Monday, November 10, 2014

For Veteran's Day

Crew of "Colleen," just four months before they went down on Guam. My great-uncle, Leslie Evans, Jr., stands on the back row, far left. I do wish I could have met him.

Below is an excerpt from my picture book manuscript, Won't Be Long, retrieved for Veteran's Day from a file on my computer (because really, it will be long before this thing that I love so much gets published).

It's Veteran's Day, and there will be posters in the hallway of Ella's, my main character's, school. The time is 1943, 1973, 2003or right now.


I draw a picture of my brother and write

in my best penmanship:

My brother is brave. He is in the war for a long time.

Now my picture hangs in the front hall at school,

beside a picture of Michael’s mother.

Michael drew red hearts around his mother’s name and wrote:

My mother is brave! She came home from the war last year!

She was a nurse! She still is a nurse!

Michael’s picture hangs

beside a drawing of Claudia’s grandfather.

Claudia painted gold stars around her grandfather’s face

and wrote very small, so I have to lean close to read:

My grandfather was brave. He died in a war a long time ago,

before I was ever born. I wish I could have met him.

Every time I pass the picture of Claudia’s grandfather,

those little words shout at me.

I wish her grandfather hadn’t died

in the long-time-ago war.

I wish she could have met him.

© 2007 Stephanie Parsley

Friday, October 31, 2014

In Progress: On My Porch

Some mornings, Natalie wants to go outside and wave Aaron off to work in the dark. Occasionally, we'll stay and watch the morning come, and even though it makes us behind on some other things, it's a magical start to the day.

Flickr Creative Commons: The Auto Motovated Cyclist

On My Porch


On my porch,
there is a small chair for me
and a rocking chair for my grandmother.
But we both sit on the step,
our bare feet flat
on the cool sidewalk,
to watch the morning come.
Grandmother wraps me in my old baby quilt.
The street lamp scatters
light through our tree onto the ground,
like a painting
in the big museum.

Not so far off, the highway
already rushes and hums
like a seashell held to my ear,
and I think of my mother
riding to work on the bus,
and the people in cars going to jobs
in tall buildings,
and maybe children in the back seats,
looking up at the very same sky.

Darkness hangs like sleep
in my eyes.

© 2014 Stephanie Parsley

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thinking on quiet things

Photo © 2013 Stephanie Parsley, taken as my family returned
from what was likely a not-so-quiet fishing expedition

This week's stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect is all about quiet, something I treasure. The poem below started as a list poem from my writing time yesterday with a friend, using a prompt from The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach.

What You Will Need

A body of water
A day not too hot
A pole not too heavy
A light, long string

A worm and a hook
The stomach to pierce a small, squirming thing
A boat
Or a quiet spot

A pleasant companion
Or none
Attention to pay
Patience for waiting
          and waiting

Eyes to see the bobber bob or the water move
Hands for tugging and reeling a catch
A mouth to exclaim
Or breath for a sigh

The will to take startled creature in hand
The skill for dislodging sharp things
The hunger to hold the club and the knife
Or the heart to give it all back

A body of water
A pole and a string
A pleasant companion
Or none

The words to tell and tell the tale
Or the memory to keep,

© 2014 Stephanie Parsley

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Beach Haiku

Photo © Andreas Fozzman, Flickr Creative Commons
How to Find a Shark's Tooth Fossil

Sift sand, search shore, ‘til
Wave withdraws, revealing a
Miniscule jewel

© 2013 Stephanie Parsley

Friday, May 2, 2014

Night Sketch 1

Photo © 2014 Stephanie Parsley

At the foot of my bed lies the sleeping cat, neither curled nor stretched, just gently curved, head resting on paws.

On the floor beside me lies the sleeping, sighing, elderly dog, paws twitching, twitching, breaths short, then longer, pausing, then starting again. To my left lies my sleeping husband, chest already steadily rising and falling after the week of commuting and work. Across the hall sleeps my sweaty daughter, hair smelling of dust, tired from the day of play, tantrums, and talking (so much talking), clutching her stuffed Minnie Mouse beneath her still, little arm. 

The cat at my feet, on the white quilt with colorful squaresshe is as sweet in her sleep as if she were my own child, sleeping.

My teenager down the hall, stretched on the couch with her homework and crackers and baby carrots scatteredshe has left sweetness behind for a time, embodying beauty, occasional grace, frequent slovenliness, and annoyance too, at me.

But oh, the cat, how precious she is, her paws clasped before her, eyes closed, as in prayer, sleeping.

© 2014 Stephanie Parsley

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No Fool-y

Photo © 2010 Stephanie Parsley

Spring (Truly)

Hatchlings peep newly.
Sky stretches bluely.
Trees waken throughly.
Grass glistens dew’ly.
Days warm Woohoo!-ly.

© 2014 Stephanie Parsley

"Just the Right Word" poetry stretch from The Miss Rumphius Effect (using adverbs instead of adjectives)

Friday, March 28, 2014


Photo © 2009 Stephanie Parsley


The boy
darted out, froze
on a lane line, arms hard
against his chest. A car stopped at
his shoe.

on smallness, he
hugged himself, but it did
not fit, there in the road, in rush

One arm
bore a green cast
from elbow to wrist. Our
eyes connected as he waited,
ran past.

Boy, I
should have told you,
should have rolled down my window, called,
Watch out, son, your life matters to

to me.

© 2013 Stephanie Parsley

A real boy inspired this poem, and I couldn't stop with one cinquain about him, maybe because I very nearly ran over him on my way home from work.I think it was Halloween. It was turning cool out, and the boy had on short sleeves. 

Thanks once again to The Miss Rumphius Effect for the poetry stretch. This one, from November (written then but just now revised), was to write a cinquain -- with a total of 22 syllables distributed over the five lines: 2 for the first line, then 4, 6, 8, then 2. 

I was glad to re-remember this boy. I hope he's loved.