Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

Poet, Artist, Educator

                 

 

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In the Poet's Spotlight for June 2007:  Edward W. Lull

Edward W. Lull is an Executive Director and former President of The Poetry Society of Virginia.  He began writing poetry at age 65 after retiring from two earlier careers.  In his first career, he was a naval officer, serving primarily in submarines.  He shaped a second career in business with small, hi-tech firms in the Washington, D.C. area.  His two books are Cabin Boy to Captain: A Sea Story, a historical novel written in blank verse, and Where Giants Walked, comprising conventional and free verse poems.  He edited an anthology entitled Vintage Wine and Good Spirits and co-edited Four Virginia Poets Laureate: A Teaching Guide.  He has published in the Poetry Society of Virginia’s Anthology of Poems, The Poet’s Domain, The Poet’s Forum, among others.  Mr. Lull and his wife Evelyn live in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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

Poems of Edward W. Lull (below)  © copyright Edward W. Lull, All rights reserved.

 Midwinter Encounter

 

Loose driveway stones crackled under tires

as I approached my garage,

biting cold and dark as tar.

High beams illuminated my garage door

and newly-trimmed vitex bush.

The bulky object on branch stubs,

four feet off the ground, motionless,

took shape as an owl, wings folded,

unruffled by my presence

or by being on stage in the spotlight,

surrounded by blackness.

 

Emerging from the car, I stood still,

exchanging stares with this regal creature.

A large head, flat face with glistening eyes

and short, hooked beak,

sat atop a hawk-sized body

with speckled brown feathers.

Although I have heard owls at night,

I had never seen one up close.

I stood a dozen feet away, like a statue,

my sense of awe growing.

Suddenly his head swiveled,

as if on a well-oiled bearing.

Nothing seen, he resumed his curious gaze.

What thoughts danced behind those blazing eyes?

What instincts assured him I was no threat?

 

This marvelous bird remained placid,

until garage door creaking broke the spell,

disturbing the equilibrium of the encounter.

I experienced a strange sadness

when, with a whirr of waving wings,

he vanished into the night.

 

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 Ghost Fleet

 

As seagulls follow in our V-shaped wake

and sun rays make the ripples seem in flames,

we cruise beneath clear skies, an ideal day

for boating down the broad, historic James.

 

Dense foliage, emerald-hued, lines both the shores

providing nature’s border for the scene.

But moving east, the landscape’s beauty melts,

and man-made structures soon replace the green. 

 

To port, an unexpected sight appears:

large hulls topped by a forest of ships’ masts.

Old merchantmen recline in silent prayer,

where condemnation hides their glorious pasts.

 

They carried worldly goods on seven seas,

and braved the fiercest storms and highest waves.

Appeals all spent, now they are forced to wait

like death row inmates, focused on their graves.

 

They know it’s not their final resting place;

they’re in their Purgatory here on earth.

Accepting fate is hard for those once proud,

acknowledging that now they have no worth.

 

Our boat turns ‘round and we head back upstream,

the verdant landscape visible again.

My mind retains the vision of the ships

where age, neglect, and rust are their domain.

 

I wondered if one day it might be judged

that my productive, useful days were done.

Would I be anchored somewhere like those ships,

just pleased to feel the warmth of midday sun?

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 My Love

 

I’ve never met one like her, that I know;

her pure commitment to me makes me strong.

My work keeps me quite busy now, although

she wiles away the hours all day long.

Her looks are not exceptional, I guess,

but beauty wasn’t what I sought from her.

Companionship without a lot of stress—

and not excessive talking—I prefer.

She’s getting rather paunchy, I admit,

but she finds exercise no longer fun.

At dinner time I hardly get to sit

before I note that she’s completely done.

     But looks and manners never will prevail;

     I know I’m loved - the way she wags her tail.

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Below is an excerpt from a book-length poem, Cabin Boy to Captain:  A Sea Story,

          recounted in the voice of a young boy from Devonshire, England.

 

 

The Thomas Doughty Affair

The setting:  Aboard Francis Drake’s flagship, PELICAN, off the coast of Brazil, April 5, 1578

 

 

Two months or more since last we saw a shore;

I’ve learned how small a ship can really be.

With tempers growing shorter every day,

our meager rations fanned the growing flames.

Then when we realize we’ve crossed the sea,

the sight of land rejuvenates the soul.

All hardships of the crossing now behind,

what lies ahead becomes our focus now.

 

Drake ordered, “Signal MARY I shall be

aboard in half an hour to have a look.

Step lively, Robert, get my boat prepared.”

When boarding MARY, it became quite clear

morale was low and anger filled the crew.

Drake opened with:  “How was your voyage here?”

“Not good,” was Doughty’s curt reply.  “I think

we need to have a private talk, and soon.”

 

“Then take your boat and meet me in my ship,

commanded Drake; “I’ll be along anon.”

Drake toured the ship and spoke with several men;

the lines of anger grew across his face.

He thundered so that all on deck could hear:

“Who authorized the cargo to be touched?”

One look at Drake left me with little doubt

his questions would receive no answer now.

 

With both fists clenched he stomped across the deck;

the crewmen froze like rabbits near a fox.

He seemed more suited to a Devon pub

than to the genteel court of royalty.

Drake turned to brother Thomas then and said,

“Command of MARY now belongs to you;

Tom Doughty had his chance to lead and failed.”

With that he motioned to me and debarked.

 

Upon return to PELICAN, Drake took

Tom Doughty to his quarters for an hour.

When they emerged, the strain on Doughty’s face

reflected his disdain for Captain Drake.

I later learned he’d claimed that Thomas Drake

had tampered with the cargo of the prize.

This charge caused an enduring breach with Drake,

who sent him off, disgraced, embarked in SWAN.

 

The boundaries of this fleet are far too small

for Drake and Doughty not to meet again.

I saw another side of Francis Drake:

intensely loyal to his friends and kin,

respected, caring leader of his men;

an angry, brooding foe of anyone

disloyal or a threat to his command.

I feared how their relationship would end.

 

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