It curves; it expands; it shrinks. Einstein said it is relative.

What does that mean?

As I looked at time as a little girl, I thought it stretched. Christmas took “forever” to arrive. And Christmas Eve seemed to last twice as long as it should before Santa arrived.

I reached school. Now time seemed pretty elastic. A school day sometimes seemed to be 24 hours long. But summer vacation just galloped past, not giving me time to enjoy it all.

Then I grew up. Exams could last forever. Meetings with bosses had minutes that crawled. Holidays flew past.

But I dreamed then. The speed of light was constant and nothing could go any faster. But I thought, “What would it be like if I traveled at nearly the speed of light.” I could get to the sun in what – maybe eight minutes. Or I go could back millions of light years to the ‘Big Bang’ when the universe was created.

Those were mind tricks. As I grew older, it seemed time passed faster.  It took no time from one Christmas or birthday to another.  Deadlines – a necessity in journalism – seemed to roll around faster as the years went by.

But I think, “How did I reach my 60s. Surely that many years has not passed?” And I look at my mother. She’s seen the arrival of cars, airplanes, rockets, the space shuttle. She was around for men arriving on the moon and for the explosion of the computer and the Internet.

Does her time speed by faster than mine or faster than my nieces or faster than her great-grandchildren’s? Einstein said, “No.”  I’m not sure I agree.  I’ve spent about 34,394,560 minutes on this earth. And I’m sure the ones in the last fourth of that time have sped by faster than the ones when I was a child.

– Jenny Munro

Clock in downtown Greenville.
Clock in downtown Greenville.

mary grace

Grace Jackson at about age 3

She is just a little barefoot girl

Standing in the dirt.

But, oh, that cap and the flower she  clutches.

They show how much she’s loved.

This dark-haired child is growing on a tiny farm

Learning to work  the seasons through.

She helps her mother feed family and hands,

She sweeps the yard and slops the hogs and tries,

Not very successfully, to milk the cows.

Despite the farm life and the work

That little girl with the pretty dress and cap

And the mysterious gleam in her eyes

Grows up to love learning

And spends  her life teaching others to love it, too  –

Her own children and those of others.

– Jenny Munro

after reading annie dillard

by J.D.

Put no claim on the holy,

For we are as vulnerable as the field mice

Playing among the tall grasses

Hiding beneath the strawberry vines

For God roars in with the morning,

Spilling the new day’s pain over his shoulder

And all we can do

Is all we have ever done.

Open ourselves to the light

When it comes;

Let light enter us

Until we become the Flame

the Burning Bush

dance of the swallowtails

yellow swallowtail by Ron DeKett
yellow swallowtail by Ron DeKett

for Ron

August 26, 2012

 You stand on Lake Placid’s shore
viewfinder framing
clear water revealing
fish just hanging out,
four ducks sailing into what was nothing like
a South Carolina August afternoon
because the sun kisses gentle
while breeze lays ripples on wet
like your fingers ruffling my hair at night
when we’re falling asleep;
viewfinder framing
swallowtails—yellow wings flirting with currents,
they dance
to a sound I am sure
…Nan Lundeen


my mother’s hands

My mother’s hands show love. I see her hands and know who it is – even without looking up at her face.

Those hands are worn. They are lined with large blue veins. They’re wrinkled with the passage of time.

Her nails are short and ridged. A few brown age spots have shown up. (I consider them decoration that doesn’t have to be added.)

Her hands have soothed children. They picked my brother Chip up when he held his arms up to be carried. They held my hand as we walked down the street, me skipping to keep up. They’ve also spanked children.

They’ve stirred food and washed dishes. They may hold dishes more gingerly now, but they still hold them. They’ve washed and iron clothes. They’ve probably been wrung together as she worried about her children or others in the family.

They’ve done more. They’ve typed letters and term papers and research papers. Those hands have learned to use a computer. They’ve graded students’ papers.

And they’ve trembled as my mother sat by a casket or a hospital bed. They’ve also been active in prayers – either the gentle kind of folded-hands prayer or the active kind of taking food to a friend.

Now they are less busy. She worries that they are too idle. But she still uses her hands for others. The methods have changed; the love has not.

My mother’s hands are lived-in hands.

– Jenny Munro

my place

I sit in a glen, surrounded and enfolded by my mountains.

The peaks, wreathed in clouds, support me with their bulk and strength.

Their green forested shoulders remind me of the peace and tranquility

Of the mountains where I grew up.

The mysterious blue haze that covers them brings dreams to my heart.//

The massive mountain ranges – and the smaller, gentler foothills – of the world

Seem as if they will endure forever.

But they erode into a valley.

Their strength and bulk can not resist the ravages of wind and rain,

Rivers and ice, fire and man.//

Still, other mountains will rise in their place,

sheltering travelers and inhabitants from the fierce wind and sun.

Therefore, I will always be secure in the embrace of my mountains.

— Jenny Munro

shooting stars

by Adamy D. Diaz

To dreams come true!

At night we look up to the sky,
Wondering what we’ll see.
And when we see a star is falling,
We quickly make a wish.

Our mind and energy,
Our thoughts and feelings,
All conspiring to bring us joy,
Conjured up the very thing
That we have just wished for.

So in a night clear and calm,
With stars as diamond glass,
If you see a shooting star
Make a wish; know in your heart,
That what you have wished for,
Soon will come to pass!


Written: February 7, 2002
A version of this poem was first Published in “The Beauty of Darkness”
by The International Library of Poetry in 2003

handful of hoppy toad

By April Moseley

Unexpected movement.
A shift on the wind.
Curiously my vision fixes
and settles on and old friend.

How do you do?
It has been too long!
Where have you been?
Can you still sing your song?

Little brown toad,
A surprise in the dirt.
Tangible piece of childhood.
A reward for being alert.

Holding you for a moment,
Sensing your fear.
I put you down wistfully,
Knowing you will be near.

Shelved nostalgia of a carefree time.
Dust-covered volumes
Untouched for years:
A crime.

Smiling, unguarded
An inner peace that glowed.
And who would have guessed how it came about-
From a handful of hoppy toad!

building memories

We’re building memories as we go –

My mother and I.

We drive together. We talk a little

And laugh a little.

We remember days past

When I was a child and

She was young

We look forward to future trips –

Short ones and longer ones.

She’s proud that at 96 she can survive 1,500 miles in a car

A little thing like a short hospital stay

Doesn’t knock her out.

It can’t. You see –

We’re building memories.

— Jenny Munro

groundhog day in august

I am not a groundhog by Nan Lundeen
I am not a groundhog by Nan Lundeen
Brown fur, legs a blur
scurries through tall
grass, goes to ground—
a hole beneath
a storm drain slab.
Round ears
hug his head
like a teddy bear’s.
He didn’t ask for company
this cool August morning
he stares
cautiously wondering.
We are strange companions.
–Nan Lundeen

the sign says

by mary ellen lives

Musing in the Park by Ron DeKett
Musing in the Park by Ron DeKett
Playing in or around
The river
Is strongly
It is not forbidden
It is not illegal
You will not be punished
The sign is not my mother
Spreading guilt
Like overflowing water
Brown with silt
It is not my father
A boulder
Beneath the white water
The sign is calm
The sign is quiet
And only