urban landscape
the color of steel and
the crunchy crust it so readily forms
As if to say,
“Hey, there’s nothing fluffy to see here
Move along, now”

Making my way across 72nd Street
the heat of the subway has already risen
and melted this fresh blessing
into muddy pools of rusted slush

It’s City snow, all right
It won’t last the night

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Well, I did manage to sneak on Poetic Asides (click on today’s prompt to see others’ work), as well as Jingle and Sunday Scribblings this week. So in the midst of my move, here is my take on Robert’s prompt: RECEIPT. Apropos, no? Peace, Amy

MEMORANDUM

TO: Poetic Asides and my blogging buddies
RE: Receipt of my intent to change locales

To Poetic Asides, to all I have befriended
No matter where I am, my journey with you
has not ended, nor will it

But God has called my Pastor Lex to a new place
To do a “new thing,” as is his calling
From cold, snowy Attica
To colder, blistering Madison, WI
Moving in Mid-January:

This shows that God possesses not only a
great sense of humor
But a well-developed sense of irony as well
(Jews knew that already)

While I shall remain scarce until
the move is completed, I will check in
from time to time. PA is my “fix” when
life mixes turmoil with tinsel
and thunder with a lightening of spirit

May you all have a blessed Christmas
A peaceful Hanukkah (where the heck is my dreidel?)
…and a happy Festuvus (for the rest of us)
No matter what your reason for celebrating this season
pray for peace above all

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Meaning no disrespect to The Reason For The Season; simply pointing out that most folks have all but forgotten why they celebrate Christmas in the first place. My one cynical Christmas poem, dedicated to the true memory of that feisty, loving, prophetic man who started out a babe in rags.

HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY

Have yourself a merry little American Christmas
where mall-bound mauling marauding shoppers claw for
the latest imported Chinese toys
lead-laced crap for girls and boys

O little town of Bethlehem
creeping with hordes of consumers
No visions of Visa bills dancing in their heads
They’re masters of their MasterCards

Mary, did you know your baby boy
has turned into an excuse for excess
for booming business, parental stress
the backbone of a spineless economy

Joy to the world! The Lord & Taylor window
has a “holiday display” with Santa and reindeer
Deck the hall with Hallmarks from family and friends
and other folks we forget about the rest of the year

A day to plow through a thousand presents
overturn overstuffed stockings
stuff ourselves til we crash in front of
the new 52-inch plasma TV we bought on credit
It’s a wonderful life

Crosby Christmas never ceases
but for God’s sake
please don’t mention Jesus

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Another Poetic Asides “location” poem, but my blog is able to handle the Spanish, so here it be!!

SAN JUAN AUTUMN

Autumn in tropical climes
held no charm for me…
only a reminder that, once again,
I’d missed the falling leaves of October.
My little girl had not yet seen
the glory of leaves
tangerine, blood orange, marmalade,
Nature’s display, a free buffet

One call to my sister and a week later
the magical package arrived.
“¿Qué tal, Mama?” cried Laurita,
my little Irish Jewish Puertoriqueña.
“¡Mira!”
Overturning the box,
waxed leaves spilled onto the tabletop.
“¡Amarillo, rojo, todas las colores!” squeaked Laura.

We taped them to the white plaster walls
as though they were falling from a tree in heaven.
Random patterns of second-hand Autumn.
My child’s first dance with the leaves,
we filled the house and neighbors came
to marvel at our living fresco.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil