Halcyon Days - Issue 11

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Halcyon Days - 2018 Issue 11

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Halcyon Days Issue 11 - 2018 CONTRIBUTORS 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

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Monique Berry Autumn Senses Anne Alexander A Bushel and a Peck of Autumn Love Stella Mazur Preda Solitary Communion Stella Mazur Preda Flavours of Autumn Ken Allan Dronsfield See That Gentle Light Elizabeth Spencer Spragins Honey Comb Elizabeth Spencer Spragins Following the Moon Ingrid Bruck Starlight Music Gregg Dotoli Haiku Harold Stearley An Oil Painting for the One I Love Cortni Merritt Frozen Time Sharon Lask Munson The Sky, That Certain Blue Sharon Lask Munson Study at Dawn Sharon Lask Munson Drawing Open the Blinds Sreekanth Kopuri The Autumn Hues of India Meet the Authors

Monique Berry Pg 3

Anne Alexander Pg 4

Stella Mazur Preda Pg 4

Ken Allan Dronsfield Pg 8

Elizabeth Spragins Pg 9, 10

Ingrid Bruck Pg 11

Harold Stearley Pg 13

Cortni Merritt Pg 14

Sharon Lask Munson Pg 15-17

Sreekanth Kopuri Pg 18 Cover Š Lidia Pachetti- stock.adobe.com

Halcyon Days Magazine ISSN: 2291-0255 Frequency: Quarterly Publisher | Designer: Monique Berry

Contact Info http://halcyondaysmagazine.blogspot.ca Twitter: @1websurfer monique.editor@gmail.com

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Special Notices Halcyon Days has one time rights. See website for subscription details. No photocopies allowed.

Autumn Senses

By Monique Berry Windows reflect pumpkin skies kitchens smell of cinnamon and apple mugs and teacups comfort hands kaleidoscope palettes soothe the eyes thanksgiving is heard around the world.

Š Cherries - stock.adobe.com

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A Bushel and a Peck of Autumn Love By Anne Alexander

While there are endless ways to express the warm and cozy joys of autumn, I chose to reflect on my very first memory of how beautifully the spirit of this apple-cinnamon season could be pondered and described in literary form, in this case, with a joyous bit of poetry passed on to me from my gracious and loving Grandmama.


very year, when I first see the yellow school buses making their way around town after their bus barn vacations have come to an end, my heart begins to beat a bit faster. It means that autumn is just around the corner – and the joy I feel about it could easily be compared to a child’s excitement on Christmas Eve. Autumn is the very essence of everything cozy and charming and resplendent. It is ambers and oranges and fiery reds and mellow golds. It is pumpkins and apples and big pots of homemade stew and freshly baked bread. It is sweaters and boots and scarves of russet and burgundy. It is hot cider and strong coffee and a pan of warm pumpkin bread just out of the oven, cooling on the counter. It is high school football games and picnics on cool sunny days and hay rides at the pumpkin patch. And for me, more than anything, it is simply home. I’m a nester and a nurturer, I love puttering around my home, decorating for the seasons and holidays, trying fun new recipes, and thinking of ways to make things as welcoming and warm as possible. There is no better time for these pleasant rituals than autumn. My very first memory about autumn comes from my beloved Grandmama. This really isn’t surprising since she was born on a beautiful autumn day in Tennessee. Her standard cheerful greeting to me would be to sing out: “I love you a bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck, you bet I do!” – and we would laugh and hug and then laugh some more. It was Grandmama who taught me the song “Come Little Leaves,” written by the poet George Cooper – and she would recite it like a poem:

"Come, little leaves," Said the wind one day, "Come over the meadows With me, and play; Put on your dresses Of red and gold; Summer is gone, And the days grow cold."

Grandmama took great joy in reciting poems and songs and little ditties to me. She was quite gifted in her presentation, knowing exactly when to emphasize a word, or to pause for effect. It was quite mesmerizing. It’s almost certain she honed her beautiful and precise recitation skills at the school she spoke so fondly of – the Blackstone College for Girls, in Blackstone, Virginia. She (her name was Raye) and her twin sister Faye attended this school when they were teenagers (since they were born in the fall of 1897 it would probably be around 1912 or so). She and her sister learned the educational basics, but additionally (and more importantly, she loved to emphasize!) they were trained in the gracious arts such as music, poetry, fine arts, etiquette and artful communication and elocution. Sleepover weekends at Grandmama’s were some of the best memories of my childhood – she would always have new coloring books and crayons, and Highlights magazines. She would make me my favorite treats: cooked carrots, with real butter and glazed to perfection. Cream of Wheat for breakfast, with applesauce. Coffee with milk and sugar. Chicken sandwiches made with soft white bread and a glass of cold milk. Bedtime was never a fuss. I still recall the minty-fresh aroma of her Vicks VapoRub ointment she applied nightly, and the soft comfort of the clean white cotton sheets, freshly laundered and dried on the line in the sunshine of a clear blue Texas fall day. I remember the white cotton Hobnail chenille bedspread, how I loved the pretty pattern that looked like enormous white roses, and the soft and nubby texture of the loops of yarn under my hands. After a bubble bath and brushing my teeth, I’d hop into her large bed and we’d snuggle up while she read Little Golden Books to me. She must have had 20 of them, but I only wanted her to read me the “kitty ones” (“The Color Kittens,” by Margaret Wise Brown, and “Three Little Kittens,” by Masha). The big kitty from “Tawny Scrawny Lion,” by Kathryn Jackson counted as well! So many of my first memories, and my best memories, were a gift from my loving, cheerful and delightful Grandmama. She passed away peacefully at the age of 95, having lived a long and fulfilling life. Although I was deeply saddened by her loss, and I still miss her, I only have to think of my very first autumn memory, and it cheers me right up.

There is much more to it – and I would listen with rapt attention while she dramatically performed the parts of the Wind and the Leaves. I vividly remember feeling so sad about how the little leaves had to say goodbye to the cricket, the brook and the lambs. But Grandmama brought the smile right back to my face by emphasizing how happy they were, dancing and whirling around, and that they were content. Ah, contentedness. And isn’t the word “content” just so perfect for autumn? I certainly believe so! It’s the season of coziness and comfort, abundance and bounty.

Dancing and flying The little leaves went; Winter had called them And they were contentSoon fast asleep In their earthy beds, The snow laid a soft mantle Over their heads. Thank you, Grandmama.

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Š Jitka Svetnickova - stock.adobe.com

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Solitary Communion By Stella Mazur Preda

Still waters — disturbed only by a single red canoe Lost in reverie he paddles with clockwork rhythm strokes as ingrained as his breath The canoe glides the morning mist — Howl of wolves resonates off massive granite cliffs rising from river’s edge Beavers play in shallow waters glimpses of a moose and calf tug at his heart Each paddle swing dispels the mist exposing sun-bejeweled river waters Soul empowered by communion

© Lidia Pachetti - stock.adobe.com

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Flavours of Autumn By Stella Mazur Preda

Phantom Harvest Moon lurks over the horizon. Breath of early frost wakes the morning. Sunflowers bow heads in reverence. Where cucumbers and beans had blanketed fields, pumpkins wink mischievously beneath the vines. Cornstalks, once heavily weighted, now replenish the sustaining earth. Fall winds tumble through branches – shower Mother Earth with jewels of red, orange and gold; invoke the deities to accept these gifts, and surrender to the Autumnal Equinox.

© simgeunsoo0—pixabay.com

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See that Gentle Light By Ken Allan Dronsfield

Hear my voice, just a whisper upon the breeze feel my tears softly landing upon your cheeks come, sit with me awhile, tell me about your day watch as leaves of the willow dance and wave. See that gentle light that comes to wake me Feel that warmth radiating through the trees hear a violin softly calling to a sorrowful finch tout the last song as life gently lifts to a high. Oak leaves float downstream like little sailboats as do memories drifting away now rest on a bank tell me of your days during your school classes, learn all you can as enlightenment is knowledge. Come son, recite to me a sonnet of the past look to my eyes as I sit here next to you now do not lament my passing anymore, think of me as I stood before you last June, tall and proud. Hear my voice, just a whisper upon the breeze rejoice in the word and reverence in our Lord, Sing songs to a faraway Angel upon a cloud, as my spirit rises, I follow the Swallow’s home.

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Honey Comb

By Elizabeth Spencer Spragins the fragrance of fall drifts on tides of tangled grass— a sea of thistles hums with honey song of bees that comb the waves of nectar ~Warrenton, Virginia

Š venars.original - stock.adobeom

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Following the Moon

By Elizabeth Spencer Spragins an unpainted sky pales to gradients of gray— the moon veils her face and glides on silver slippers into frosted highland hills ~Glen Coe, Scotland

Š shaiith - stock.adobe.com

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Starlight Music By Ingrid Bruck

Voices mix and blend hymns of light, love and healing. Friends in Harmony meet, we sing blues, folk and gospel. After the community sing, I leave refreshed, take a gift of music into the peace of a moonless night. Lyrics drive with me, parts we sang hum in my skin, tag along for a restful sleep at Still Point Center. A majestic white hawk left the sky at dusk, cirrus streams trail the sky in her wake, an arch of light swoops, illuminates the heavens over dark woods and fields. Accepting the Milk Way’s invitation, I linger outside on a bench. Night, warm and hushed, vibrates with earth songs. In a deep expanse of constellations, stars whisper, flicker, sing to each other, welcomes echo, melodies flash, partings quiver in notes and lullabies. All sounds and memories of life float in the universe. Light wraps and carries infinite concerts. Anyone who listens hard to swirls, sparks and specks might hear a distant hawk screech in flickering starlight.

© pom669— stock. Adobe.com

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By Gregg Dotoli dawn spawns smoky fog brackish herring deep sense tidal reverse beneath warm salt air

Š Pixelkunst - stock.adobe.com

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An Oil Painting for the One I Love By Harold Stearley

Sitting in the quiet, contemplating the nothingness that surrounds me. Imaging a different world, one with color, with fragrance, tasting, touching. An oil painting for the one I love. I see the greens, yellows, oranges, and reds of autumn. An old farm road, slightly overgrown, bending gently with the breeze, contouring an old barn, faded wood, peeling paint. The character of a grandfather with aged wisdom. A Great Horned Owl sings in the distance, a soulful melody that echoes across the nearby lake. It repeats at a slightly higher pitch. A pause, an answer – this one lower and softer. The synchrony begins as they call, urgency growing. Powerful yellow eyes take flight and the couple unites, the tone softens, is warm, in harmony, complete . . .

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Frozen time

By Cortni Merritt The clock batteries have died, it’s perpetually quarter of five, constant reminder of momentary state, always moving but never alive. Symbol on the wall in place, a black-white palette and round face, with slender arms almost perpendicular a silent, captured moment of grace

Š Pezibear - Pixabay.com

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The Sky, That Certain Blue By Sharon Lask Munson

Day’s end, dinner on hold, a chilled bottle of white, the sky, that certain blue— swirls of indigo, streaks of slate, the kind of hue that brings a wistfulness. Sounds carry through open windows, automatic sprinklers shower the lawn next door, a ten year old turns a corner skateboarding, the scrape and chafe of metal on cement, vies with strains of Chopin. Two Great Blue Herons fly over old oaks bound for the Delta Ponds, their own nesting mood not unlike ours, splashing earthbound, end of the day, feathering down together.

© Jack - stock.adobe.com

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Study at Dawn

By Sharon Lask Munson Figeac, France

The young rooster joins a mourning dove crooning a duet, their refrain entering through open windows. I sweep aside eyelet curtains, observe the old stone wall— the sun, an itinerate painter changing ancient rock from gray to mauve. The narrow lane lies draped in rows of white hydrangea— their flowering heads droop heavily, still drowsy with dew while in the distance the long road tapers, disappears to a vanishing point.

© Choat - stock.adobe.com

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Drawing Open Blinds By Sharon Lask Munson

Early morning. The sun begins its rounds, painting the room a warm shade of maroon. The metal chain of the neighbor’s beagle scrapes across their cement patio. Floorboard heaters begin to rumble. Sliding into slippers, I tread downstairs. The newspaper waits by the front door, rubber banded. I microwave a serving of oatmeal, sprinkle nuts, cranberries. Before eating, I make a sweep through the house; draw open blinds. Two cyclists make a sharp turn around the cul-de-sac. Quarrel of sparrows peck at my feeder. The grass looks a darker green, the pavement slightly wet. I move to the table, gather pink tulip petals from the tablecloth, blow away scatterings of pollen. Š Pavel Jonas - stock.adobe.com

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The Autumn Hues of India By Sreekanth Kopuri

The heat of Indian summer put down to the earth’s magic spell on the stretching bed of the autumn foliage, under the ripeness of the old mango tree of my home where the mynas do not complain against the gathering crows and the turmeric -yellow Asian hornets, for it is time to learn from the ripeness of the fallen leaves where the golden oriole hops on the russet stretches of evening for ripeness is all, searching the meanings of winter’s bleakness with the camouflaged wheatish mantis joining hands, becoming the atoms of the unfading life’s heaped orange windfalls on the honey bee-swarming pushcarts along the red-soiled beauty of the Machilipatnam streets, signing India.

© Suvadip - stock.adobe.com

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Meet the Contributors Monique Berry (p3) is the founding editor of Halcyon Days, Perspectives, and Founder’s Favourites. She is beginning an online writers critique group called “First Impressions.” Monique has poems and stories in several publications including Quills. She is working on her first novel. Anne Alexander (p4) is a Houston-based writer currently working on a collection of essays, anecdotes and observations. She holds a BA in Psychology from Texas A&M University. Previously, she was a travel writer and managing editor of a small-town newspaper. You can find her at yellowspiralnotebook.com and on Twitter: @AnneFAlexander Stella Mazur Preda (p6, 7) is a resident of Waterdown, Ontario, Canada. Having retired from elementary teaching in Toronto, she is owner and publisher of Serengeti Press, a small press publishing company located in the Hamilton area, now temporarily on hiatus. Stella Mazur Preda has been published in numerous Canadian anthologies and some US, most notably the purchase of her poem My Mother’s Kitchen by Penguin Books, New York. Stella is a current member of Tower Poetry Society in Hamilton, Ontario and The Ontario Poetry Society. She is currently working on her third book, Tapestry, based on the life of her aunt and written completely in poetic form.

Ken Allan Dronsfield (p8) is a disabled veteran, prize winning poet and fabulist from New Hampshire, and now resides on the plains of Oklahoma. He is widely published in magazines, journals, reviews and anthologies throughout the US and abroad. He has three poetry collections, "The Cellaring", 80 poems of light horror, paranormal, weird and wonderful work. His second book, "A Taint of Pity", contains 52 Life Poems Written with a Cracked Inflection. Ken's third poetry collection, "Zephyr's Whisper", 64 Poems and Parables of a Seasonal Pretense, and includes his poem, "With Charcoal Black, Version III", selected as the First Prize Winner in Realistic Poetry International's recent Nature Poem Contest. Ken loves writing, hiking, thunderstorms, and spending time with his cats Willa and Yumpy. Elizabeth Spencer Spragins (p9, 10) is a poet, writer, and editor who taught in North Carolina community colleges for more than a decade before returning to her home state of Virginia. Her tanka and bardic verse in the Celtic style have been published in England, Scotland, Canada, Indonesia, Mauritius, and the United States. Recent work has appeared in the Lyric, Page & Spine, Blueline, flash & cinder, and Rockvale Review. Publication updates are available on her website: www.authorsden.com/elizabethspragins. Ingrid Bruck (p11) writes nature inspired poetry, makes jam and grows wildflowers. She’s a retired library director living in the Pennsylvania Amish country that inhabits her writing. Recent works appear in Unbroken, Halcyon Days, Nature Writing, Entropy, Leaves of Ink, Poetry Breakfast and The Song Is. Poetry website: ingridbruck.com Gregg Dotoli (p12) has studied English at Seton Hall University and Computer Programming at NYU. He is a White Hat Hacker and works keeping organizations safe. His first love is the Arts and he enjoys the rich culture of NYC. Gregg has been published in many international periodicals, zines and anthologies. Harold Stearley (p13) still hasn’t figured out what he wants to be when he grows up, but he plans on not growing up too much. He’s had two careers – first as a critical care nurse and then as an attorney. Always a wordsmith, he freelances and teaches when he is not out seeking counsel in the wilderness. He finds hiking to be moving meditation and seeks meaning in natural language, signs, and dreams not in the doctrine embodied with societal domestication. Cortni Merritt (p14) is a mother and marketing copywriter living in central Florida. As the daughter of a Marine, she grew up living in Hawaii, Florida, Texas, and South Carolina, before graduating high school in Colorado and earning a Bachelor's of Science in psychology from Colorado State University. Cortni earned an additional Bachelor's degree in English literature at the University of Central Florida, where she met the father of her son. She completed her education at Florida State University with an M.A. in English literature, and now balances her life between full-time writing and being a mom. In addition to reading and writing, Cortni enjoys belly dance, photography, and trivia night at the bar. https://instagram.com/shylarose85 Sharon Lask Munson (p15-17) was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. She taught school in England, Germany, Okinawa, and Puerto Rico before driving to Anchorage, Alaska and staying for the next twenty years. She is a retired teacher, poet, coffee addict, old movie enthusiast, lover of road trips—with many published poems, two chapbooks, and one full-length book of poetry. She now lives and writes in Eugene, Oregon. She says many things motivate her to write: a mood, a memory, the smell of cooking, burning leaves, a windy day, rain, fog, something observed or overheard—and of course, imagination. She has a pin that says, “I Make Things Up.” You can find her at www.sharonlaskmunson.com Sreekanth Kopuri (p18), PhD, is born in Machilipatnam, India. He taught English Literature & Language at Dravidian University, Bapatla Engineering College and Sri Vasavi Institute of Engineering & Technology India. He has two poetry anthologies The Shadows & The Void to his credit. His poems have been published or accepted in Ann Arbor Review, Scryptic Magazine, Five 2 One, Vayavya, Oddball Magazine, Ariel Chart, Forty Eight Review, Poetcrit, Indian Periodical, Deccan Chronicle and in anthologies A Flood of Contentment and Dementia Anthology and elsewhere. He is the recipient of J.K. International Award for his poetry in 2015 from India. He has recited his poetry and presented research papers in Oxford, Banja Luka, Caen, Gdanski, Dusseldorf and Wilkes Universities. He is presently an Assistant professor of English in Sri Vasavi Institute of Engineering & Technology, Machilipatnam where he lives with his mother, dividing his time between writing and teaching. Halcyon Days - 2018 Issue 11

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