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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two Poems


Trees amaze me most in winter when
stark against slate skies
slim, long branches bend.  In December
snow somehow gently clings.
Pagans danced around oaks, in awe.
Trees were holy things.
Squirrels hurry as sparrows startle
through large, breathing limbs,
squeaking speckled, noisy hymns.
Pale, crisp leaves lay soft nearby,
in winter when trees amaze me most.


People do odd things
after the death of a parent –
lose their faith,
end a marriage,
travel somewhere
they read of long ago,
as if, as if…
the faces they owned
before they saw
the things no one tells,
would somehow return,
certain and vaguely young.

The last time I saw my mother
she winked at me when encouraged
to attend a sing-along.
I understood that wink to mean
there wasn’t much to sing about
stationed by the large window
in a locked wheelchair so the nursing
home staff could move freely.
That window waits for me.

It does no one good
to cry in the dark,
“I was wrong.”  You need
to go on in the way
almost sleeping children
pull bedcovers and sigh
into the breadth of night.

from First Kiss by Barbara Alfaro

 © Barbara Alfaro

“Afterlife” first appeared in The Chesapeake Reader.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Heart-Shaped Shout-Out!

Ollie-Dog and his sweetheart Greta

I started writing  this blog in 2011 and have publlished quite a few posts praising the work of fellow writers whose books are intelligent, witty, and fun - books that deserve to be praised and recommended. And these same friends often reciprocate in kind. But today is Valentine's Day and it is time for me to give a huge heart-shaped shout-out to my favorite children's book author - my husband Victor!

Victor has written two wonderful children's stories - The Ollie-Dog Quartet and The Little Green Astronaut. In The Ollie-Dog Quartet you'll meet a little pug named Ollie, a poodle named Greta, circus dogs, kittens, and oh yes, a boy named Jimmy. You'll also meet a villain or two but they are no match for Ollie-Dog.

Ollie-Dog at the circus

The ebook is perfect for 5 to 7 year olds and would be a wonderful surprise Valentine gift for your children or grandchildren. .
The Ollie Dog Quartet can be purchased for $0.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

The chap who accidentally wanders on to a NASA spacecraft has adventures of an intergalactic kind and although he is a little lizard he turns out to be a big hero. This imaginative and whimsical story is also perfect for 5 to 7 year olds.

The Little Green Astronaut

Both ebooks are wonderfully illustrated by my nephew Christopher Alfaro. You can see from the few illustrations I've posted here that they are delightful!

The Little Green Astronaut is only $0.99 and available at  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and  Smashwords.  

Why not treat yourself and the young children in your life to these wonderful stories that are pure fun?

 Happy Valentine's Day!  

Illustrations: © Christopher Alfaro


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Poetry and Fun

Poetry is often thought of as solemn and intense - so much so that humorous and just plain fun poems go unnoticed. I wrote a rather silly poem when I was a teenager. I suppose I ought to be embarrassed by it but I still like it. I remember most of it but oddly enough, not the title. Here is the poem from very long ago.

He asked was I inclined toward law.
I said without it life’s a bore.
He asked too if I knew any torts.
I answered yes of course all sorts.
He asked then what statutes did I know.
“Moses, David – Michelangelo.”
He explained authoritatively
he was the suitor, I, suitee.

Playfulness, wordplay, humor, and wit in poetry are the flashes of fun that make a poem original and engaging. The three elements of comedy – contrast, surprise, and exaggeration – are present in 16th century sonnets and in fun poems written this morning. The pining sonneteer who feels he will die if his beloved rebuffs him, the lady who is the recipient of his devotion, portrayed as terribly cruel, along with outrageous metaphors are all exaggerations. In Sir Philip Sidney’s sonnet “Oh grammar rules, oh now your virtues show,” the poet says two negatives equal a positive so the lady he courting saying no to his advances twice means yes.

“Love Song” by Dorothy Parker has equal amounts of wit and surprise. If you haven't read Parker before, you're in for a treat. Here is the link to the poem.

"The Ridiculous Woman"  is another silly poem of mine written several years ago. The poem has a bit of dark undertone but not enough to hide its essential goofiness.


I’m a ridiculous woman
in a ridiculous body
wearing ridiculous clothes.
My eyes are two buttons,
my nose a clothespin,
my mouth, half a crayon,
ears, shells of odd size,
hands, empty mittens.
My feet I refuse to describe.
My dreams are of noodles,
my hair, spinach green.
I’m the most ridiculous woman
I’ve ever seen.

Poetry isn’t limited to solemn, intense poems. Poetry also embraces silliness, humor, and wit. Tragedy is always waiting offstage, anxious to make its entrance, but when comedy is center stage in a poem the result is delight.

Image: © Retro Clipart/