Guest Poets C.Lawry Brown and Paula Grenside

(Editor's Note: This is a collaborative effort by returning guest poets C.Lawry Brown and Paula Grenside. Questions by each author are listed below. Individual works by each author follow this collaboration.)

Nocturne in Blue and Yellow

As she walks home on the silent Maine street
yellow lamps flash
like sunflowers burning in emptiness
filled with clouds of breath and 
blue shades of moonlit oceans -
She feels
behind her back
a star's blade drill between ribs
probe her flesh,reach chest,
lay in the warm flow 
of her blood -
She stops, hears lines of poems
unfold in space whispers -
Inexplicable friendly presence 
in sudden blue and yellow
embrace -

Far away, where doves lacework
the Medieval Home of Doges,
another wakes
as sunlight spreads its yellow rays
like buttercups dancing.
The salt spray of the ocean lingers and 
she feels on her face
the brush of a warm hand - 
Her blood stirs,
whispers of friendship echo.
She stops as melodies of rhyme
ring in her ears -
She is wrapped in a yellow and blue
embrace -

Poems have hands, faces, voices.
They hand around Saint Mark's Square,
float on the lagoon, cuddle in a gondola,
till a distant call makes them roll along
a bird's wings to cross the ocean
in a flight from gold to blue -

Poems have hearts, souls, lives.
They pass by lighthouse beacons,
float in lobster boats, snuggle on sleds
whooshing down a snow covered hill,
until a distant voice makes them stop,
colors blend in friendship and they

February, 1999

Authors' Questions:

This poem is a collaboration between myself and Paula.  We live in two different worlds, Maine and Italy, yet poetry has brought us together across the ocean. 

We want to know if the message we are sending is clear at the end of the second stanza.  Are the last two smaller stanzas redundant?  If not, do they tie the two places together successfully with little bits of description about each area? 

We try to show here that poetry can bridge all distances and boundaries and the richness of description can make that possible. 

Please send us your suggestions.  We want to know if this collaboration worked and if we should do more. 

Thank you.

Lawry & Paula

Correspond with C.Lawry Brown at
with your ideas about this poem.

Correspond with Paula Grenside at
with your ideas about this poem.

Guest Poet C.Lawry Brown


The white sails of summer
Were pulled down the bay,
As they tried to capture youth.
It eluded all by the boy
At the rudder.
The salt spray stung 
The innocent cheeks of reality
And the boat swept from land.
Racing faster out to sea
Clouds gathered.
The angry wind of fate
Tossed the timeless vessel,
Sending it perilously to shore
To meet its destined trial,
On the rocks.

February, 1999

C.Lawry Brown's Questions:

Is my message clear enough? Is the innocence of youth that is stung by reality and hauled into things beyond his control spelled out?  By showing the sails as white I try to show the purity of this one.  I also try to slant rhyme by using the second and fourth lines.  Are bay and boy too far apart to be considered rhyme as well as reality, sea and vessel,trial?

Correspond with C.Lawry Brown at
with your ideas about this poem.

Guest Poet Paula Grenside

The Books I Read

My father was a gust of wind
he swept the magic dust of love
into my eyes still blinking
at the light of life.
I did not know he would disappear
after he drew my shape onto
the page of my mother's womb
after he wrote my first paragraphs.

I tried to read the book of death
but all the pages were stuck with dark.

My eyes not yet adapted to the alphabet
soon learnt to read the books at home
my mother's pages...filled with lies
and precious doodles by a man with craft.
He wrote some chapters on me too
his firm hands left ink in dark spots
that shame and anger will hardly erase.

I try at times to read the book of death
but all the pages are stuck with dark.

February, 1999

Paula Grenside's Questions:

The poem aims at showing how children often come to life and, still so very young, have to learn how to read life. A hard book that makes them yearn for a different reading.

Is the message clear enough?

Correspond with Paula Grenside at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop