December 10, 2017

Four poems by Janice Canerdy: "Old? Are You Talkin' to Me?," If," Two Roses: a Tanka," and "Fall Haiku"

Janice Canerdy is a retired high-school English teacher from Potts Camp, Mississippi. She's been writing poems for decades. She writes: "I especially enjoy rhymed-metered poetry and get a kick out of writing parodies of the classic poems I taught." Her poems and stories have appeared in several magazines and journals, including "Light Quarterly," "The Road Not Taken," and "Better Than Starbucks." Her work has also appeared in anthologies. Her first book, "Expressions of Faith" (Christian Faith Publishing), was published in December 2016.


Old? Are You Talkin’ to Me?

I’m tempted to backhand the ones who call
us sixty-somethings old or elderly.
How dare they use such terms describing me?
I’m sure they mean no harm, but they have gall!

It’s fine to be solicitous and hold
the door—to be polite, but not for fear
that I’m about to croak, that Death lurks near
to claim another oldster for his fold.

Now, whippersnappers, I was once like you,
misusing terms of age, as did my peers.
Our ignorance caused us to be unkind!

OLD people are the ninety-somethings who
have been on Medicare for thirty years.
You would do well to keep that fact in mind!


If I could be there
at home tonight, I'd spend quality time with
my twins. I'd braid Jenny's hair and play games--
his choice--with Jimmy. I'd rub my husband
Bobby's tired feet, gaze into his wonderful eyes,
and say, "How'd things go at work today?"
Then I'd listen--really listen.

Dinner--a feast of their favorites--would be
a joyous, chatty experience. Then I would gratefully
do housework, help with homework, play with our
cat Snuggle, and take a warm bath.

If I could be there,
I would look forward to dropping the kids off at
school tomorrow and another day of same ole-
same ole at work. How glorious that would be!

If I could be there,
my loved ones wouldn't have to come here to see me
in this hospital bed, temporarily (my doctors say)
unable to talk, walk, or even write notes to them.

If I am ever well again,
I will be better than my old self, glowing
with an enhanced love and appreciation for--

(Published in the Mississippi Poetry Society’s 2015 contest anthology)

Two Roses: a Tanka

A painting depicts
a vase holding two roses:
one wilted; one fresh.

If there were never bad times,
would the good times be as sweet?

Fall Haiku

cool breezy fall day
gold leaves and memories swirl
deep in the forest

(Previously published in Halcyon Online Magazine in 2014.)

Janice Canerdy

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