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Snow Ballad

The day before was soft and warm
A still and quiet air -
Then o’er the blue a cloudy swarm
of snow blew everywhere.
As dark descended snow was deep -
The wind blew hard and fast.
I went to bed thinking I’d sleep
Until the storm had passed.
Outside, the snow was piling up,
My Subaru to hide.
The plowing bill is mounting up
Just like the snow outside.
We woke to silence deafening -
The weather had blown out.
This quiet could mean just one thing:
The power had gone out.
The thawing food we boxed and placed
Out on the deck to freeze.
T’was steady work, there was no haste:
Our drive was blocked by trees.
Our drive no plow could re-define -
The risk would be too great:
A tree lay on the power line
And so we had to wait.
The driveway really was a sight
With birch trees hanging low
Which formed an arch of lacy white
with tons of clinging snow.
My cell phone was our only link
With anyone outside.
The Fairpoint truck drove by, I think,
But never even tried.
Such snow cemented to each tree
on every twig was clinging.
This beauty in the scenery
Just set my heart to singing.
But singing will not quench my thirst
And so you ought to know
That times like this I have rehearsed
When there’s no place to “go.”
Filled bottles line my cellar floor
and upstairs, used for flushing,
Some buckets always kept in store
So there’s no need for blushing.
At last the drive was cleared of snow
but still we had no power,
And so we packed our bags to go
Someplace else to shower.
Three days and nights the silence lay -
Imagine how and why it
Felt so peaceful night and day.
I grew to love the quiet.
At length a larger truck appeared -
And men armed with a crane.
They cut the trees and, as I feared,
The din began again.
(c) Tina Lee 2009
(Sketch of my grandmother, Una, at 96)
I want to be a little old woman
When I was young and people did inquire
“What do you want to be when you are grown?”
My answer drew surprise – some called me liar!
My strongest wish adults did not condone.
A woman I was born and am one still –
(The proof? Here, feel my hands: they’re always cold)
To stay petite, I exercise strong will.
And wait and wait while months and years unfold.
I’ve been a woman half a century,
And struggle still with lust for fat’ning food.
But patience was the hardest thing for me
Until my very blood’s with it imbued.
My secret’s out. The truth’s at last been told:
It seems to take forever to grow old!
(sonnet (c) Tina Lee 2007)
No Wit
had a limp, didn't show it,
had a lisp, didn't know it,
had a car, wouldn't you know it
wouldn't go, had to tow it
had a ball, didn't throw it
had a horn, didn't blow it
planted corn corn, didn't hoe it
had a garden, didn't sow it
had a lawn, didn't mow it
had a beard, didn't grow it
had a rip, didn't sew it
runny nose, didn't blow it
had a boat, didn't row it
carried luggage, didn't stow it
even genius may have no wit
and my IQ's just below it
spring is here and all the snow, it
melts away if freeze won't slow it
Night Song
season’s music sounding deep
interfering with my sleep
croak of bullfrog peep of tree
cricket chirring goose-honk vee
barking dogs on left and right
my cat purring through the night
windows open for a breeze
now I’m praying on my knees
“let the air blow sweetly in
(fresh air’s lovely) not the din"
there’s a party somewhere near
getting closer I can hear
someone’s music what a blast
how long will this long night last?
(c) Tina Lee 2009
 here are some old favorites from the "silly" collection
I need someone to wash behind my ears.
Not that behind my ears gets dirty.
I am clean and wash often
so no oily grease builds up in the crease
behind my ears.
And though my feet and hands and knees
get grubby gardening,
I do not dig with my ears
So no dirt grows in rows along my hairline.
So though I know I do not need
someone to wash behind my ears
because I can wash behind my ears myself.
I want someone
who wants to wash behind my ears
precicely because
I don’t need someone to wash behind my ears.
(c) Tina Lee 2005
Wait for me!
I have to pee!
This cup of tea
Is through with me!
I will die
Or grow old.
And if I grow old,
I will get up as early
Or as late As I want to.
I will wear my nightey all day
Or sleep in my clothes.
And laugh at private jokes
At inappropriate times.
I will have Medicaid
And worry about prescription drug coverage.
And if I die,
I will wear a robe of brown earth
And a crown of green grass.
And, being dead,
Have no deadlines.
And if there is an afterlife,
I will find out
whether or not there is an afterlife.
And if there isn’t,
I won’t.
(c) Tina Lee 2002
He wants to fix the driveway.
To crown it smooth and straight and high
to shed the rain, to keep feet dry
so when my cup is too full-filled
on driving out, tea won’t get spilled.
So children’s clothes right up the back
won’t be all spatter-spotted black
from muddy puddles they’ve bike sliced.
This gravel-ground for them sufficed
to add in its uneven way
a challenge to the children’s play.
This ragged way of pot-holed pits
stakes claim to added benefits.
It has proved useful in the past
as, when the grandma drove too fast: 
the gravel scraping her oil-pan
said, “slow down!” better than words can.
If these reasons are not enough,
Let me think of some other stuff:
Because of ridges, dips, and ruts,
I noticed that I needed struts;
Quiet puddles reflecting sky
won't happen if the ground is dry;
If that won't do, then don't forget,
this lumpy ground has done its bit
to make sure that this poem gets writ.
(c) Tina Lee 2004
Wait for me!
I have to pee!
This cup of tea
Is through with me!
(The following was written in response to an assignment to write "a rhyming poem about creating visual art." The difference between common discourse and art is this:
art is a lie.
It is best read aloud. Can you find the rhyme pattern?) 
What color is a lie and why?
What is it that is so compelling that telling
a colourful fabrication of imagination
becomes our discourse? This, our art, apart
from taste or sound, from word, movement or touch is much
too fanciful for me. I cannot say what way
it leaves me cold. So old
and lonely I might gaze for days.
Yet with paintbrush in hand, I stand
enthralled, enchanted, mesmerized. I sweat and let
some untamed and unholy urge to purge
my life of all its dross… No loss.
Yes, this would feel so much the better, to let her
out, running wild and free, this me
which still must hide inside.
And like an Angel, find contentment as a slave: behave!
But sometimes I still feel a glow below
my halo. So, know:
it’s art, The Arts, that free the child. My wild
enslaved insides may slip out…no doubt
to shatter sharp, all shards and intense fragments.
Lying pretty, glittering, littering
all the ground around -
yet dangerous to all I meet, the feet
of the tender-foot may bleed. Indeed,
I’ve bled enough. This stuff
that we all hide inside
corrupts our soul, our heart. But art,
The Arts, can fit the bits
and pieces back together as no glue would do.
(c) Tina Lee 2004
It took several tries before the final "art" poem was done. Here are two rejects:
Why does it take so long to start
when I begin a work of art?
Finished product is much much less
than the doing! I love process…
I love process in every art.
so Why does it take so long to start?
Something rebels. What have I missed?
Process defies impressionist…
The art I choose is - in some sense -
art’s actual experience.
In process-arts I still excel:
recite, dance, love, and sing quite well.
How can I bring to visual art
this silent singing in my heart?
No sound. No touch nor taste nor smells.
Here’s naught to do but hope it sells
and is wall-hung or placed on shelf.
But when I dance, I sell myself.
For, dancing, twirling ‘cross the floor,
embracing, gazing (faux amore),
I smell and feel my partner’s sweat
and, as when painting a portrait,
We fall in love and then we part.
Dancing, you see, is a shared art.
What color is a lie
And what have we to hide
that we must say it with a color, not a word?
Blue is used for distance, 
so at your insistence
I try it. But it still turns out absurd.
Never any motion.
Even the crashing ocean
has no salt spray, it's only pigment on a page.
The king must die, you say.
Is all art just foreplay?
Nevermind. I’m just going through a stage.

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