Roses are red, Always be grateful, National Poetry month happens in April

Roses are red, Always be grateful, National Poetry month happens in April
Carolyn Cantrell Snowden
Carolyn Cantrell Snowden

When I think about big moments in my life, there are of course the predictable ones:  graduations, my wedding day and the births of our two daughters. But, one of the biggest moments actually occurred in the Spring of 1987. I was just a typical 11- year-old in Martha Milton’s fifth grade classroom at Riverside Presbyterian Day School. A poetry unit was introduced to us that would set a course for my life that I could never have imagined. Not only were we challenged to pick out and memorize a poem individually to present to the class, but both the fifth and sixth grades combined created original works to be published together as a keepsake. A flame was ignited inside me and I have written poetry ever since. I now have a personal poetry collection that spans my days growing up here in Jacksonville to my college days at the University of Alabama and all the way to the present, my mid-forties.

Poetry's Alive

Below are several Poems submitted by local readers in our neighborhoods in celebration of National Poetry Month, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

I could not be more excited to now have the opportunity to work with The Resident, engage with other local poets and share a few poems to celebrate April’s National Poetry Month!  If you are a local poet who has interest in submitting your poetry, you can do so by sending an email to my attention at [email protected].

By Carolyn Cantrell Snowden
Resident Community News


Morning is dawning
Wind stirring in my garden
Birds singing loudly


Soft rain, now welcome
Dry earth drinks it thirstily
Hope for growth at last

By: Linda Ross

Forever and Ever,

“I remember my mother’s prayers,
and they have always followed me.
They have clung to me all my life.”

– Abraham Lincoln

My Dearest Son, As with Abraham of old,
when mother’s prayers he did behold,
Could it be, with every breath
her prayers did guide him so that death,
when it did sting,
was left behind, a mortal thing?
As Abe did with his life, should we
let God our guide and comfort be?
Else all is naught…
and life is fraught
with insufficient answers.

For God, who made us each His child,
loves us with depth and height so wild
and joyful, too; and yet He gives a choice…
it’s yours… so take it, LIVE!
my son, in grace and love
and peace that comes as gentle dove,
to save and heal and hold and wrap
His arms around you… as in my lap
you, as a babe, did I.

My prayers for you will never die, my dearest,
for you see that I can say you are a Godly man,
as only God and Mother can (with certainty!)
and if, per chance, it’s help we need,
then let us see it as a seed
of hope and glory, sown in grace
till dark glass yields us face to face…
As I, then still, pray for you.

By: Cathleen Lee


On this quiet night,
I look at my bare feet stretched
out in front of me in the grass,
and I wonder beyond myself.

Through an opening in my mind,
I see past my yard
and my neighbor’s house.
I see across my town, until,
slipping silently beyond my country,
I cross the ocean that divides.

I come to a place where there is
a woman in a hut in Uganda.
She is looking at her bare feet stretched
out in front of her on her sleeping mat,
and she is wondering beyond herself.

Through an opening in her mind,
she sees outside her hut,
and past her neighbor’s hut.
She sees past the animals
fenced in for the night,
she sees across the desert,
beyond the land she knows,
until she crosses the world.

And she is imagining
that I might be here,
wondering about life,
like she is.

“Hello, there,” we say,
“How wonderful to meet you.”

By: Janis Kinley


This heart is burning,
Hottest red and sunray orange.
The heat of memory, long forgotten dreams.
I thought they were ashes, but silly me.

I’m so worthy, yeah.
So deserving of this inferno.
Passion licks my skin, burning hot tendrils dancing.
You’re the center of this blaze.
Destroyer of walls built to withstand.
They crumble at your feet, tiny pebbles mean nothing.

With you here it’s brand new days.
Cradle this ember, this heart of mine.
Breathe life, stoke this fire.
Let this love rival the sun.

By: Keiralynn Packard

Mowing the Lawn in Jacksonville, Florida

In the shower, flecks of grass stick, 
reluctantly wash down your body 
into the drain they will later clog.  
Day made blessed by two showers  
because you mowed the lawn, weeded, 
smelled dirt, near-copper scent of red bricks.  
Whispers of gray roots you pulled from 
the black sand of dirt. Two or three tugs  
awakened the lawnmower to churn St. Augustine grass.  
Two or three tugs with bent knees, weeks spent 
handling tree arms in miniscule. These root systems, 
small and dusty and gray are precious 
even as they rise from earth,  
drawn between your fingers.  

By: Olson

Hanging on

Political chess games,
A national divide.
Plummeting deeper in debt,
While our borders are tried.
Frustrated parents,
Our children, behind.
Depression cases still climbing
WIth pandemic combined.

How do we stay optimistic,
That these nightmares are gone
One day as we struggle,
To keep hanging on?

By: c.c. Snowden

begin here

Little children know
animals know
sick people know
handicapped people know
poor people know
suffering people know

if you’re fake or not.

If you want to learn
who you are,
look deeply
into the mirror
of their eyes
and see.

You’ll know.

By: Janis Kinley

In the National Library in Cairo

a fifteenth-century folio, ink
and color on paper—mint green, sandy
red, sky blue. The Seduction of Yusuf.
He arrives at her door, she leads him in.
Pulls him through seven more, locking each
behind. There seems no release. She looks him
in the eyes, tar pools lit by fire. Slides
the gown down her arms. Her skin promises
radical relief. A rushing sound—wind
stirs the desert—and he turns. He flees, and
every bolted door springs free.
We lean in, to see the lines more clearly.
There’s no sound, but the echo of our checking.
The dunes reach long into the night.

By: Liz Robbins

The Last Poem

The final pairs of animals herded up the plank as the rain begins: there is no need for repetition. Only the sound of water filling the Earth, the animals quieted for a time by silence and gentle rocking. When I was young, I had no voice, I filled my mouth with the sounds of others. When I aged, I spoke, I had to, I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t know I existed unless others listened. Now I am old, and what I hear grows dimmer in the early sun, and I quiet my thoughts for the treble of the mourning dove. This is the last poem, written from her faraway call. Now the pairs raise their voices and I celebrate them, my body already transforming into water and earth. The most beautiful notes of all! Water and earth.

By: Liz Robbins

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