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Editor's Corner

By Mary E. Adair

March 2006!

Often heralded as the windy month in many states of the USA, March was beaten to the title by February this year (in my heart and soul) when a particularly gusty, sandy coldfront blew in and brought down some substantial limbs on my nearly fifty year old tree that stood in the front yard. One must say stood because the treeman has been diligently continuing its demise and the neighborhood has rung with the squalling screams of the chain saw. Or, was that my screaming? Well, truly, the tree should have been removed a couple years ago, but even this past summer it had at least two limbs with lovely healthy-appearing leaves. Being a cottonwood it was listed as a "self-pruning" species. One didn't know that meant the limbs would bounce off one's roof at nearly midnight. At any rate, the saddening experience had one miracle ensconced within for the wonder of future generations: dear Leo was sitting just inside the double windows playing games at his pc when one 20ft long limb cart-wheeled off the roof and into the side yard (crushing a small section of my chain-link fence and pulling the gate awry but thankfully only grazing without a bent wire the neighbor's chain-link) and another hefty section of a limb approximately 9 inches in diameter fell just shy of those front windows. The jar it made hitting the ground did knock the pane from one of the front windows, and the gymnastic stage of the other gouged through the shingles and into the decking of the roof above Leo's pc. One should describe it as "gym-nasty" perhaps. Leo avers that God loves him.

The entire ordeal has reminded me of the tribute I wrote to the elm that extended above our eighth floor apartment overlooking the Mississippi River in St. Louis. Shortly after we moved there a Spring storm sent lightning to strike one tall branch of that tree, but didn't seem to have hurt it. That magnificent elm inspired this verse which can be found here: Ending. Will one be written for this most recent loss? Probably not, and besides, it's all too sad at the moment. That word brings up a poem in this issue... one called "In Moments" by Daniel Weston, II which would have been an apt valentine poem, but better late than never...(hopefully the only cliche today.)

Suzanne Linfield Spindler returns this month with "Just to Let You Know." Having experienced a similar mood, this poem should chime with empty-nest mothers everywhere. Other poetic works for March include Clara Blair's "Mantra Ray" which evokes interesting thoughts. Welcome back, Clara, it's been far too long since we've been treated to your poetry! Her other half John I. Blair submitted the following:

    "Black Nights" - "Playing with Sun Perch" - "Free Speech" - "I Live in A Body of Water" - "Possibilities" and "The Buffalo Hunter." The last is accompanied by a period photograph of the subject. John leads us into many areas we fail to explore until he opens the door.

Bud Lemire is also a poet whose subject matter covers a wide range:

    in fact one of his poems is called "Variety." He gives us a glimpse of "Transformations;" extols the delight of "A Yooper Pastie;" wonders about internet transmitted "Spiritual Energy;" nudges our conscience with "Lonely Soul;" and dedicates "Life's Celebrations 2" to the soul. Lemire rhymes life as he feels it.

Bruce Clifford, a talented song composer whose poems sing their message, shares these:

    "Exactly" and "Help Me Understand" which are both on the deja vue side, and what might be the longest title we've ever published, "Part III - Songs From Conversations (The Big Bang)." Bruce awakens our deepest doubts and then lets the melody of his words soothe them away.

Michael Craner has prepared the perfect composition for the days we now face - see his column "Mike's Place." Makes his point, more than succinctly. Gerard Meister lets both sides have it, a chutzpah move of his own, straddling the fence in "Thinking Out Loud." Mattie Lennon, "Irish Eyes," reminisces on school days and graciously gives us a couple of pictures of himself back then; also his first poem, the shortest one ever written, he claims. Leo C. Helmer's column "Cookin' With Leo," treats us to a tiny, memorable recipe and a serious amount of info on Vanilla. His article, "Fun Things To Do At Wal-Mart," however, is anything but serious though it does revolve around one of his most consistent gripes. LC Van Savage also shows us both her column and an article: "Consider This" takes a positive outlook despite doomsayers and her article enthusiastically lauds a neat hobby "Oh The Flowers That Bloom In The House, Tra La!"

Eric Shackle's Column tells us about the greatest newspaper Scoop of all time! Perhaps other scoops rate right up there, but this one is tops in my book! Eric Shackle is also the editor for Word.A.Day, the brainchild of Anu Garg ( which allows free subscriptions to their email which discusses origin, meaning, and gives examples of usage of a different word daily, even the correct pronunciation by using their sound wave links. You can share the magic of words by sending a gift sub: Wordsmith Gift Sub which is what Clara Blair did for me a few years back. It is a rewarding bit of each day!

Thomas O'Neill discusses a deep subject "Altruism vs. Egoism in the modern world" in his column "Introspective." He invites feedback, even if it disagrees with his own conclusions. Don't forget that whenever you click an author's byline, you will get a list of their other titles (also clickable) that Pencil Stubs Online has published.

All of our writers look for feedback and Mike Craner, our webmaster and co-founder has made it so easy by placing a form right on the page where you finish reading their work. You can also refer the page to others you think would appreciate that particular poem, column, or article. If you are a writer, you can submit your own compositions by using the handy link in the left side menu bar Submit and it will be considered for future issues.

Well, if you have been watching television's coverage of the revitalization of New Orleans and the belief that the Mardi Gra celebration is a big step in that direction, you might want to check out some facts concerning the tradition. Leo C. Helmer's article detailing the history of this celebration can be found here: It's That Time Of Year Again - Mardi Gras This editor always wanted to go be a part of the annual New Orleans celebration. Other southern cities do it too, but it's nice that New Orleans was able to get it together this year, despite their ordeal with the hurricane Katrina.

Didn't make the Mardi Gras or February's winter olympics, but we'll see you in April!  

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