Guidelines: (1) Include your name, the title of your original poem, and a brief comment about yourself; (2) Poems may be in any language (please include an English translation); (3) Poems may not violate Nicolet's Social Media Guidelines; (4) Original poems may be submitted anonymously; (5) Submit poems to Ocie Kilgus ( Students and community members who submit original poems are invited to enter their poetry in the Best Original Poem contest (for students) and the Ron Parkinson Poetry Matters award (for community members). Upon the closing of the Poetry Project, a faculty committee will select the winning poems. The winners of the contest will be recognized at Nicolet College's Award Ceremonies on May 11.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25, 2015

“Restless Quest”
By Amanda Nickerson

This or that is...
We need something
To feed on and we're starving
Conned into believing
The lore
Always hungry for more
Sell your wool until you're cold
Sheared sheep in snow drifts of debt
I bet
You're happy now
Evolve and fulfill from within
Free of want
Sated on peace of mind
Given up on greed
When selfless we'll find
We define what we need
We'll be who we are
Shed our sheepskin
And embrace the wolves within
Pack mentality
One for all
When all are free

“I'm a prior Nicolet student and have been a stay at home mom for the past six years and just another consumer in our concerning society.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“The Robin Rule”
By Michele Bergstrom

Somehow they all know
fair winds have pushed
those final ice floes
against far shores.
Green has started.

Who tells these flying feathers—
Scouts? Warm whispers in the wind?

The travelers fly in flocks, pairs,
singles, too.
Some splash down
others unload feeders
many peck seeds
under bushes.

Cock robin comes first
oblivious to old wives’ tale:
three snowfalls after
first red breast returns.

Snow flies horizontal today.
One down, two to go.


"I've been a resident of the Wisconsin's Northwoods for over 40 years and have loved every minute, every season of life here. I belong to a small writers group made up of gifted writers and poets for whom the power of words is paramount. I owe them continual gratitude for not only our association but also for their professionalism and gentle critiquing, from which all of us have benefited. As for this poem, I looked out the window on an early April day, and the words just popped out."

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 24, 2015

No new poetry submission by students for today’s posting.


“One Quiet Field”
By Francie Gilligan

Out in the meadow the sweet grasses grow
Bending and waving as the breeze gently blows
The flowers sway softly and are brightly arrayed
In autumn’s deep colors what a picture they make
Now look closely, God’s creatures you will see
They’re crawling or flying, even peacefully asleep
The dark woods beyond, all shaded and cool
With filtering sunrays and over there, a shallow pool
The forest and meadow contrast perfectly
Creating a haven of comforting peace
But the silence isn’t quiet because the sounds that you hear
Permeate the stillness, become one with the air
So take just a moment and walk here with me
Enjoy a taste of heaven I’m sure that you’ll agree
That nothing you can purchase and nothing you can build
Could ever be as perfect as this one quiet field!

“I am 66 years old and I have lived in Laona all of my life. I wrote this poem one fall afternoon while sitting at my kitchen table and reminiscing about my deceased husband and our children when we were a young family. We would often take long rides on old gravel roads through the woods, and the beautiful scenery we saw always caused me to reflect on the beauty of God's creation! Back then I wanted to be able to paint the beauty I saw, but that certainly was not my forte. I have always liked to write poetry but did not get serious about it until after the death of my husband in 1995, and then the words just kept popping into my head and I had to write them down. I have been writing poetry since that time on a regular basis.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 23, 2015

No new poetry submission by students for today’s posting.

* * * * * * * * * *

“For Kieya and the Others”
By Robert Billimack

Usually Kieya kept her eyes downcast. On the rare occasions when the 15-yr. old made eye contact, her eyes were large dull pools, as if a caul had been drawn over them, extinguishing their spark. No one had ever seen her smile.

     Whose bitter words lashed your tender ego
     Again and again, opening rough wounds
     Too jagged for healing?

         Who painted you colorless and then invisible,
     Looking through you where you stood
     Hearing silence when you spoke?

     Who told you he was the one that mattered
     His face more perfect, his eyes more blue,
     His body champion of the family name?

     Who left you in hospital, alone and afraid,
     While the dinner parties raged at home
     Behind the Georgian fa├žade and 4-car garage?

     Whose board meeting missed your Christmas play,
     You, a white dove behind the Christ child
     The only child for whom no one applauded?

     Who framed you as dull and graceless
     Unworthy of shopping adventures for flattering clothes
     In spite of the family’s fortune?

     Who never fussed with your hair,
     Or helped your lips discover their perfect shade,
     Or told the mysteries of a girl’s changing body?

     Whose body lay smothering you
     Ripping and hurting and isolating you
     With leers and threats and deep-throated snarls of orgasm?

     Who drove you to the streets
     Where rats and grime and cast-off people
     Embraced you, jagged wounds and all?

“For many years my wife and I lived and worked in Chicago, she as a specialist in autism and I as a real estate broker. During that time we volunteered for a wonderful organization called The Night Ministry, whose mission is to serve homeless youth on the streets of Chicago. Two Night Ministry vans make rounds each night, distributing personal hygiene items, food, blankets, etc. to hundreds of homeless young people. The "bus" also has medical personnel who examine and treat young people in need of medical intervention. It is amazing to experience the bus pulling up to the curb on an apparently deserted stretch of roadway, and within minutes dozens of young people appear from the shadows and alleyways for help. This poem is inspired by the many young people, wounded in spirit and body, rejected or addicted, sometimes gender conflicted, who visited our bus for support and a little kindness.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22, 2015

“Winter Hymn”
By R. A. Raschke

. . . The last leaves of Autumn have finally fallen
Giving way to winter snows
All ready I am nostalgic for warmth:
     Remembering long summer days
     Working in the humid air

     Paddling out and bathing in welcome waters
Satisfied in their languid depths.

But now a chill has claimed the air
Now a quiet cold is here
Now, beyond snowdrifts and slumbering pines,
Wonder awaits

I venture out on frozen lakes
Neath the winter moon
Come, let’s listen:
     The haunting hymn of singing ice
     Its echoes in the night.

Alas, the season is yet young
I gaze out on the first pale blush of snow,
And my heart yearns for warmth
But not the warmth of summer, no.

I yearn for endless, whited lengths
Dressed in shadow, streaked with stars
For the chill of cold and wild winds
That bite the bones and kiss cheeks a hearty glow

I come in to enveloping warmth
Seeking shelter from the cold
To rest beside the blazing hearth
With hot drink and happy heart.

"The poem was composed during the last weeks of November and completed towards the middle of the December. I had been playing with lyrics and lines mused over the growing cold and darkening days while out on walks between class and on study breaks. Unlike most of spring, summer, and fall, winter poses an overbearing threat to survival. There is a primordial essence to the season that cannot be tamed and permeates the warm walls of our dwelling places, and even the comforts and distractions of modern living. In motion and quietness, stillness and sound, darkness and light, winter is a time of extremes, and in such extremes, one is easily overcome with a sense of wonder, humbled by the realization that the world is still a much bigger, more mysterious place than we realize."

* * * * * * * * * *

By Harry Skye

water frozen in time
heart standing still

Extreme cold
ice cracks and thunders
heart does not break

Days, maybe years

Sun on ice
makes the surface smooth
reflecting back the cold heart

More sun on ice
Will there be a thaw?
Will the heart beat again?

More energy
thinning ice darkens
drips tears

Careful now heart

Slow beat at first
then rapid
Joyful as the heart forgives

“I am a recently retired physician. I have lived in the Rhinelander area for the last 30 years.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015

No new poetry submission by students for today’s posting.

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“Fool’s Fun"            
By Betty White

In my wildest of dreams, the Creator came by
with a Fool’s Day assignment to “high-jinks” the sky
He didn’t say how but I think I know why: 

he knew I hatch plots and be ready to try

I’ll wrinkle the clouds so they shadow the pool…………
sprinkle cold raindrops where hollyhocks drool
I’ll crinkle a rainbow where chroma is king;

and twinkle the stars where the night-merries sing

I’ll wrinkle the dipper and let it drip dry………
I’ll sprinkle the wild blue yonder will I
I’ll crinkle the cheeks of the cheesy old guy;

then twinkle the stars to bid daylight goodbye

I’ll crinkle the milky way………arch it up high;
sprinkle gold stardust across the dark sky
I’ll wrinkle the moonlight for love new and shy;

and twinkle Andromeda for young ones to spy

I’ll wrinkle the horizon; edge it with gold;
Sprinkle lit fireflies brave children can hold
I’ll crinkle the spectrum, then let it unfold;
and twinkle the heavens: a sight to behold

I’ll sprinkle the azure with sky potpourri;
crinkle the galaxy like lace filigree
I’ll wrinkle the comet’s tail; set its fire free;

and twinkle the North Star to wink down at me

And then, when the crinkling and wrinkling’s all done,
I’ll go into orbit for one more fun run
I’ll check out my handiwork……
stars, moon, and sun;
and hope the result is Good Job, and Well Done

"My husband and I moved to Rhinelander in 1968. My husband worked at Nicolet first in automotive, then started development of the welding program. I worked for Rhinelander School District getting libraries set up in several of the elementary schools. We moved into our home on Rhinelander's Park Ridge Court a year ago, after spending 42 years raising our family on Eastern Avenue. I like to rhyme wonderful words and bring a smile to the reader (or listener)."

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015

By Benjamin Haling

Kick back
Don’t relax
My shell hits the ground
A small explosion then no sound
A wisp of gray smoke
One more croak
Part the red sea
Through the crown
All that matters leaves
In his regrets he drowns
Save a life
End a life
Will not solve a person’s strife
Will not solve a person’s sorrow
Will not bring a better tomorrow
One door closes and another will open
Everything gets fixed, everything gets broken
A fate is bestowed

[Benjamin Haling also submitted a poem for April 1 and April 2.]

* * * * * * * * * *

“Such Is Life”
By Norma Semling

I shall be tomorrow
what I am today.
Only the unknown
will get in the way.
If the path that I take
sends me astray
then I will not let that wrong turn
ruin my day.
There really is no one
that can predict
just where we will be.
I make my own choices
It’s all up to me.
We can all make a wish
or hope for a dream
but it’s how we handle life
and our self-esteem.
So if you ask me today
where I’ll be in five years
I promise you this
I will have conquered my fears.
I will not worry about small things
for they only cause tears.
There are so many reasons
to enjoy precious years.

[Norma Semling also submitted a poem for April 4 and April 13.]

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19, 2015

"Frozen Waters"
By Courtney Heller

As the weather begins to warm
My surface slowly starts to fade
Please help the process hurry up
Because I want to get out of the winter shade

Only you can help me out
The fish below are no use with this
I want to feel the summer warmth soon
So we can create a summer of bliss

Together we can make everyone happy
My shallows warmed by your rays
People and fish will spend their days with us
But that is just a part of the summer phase

Right now they are just sitting and waiting
For you to take away my icy layer
I don’t know how much longer they can wait
You need to keep your sky from getting greyer

My top is blocking you from my view
And I hope to see you very soon
But first you need to warm the air
So I can be ready for the events in June

This winter has been long enough
So I hope you stick around this summer
Because you’ve been away for far too long
And if you don’t it will really be a bummer

"I am from Northland Pines High School, and this is my poem about frozen waters."

* * * * * * * * * * 

"Olive Grove on the Sea"
Rebecca Koshak

Warm sultry winds
Roll in from the ocean
The air is tart
And full of words

Though nothing has yet been said

The olive trees are
Dark with their burdens
They flutter sleepily
In the coming night

Stay here with me and we’ll drink the sunset dry

You are my olive grove
Weighed with your load
You are my sunset
Defying the pending dark

And all the spoken words escape me in a crash of ocean waves

"Snow Patrol's song "Olive Grove Facing the Sea" inspired this poem. I have never actually seen an olive grove."