Friday, November 25, 2022

Lynne Handy's Facebook Cover Poetic Snippets

Starting in 2018, Lynne Handy asked me to change her Facebook cover image once a month. She wanted to put a different poem, or portion of a poem, on the cover each month. I got the impression she spent a fair amount of time putting this together each year. On November 8, 2022 I received her poems for 2023 (She included one by our poet laureate of the Fox Valley, Frank Rutledge!). Unfortunately, she passed away on November 20, 2022. 

I don't feel right logging on to her Facebook page and changing the covers anymore. It just seems wrong, but at the same time, I want to acknowledge her work, the effort she put into choosing which poems to display. Accordingly, I'm going to post the remaining poems here, all at once.


 A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.”


T.S. Eliot, “Journey of the Magi”


That winter I had nothing to do

but tend the kettle in my shuttered room

on the top floor of a pensione near a cemetery…


“January in Paris,” Aimless Love, Billy Collins (1941-    )



And the moral of my code

is this:

beauty is twice


and what is good is doubly


when it’s a matter of two

woolen socks

in winter.


“Ode to My Socks,” Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon, Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)


MARCH 2023

Touch our bodies, wind.

Our bodies are separate, individual things.

Touch our bodies, wind,

But blow quickly through the red, white, yellow skins

Of our bodies

To the terrible snarl,

Not mine, not yours, not hers,

But all one snarl of souls.         


“Wind,” Selected Poems of Langston Hughes, Langston Hughes (1901-1967)


APRIL 2023

I remember this woman who sat for years

In a wheelchair, looking straight ahead

Out the window at sycamore trees unleafing

And leafing at the far end of the lane.


“Field of Vision,” New Selected Poems 1988-2013, Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)


MAY 2023

Now has come the joyous month of May,

So gay, with such sweet delights,

As these orchards, hedges, and these woods,

All decked with leaves and blossoms,

And all things rejoice.


“The Joyous Month of May,” The Writings of Christine de Pizan, Christine de Pizan (1364-c 1430)


JUNE 2023

 The sun should be a couple of million miles

Closer today. It wouldn’t hurt anything

And anyway, this cold rainy June is hard

On me and the nesting birds…


“Solstice Litany,” Dead Man’s Float, Jim Harrison (1937-2016)


JULY 2023

 But when the thistle blooms and on the tree

The loud cicada sits and pours his song

Shrill and continuous, beneath his wings,

Exhausting summertime has come…


“Works and Days,” Hesiod and Theognis, Hesiod (ca 750 BCE – Unknown)



 I am a honey locust tree

with summer green intentions,

to be a Mourning Dove

swallowing twilight…


“Two Places at Once,” Clothed in August Skin, Frank Rutledge (1962-2019)



Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run…


“To Autumn,” The Odes of John Keats, John Keats (1795-1821)



…Autumn and winter are in the dreams…the farmer goes

with his thrift,

The droves and crops increase...the barns are well-filled.


“The Sleepers,” Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman (1819-1892)


When icicles hang by the wall,

And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,

And Tom bears logs into the hall,

And milk comes frozen home in pail…


“Winter,” A Little Treasury of Great Poetry, William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


 The stars, the heavens, and the elements

contested, using all their arts and care,

to make that living light where Nature and

the sun are mirrored, nothing matches it.


“Sonnet 154,” The Poetry of Petrarch, Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374)


Cathy Kern said...

This is the perfect way to honor Lynn. The Neruda made me laugh. ‘The snarl of souls’ caused me to pause with pure appreciation, to read it again and yet again. That this lively, complex, talented woman is gone is impossible to grasp. That will take some time.

franfredricks said...

Thanks Kevin. This is a wonderful tribute to Lynne and your friendship.