Thursday, December 29, 2016

With Certain Inevitability

We know neither time nor place, only that it is inevitable…

… but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. 
                                                                                    — Ben Franklin

In “Tweets” and “Posts” the world responds
to Death’s uncertain rendezvous—
  just two of many that we knew…

As one day ebbs, another dawns
and real or feigned, we mourn each name—
   another faded star now gone.

“Celebrity” does not preclude…
    in ‘Tweets” and “Posts,” the world responds.

© Ginny Brannan 2016

Actress Carrie Fisher 10/21/1956 — 12/27/2016
and her mom: Actress Debbie Reynolds 4/01/1932 — 12/28/1932
The 'Force' was strong between mother and child.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Actively Passing

I wonder does subconscious hear a calling,
like songbirds’ urge to sing before the dawn;
sensing that there will be no denying
and no forestalling when one's time has come.

In recent days we’ve watched you shift, withdrawing—
your focus turning inward to your soul;
a bird with broken wings no longer soaring,
slipping while the decades take their toll.

There is no turning back, becoming “whole” again,
no splint to cure what age and illness wrought.
Words whispered soft, appeasing and consoling…
as you slide ever deeper into thought…

time stands still, the caged bird finds release,
  our consolation—hoping you’ve found peace.

© Ginny Brannan 2016

For L, whose light and love we will carry in our hearts.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Not Quite Faded

You carry the visible remnants
of pain endured,
fissures closed,
wounds still healing.
My blemishes mask hidden
tarnished through tears,
sullied in sleepless nights.
Scarred, broken—
two fractured halves
struggling to become whole again.

Don’t look too close,
    you may still see the cracks.

© Ginny Brannan 2016

Linking to d’Verse Poets Pub, where we are sharing our “Scars,” both seen and unseen.  This is a Quadrille, a new form for me, a poem of exactly 44 words.
Come on by and check out what others have shared!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Our "Thanksgiving" Family

We come together each November—and occasionally between— a group of transplants who have found themselves away from the families and places we were raised who have landed together in this small New England town. Some of us have known each other for decades, others not so long. Some have children close in age that go to school together, others are extended family. We are bound by similar values, work ethics, our love of family, and the friendship that we share.

We are college professors, career military, civil servants, healthcare workers, moms, dads, grandparents, children, grandchildren, and friends. We have come from places near and far: from Texas and Oklahoma, New York, and Vermont, a U.S. territory, and a country to our south.  We have crossed state lines, borders, and oceans to arrive here. We are an eclectic mix—Polish and Italian, Irish, Scots, and Scandinavian, Mexican and Puerto Rican, whose families settled here in this country for reasons as diverse as we are—to escape fascism and oppression, to educate and further themselves, to integrate and become a part of this great melting pot called the United Sates; where dreams are possible, differences welcomed, hard work rewarded, and there is freedom to grow and become whomever one believes they can be.

We all bring something different to the table, both literally: turkey with all the fixings, pernil, yellow rice and beans, tamales, Jamoncillo de Leche, pumpkin and apple pies and other deserts; and idealistically with different viewpoints and traditions. The diversity of our backgrounds may have shaped us, but it is our commonalities that bind us; and our mutual respect, fondness and love for each other that makes us family.

© Ginny Brannan 2016

La familia de Madera
La familia Pérez
La familia Natella
The Muse Family
Y todos los de mi familia el Día de Acción de Gracias
Con cariño y agradecimiento

(Think about it: we are all from "someplace else," we are all 'immigrants.' Even the indigenous people, the “Native Americans,” crossed by a land bridge that existed between Siberia and Alaska long before the first Europeans “discovered” this country.)

Monday, November 14, 2016

In The Same Basket

Deep inside the anger rises
Each one standing by their choice,
Perpetrating bad behavior
Letting violence have a voice.
Oh, where have all the sane folk gone?
Rebelling when we disagree…
All of us must work together,
Become the change we want to see.
Let the flames of love unite us;
Erase the hate to make us free.

©Ginny Brannan 2016

The image is Hate graffiti, discovered on Mt. Tom in nearby Holyoke, MA during the week of the presidential election of 2016.  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Elephant Graveyard

Over well worn pathways,
these weathered pachyderms have come,
unseen forces beckoning.
All seem to find their way here…
ivory long faded yellow,
gray turns white,
dermis folded, sagging.
They walk the walk of the ancients;
all who came before,
those who will come after.
Another rite of passage
among so many they have borne
It’s said they never “forget,”
but memory is subjective:
lost somewhere beyond
hidden plaques and tangles
their lives unravel—
and so they travel this road,
hoping for peace at journey’s end.

© Ginny Brannan 2016

*Plaques and tangles are part of the Alzheimer's puzzle.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Here I go . . . again

I read too much in the silences
the words unsaid between the lines
     Can’t you see the heart worn on this sleeve?
Hanging on this thread from your web of indecision
 while you ponder what to take and what to leave.
There was no “quid pro quo” offered,
— no ‘if; thens’ —
…and only I expected otherwise,
       over-thinking things again.

©   Ginny Brannan 2016 

Saturday, October 22, 2016


The rain-soaked leaves fall from the trees
to coat the asphalt avenues,
they cling to shingles on the roofs
and track inside stuck to our shoes.

They drop now as the raindrops do—
spinning, skipping in the squall;
muted vestiges of glory
upon the lawns and fields soon sprawl.

Each year the same old fate unfolds
by early frost and chill propelled,
this final blaze of reds and golds
as season bids her last farewell.

And as the colors dissipate
we feel that ever-growing pall;
the long cold winter lies in wait—
for now, we’ll revel in the Fall.

© Ginny Brannan 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Off the Wagon

Image: Tom Harty Trapper's Fishcamp and Grill, Oklahoma City

Like a sponge I soak up the rosés  and burgundies,
golden Chambourds, Bourbons and Grand Marniers
the yellow-green Chartreuses and emerald Absinthes
… a sot in need of one. more. shot.

Just a steward in this cabinet of riches,
for six decades imbibing, sampling the goods,
savoring each flavor; knowing that soon
each one sours to brown, 
spilling to ground until gone.

Shaking with chill of withdrawal,
my twelve-step program starts now
counted by months
until my next binge.

© Ginny Brannan 2016

Image: G.Brannan Laurel Lake in Lee, MA

Monday, October 17, 2016

Seashell (written at 16)

Google Images: Seashell in Mui Ne Vietnam

Little seashell in the sand
uncovered by the lapping wave,
with your home here in Vietnam
I know you have seen better days.

Days when the sun shown bright
not hidden by the dust of war,
and peaceful days without a fight
when people could enjoy this shore.

These days of war will last awhile
while unsuspecting people die,
a war so ugly and so vile
and we who watch still wonder why.

Tiny shell don’t give up hope
because a soldier died today,
someday perhaps we’ll learn to cope
and maybe peace will find it’s way.

© Ginny Brannan written in 1972

The future I envisioned: Children playing on the beach. Nha Trang Vietnam.

What the reality was in 1972, Google Images: Vietnam coastline, 1972

Just a little background on the climate of the era: In 1972 I was just starting my Junior year of High School. For at least a decade and a half, the Vietnam war had been spoon fed to us on the nightly news, excerpts edited for our consumption. By 1972 I was aware of some of the realities, but mostly what was going on here at home, all of the antiwar protests and the fact that people I actually knew were being drafted now. The songs of the era: Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Masters of War," Creedence's "Fortunate Son", Edwin Starr's "War" ('what is it good for? Absolutely nothin'), Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" all spoke to the disenchantment of this war that had lingered much too long.

In our Junior year, one of my English subjects was poetry, and one of the assignments was to write a poem. My somewhat sheltered small-town Vermont life left me blissfully ignorant of the realities of the war on the other side of the world.  My poem, above, speaks a lot to my own naiveté.  My teacher panned the poem, part of her notes had to do with me "personifying" an inanimate object (the seashell). I do have to wonder if the underlying factor had more to do with my sympathetic views of that war. Hindsight is always 20-20, you know…

Anyways, for better or worse, first "real"poem I can remember writing.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Autumn Opus

The harvest moon abates and fades away
another summer drawing to a close
as autumn slowly steals the longer day
we cede to darkened curfew now imposed
Just tiny specks on tilted globe we spin,
the seasons blend into a muted haze;
old stories long remembered now rescind,
while Fortune calls the shots and sets the pace

With season’s change, I feel a quickening,
I wonder, then, if you might feel it too—
the song comes carried on October’s wing
as once again her promise is renewed.
   Another year, another note transposed
   to amplify this opus we compose

©  Ginny Brannan 2016

**Image taken by Kyra Lija Ferrigan Brown 9/19/16. View from our street at sunset.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Statute of Limitations

How long can such corrosion last
that wears and tears down to the soul
to eat away the waking hours…
by now it seems it should have passed
its half-lives clinging, lingering on.

Cruel entity that gained control
to augment into monstrous thing—
where anger nourishes the hate
it manifests, exacting toll;
malignancy that won’t abscond.

                  I heard the words and felt the sting,
                  your verbal dagger bruised the bone;
                  no salve was offered to appease—
                  accelerating to the brink
                  where loathing and resentment spawned.

And thus the seeds of scorn were sown
to root and grow for seven years
till animus has run its course…
Now comes a calling to atone
will peace be found in my response?

Too long the anger has adhered
to scourge and scar, insult, cajole;
to mar the surface to the bone.
The acid cuts through my veneer;
yet in its tenure, I have grown.

                  The time has come to cede control:
                  once more I morph, becoming whole.

©  Ginny Brannan 2016

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bait and Switch

The bait was dangled from the pole
a promise wrapped in veiled disguise
a deadline set, so too - the goal.
The bait was danged from the pole
you sold your body, heart and soul
for story riddled, full lies…
the bait left dangling from a pole,
the promise— just a veiled disguise.

©  Ginny Brannan 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016


I exist in a limbo where memories slip 
from the tip of my tongue,

where sentences fade, incomplete  
  What was I just saying… I forgot…

Such profound loneliness in this place
where strangers surround me

Where is my family?
Where is my home?
Where are the people I once knew?

I cling to any kindness shown…
though I can’t find the words
      I still “feel”

In this ever-shrinking existence
images of my youth pass swiftly

and anticipation of death…
 no more loneliness nor pain

© Ginny Brannan 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Where Have All the 'White Hats" Gone?

What happened to all the heroes of old?
The ones that wore white hats ‘n rode
straight into the fray. Strong and bold,
they walked with swagger, spoke their mind,
lived life with conviction. You would find
they didn’t spew words for the sake of spewin’
nor pump themselves up to be more than they were.
They knew right from wrong; quiet and strong…yet
when push came to shove, they would stand and defend
the helpless, defenseless; both stranger and friend.

Where have all the ‘white hats’ gone?
At the end of the day the world has turned gray.
We’ve misplaced ability to ride tall it seems,
caught in a darkness that destroys all our dreams.
As once true grit spins its downward spiral
we curry resolve for our own survival.

© Ginny Brannan 2016

Monday, July 4, 2016

Another One for the Books...

BOOOM!!! BOOM….BOOM….boomboom….boom…

Living in a valley between two mountains
sound amplifies a hundredfold…
You hear train whistles wailing down the track
long before you ever see the lead engine.
Thunder echoes on forever. And lightening?
Lightening illuminates the whole valley
silhouetting the mountains on both sides
reflecting in the river that divides the two states.
As a child, living here in this town where
Vermont and New Hampshire are interchangeable
I always thought we have the best of both states.
The Connecticut River divides us, but there are bridges—
two in our town, one a few miles to the south,
another twelve or so miles to the north.
Business is conducted on both sides of the river;
family and friends may reside, or work, on either side.

BOOOM!!! BOOM….BOOM….boomboom…boom…

The townsfolk on my side, the Vermont side, have made
their exodus down to the riverbank this fine summer's eve.
Chairs line the sidewalks along Rockingham and Atkinson Streets,
the parking lots at IGA and the gas station across the way
are filling up with even more of these ‘children of all ages.’
The parking lot of the Dari-Joy—known to the locals as "Joe's"—
is filled to capacity. The yellow neon lights attract all variety of
moths, mosquitoes and other insects— just part of the atmosphere
on this warm July night. Hard to tell who is in line for ice cream
or just milling about before the show, but one thing for sure,
Joe's is doing one heck of a business tonight!
We take our prospective places along the wooden rail
at the top of the bank, eyes focused on the hill across the river.
We cannot see the school on the upper level across the way,
but as we watch, the first trail of light goes up and bursts into
a waterfall of fire! It lights up the sky, then a quick flash, and—

BOOOM!!! BOOM….BOOM….boomboom…boom…

the sound ricochets off the mountains and down the valley.
It is followed by another… and another…
Occasionally a loud whistle replaces the boom 
and lingers—seemingly to infinity.
Down the way a baby cries, excited children laugh and cover their ears,
parents and the older folk comparing this display to those of years gone by.
The sprays of fire reflect upon the water; smoke lays heavy in the air,
smell of sulfur drifts downhill and across the river.
We watch as trails of fire are sent skyward one by one,
“ooohing” and “ahhhing” after each colorful explosion.
Suddenly five trails go up at once, followed by five more,
and five more…the Grand Finale!!
The flashes fill the sky, the sound is deafening!!
Surely they must be hearing this in Springfield and Charlestown
to our north, or in Westminster and Putney to our south.

Spontaneous cheers, whistles and clapping erupt from the crowds.
Another 4th of July is on the books, and we declare it the best one ever
                                                                                 …until next year!
© Ginny Brannan 2016

Image: Lori Larue 2016. Used with expressed permission
Childhood memories of growing up in a small Vermont village on the Connecticut River.
The image above is looking downriver (south) from the Vermont side toward the village of Bellows Falls.  The bright lights to the right is the Dari Joy, forever "Joes" to me…and beyond that the gas station, the IGA (no longer, now a different business there) and further down the street, our downtown area. The mountain to the left is Fall Mountain on the N.H. side. Our own hills are behind to the right of us in this photo. When I was a child there was a beautiful Arch Bridge spanning the river. Deemed unsafe, it was replaced with the plain single span seen here. People would (and still do) line the river bank to see the fireworks displays. Back then they were shot from behind the school on the hill in North Walpole.No longer on the 4th now, they are done for Old Home Days on the first Saturday in August, and are much larger, the more vivid 'Gucci' kind, shot closer to the river. I still hold on to the memories of wonderful childhood 4th's though!

Many thanks to Lori Larue for allowing me to share this beautiful night image of my "hometown" in Vermont!!