April was National Poetry Month, and for 2009 the Osterhout celebrated with a series of poetry readings.



(Click on name to jump to that poet’s work)


George Below






Justin Jones




ROBYn sterling kochan


Glenda Joy Race








Crushing prime young talent

valiant though forth rushing

Unequaled to assailing mob

mobility languorously careening unevenly

Exemplar of antiquity-Pericles-after all

after the fall-golden age-golden locks-all examples

Varnished golden age put to spear

Speares skimpy allotment MTV varnished

Woozy-waddle-wriggle-wiggle wobble

blighted by the glitz writhing anguish

Talent doltish strumpeting in baneful sight

shortsighted gull duped by capricious bent

Titillating humiliating lassitude asunder

blunder thunder through cultural addling

Tactless reasoning-alarm provoking of perverted gain

gainsay necessitating evolution to benevolent tact

Entertainment to enjoyment sake ebullient

ambient gracious essence triumphant…

Beethoven’s Fifth resonates-BOOMING

Mephistopheles flees-we rejoicing

Understanding and peace sovereign


By George Below


Othello’s Blemish


A Rose on hand sublime comfort assured

When pluck’d, the Promethean flame extinguished

The vital unity forever untied unsecured

Once in high esteem, now humiliated undistinguished


The hands once in high regard

The hands her honor to forfend

The hands stifle truth to discard

Stumbling hands fail virtue to defend


A vile malignance the cause

That smothered love’s embrace with a Judas kiss

Oh gullible dolt, you show no pause

But march to depart into the screwed abyss


By George Below




The cause

That binds hope

Faith now in need

The sorrows come in full

Because vile times are at hand

For greed abounds to money woes

When the banks do_lie with the govt.

Then the time is to worry for freedom’s sake

More jobs’ and 401-K’s shrink to loss

A sign is AIG with influx and bonus

Anguish and anxiety on the rise

A revolt to the politic

The only fit way

Too vigil




Cheerful in life as a genial rejoicing soul

Peace be still the soul to revivification

Affection of the heart thrives heated

Cupid’s arrow pierces passions

Feel_loves ardent flushing

Yearning ardor endows

Permeating fervor


Penetrating sight

Too benevolent riddles

Signals_loves flame afire

The heart beats heated aflame

Simmering to a boil loves embrace

From affliction to loves astringent kiss

Gleeful to love and too be loved glowing


By George Below




From onset knocking at deaths door

Machinations of the mind contort

Clouded vision prevails unfettered

Van Gogh intrigues yellow and blue

starry starry night; starry starry night


Beethoven thunders across the heavens

Da Da Da Daaa…Da Da Da Daaa…

All is Relative…All is Relative…

Blood coursing at the speed of light

The dreadful adventure hastens---


Pessimist Optimist both

stabs at freedom sweet and sour

stress, strife, and struggle are the storms to survive

Each ecstatic moment explodes

Choice: surrender or surmount


Consent to the sinking abyssal malaise

Course the fetored Stygian darkened shore

Mayhem, like rising waters envelop

Murmur the sound unbearable

Aloof sea of multitude turns deaf ear


A Mighty Fortress is our Salv_

Cast aside serfdoms chains assured

Confidently tread in the Waters of Life

Resolutely touch the Face Divine Triumphant

Kiss_Kiss_Kiss_the Fervid BREATH EBULLIENT


By George Below


Mouse’s Ear


Aroused from a splendid slumber

Arise reveries reality beholden

Another year passed-now fifty-six

Awake the pending thrill & sorrow transfix


My soul all a flutter

To young to surrender

To old to aspire


Out the door with my Dream

And all in a titter

With scarcely a twitter

Scarcely a stir of air

The morn Sun uncovers

Oh true blue majesty

That rivals the still azure sky

Yellow heart inviting


Space and Time muted

Clothed in abysm

Oh still Universe of infinite jest

In an instant unity quenches

Oh so resplendent

Forget-me-not sublime

Unsullied heavenly flower

Transforms my unsteady gaze


Nub that consumes malaise

Cast into the eternal stars

Hear the Angels sing the Constant Hymn

The sound stability to my limbs

With steadiness in my voice

And surety to my soul

In this very moment

Love abiding I pray on a mouse’s ear


By George Below





Serpentine Soliloquy


Society's serpent suckles Sylvia's suicidal saturations

And purges them onto a poetry platter

These parallel lines do not flatter


Half a lifetime ago the she-poet was locked in the zoo

Placed there for people with nothing better to do

But watch the serpentine suckling get his fill

On fertile feminine fragrances still

Nourish the natural right

Suckle the sweetness

But do not bite


This is a time when all can dine

You can get yours and I can get mine

In all my female splendor

Call me liberated,

Don't call me a whore

I leak sex with the pen

Though it comes from my mind

Be amazed as you watch the serpent unwind.


By Rachael J. Goetzke


orange fruits are sweet


The moon mocks me


Its sinister smile


Echoes off the blood orange ocean that


Brands my toes


With the truth of




Will I whisper words of wisdom to my womb


while I brand the page with my somethingness


                                Because everyone wants to be something in the silence...



If the moon were an orange I'd eat it to stop the shouting of the stars.


By Rachael J. Goetzke


Writer's Anonymous


The amber-colored honey


Slays the tongue and shames the body


And oozes truth, a breaking dam of


Elixir that turns wallflowers into sunflowers and ghosts into heroes


I drink your words in deep like the drawing of the tides


                                Taking it in, taking it all


I exhale my ships of thought onto the rippling surge


Setting them free


To spill the sweet nectar on the salty shoreline


Get drunk forever on the honey of the mouth...


                                                                        ...then ask for a refill.


By Rachael J. Goetzke


Autumn Requiem


Silence deafened the day

The leaves danced to the ground--

Kamikaze pilots in a perishing pirouette

Dive and plie among the trees    The gentle breeze

Sang a song for you


My childhood friend slipped her hand in mine

The warm colored my hand with comfort

As the fading day drained the color from your once green eyes


The single rose shattered the silence as I set it on your cedar bed


And the benevolent moon strolled up on the scene to bid the fallen leaf goodnight.


By Rachael J. Goetzke



The Valley with a Heart

in Northeastern PA


Try to describe us; we're the people in the "Valley with a Heart."

The title suits us to a "tee."

In our community, Luzerne County, we share and play our part.


It all begins with neighbors who get along so well.

When you love your neighbor, like yourself, it's an easy story to tell.


We learned to care and help each other in the "Flood of '72";

With common agendas and pains, despite our status, it made our feelings

So brand new.


As time went by our pain grew less;

With help from neighboring states and prayers, we overcame the mess.


As we now look back and remember it all;

The love in sharing our common pain made us stand strong and tall.


Somehow, these feelings seem to last;

Even though our world is moving very fast.


I know the past we'll never forget;

And all the great friends through our disaster we met.


I know faith in God pulled us through;

When we were disheartened and very blue.


I wish the world could be like our valley;

Then we'd have peace and love and not a war in which to rally.


As we prayed for our valley, let us pray for our world;

Then into a war with no cause, we will not be hurled.

(Written 2/27/2003)


By Janet Hyatt


We Remember Our Heroes


Each Memorial Day we honor and salute the brave;

We can’t forget it was for us their lives they gave.


Their love for their country and freedom for all;

Makes us humble and thankful and on our knees fall.


With prayers of thanks, for the lives they gave;

Out of love and respect, we attend many a grave.


We’re proud to be Americans because of the late friends;

We proudly salute them and make our amends.


Oh, to be so brave, for your country to die;

It makes my heart breathe a sigh and I begin to cry.


I can’t help but compare this great love

To that of our God, high above.


God loved the world so much, that he gave his son’s life;

He did this for us, so we could have eternal life.


Just like we celebrate Memorial Day;

We celebrate Easter in the very same way.


It’s all about great love and the sacrifice for it;

I just love the concept, I simply adore it.


These honored dead have not died in vain;

We al enjoy peace and great lives, because of their pain.


By Janet Hyatt







The Romantic


It lives

Thorns nipping at my palm

I need not question what it is

Its velvety arms reach high above its head,

Twirling in the rays of high noon sunlight, inaudible, yet aloud

Whilst I twirl its neck between my fingers, I think of my one true love

Her crystal eyes, her crimson lips, her auburn hair gleaming in the sun

My heart leaps, my throat goes dry, my eyes narrow as I stare into the sky.

Its sweet aroma brings me back to Earth, tearing me from my trance

I raise it to my face and let it tickle at my nose

The fragrance is so familiar, from nights spent in bed

My sweet nothing curled up beside me, her perfume filling my senses

Leaving me in a binding spell, entranced yet full

Of life










Her name is Rose, this is a rose

I hold it in my hand, or it holds me instead

Visions of baby’s breath and a shoe full of rice rich within my mind.

Petals of the sweetest flower strewn across the aisle

Whispering silence fills the garden which I have made my own

The rose gives me reassurance as I look up at my bride

Rose, Rose, my love for a rose

Is what I say, handing the symbol of love to my love

And then come the words that are meant for my Rose

Simply I DO


By Justin Jones



Grandma's House


I'd left the door unlatched for Little Red

when suddenly it was something

about eyes, ears and teeth.


He didn't even chew, jaw unhinged,

hot breath beating on my neck,

leaning over me like an open oven.


His stomach is like a cave,

dank and dripping with the

substances that will devour me.


I think I left my glasses on the

night table. His heart beats above me

like a knock on the door --


it is a knock on the door!

I could feel him burp and

Adjust his pregnant belly.


Oh, Little Red, may you catch

in his throat. I try to rock and scream,

to pluck and play his ribs.


Little Red, clot stoppering his

bottomless hunger.

That will teach him.


By Amy Kaspriskie




Wisdom of the Native American Flute


The Native American flute

hauntingly calls me

to a past I have yet to know.


Yet all too well

I recognize

the abandonment

the loneliness

the betrayed trust…the tear-laden eyes and broken heart


But the oneness with God

and Nature

calling up so many spirits

are perhaps

the hope

that pleases me

and allows me

to continue listening.


It is lonely

but not alone.

It is sad

but not hopeless.

It is betrayed

but still reaching

from the marrow of my bones.


The haunting Native American flute

always beckons me

to reclaim who I was

find who I am

and stand proudly,

even if alone

but in my own light.


It proclaims that all of life is a season

withering and dim,

new and green,

alive or dieing

our times will come.


Its song is cyclical

of feast or famine

laughter and tears

harsh winters and parched summers.


The key is to move with the flow

of the river

the wind

the flute in the music

and witness the shades of grey.


Let this wisdom carry me away

from infancy to adult

to senior to passing.

Let it comfort and protect me

as I lapse from one season to another

one life to another.


The haunting flute

calls me

sustains me

while saying it is time to go.

Move on.

Let go.

Be free.


By Robyn Sterling Kochan


A Cry for Sleep


I look at my bed covers ---

a war zone

of raging hormones

desert heat

and nightmares.


Tossing and turning

like a turbulent washing machine

but I do not arise feeling sparkly clean

drenched instead with sticky sweat

and a frothy clouded head.


The sheet and blanket are tangled

jungle vines


as a tornado,

my mental state is in equal disarray.




When will it ever come at night?

When will I be able to sleep well again?

Like a baby ---

unaffected by its surrounds

secured by its mother’s rhythmic heartbeat

and deep breathing.



What a chore ---

doing it correctly.

And noticing its erroneous pattern

only unnerves me more.


My eyes are awake now…

my mind is nearly racing

and I haven’t even risen yet

to greet the new day ---

refreshed and welcoming.


How I long for deep, refreshing sleep.

How I want to regenerate my body

when I am suppose to.


For now, I must commit to the minute details

of taking sleep aids on time ---

my surrogate soft petals of comfort

to clear the heady air of smoke and fire

and close the curtain on all thoughts…

hoping to drift effortlessly to sleep

like a calm sea darkened by night.


Carry me to rest

as the waves lap the shore.

Carry me to rest

not the vivid land of dreams

that keep my nights so active.

Take me to a quiet place

a nondescript, calm place

where I can awake totally rested.


It is not much I ask

to be reborn each night.

It is not much more

than a cry for sleep.


By Robyn Sterling Kochan



Hurting on the Inside


I’m hurting on the inside

And I cannot explain why.

Something within me died

And it doesn’t feel any better when I cry.


I want to punish myself

For all the misery I caused.

I want to erase my inward pain

Prompted by my mistakes and flaws.


When can I look beyond myself

To see the love and grace that is offered to me?

When will I feel the touch of God himself

And pour out my grief for pity?


But it is not pity alone that I need

But rather faith, hope and love to succeed.


By Glenda Joy Race


Ruin to Recovery


In ruin I search for what was lost.

My mind wanders in desperation.

I am no longer trusted

And I trust no one:


Everything I do is watched

Everything I say is counted against me.
And everything I think

Is out of control.


No one can control my thoughts

And there’s no stethoscope for the brain.

I am afraid no one will understand

What I say, what I mean to say, when I cry.


I need care, help and hope:

Care from people willing to listen,

Help from those willing to take action

And hope from those who found it within themselves.


Will hope somehow recharge the energy

Between the synapses of my brain?

For there is a gap between the heart and the brain

Somewhere in my mind, and I’m looking to find


A helping hand that will guide what I do

And a listening ear that will hear

Whatever matters are closest to my heart

And calm those rampant tears.


For once the storms of fears are still

The candle of hope can be lit again

And from the ashes of ruin I will

Choose to make recovery my plan.


By Glenda Joy Race




You say I’m stubborn

But I say I persevere

Through trials and tears.

When I am tired

I’m called lazy and shiftless.

But I must confess

Things are not the same

Since this illness struck my mind.

I need someone kind

Who will understand

I’m not making excuses.

I wonder who says

That dreams are only

Products of overeating?

It’s love I’m seeking.

What makes it so wrong

To want to have what’s “normal”

And to have a goal?

I need to be loved

And appreciated more.

I desire to soar

Out of depression

That mocks my goals, hopes, and dreams.

Life’s not as it seems

But there is some hope:

Faith’s not an illusion

Nor a delusion.

In faith I will walk

The path of recovery

As hope sets me free.


By Glenda Joy Race


Truthful Thinking


Positive thoughts won’t change reality

Or make the bad things in life go away

But I believe the truth will set me free



Nothing in this world is perfect at all

Though it’s tempting to look for the ideal.

In this search I often stumble and fall,

And I know my scratches and bruises are real.


But so is the strength to begin again

As I stand and take in a breath of air.
I am hurt, but I am also human.

I will search for someone who will care.


A caring friend is one who’s true,

And the truth of love is nothing new.


By Glenda Joy Race


Freedom's Price

The Story of Amy Harding


Her family came for freedom and to farm

Along the Susquehanna River Valley

Not knowing her children would come to harm

By Indians bribed by the Tory.


Amy joyed in freedom's declaration

For she did not want the rule of a king

But only trust in God's provision

For food, shelter, and each simple blessing.


For close by was the Baptist meeting house

Where grace, truth and simple-child-like faith

Were taught and shared with all who met there

Including her children, for whom she cared.


But freedom had a price that was greater

Than she would suspect that July morning

As Benjamin, Stukley and Junior

Left the fort for farming and hunting.


When Junior returned there was fear in his eyes

Enemies shot and killed his brothers

Pain, sorrow and grief were voiced in her cries:

The deep despair of a loving mother.


Their bodies were guarded by two Indians.

Who knew if they wanted more victims?

The Indians were killed just in case.

So the boys' bodies would be buried in a decent place.


As Amy prepared the bodies for burial

She may have wondered what freedom was worth

Till she let Heaven give peace to her soul

And the strength she needed to go forth.


By Glenda Joy Race (Granddaughter of Maggie Harding Smith)



As I Learn


As I learn obedience,

            I will earn respect.

As I learn truth,

            I will earn wisdom.

As I learn love,

            I will earn appreciation.

As I learn faith,

            I will earn hope.

As I learn forgiveness,

            I will earn friendship.

As I learn contentment,

            I will earn satisfaction.

As I learn to work,

            I will earn the words “well done.”

As I learn humility,

            I will earn acceptance.

As I learn pure thinking,

            I will earn peace of mind.

As I learn to give,

            I will receive a gift.

As I learn compassion,

I will receive mercy.

If I learn everything there is to know, I will earn nothing.

But if I learn one thing to help someone grow, I will be a blessing.


By Glenda Joy Race




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