Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Flickr creative commons: OAPHOTO


This swing
has wings
to fly
me high.
My feet
can't beat
this seat
for thrill
and sky.

© 2015 Stephanie Parsley

Thanks to The Miss Rumphius Effect for the poetry stretch: create a monometer, a poem in which each line has only one stress.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

In Progress: Problems with Beethoven

Flickr CC: sheep purple
Megan left her piano to-do list sitting out. How could I resist? I stole her title and a few of the items from her list. I wish I could post audio of her practicing at night. Her Beethoven is coming along nicely.

Problems with Beethoven

(for Megan)

The E in measure 75.
Measures 48 to 49: I'm doing them wrong.
The need to practice excessively and slowly.
Measures 97 to 108: Oh, God, really?
Memorizing the last two pages.
Getting the notes down.
Practice, that is all.
Everything goes so fast.
He never looks me in the eye.
My sister has gone to bed.
The hair.
He only ever looks past me.
What is he staring at?
Outside is frozen darkness.
I am unseen.
Mother has turned down the heat.
No more coffee.
And after this, math.
Seriously. Hello?
He never looks me in the eye.
Everything goes so fast.

© 2015 Stephanie Parsley Ledyard

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