ashland.news
July 14, 2024

Poetry Corner: Reflections and remembrances

Image by alberto15886 from Pixabay
July 9, 2024

Poems about those who made a difference

By Barry Vitcov

Sights, sounds and people evoking memories connect these two poems.

Dan Kaufman honors recently retired local radio personality Don Matthews. After 25 years as the host of First Concert for Jefferson Public Radio, Don retired at the end of June 2024. The range of musical offerings Don played continues to be heard in Dan’s poetic imagination.

Karen Loeper’s poem begins with a bucolic image that brings to mind her parents and the childhood innocence of a time a half century ago. She describes the beauty of the Rogue Valley and the nostalgia from her childhood’s “feeling the expanse of freedom.

A Classic

By Dan Kaufman

Weekday mornings when radio news
rocked me, gave me the blues,
Don Matthews elevated my ears
with his selections of classical music
on JPR. Who else so smoothly
segued from Grieg to Gershwin,
Bach to Bruch, Vivaldi to Villa-Lobos?

And not just dead white guys.
Don played composers and performers
reflecting the genre’s current
and inclusive evolution. He programmed
the familiar with the fresh.

Don retired this summer
after a quarter century on air.
I’ll miss his modulated mastery,
commitment to community,
the tenor of his musical soothe.
Roll over, Beethoven
and tell Tchaikovsky the news.

Dan Kaufman has lived near Jacksonville since 2013. His poetry has appeared in Jefferson Journal, Sudden Meteors, Verseweavers, Windfall, Sky Island Journal, Pan/de/mik, Fireweed, Poeming Pigeon, and been recognized by the Oregon Poetry Association and the Southern Oregon Poetry Prize. He’s been a featured poet at the annual William Stafford Celebration at Southern Oregon University. Dan facilitates a monthly poetry open-mic at the Talent, Oregon, library.

Now and Then

By Karen Loeper

Smoke curls upward,
Making little clouds.
A fine haze wraps the valley.
Volcanoes,
long dormant push their peaks far above the mist.
Fog mixed with burn.
Wood and fallen leaves,
smell of pine and apple wood,
reminding me of burn barrels,
and landing in leaf piles.

Memories of a world
half a century removed now.
My mother was a beauty queen,
my father a WWII marine.
I was a child that split the seams.
Ran through the woods,
built forts in trees,
rode motorcycles across squash fields.
Feeling the expanse of freedom,
long ago lazy days,
looking up at blue skies,
and passing clouds.

Karen Ann Loeper is a poet who has been writing since she was in high school. She has recently had her work published on the internet by Indie Blue Publishing and performed live in Ashland at Gypsy Road Studio. She lives part time in Ashland, Oregon, and part time in Redding, California. At other times, she can be found traveling in Australia and back and forth across the country. She writes and photographs her observations from the road.

Poetry Submissions Welcomed!

You are invited to submit original work to the Poetry Corner. There are only two restrictions: First, poems need to show a connection to Ashland and/or Southern Oregon. Your interpretation of that connection is fairly loose! Second, poems need to be aligned to the left margin. The publishing platform used by the Ashland.news has issues with the creative use of space! There are no length restrictions but try to keep your poems to no more than 30 lines. Be sure to include the title of your poem, your name as you would like it to appear, the city or town in which you reside, and, if you wish, your preferred pronouns.

To submit poems, send to Barry Vitcov at haikubjv@google.com.

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Barry

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