Poetry Selections


All the scales that were hidden till January

Are returned to their places – it’s customary!

Although a diet is wise it can frustrate

As I dig through the larder and ruminate.

Broccoli, bananas, butter-free fare

Are all I’m allowed from my Frigidaire

Try to sleep through the night and ignore all the dreams

Of feasts and deserts and sweet buttercreams!

Sleeping till dawn, waking to a day new

Being grateful that sleep saw the night through.

Eggs and wheat toast, all the tea that I want

Turn away from the table, ignore that croissant!

A diet requires that all thoughts are of dining

Just get on with it and stop all this whining!

--by Kate McKay


Wind took the ashes

Ripped from a tightly closed fist

Forced to let you go.

--by Kate McKay

Partners In Rhyme is for writers who also write poetry, or wish to. We get great joy and encouragement from each other. We support each other in our efforts and inspire each other. Some of us are accomplished poets with published poetry. Others have been learning their poetic voice by being in the group.

We invite any member of The Writers’ Guild of Delco to join us. The more of us, the more inspiration and support we can share.

Will Scull, Host

Partners In Rhyme


December 1968

Men grind on like wheels they have created.

Nature moves with the growing leaf and the water from the sky -

Drop by drop,

uniting with each other,

Rushing downstream.

Man moves by wheels of opposition and conflict,

And the sound of it deafens ears to the lighter sounds of the water


Man builds his wheels.

He challenges Nature.

He harnesses her for energy.

The water makes the wheels move.

He dirties the water, and it keeps rising behind man and his works.

like Nature herself.

In the crisis one wonders,

has man conquered Nature,

or will she conquer him.

The way of Nature is never to conquer -

except in desperation.

She prefers to create -

even out of death.

For dead leaves contribute to the new shoot,

as water does.

Men grind each other on their own racks

and say it was “necessary” for the wheels of progress

We would hate to think it was natural!

--William Kincaid Scull

A Book

There on the shelf,

On the table it sits.

So full of the world,

With its own glowing bits.

It needs no power,

But its strength is within,

Just open the cover,

The words take you in.

Page after page,

They will slip through your fingers,

Your eyes savor the words

The bright phrases linger.

A story, a poem,

A novel, a song;

It’s what we all know,

A book for which we long….

--Steven R. Butler

Autumn’s Victory

When love shines through the dappled golden leaves,

Impervious to gentle summer rain

That once upon a time brought untold pain

Yet now brings forth a memory of peeves.

Who knows beyond the heat of summer’s love,

Of passions soaring like a bonfire’s heat.

The agony, longing, hopelessness, defeats,

The calling of the soul from up above,

Who will cease to fear Winter’s icy breath,

Tree branches clack against the wind’s duress,

But Autumn’s colors flare their last caress

Erasing fear of Loves cold Winter’s death.

My search for oneness is now complete.

And fate’s dark obstacles defeat.

--Heather Koelle


Punctuation, aggravation

Leaving out my dialogue,

Point of view

Now I knew,

Readers don’t read

Their character’s minds,

Antecedents are an annoying chore

Can’t readers remember what came before?

Squinting modifiers confuse my mind,

I must need glasses in order to find

The noun for which they claim to own,

Is hardly really ever known,

Why can’t the lamebrained readers see,

The movie that plays inside of me,

My editor has to be a saint

To listen to my rebel complaint

Thank God for her, thank God for me

Or this writer would be in misery

Heather Koelle

The Cheater

Who is the Cheater?

This question I ask

Does the yearning for love have to be forsaken?

When the promise of devotion has never awakened?

Try as one may to forgive and repair,

Both partners are needed to respond and to share

If one partner has no time or interest to give,

How is the other encouraged to live?

So where has the cheating really begun

Is neglect to nurture sign number one?

Communication, sign number two,

Lack creates loneliness, doubt, and the blues

Lack of respect, sign number three

Creates hatred, and distance, to fight or to flee

The cheater is not the one who seeks more out of life

After attempts to connect are ignored through the strife

The cheater is the creator, of this partner to be brokenhearted

Who has neglected the duties of the vows, and is now departed

And when another has fulfilled those lost expectations

Of the partner who has longed for that loving relation

Now stands accused of being the cheater

Why? Because this partner’s life is enriched and much sweeter

So could it be that the one left behind

Is the one who has cheated with no chance to find….

A way to recover this love so broken

With no feeling or words left to be spoken.

--Sonja Kuehler

Flowers, Jo Nivison Hopper


The equanimity of your soulful amber eyes

As present in the warm early autumn breeze

As they were in life,

Reassuring with the perspicacity

Of one who truly knew what mattered,

Intolerant of sanctimoniousness

And pretentiousness,

Yet ever sensitive to fragility

And vulnerability.

The sangfroid with which you bathed

This planet could placate

The most irascible of temperaments

Extirpating the negativity

While honing in on the goodness

Of all who crossed your path.

It is mornings like these

That I seek the pabulum

Of your wisdom, and

The incandescence

Of your spirit,

To guide me through my day.

--Caroline Reeves

What Is A Son?

To me, you are sweet kisses, giant hugs, and walking dogs.

Collecting frogs at dusk, pockets of cool bugs and jumping over logs.

A kind and gentle soul to every living thing, always there to show you care.

Sometimes I have a scare when you ride your bike on a dare.

You play hard and your clothes may be tattered, but when I am with you, I know that my love mattered.

--Treva Suit

What Is A Daughter?

To me, you are smiles, giggles and chocolate kisses.

Sunshine, butterflies and dandelion wishes.

A breath of fresh air, tea time and a comfy chair.

A heart that is pure with lots of love to share.

Everything that is wonderful and good.

You are someone, who when I am with, I am understood.

--Treva Suit

Night Windows, Edward Hopper

Shredding Night

I am shredding night.

I am always crawling through dreams, through time- through wombs of light, with fingers curled, and back sloped through impossible darkness over desert hills.

In wolf-man posture- spitting lunar phlegm from broken jaws. Moving from, treetops and barren fields out into sun-fueled office buildings- dry and tame. Where C.E.O. level Akhenaten's in golden, sun lapels watch me with dread, while midnight oil burns- and the sun dips again.

On my lunch break, I watch YouTube videos of 22nd-century messiahs sink into battery-acid lakes during American Ninja themed competitions.

They come out real ghosts, leaving smoking skeletons in their place. It can be a real shame.

At home, it's the same.

I kill hours in a panic that there aren't enough hours in a day.

I drink like a real drunk at the clock, in a madness for more, and more- that seems to steady my hands for a time.

I go stumbling through each minute, like crashing through bar doors.

Flagged all over town.

From minute- to- minute news scrolls, at the bottom of TV screens. from wrist watches, from the sky, and from huge, structural timepieces at the center of public squares.

I wait for a ripe moon to go thieving.

For the dark to go over the sky like a robber's mask.

I want then, only to feed over orgies of Pentecostal doom.

To be among heaps of blooded, twitching things in my wake.

When the morning comes-

like a cop to take me in.

And fingerprint shrinking claws.

I crawl out from those dreams then.

From under broken broomsticks and black hats.

My back aching, nursing a splitting skull.

Later, the sun and its branded henchmen find me.

They tell me, once more, that I'm unfit for my position in their company.

--Andrew Chadbourne

Pre-order Today! The Guild's book, The Writers' Guild of Delco, is available for purchase. Featuring poems & short stories, this collection offers fresh, local voices. Place an order by emailing: writersguildofdelco@gmail.com


Here I sit

With my hands on my head

No more words to be heard

Nothing else to be said

But the tense atmosphere

Can be cut with a knife

Would this be the last chapter

The ending of my life

I patiently wait

Thoughts wondering why

What did I do wrong

I let out a deep sigh

Then foot steps I hear

My heart starts to pound

The end is near

As closer comes the sound

A turn of the knob

The door opens wide

A figure steps in

I wanted to hide

“Let’s talk my child”

She said to me

I looked up so scared

I wanted to flee

“I gave you this time

So you could think”

Are you feeling better?”

My heart began to sink

“Oh mother, I’m sorry”

Was all I could say

She gave me a hug

Then sent me to play

Sonja Kuehler, 6/18/21

Betwixt and Between

I am in that place between giving thanks

And procrastinating the onslaught of Christmas cards,

Shopping on the internet, will my gift arrive on time?

Choir practice and commitments to family and friends

I exist between euphoria and anguish,

Energy and exhaustion,

As leafless trees reach a grey sky.

And brilliant flowers are dried out and brown.

It is that time of year of expectations,

frustrations, and permutations.

The garden is now bare of its crops,

Brown garden awaiting coffee grounds and eggshells.

Halter tops exchanged for bulky winter coats,

And sandals for boots

And within my being

I am betwixt and between learning to love myself,

While caring deeply for another.

One night, probably Christmas Eve,

The magic dust will fall,

Transforming the bareness of winter’s black and grey palette

Into a fairyland of shining lights

On freshly fallen snow

And a wish will be fulfilled.

Heather Koelle, 12/2/21

The Joy of Friendship

Should the whisper of moon light

never grace the peaks of a crystal mountain lake

Should the sweet sounds of a child’s laughter

never pleasure the soft hum of a summer breeze

Should the thundering heartbeat of a playful ocean tide

never hug the sands of a pristine beach

I shall not be lost for I have lived

the perfect moment

I have looked into the eyes of a friend

And have seen all the warmth and love of a perfect world

I have lived the joy of your friendship.

Jennifer Lincoln

Piano Practice: This Week

Practice 1:

Cramming notes into my head

I slowly imprint chromatic combinations

Internalizing intricate webs of sound

That must become second nature

In order to play freely

I ruminate

Anxious about the looming performance

Where notes will escape

And broadcast on screens


My front brain

Learning, preparing

While behind a curtain

A pain taps along with the rhythm

Reminding me of our friend with a brain tumor

Who called to say he treasures our friendship

A ball hardens in my throat

The two-beat rest gives me time to find my place in the music

Practice 2:

A minor chord lingers

As my dear sister with a terminal illness weakens

The sister who defined the meaning of a sister

Who got me like no one else

Who visited often, plunking herself down on our/her favorite chair

Listening with delight to family updates

Engaged, boisterous, humorous, and compassionate.

My fingers highlight the notes of the melodic passage

That I yearn to play over and over.

Practice 3:

A close friend’s fever cannot be taken down

I call the hospital daily

Fearful of the fine line on which she balances

I pound out chords laden with sharps

I damn the difficult key

My tense fingers phrase the melody much too loud

I draw back while the beat marches on

The tempo thrusting forward

Leaving the moment, now two measures behind.

Practice 4:

Our daughter calls - crying about Black Lives Matter

“I haven’t done enough, I’ve let me friends down.”

My jagged breath whistles against the phone

I remind myself to breathe evenly through the two-handed arpeggio

Preparing to land gracefully on the resolving chord

I am weary of technique and counting notes.

Practice 5:

While memorizing the music’s larger form

Layers rustle behind a curtain of consciousness

Sounds trigger an upset stomach and panic

My brain combats swarms of fear

Locusts in Africa are devouring miles of plants

We have an infestation of a stunning red moth

During a riot my daughter and son must board up their store

My best friend’s daughter dies from an overdose

Muscles tense from frightening news reports

We hide in our houses from the virus

Practice 5:

I tell my children -

“We must be strong, prepare ourselves.”

Forte, Bravura. Marcato.

But then I become unhinged

When a familiar song floats from the stereo

“Moon river, wider than a mile

I’m crossing you in style…”

James Taylor’s plaintive voice, dusted with longing,

Drapes over minor chords

Words find passage through protective layers

And slice through my heart.

I freeze

My eyes fill

My spine contracts

In a millisecond, I break like a rock that has been strategically split

Mourning the loss of our world,

Suffering near and far,

And those gone.

Practice 6:

“You dream maker…you heart breaker…”

Becomes an ear worm

I find myself folding at evidence of beauty

Roses in their prime,

Hung laundry, billowed by circular breezes,

The intricacy of a yellow iris,

Children whiz by on bikes,

Their screams spilling laughter into the rushing wind.

Moved by our magnificent world,

I bathe in the impressionistic colors of a jazz chord

Surrendering to the impulse of improvisation.

Practice 7:

“We’re after the same rainbow’s end

Waitin’ round the bend”…

The soundtrack of our adolescence,

Once played from our parent’s stereo console

Shuttles me into the past

Conjuring vignettes of carefree days

My mind chases the memory of languid comfort.

The world has changed in a sixteenth note’s time

Everything spins and I lose my place

My hands call on muscle memory,

Improvising a rebound

I long for melodies from innocent times

When harmony was simple, asking for nothing more

But years of piano study has placed demanding pieces before me

That must be practiced and practiced with dynamics and skill

I interpret musical stories

As layers surface, dissolve, pass

Or return with their refrains.

The last chords of the piece are clustered with dissonance

I wrap my fingers around smooth, ivory keys

Add a forte, then a pianissimo

Which brings me to the last note.

I have traveled a thousand miles in one song

Where the root of the final chord brings me home.

Patricia King Haddad


January is my month of decluttering.

Taking inventory of material things,

And the parts of myself

To hold,


And let go.

The old dining table has been recycled for a needy person.

Old lamps and table cloths, too

Are donated or sold.

Material things are easy to let go of,

I can’t take them with me.

But still some, I keep,

Grandchildren's drawings and shapes made out of clay,

The copy of my first novel,

Composed poetry and music .

My journal, which nobody will ever see but God.

Family memories.

I must let go

Of people, places, and things

Which no longer serve me.

To hang on to resentments

To worry about the future

To take the whole world upon my shoulders.

I hope to send them out into the vastness of deep space

Where all the junk of mankind,

Floats above the earth.

In doing so, I am missing todays little miracles;

A bird taking a bath in our ice-cold fish pond.

Our fallow brown yard, waiting for the first snowstorm

To transform it into white fairyland,

reading a good book,

While sitting in my reading chair by a crackling wood fire.

Those joys I can savor.

When I declutter the trash I no longer need to survive.

And replace them with





Both depth and lightness of spirit,

Creating words,




improvisational acting,

Savoring cool water

As I swim strongly,

buoyed up and challenged by its resistance

There is so much room is made for life anew,

When decluttering the residue of the self.

--Heather Koelle


Wind took the ashes

Ripped from a tightly closed fist

Forced to let you go.

--Kate McKay