Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

Poet, Artist, Educator

                 

 

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In the Poet's Spotlight for July 2007:  Virginia O'Keefe

Virginia O’Keefe received her Ph.D. from New York University in English Education. After a career of teaching English to hundreds of students, she has been a consultant in poetry writing to Virginia Beach Public Schools. Her two non-fiction books, Speaking to Think/Thinking to Speak and Developing Critical Thinking contain activities to teach poetry in the classroom. Her poetry has received awards and been published in Virginia Adversaria, The Powhatan Review, Visions Magazine, The Poet’s Domain, and Regina Weese Magazine.

 

Index of O'Keefe's Poems: Scroll down or click on Poem Title

Poems of Virginia O'Keefe (below)  © copyright Virginia O'Keefe, All rights reserved.

 

YUPIK STORYKNIFE

 

 

My father carved this storyknife

For me when I was just a girl.

See how the curved ivory fits my hand,

Guides my thoughts, gives stories to tell

You, daughter of my daughter,

Who wears her labrets in a woman's way.

Watch my knife draw shapes in the mud,

Two more lines and brother whale appears.

When he speaks my knife listens,

 

I will not be caught unless women

 keep silent and obey the men.

 

My storyknife moves on,

Finds sea lion sunning on a rock.

Hears his warning words to women,

 

When you bleed, stay apart.

If you breathe on men, animals

hide from hunters.

 

Elders in the past walked here,

Knew the truths, lived the stories

My knife tells,

 

 I am like a braided river

carrying  water from glaciers

across great beds of sand and gravel

to the sea. My lines merge, diverge,

always bringing life to earth.

 

 

 

 

Published in The Poet’s Domain

 

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FLAPPER IN THE COUNTRY

                       

                       

I draw my bath, pour in salts,

                        orchid and fuschia,

                        scent of the Orient, all the while

                        remembering slick pavements, my

                        high heels clicking on cement,

like a pair of castanets,

                        subway rides and Macy sales.

 

                        Post lanterns and the moon

over Sloan Mountain

don't match those

                        69th Street lights.

                        Give me a Camel drag,

                        Carstairs on the rocks,

                        to hell with pure rainwater,

                        unpolluted air.

I’ve three meals a day

now and a bed for the night, with

no job to break the peace, but

 

Honey, if you’re burying me,

let it be in a black box,

                        not this godforsaken patch of earth.

 

 

Published in The Powhatan Review

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THE MIRACLE STORY                                                           

                                   

We've heard of the man

                                    born blind, healed

                                    by spittle and mud

                                    outside Bethsaida.

                                               

                                    People look like trees

                                    walking around, he said,

                                    and the Healer touched

                                    him again, set it right.

                                               

                                    There were others,

                                    cured at once,

                                    the commotion that stirred.

                                               

                                    Sudden sight blinds

                                    the brain, jumbles

                                    colors, sets cubes, lines 

                                    into a Miró gone mad.

                                                 

                                    The real mystery

                                    was fusing the bits:

                                    snow crystals from dust,

a Georgia O'Keeffe stamen,

                                    God in leper scabs,

                                               

                                    knowing where trees will break

                                    before you've heard the snap.

                                               

                                                 

                                    Published in Visions Magazine

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PRINSENGRACHT REQUIEM               

                               For Anne Frank

                                               

                        From my garret I watch

                        Prinsengracht Canal.

                       

                        Once a highway for salt

                        and slave prince-merchants,

                        now tourists glide by

                        in red-lighted

                        canal boats, listening

                        to history             

                        in three languages.

                       

                        Empty Coke cans

                        drift to the sea.

                       

                        Beneath elm leaf

                           shadows

                        bicycles clatter

                        over arched bridges,

boat engines throb

                        and disco notes

                        jazz into the air.

                       

                        I filter the scene

                        through her scrim

                        number two sixty-three,

                        that attic window

                        opened only at night

                        facing a vacant wall      

                       

                        where she found stars.

           

 

Published in Visions Magazine

 

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Come back each month and discover the work of other poets to be featured in the "Poet's Spotlight."

 

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