Our Readers Write

ince this column first made its appearance in The Almanack decades ago, our readers have never let us down and have always provided us with a wealth of original poetry, along with some pretty good jokes, personal anecdotes, and quotes of inspiration. We continue to encourage everyone to consider submitting and we stand by our commitment to publish each and every one of them!

No doubt, our most prolific contributor is Ruby Braithwaite from Hagerstown, Maryland.  She always sends us the most beautiful poetry, often reflecting fond memories of seasons past in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Here is a great example of her work:


When the purple lilac blooms by my cabin,

And the perfume of honeysuckle filled the air,

God has then touched the earth with His glory,

its beauty is seen everywhere.

The trailing arbutus by a fast rushing stream,

The white May apple so graceful and tall.

pink larkspur, purple violets, and shy yellow buttercups,

Little Dutchman breeches, the prize of them all. 

Under the flowering branch of the spicewood,  

As children through the fiddler-head ferns we would run,

Our toes printing in the mud by the mill stream,

Laughing in the joy of childhood fun.

These scenes live now only in memory,

The streaked pages of time has now turned,

My life as a child in the Blue Ridge Mountain 

Now in old age, I so often yean. 

Ruby's sister, Gwendolyn Ridenour from Sabillasville, Maryland sent us this plea for all of us to be more compassionate, more appreciative, and less wasteful in our live:


In heaven, God waits patiently

For the people of the world

To end their wickedness and strife

And lead a much better life

To help the poor and needy people

Who need food and clothing each day

Some too ill to get a job

And then no money to pay.

They go from home to home

Borrowing what they really need

Knowing they have no way to repay

At the close of each and every day

Others have food they throw away

What a terrible waste

When the hungry and sick cold use the food

They then do without with Grace.

First developed by the Japanese in the thirteenth-century, the traditional haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written with a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often centering on images from nature or a season, the haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression. No one has mastered Haiku better than our long-time contributor, Jane Lippy, from Hampstead, Maryland.  Along with many poems of a more common, open form, she has focused on this very structured form and calls it her own! Here are some terrific examples of her work that reflect on the 2017 hurricane wrath and a sign of hope:  


Merciless Harvey

Like the Biblical epic

Deluged man and beast


Copycat Irma

Lashed and thrashed o’re land and sea

Not to be outdone


Well, here comes Jose

With Maria to follow

Total destruction