Lady Poet


for Elizabeth

The first things I noticed
were her shoes.
There, on a patio
overlooking the June tide,
one foot in a corner square
of an impromptu tic tac toe
in slate and lime green moss.
Her laugh, sweet and infectious,
marked exes and ohs in the shade.
Of course she was a poet,
it was written all over her.

WORDS ©2015, Jen Payne
IMAGE, The Patio, Nerja by Stanley Pinker

The Promise of Costco


Oh good, I just read
we’ll have a new store!
I was worried a moment:
where would I buy more?

More trinkets and whatnots,
more must-haves and then,
not one or two thingies
but eight, nine…no TEN!

Ten more things to purchase,
ten more for display,
ten more for the storage
I rented today.

©2015, Jen Payne

This I Will Savor


Malign these days as you will, but I know how fondly I will think on them when the thermometer turns upside down.

When we are 64 days into summer instead of winter, in those dogs days not fit for man or beast…I will think about yesterday.


Yesterday at 8 a.m. as the snow fell through the quiet treetops, and the only sounds in the woods were two sets of footsteps and an occasional chickadee marking time.

Yesterday, as we followed deer tracks through the filigree of white lace branches…

…and back along the main trail in such delicate disguise.

Yesterday, when the pale gray sky offered little contrast, the woods no color, save for the loyal grasp of beech leaves.


But in evidence everywhere, god’s architecture, her sacred comings and goings laid bare.

So, soon the verdant skyline, I know…but I will savor this vista every moment until then, with no apology or second thought.

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Photos ©2015, Jen Payne

Reading McKuen at Dawn


I am reading love poems this morning,
the smell of your sleep still in my hair,
our last kiss lingering on lips
as I sip coffee and slowly turn pages
of someone else’s memory.

There on black and yellowed white pages,
the poet catches moments not unlike
the ones you and I shared at 2 a.m.
as we curled into each other,
blurring lines of you and me……..and time.

I remember reading these poems
when love was paramount,
this poet’s words my ideal,
set on a shelf with adolescent understanding
of supposed-to-be and meant-to-be.

How funny to turn these pages again,
beyond any year I could image then,
find companion with the poet……..and the promise,
so certain I will turn a page and find you there
reading lines, my expressions of surprise.


Rod McKuen was an American singer-songwriter, musician and poet. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks and classical music. He earned two Academy Award nominations and one Pulitzer nomination for his music compositions. His poetry dealt with themes of love, the natural world and spirituality. McKuen sold over 100 million records and 60 million books worldwide, according to the Associated Press. He died on January 29, 2015 at the age of 81. (Wikipedia)

WORDS ©2014, Jen Payne
IMAGE: Woman Reading in a Cashmere Shawl, John Singer Sargent.