Musings on a Sunday morning~

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Opportunity or Fantasy

When something ends a bit badly,

It isn’t always a mistake,

Sometimes, we are reckless with our lives

And don’t think things through enough

Before acting upon our thoughts,

We often must pick through a lot

Of fool’s gold before a rare diamond is

Revealed. —J. E. Cook ©2017

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Bounty in the Countryside

 

Driving past the sage colored pastures

With cows gently grazing on the bounty,

Puffs of cotton clouds fill the pastel blue

Skies,

Old stone houses of varying sizes

Create a magical neighborhood among this

Countryside area of farmland,

One guest cottage with its own little

Garden patch calls to me,

It is quite a distance from the main house

On this farm,

Entering the cozy front room through

the turquoise door,

The hardwood floors shine back at me,

Light streams through the big window across

From the stone fireplace,

I quickly walk through and take in the cozy

Spaces

as I approach the back door,

And go out to see the flowering apple trees

The vibrant leaves fluttering in the breeze,

One picnic table by a small goldfish pond

And a dog napping in the sun,

I hear the murmur of the cows in the distance

As I am greeted with a basket of cheese, wine,

French bread and tart berries gave to me

By a familiar woman in white

with a quilt over one

Arm,

She hands the nurturing gift to me as she puts

The worn quilt over the rough boards on the tabletop,

The clouds seem to be following her to me,

we take our seats across from each other

And unpack the bounty in unison

to enjoy together,

In the afternoon sun with touches of shade

Now and then,

The hint of what will come causes us to toast

To this beautiful day on the farm.  J. E. Cook ©2017

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What are the ridiculous myths in life?

 

Philosophy teachers lecturing about Plato to us

In college,

Believing that every person on Earth has

Another half, they must find to complete

them,

And they will fulfill all the needs of each other

After they fuse together to become one unit

Of love and happily ever after,

sharing

Vows to cherish until they part because death

Has arrived,

But never is a long time to consider

And vow to each other with promises to keep

attached

Until one dies.   J. E. Cook ©2017

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I enjoy starting each day by reading…

Sometimes, it is a book and other times it is a small selection of admired poetry. Here are some of my favorites by poets in time. William Blake is the one I would have to pick if I had to site one favorite poet; however, I have many favorite poets, writers, and authors that I often turn to every morning while I sip my coffee or tea in those early hours as the sun rises and creates an inspiring image on our skies. 

The Garden of Love

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst, 
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And Thou shalt not. writ over the door;
So I turn’d to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my joys & desires.
–WILLIAM BLAKE~

‘Out, Out—’Related Poem Content Details
BY ROBERT FROST
The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside him in her apron
To tell them ‘Supper.’ At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap—
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
He saw all spoiled. ‘Don’t let him cut my hand off—
The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!’
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

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An Unexpected Summons

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Come, you fragile poets filled with the sea’s liquid.
Come and leak your speech upon our parched beaches!
Come and sing with the ocean’s primordial influences.
Come and sanctify our living dictionary.
Come and listen to our seas–rivers–the many lakes.
Come and offer a levy to our tributaries.
Come and accompany us.
Come with your mask of shifting personas falling away.
Come with your torches burning.
Come add your bouquet to the existing aroma.
Come bring your artfulness for our sake of the art.
Come with your lacerations, tender, and red.
Come with your heart brilliant or obscure.
Come with your words for the distinguished dead.
Then go to the notorious graves and remember their souls.
And recite all of your remembrances.
Yes, come and find your passion; your true natural ability:
The marriage of thoughts to be esteemed hydration.

–J. E. Cook ©2016

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Springer Spaniels instead of Chocolates

 

A Story by Josie Cook

 

 

It’s a cold February afternoon. There are tiny crystal snowflakes suspended in the frigid air. Many residents are thinking about Valentine’s Day gifts. Amelia is in her large dainty pink bedroom contemplating the big Victorian across the street called the Tabor House as the sun reflects off its snow-covered cupola. Looking out her window, she can view the corner of Commerce Street and Bluebird Crossing. As Amelia does this, she observes her girlfriend, Georgia sitting on her enclosed front porch. Her auburn hair is shimmering with a golden glow encircling her head as she reads from a big book in her lap. Georgia’s image makes Amelia think of sun-kissed berry. A tiny puppy is dozing against her left side on the white wicker settee. Georgia’s calico cat named Millie is sleeping against her right side. This intriguing glimpse of Georgia fascinates Amelia. She moves closer to her window. Amelia knows that Georgia’s father suffers from numerous allergies every spring.  Dogs are one of the things on his long list to avoid. Millie is not permitted inside their house. The tiny black and white puppy will need care around the clock at this stage. Amelia thinks Georgia should keep the puppy indoors, or how will it survive?

 

Amelia gazes at her own face in her mirror. Her hair is smooth like corn silk, not one strand out of place. She heads down the curved stairwell. Grabbing her quilted coat from the hall closet along with her fur-lined mittens, Amelia watches for her mom as she puts on her winter outerwear.  Amelia opens the front door and she goes out to sit on their front porch swing. Still thinking about the puppy and Georgia, she glances their way as Georgia reaches over to pick up the little pup. She cradles it in both arms, as Millie wakes and stretches into an arch. The cat backs away quickly. Millie jumps up into the windowsill, and she curls up into a ball. Amelia decides to visit them and see what is up with the new arrival.

Amelia knocks on the porch door as she peers through the glass. Georgia smiles. She comes over to open the door with the puppy still cradled in her arms.

“Georgia, where did you get that cute puppy?”  Amelia asks with a cheerful smile spreading across her freckled face.

“Aunt Patsy gave him to me as an early gift for Valentine’s Day since daddy is a long business trip. He doesn’t know about him yet.” Georgia giggles as she sits back down letting the puppy rest in her lap.

“Won’t he be furious when he finds out?”

Amelia sits down beside Georgia. She strokes the puppy’s fur. Millie doesn’t seem to care at all about them. The cat dozes in the sun’s rays coming through the windowpanes.

“Mom says she will take care of it. Whatever that means…” Georgia rolls her eyes at Amelia with a smirk appearing on her face.

Amelia looks over at Georgia, she pauses, “Patsy is your father’s sister, so maybe that is what your mom means…” Amelia whispers to Georgia as if she is afraid that the girl’s mother will overhear them.

Amelia continues thinking about how lucky Georgia is to have two pets when she has none. Her black bunny that she named Bell died last winter.  Her parents don’t want her to have another pet because they live in town. Amelia’s parents think she should be content to share a pony with her younger cousin, Charity. She lives in the country. Amelia doesn’t get to ride the pinto pony as often as her younger cousin does because their farm is a good hour and a half outside of the city limits.

“Mom says dad will get used to the idea of having a dog around.” Georgia picks the pup up and hands it to Amelia to hold for a while.

“I just love how his hair is all wavy.  He has such blue eyes when he opens them. Gosh, Georgia I would love to have a puppy like him.”

“My aunt has two more puppies to find homes for since she is only keeping their mother. Maybe, you could ask your parents if you could have one, too.”

Georgia glances at Millie. She gets up to catch her cat. Georgia brings Millie over and sits down by Amelia and the puppy.

Amelia notices that Millie is purring loudly and rubbing all over Georgia. She feels a little sorry for the cat because she must share Georgia now.

“Georgia, do you think Millie is going to feel left out if you spend a lot of time with your new puppy? After all, he is going inside with you and she must stay on the porch. It’s not that warm out here at night.”

“No, he stays in our garage.  I check on him every two hours. Mom says he’ll be fine. He has a new bed with his toys and plenty of food.” Georgia tells her.

“But, the garage is where your dad works on his car on the weekends. I bet he won’t like having this puppy out there when he is polishing his red Camaro for the next car show at the park.”

“I really don’t know what he’ll say. I named him Freckles because he has all these little black spots on his face.”

“What do the other puppies look like?”  Amelia asks as she stares at the pup’s face.

“One is almost all white with some big black spots on his belly and around each eye. The only female has small white spots all over her tan body. All of them have these beautiful blue eyes and long wavy hair. But, my aunt says, their eyes may turn brown later.”

“I’m going to ask my mom if I can have one for Valentine’s Day!  Before they’re all gone.” Getting up quickly, Amelia hands Georgia her pup.

Amelia pauses before crossing the street, as a car passes by. She can’t wait to get her own puppy. As Amelia reaches her porch, her mother comes out the front door.

“Where have you been? I was calling up the stairway for you. I need to go to the grocery for some milk and bread before it snows again.”

“I was visiting Georgia. She has the cutest puppy! Can I have one too? For Valentine’s Day?” Amelia watches her mom’s face for clues to what she might say about a puppy.

Her mother eyes Amelia closely. “I’m not the one to ask about that and you know it. When your father gets in this evening, you can ask him.”

“Oh, mom. Why does he always make all the important decisions? You could tell him the puppy is a gift for me. Please. Don’t make me wait on him—the pups might be gone by then.”

“Amelia, please just get inside the car. We need to get back so I can start dinner on time. Your father works out in the weather all day. He needs a hot meal on time.”

Amelia walks to the drive and she gets inside as her mother starts their old rusty Chevy. As they cruise down the street to the stop sign, Amelia waves at Georgia. During the ride to the store, she daydreams about waking up to a puppy licking her in the face every morning.

Arriving back home with several bags of food and cleaning supplies, Amelia and her mother unload the trunk. Amelia can’t see across the street now because is it dark. She wonders if Georgia asked her aunt about the remaining pups and if there are any still available.

In the kitchen, Amelia’s mom is singing as she cooks dinner. Amelia is at the table doing her math homework. She is having a hard time doing her story problems because she keeps thinking about puppies. The back door opens and in walks, her father covered in tiny snowflakes. His dark coat moist from the snow. He pulls off his black boots at the door along with his work gloves.

“Daddy, I have something important to ask you. Can I get a puppy for Valentine’s day?”

Her father looks up from tucking his wool socks into his boots. His eyes go to the cook stove where her mom is looking at her cookbook on the counter. Her fingers are busy moving down the pages checking the ingredients for making seasoned dumplings. She turns away from them and she walks to the sink to run water as Amelia goes to her father’s side. Amelia watches his face as she waits for his answer that seems to never come out of his mouth.

“Did you hear me? Can I have a puppy?”

“A dog is a big commitment. I’m not sure you’re ready for that kind of responsibility.”

Her mother turns around to stare at them. Then, she starts mixing up the dumplings. Amelia waits for them to say something else. However, her father walks into the living room and turns on the TV. His favorite sitcom is on and he doesn’t like to be interrupted as he watches each episode. He tries to figure out the answers to the mystery quest taking place before it is solved.

“You better finish your math before dinner.”

Frowning at her mother, Amelia picks up her pencil with worn eraser. She tries to focus on the last story problem on the page. There’s a knock on the front door. Amelia peeks around the doorframe as her father answers it.

“Hello, Mr. Gilbert. May I step inside? The wind is picking up and I’m freezing.”

Amelia sees a teenage boy holding a box wrapped in pink foil paper. He is holding the box closely to his body. His hat is covered in snow as well as his wool coat. A scarf is wrapped tightly around his neck.

“Of course, come on inside. Our dinner is about ready. You can join us if you like.”

“Oh, no. Just came to drop off your package. Mom is waiting in the car for me and my father expects me to help him with the feeding soon.” The young man stays on the tile by the door waiting for someone to come to him.

“So, nice that you came over this evening with this weather. We could’ve waited until in the morning to receive it.” Her father takes the box and hands the teenage boy some cash.

“Well, I better get going. Thanks again, Mr. Gilbert.” The boy turns to leave.

“I’m sure this will work fine and be safe on the road home.” After the boy nods to him. Her father shuts the door tightly.

“Amelia, come here. I wanted to wait until morning since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. But, I don’t think this can be delayed.”

Amelia walks into the living room to stand beside her father as her mother joins them. She takes a seat on their couch with a dish towel still in her hands. Amelia looks up at her father. He hands her the pink box. It feels heavy and bit off balance. Amelia joins her mother on the couch as her father takes a seat in his recliner near the fireplace.

“Darling, maybe you should grab your camera and snap of picture of Amelia as she opens her early gift. Don’t feel left out, I have yours arriving in the morning.”

Amelia’s mother rises and she goes to retrieve her pocket camera from their bedroom where it is always lying on the bookshelf. The box seems to move a little on Amelia’s lap. She holds it tighter until her mother returns to the room.

“Okay, Amelia. I’m ready. Go ahead and unwrap your gift.”

Clunk. The box hits the carpet. Then, it rolls a couple of times. There’s low whine from inside it. Then, some squeals of some sort.

“Oh, no, I hope I didn’t break anything inside.” Amelia jumps up to get the box. But, her father is already picking it up.

“Go sit down on the couch, please.”

Amelia does so. She straightens her plaid skirt as she looks up at her father. He hands her the shiny pink box. Amelia places it in her lap again with one arm wrapped around it. She uses her other hand to rip the paper loose. The top of the box pops open. A set of bright blue eyes stares up at her. A pink tongue licks her cheek. Her fingers touch the tan wavy hair before the whole fluffy body lands on her chest. Paws on each side of her face. Wet kisses all over her freckles. A ball of energy wiggling in her hands. Amelia feels tears fall—joyful ones. She smiles at her parents, “This is the best surprise ever. I love you, both.”

 

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a long time gone by Karen White

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My thoughts on this novel…

I have read most of White’s published novels, and I think this one is my favorite thus far!

Home means so much to all of us and to each it is a different definition in our minds. White creates a meaning for her characters and shares it with her words. Her sensory descriptions make the images appear to me as read this fabulous book. Heirloom objects mentioned in repetition throughout make it true to her reader.
Vivien is wild at heart and often coming undone with her past chasing her and matching her in thoughts. Dementia is appearing through her mother’s actions and her speech. Mothers and daughters are evolving inside the story. The Walker women share some history and it drives the storyline along with surprises towards the ending.
Inherited ways are thought and discussed. Returning home is the key to facing Vivien’s past. Through Carol Lynne’s dairy, the reader learns the meaning of motherhood and how a women’s destiny can be revealed through those that she gives life. Children often shape women’s lives and what they do in the future. This is what the circle of life is for mothers and it takes place in this story.
The ghost of the dead woman takes form and drives the story into the past and what happened before Vivien was born. Generations are involved and objects give clues to what happened in the past. A ring inspires people to seek its meaning and it brings curiosity along the way to the intended discovery.
Whites handles the shifting timelines so well in all of her novels including this one. The era of the 1920’s has always fascinated me, and I became compelled to learn more about this timeline as I read on.

 

Keeping a gardening journal and talking about the replanting of a garden that held family memories was a nice touch too. The meaning behind the visiting crows and what a certain tree meant to the main character made me think about how nature often influences our daily thoughts. Mississippi is the location and setting in this riveting well-structured fiction novel. Storms and flooding play into the family history as a ghost visits and the cypress swamp sings in the background. Vivien is on her personal quest and journey as she rebuilds her life and leaves one behind that involves a self-centered ex-husband and a step-daughter that she can’t forget.

 

Mississippi is the location and setting in this riveting well-structured fiction novel. Storms and flooding play into the family history as a ghost visits and the cypress swampland sings in the background. Vivien is on her personal quest and challenging journey as she rebuilds her life and leaves one situation behind that involves a self-centered ex-husband and a step-daughter that she can’t forget. A step-daughter that becomes her focal point towards the end of the book. Chloe has made a lot of inroads and personal connections by visiting Vivien after she returns home. She becomes unforgettable even after she is retrieved by her father.

 

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Spring Tides in Salty Water

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Spring Tides in Salty Water

Chirping and singing fills the air,

Tides peak on the border of a shoal

Beach grasses protect the Dolly Varden–

A crab that moves toward the muddy land.

It has a light colored shell covered with red spots and they are darkly outlined.

This is why some refer to it as a calico crab.

Remaining hidden with a thin rippling layer of water across it

At the low point of the ebb,

Here the water is so glassy,

And every detail is revealed.

Crystal clarity to the very bottom,

A little school of minnows flickers like silver sparks,

Bigger fish wander in along narrow passages and between the shoals.

Beds of Sunray clams rest in the deeper areas with whelks preying on them.

Crabs swim and bury inside the sandy bottom.

Life comes out of hiding with horseshoe crabs and a toadfish that hides in

A clump of eelgrass with neat black spirals and a banded tulip shell.

Others glide rapidly with a clear track in the sand,

Minute plant cells are a principal food of each new generation.

Pea crabs and ghost shrimp are alive, too.

Many of these effectively deceive the human eyes by being covered with seaweed.

As the tide ebbs away,

Great whelks are exposed and they glide across the surface in search of clams,

Microscopic plants are gathered inside as seawater streams from their bodies.

The stone crab is their enemy with a massive purplish body and two brightly colored

Claws; they lurk in caves and among the jetties with the rocks.

Gulls seize and carry channel whelks away,

Then, they drop them on a hard surface and the shell shatters,

 Their treasure is recovered leaving behind bits of shell.

It is a world of force, change,

And constant motion as the sand acquires new sea creatures

From the heavy pounding surf.

            –J. E. Cook ©2014

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Exploiters in the Sea’s World~

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*Exploiters~*

A mole crab uses nets so efficient that they obtain
Numerous microorganisms in which whole cities
Live and where the waves break and splash.
In a spectacular movement an area of bubbles; like of a flock of birds
Emerge with crabs digging into the sandy shores with a magical ease
By way of a whirling motion, they dig into wet particles and wait for
Returning water.
They are flat with paw-like appendages and their eyes are mostly useless,
Depending on their sense of touch to guide them through the surf.
Sensory bristles and their gnome-like faces appear in a floating instant in the
Liquid glass stream—fading back.
There is a magical quality in these curtains hiding a world containing shifting sands
And foaming water.
They begin life as an orange colored egg, however, their life span is short.
Towards a summer’s end,
Transformation to an adult is complete.
Young crabs can be carried as far as 200 miles off shore in a current they may travel
Further…
Remaining active in the winter season
And spring brings their mating.
By July, most males are dead.
Females carry the eggs for several months until
They hatch before winter these females die.
A new generation lives among the coquina clams,
Screw shells, and Terebra.
                                                                                                     
                                                                          –J. E. Cook ©2014~Revised~2017
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Four Seasons of Change

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Sunflowers in the middle of my table

Always reminding me of

Their beauty and their seeds of giving.

 

In my garden, the tomatoes, squash,

And yellow cucumbers grow right

Beside them.

 

They stand like sentinels

Waiting for the yellow finches

To peck out their faces

 

Morning arrives with a flush of pink

Near the horizon

It clears as the sun rises

 

The soil in the garden

Now soft from the overnight

Rain shower

 

My journal rests on the picnic table

As I drop the seeds into the turned soil

With the hole waiting for each seed to

Land

 

Never packing too tightly

For the green shoots to rise

The delicate growth following the sunshine

 

I always keep the dirt in the garden

Instead of the place where I sleep

And eat.

 

Every day, I hope no souls get

Called to the heavens.

A daily thought as I plant away.

 

No pesticides for me or my dirt patch

I think as the old lullabies play over and

Over inside my head—sunrises & sunsets

Forever over the fields of growing crops.

 

Autumn will bring out the dressed scarecrows,

Various gourds, and glowing Jack-o’ lanterns

Harvest festivals will fill the city streets

As people shop for homemade bread and cakes.

 

The dust of the harvests will fill the farmhouses

Bright blue skies will carry the scent of burning leaves

A cloudless sky will greet us with winter after

The memories of festivals fade

 

Falling stars on the horizon

But the Harvest Moon rises above

Like a great ball of fire

I’ll miss these subtle changes of color

When winter sets in with the coldness always

Near.  –J. E. Cook ©2017

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Beaches & Sunflowers

Remembering dancing with friends and

A boyfriend

Me wearing sunglasses most of the time

Due to my sensitivity to

Bright lights,

beach trips

With colorful bathing suits

Rolling waves

Knocking us over

Our knees hitting the sand below us

Collapsing from exhaustion

On our beach towels

And drinking cold cans of beer

Together

Floppy hats covering aging women’s

Faces from the sun

Wearing wet suits home

Inside a stuffy hot car

Our sensible shoes left at home

Envying the people inside the air

Conditioned shops as we pass them

Watching ice cream being served up

Others sipping on iced drinks in varying

Colors and flavors

The drive making us sleepy

Wanting only a nice cozy bed

After a refreshing shower

Floral-print summer dresses cover our

Sun-kissed bodies and sand is between

Our bare feet and our flip-flops

Envying the colors of the sunflowers

In the fields, we pass

Their faces turned to the sun

Like us on the beach

Loving to be surrounded by their

Happy faces

Their seeds are so useful

Yes, they are my favorite flower

Even though, picking one flower

As a favorite is such a difficult

Choice in life. —J.E. Cook ©2017

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Cherishing Life

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To be in full bloom

Where one exists,

Is what one’s life should be…

To live in the moment always

Not in the past or worrying about one’s

Future that has not arrived yet. –J. E. Cook ©2017

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The Little Things, and More

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On a green metal bench, outside

Our favorite ice cream spot

We watch the dogwoods dance

In the breeze off the lake,

The sky is bursting with their pink

and

White petals

Reminding me of the delicate

Frosted flowers on the cupcakes

Across the street designed

By a young baker,

The smells in the air

Around us are intoxicating

And the blooms

Become confetti on the sidewalks

My cone contains sweet caramel

That is sex on my tongue

As I lick it,

A touch of sea salt and

Sprinkle of pecan nuts,

A swirl of whipped cream

And a shiny cherry on top,

What else would one want

While they watch the skies

With their favorite love

And forget all the foreign thoughts.

 

Being with the man of your dreams

Is always wonderful

Even without these added pleasures

His curly hair at his neckline

As his sudden smile appears

When he watches the ice cream

Drip onto my lap.

His presence is appreciated

And his eye contact

Makes me blush

My shoulders ache for his touch.

A hug that brings me in so

Close right before his lips

Caress mine. –J. E. Cook ©2017

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Shared Sunsets

DONELOL
A Poem by Josie E. Cook M. A.
~Having the right connection~

Shared Sunsets

The girl that is rare
Is the one dear to one’s heart.

As I stand by my tree of choice
And watch the sun make its
Colors at Sunset
With the birds lining the tree
Branches–but not uttering a song
At all
As puddles fill with insects
And the rows of corn
Flutter in the wind
In all the fields sprawling
Before me
The black silhouettes
Further out reflect the remaining
Reds in the skies

Those evening skies
As I hold the hand of my closest
Friend and we remain silent
And happy with the passing
Of time
Because it happens with us
Together
Before this lovely scene in
The sky.
–J. E. Cook ©2017
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Also Visit: https://josiecook48.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/musings-on-a-sunday-morning/