POETRY SPOTLIGHT: L E Barrett on the Human Condition

Hi, readers!  We have a real treat in store for you today, a poetry spotlight.  In these poetry spotlights today and in the future, we will be showcasing poetry by some very talented poets.  These poets have graced us with their presence.  

With us today is poet L E Barrett.  Here is a little taste of his poetry and his views on the human condition.


A dozen old pines
Standing very erect
Thirty feet or more
Prickly hairy limbs
Seen thru my pane
Reaching out to me
Or excitedly waving
To get my attention

No guardian Angels
This witch’s brew
Who often lash out
Inside stormy spells
Then turn Statuesque
As if only onlookers
Intent on a good view
At the Tyburn gallows

I have been noticing
In circular formations
Clusters of mushrooms
On pine needle beds
With ancient markings
Formed by pine cones
That could only arise
As a gesture of sorts

Yet they still fascinate
Give credence to tales
Hinted to by neighbors
Town gossip they say
Those potent specters
Inhabit the grounds
Witches of old roots
Seeded in dark times


Raise the flag for those Maine boys
Who thru rifle shot and steel blade
Stood like blue granite in the fray
Boys of rocky shores and thick forests
Betwixt Kittery and the St John River
Uncommon solders mustered to war
Engaged in preserving a frail Union
Boys of affable towns and isolated farms
With their heads and banners held high
Common men now nobles one and all

Raise the flag for those Maine boys
Who signed on to the 1st, 2nd, and 20th
Brave souls that came to know the fight
Thru Gettysburg, Petersburg and Newtonia
Every man tested time after time by shot
All too many to find a permanent rest
Under a canopy of wooden white crosses
In fields with moss covered granite ledges
Hearts looking back to a state they love

Raise the flag for those Maine boys
Wave it proudly and as high as you can
So those same Maine boys can see
That they are still our Maine boys.

After an abundance of frigid snow and slippery icy roads
Where often a hearth and fire act as a night’s beacon
As seen through frosty panes with large white brows
To snow encrusted children and fretful evening trekkers

Oh fiddle me a delectable tune with savory harmonies
Let a tasty lick with a respondent chord stay upon my palate
I love the music your tightly strung notes have awakened in me
For now I find I have an appetite for spring and summer too

Morning air still laced with the chill of a winter’s backside
Streams roaring with laughter as they escape their banks
Birds chirping as if they have not seen their neighbors in a while
Frosty morning sunshine as dazzling as light through stained glass

Oh fiddle me a delectable tune with savory harmonies
Let a tasty lick with a respondent chord stay upon my palate
I love the music your tightly strung notes have awakened in me
For now I find I have an appetite for spring and summer too

I know the spot near to the stream at the edge of the marsh
Where I ponder another years passing and another beginning
Where the damp earth laden with debris smells of potential life
As the crowns of fiddleheads emerge to take their rightful thrones

Oh fiddle me a delectable tune with savory harmonies
Let a tasty lick with a respondent chord stay upon my palate
I love the music your tightly strung notes have awakened in me
For now I find I have an appetite for spring and summer too.


I dream in Maine,
Of rosy red sunrises over the crests of rock-strewn shores
Splinters of light straining through stands of pine and birch
Dusk blanketing fields with loping deer and placid moose

I dream in Maine,
As the sound and motion of a Manhattan Street envelops me
In combat as I lay my weapon down and listen to the stillness
In endless rooms, bars, hotels, and where ever I meet strangers

I dream in Maine,
Of the mouths of rivers derived from streams down granite ledges
Huge lakes and small ponds surrounded by bush filled floating bogs
Lush green or multicolored hills with sweeping valleys dotted with farms

I dream in Maine,
At sporting events and concerts or whenever I share a glass with friends
On subways, buses, planes or cars with “Muddy Waters” on my radio
And Dear, even as I make love to you in the late hours of the night

I dream in Maine,
Of the smell of clam flats, apple orchards, campfires and pine needle beds
Cold snow on brimming shovels and giant snow piles aging beside the road
Gritty sand on my legs and as the chilly ocean’s tongue begins to lick my feet

I dream in Maine,
Not of people or events or concerns that consume me and my daily journey
But instead as a picturesque back drop for the seeding of all my dreams
A place radiating out of my soul and hidden behind my eyes, that I call Maine. 


Drove the old Ford out to the quarry
Sat on a rock shelf in the desolation
Looked down into the dark water
Sensed the silence of the moment
Then as if delivered out of myself
Heard the shrieks of young voices
Coming back to me from times past
Summers when I shielded my eyes
From the sun reflecting off the water
Boys alive in tanned muscular frames
Brown girls showing splotches of color
Recalling the endless acts of heroes
As youths leaped from high perches
Chiseled ledges down to the big chill
As icy waters drank freely our heat
Still feeling the water’s hard knock
As it rushed up to greet me as I fell
Lazy days of drying on granite ledges
With music and talk all around me
Detecting love’s bloom in every act
All of us totally free and alive in time
Unaware of life forces outside of us
Disposed to create new worlds for us
In the Ford as I pull onto the dirt road
I am keenly aware of where it all went

My Current Books

I currently have three books on sale through Amazon and Kindle; a collection of 63 poems ‘The Maine Poetic’, a collection of 13 short stories ‘A View From the Side of the Road’ and a new play called ‘The Shadow of the Soul’ which I hope to produce as a live play in the next year. I have recently completed with two other people a book on Maine’s iconic fiddlehead called ‘Fiddlemainia’ which includes pictures, a comprehensive narrative and 125 fiddlehead recipes which will be published this winter by Goose River Press in Waldoboro, Maine. I plan to publish another large collection of poetry in February 2014 called ‘Verses From Beneath Granite Ledges. Hopefully, I can follow up last year's writing projects with four or five major writing projects in 2014.

My Themes

First and foremost, I consider myself a Maine writer and though I tend towards the esoteric at times, I am grounded in a people and an environment that affects all my writing. Even in my short stories, I strive to find the universal elements of the human condition as seen from my unique background. In my poetry, I approach it from the perspective of a storyteller with an awareness that I need to wrap the poem up with a clarifying ending. My poetry comes to me as a complete thought that I later tailor to give as much meaning to the poem as I can. I feel sometimes poets become overly concerned about structure, grammar and style and fail to achieve the impact they envisioned with their poems. For me it is always concept, meaning and style. If it blurs the lines between styles of poetry or looks like an oddly presented poem, it still works for me. If just a word or two or phrase generates in the reader the emotion and feeling I am trying to generate, I have accomplished my role as a poet.

Poet Bio

The road began for me in Hallowell, Maine. It has taken me several times around the world. I grew up in a remarkably small Maine city on a river, at a young age I became a Marine in Vietnam, I eventually had both a military and government career, I fathered three sons, received a Bachelor’s Degree from Northeastern University in Boston, MA and a Masters Degree from the University of Maine in Orono, ME. All along the road, I wrote, I thought, and I wrote some more. So that before my days drain away, I will have said what I came here to say.





Interview with Author S.C. Rhyne

My guest today is S.C. Rhyne.  Hello, S.C.!  Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age!  It’s such a pleasure to have you here today.

Can you tell us a little bit about your book? When did it come out? Where can we get it? 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Reporter-Girl-MINUS-Super/dp/1493635352/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386875216&sr=8-1&keywords=the+reporter+and+the+girl+minus+the+super+manThe Reporter and The Girl MINUS The Super Man! One can purchase the e-copy at Smashwords or the paperback at Amazon.

The Reporter and The Girl is based on my award winning blog of the same name. Sabrien Collins is the main character and the readers follow her relationship with a reporter name Jon. There will be times where you get inside the character’s head and heart. Emotionally -- it’s up and down, and asks a lot of hard questions.

Is there anything that prompted your latest book?  Something that inspired you?

I was partly inspired by my past relationships and different stories of “incidences” I’d exchange with my friends.  But I also did not want the storyline to be so cliché, where boy meets girl and they fall in love and live happily ever after. So this project started out as a blog, which is now my debut novel!

So, when did you know you wanted to write?  Or has it always been a pastime of yours?  

I’ve always done business writing and have even published papers in the academic field. This is my first creative project and I really enjoyed exploring this side of me and bringing something that people can enjoy.

Do you have any favorite authors?

I have tons of authors that I enjoy from best sellers like Suzanne Collins and Dan Brown to indie authors like Celeste Perinno-Walker. I have a really eclectic taste…I also read a lot of nonfiction books too. 

Do you write in a specific place?  Time of day?

I would carry a notebook and write on the trains (during my commute), but I am in the twenty-first century (sigh!), and I do most of my writing at my desktop computer at home.

Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers?  Any advice?

Dream big, reach far, and never give up! I know it’s been said before, but your future as an artist is and will be 90% solo, and only you can count on YOU to make those dreams happen. So get out of your own way, and do it!

Here is the blurb for The Reporter and The Girl.

Welcome to the rabbit hole...

I am the last person in New York City who would fall head over heels in love.
Independent.  Self-possessed. Why would I want to f**k that up?
My online dating profile at bd-fet.com simply reads: “Just looking.”
So why am I obsessing about Jon Sudbury?
Jon, the reporter, is vanilla as a milkshake and has probably never tasted rice and beans on the same plate before we met.
At least that’s what I thought.
Why can’t people remain simple and predictable?
All I want is control, not to be sent hurtling at maximum speed into the unknown.
Nothing about our story makes sense.
The thing is, I can handle desire, lust, passion, even betrayal...
But love is another world altogether.
And this is not a love story.

Here is an excerpt. (Some of this was edited because the content was too adult.)

I teased him, “You’ll never get those handcuffs on me. I’m stronger than you, and I work out all the time.”
“No, you’re not,” he replied coolly. And this is how the bet was set. The first one to be tied up had to serve as the other’s slave for the week. Time for the other third, where’s my leash?
I grabbed my cocoa butter and straddled his back as he lay faced down on the recliner...I reached for the cuffs and quickly got one of his wrists.
But that was all I would get.
Before I knew it, Jon was laughing that same hypnotizing laugh he had on our first date. He pushed me off and had both hands behind my back. Soon I was on the floor and immobilized.
Damn. Wrong third.
Tonight, I came down the stairs to properly greet Master Jon on my knees, I kiss the top of his feet and say, “Good Evening, Sir.” He looks at me and immediately makes his way into the dining room on the just washed (while on my knees) hardwood floors without taking off his shoes.
At the table, it would be an overstatement to say that he feasted. Though a very slim build, he eats all the spinach, picking around the nuts and fruit, some of the vegetables but not the tofu, and barely breathes on the quinoa. Good home-cooked food that is consumed regularly with my family is now being sent back to the fridge. I don’t know if he is the typical spoiled White American or if he just didn’t enjoy the food I slaved over for him.
I look away not watching him “eat”...
But, as they say in France, ONE THING LED TO ANOTHER, and I find myself pinned in a damn awkward position over the table with the reporter on top. He takes his sweet time to reach into his travel bag and pull out the plastic bag of condoms I gave him. He throws it on the table, making sure that I see it. A clear signal of what is to happen next.
Not what I had in mind! I never tell Jon this, but I had fantasized about our first time: pictured a weekend, when he would come and stay the night. While he showers, I would prepare the room by dimming the lights and lighting my favorite scented candles, spraying the sheets in the perfume that he likes, and me patiently waiting… naked in bed for him to come in and find a delightful surprise….
There is no music or candlelight like I envisioned...
I do not have enough sense to keep my eyes locked on him; instead they ro-o-o-ll downwards. At the time, I naively thought that such a small natural occurrence due to the amount of…

Author Bio  

S.C. Rhyne is a world traveler, blogger, and novelist based in New York City. When she isn't writing or exploring, she enjoys swimming, reading historical fiction, and discovering new music. Her first novel, The Reporter and The Girl blurs the lines of reality and imagination, and conjures the emotions that bind us together.


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