Thursday, April 13, 2017

community poetry one picture at a time in the spring 2017 issue of the key.

community poetry one picture at a time: spring 2017
by jennifer hetrick

this is an online version of what is in print in the positive local news publication called the key in berks county, pennsylvania. it is now reaching into other counties, too. the online version of this content includes all submitted poems for the pig poems prompt.

in the last issue, we launched community poetry one picture at a time. we received several poems to match the springtime theme of three little pigs and their behinds. i photographed these oinking-types several years ago while doing an interview for lancaster farming at eckerton hill farm in rockland township—it is largely specialized in heirloom tomatoes but has other crops growing in its fields, too.

enjoy the freshly submitted poems below.

three charming pigs by jennifer hetrick
@ eckerton hill farm in fleetwood, berks county

By Evelyn Aurand 

Rigity jig, rigity jig,
Out in the garden I see they're three pigs.
Together they're sharing a fresh air snack.
We can't see their fronts, only their backs.
Rigity jig, rigity jig,
Their tails are curled up, they are real happy pigs!
Pigs with straight tails are the serious kind
with oinks, grunts and snorts in mind.
Rigity jig, rigity jig,
Out in the garden I see they're three pigs.


Pigging Out
By Martha Ressler

Hello little piggie,
Curly tail, butt so dirty.
Can't see your snout
Scarfing up your takeout.


Finding Beauty
By Virginia McNamara

I will gladly go into the wilds
to see an eagle soar, to watch her
defy gravity with dignity and grace.

Or wait patiently for a humpback whale
to rise majestically from a deep blue sea, 
knowing that my spirit will rise with her. 

I will even slow my car to see
contented cows graze in a pasture, 
creating calm in a world of chaos.

But is there any beauty in a pig
that is worthy of an adventure?
I think not. And yet I travel

to an island in the Bahamas, 
to sit skeptically in a small boat, 
waiting for pigs to paddle toward me

through transparent turquoise 
water, wondering if they will open
a dormant corner of my heart.

With skinny legs so unsuited to the task, 
they swim from shore to astonish me. To say, 
with their eyes and with their grunts,

"Look at me! My ancestors survived
a shipwreck and swam to safety!
And here I am!"

To ask without pride, 
but brimming with delight,
"Did you bring me a treat?"


On a Hillside in March
By Janice Meindl

3 little tooshes sharing slop
Squiggly tails their hallmark
On a hillside in March.

Pink piggly happy butts,
Do they know the
Wonder they inspire?

Side by side we see them
Grow. But, do they know,
they should mourn this day.

3 piglets take their place
The table is set,
and destiny is served.

Hotdogs, Ham, and Bacon.
Three squiggly tails
Once, on a Hillside in March.


your tails remind me of tales
by jennifer hetrick

they say one of you went to market.
perhaps shopping, i hope, not to be
someone else’s dinner, but maybe.
one of you apparently stayed home.
another enjoyed some deli-cut kind

of roast beef sandwich. and that 
one ate it in front of another of you
who had to watch the whole episode

and get not even a solitary, slight bite,
probably hungry and wishing slop
were in a trough nearby. i don’t
blame that belly-crying pig even
a single bit. to eat a meaty meal

in front of a fellow famished pig
seems mildly cruel. a boy named
blake whose family has the cemetery’s 

quietest folks as neighbors once 
counted most of you on his toes 
for me after i came down the hill 
in the dark, my dog at my side, his 
momma my old neighbor from girlhood

days. we sat in the grass of his backyard, 
below those graves i spent prevening 
with as i soaked in the sunset in silence,

and by the fifth of you, he lost his
words, excitedly tickling up my leg,
laughing up a storm as if comedy
pulsed through his young blood.
kid-speak doesn’t always pan

out into full sentences, but he loved
to count you, or to try to, and to use
his tiny fingers to talk about toes.


and here is the picture and sample poem for the next issue’s theme, taken along fourth street in boyertown one summer ago. send your poems inspired by this streetside garden picture as early as you like!

the sun-faced party by jennifer hetrick

mid-reach skyward
by jennifer hetrick

we wait for your blooms, 
coreopsis, knowing they
are in the spring stages
of their science as we

remember how you cup 
sun in your petals, softer
than most of us are used
to because this life we

live is often a rough
one. digging fingertips
into soil, we notice our
insides readjust, start

to realign at least just
a smidgen when we are
in the moments of lightly
forgiving ourselves, one

inch of DNA at a time,
as we garden. blossoms
nudge us to be a little
less hard on ourselves.


readers are welcome to submit one original poem which they write about this photograph. i will publish all poems on my blog and facebook page. the key will publish as many poems as feasibly fit into the layout for this new feature in each latest issue. 

submitted poems can be written in any form or style.

include your poem’s title, your name, and your town of residence.

the deadline for submissions is monday, may 1, 2017. (we may be able to take submissions beyond that, and i can always post anything online later, so don't worry too much if you are close to the deadline or just after it.)

edit: this deadline has been extended to friday, may 12, 2017, but poems are happily welcome sooner than that !

send your poems to or

to see all poems published online, visit—


bonus—one local poet, of berks bards fame, submitted a poem to match the first sample poem in wintertime.

icy fence by jennifer hetrick

Core Valued
By Marilyn L.T. Klimcho

An old board fence
But upright, sturdy and
About its lonely vigil
Its wood screws
Still as tight 
As the day the
Workmen pocketed levels
And drove away.
The dog it corrals
Should be so loyal
So diligent and this
Despite the daffodils
Secreted at the fence’s feet
Waiting just a few more days
To put green spear points
To dark earth.
Their white roots already
Disturbing the footing
At the corner post
With underground caresses.
This fence of milled
Wood and single purpose
Endures the shudder
That runs the length of
Its timber joints
Each time the gate
Opens and closes
Opens and closes
It will never explore
It will never opinionate
You may lean upon it at will
And it will not give way 
To persuasion.
Its only companion
Is the frost, willing
To conform, willing to stand
The dawn watch during
The last reaches 
Of winter duty.

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