No flowers, no birdies, no butterflies;
Simple to follow, a site for sore eyes.
Now that you found me, I hope you can stay
To find yourself

A Collection of Readers' Favorites
plus NEW VERSE by
Annie W. Small
Author of 5 Slim Volumes
Published by Studio 46 Press
1994 to 2000

~ A Preview for You ~

Under the Influence

The bards I first came to admire
Penned lyrics not suited for lyre;
Their words, non-archaic,
Were hardly prosaic,
And never did preach to the choir.

I knew not of Tennyson's art,
But I knew Lewis Carroll by heart;
Little more than a sprout,
Jabberwocky I'd spout,
To prove to myself I was smart.

As a stripling, though math was too tough,
Rudyard Kipling, I knew off the cuff,
Like My Rival I'd say,
And I'd sing Mandalay,
But I skipped all his scarier stuff.

My untutored tastes, I confess,
Were in tune with old W.S.,*
And I daily devoured
The rhymes of N. Coward,
And Oscar and Moss, more or less.

The coolness of Dorothy P.
Had a warming effect upon me,
And I'd quite unabash-
edly dig Ogden Nash
And the lyrics of cummings, e.e.

I've cited the poets, first string,
Who started me doing my thing;
For the way that I've said it,
Lear's the bard I must credit ~
Here's to Edward, the limerick king!
© Annie W. Small 2002
*(Gilbert, not Shakespeare)

"Annie's delightful poems are very much like her photography*:
original, insightful, playful, witty."
(K.H., art critic and writer)
"Annie's wonderful creative efforts make all who come across them
feel brighter, deeper, sometimes amused and often moved."
(C.W., artist & writer)
*(See link at scroll's end)

~ Contents ~

Annie's Way
I Don't Do Windows
Fool's Gold
Divine Intervention
Sandburg & Me

Mirror, Mirror
I'm Beautiful
The Two in My Locket

Little Annie W.
My Earliest Memory
Schoolyard Scene
I Never Cried for My Dad

The Two of Us
My Ideal Man
If You're Set in Your Ways

Nine-Eleven Blues
Inadequate Words
Common Ground
Fly Me a Banner
Dear Canada
A Rude Awakening

Previously in the Changing Scene
The Oughts and the Shoulds
Quote Unquote
Nothing Fancy

The Changing Scene II
(A Selection of Latest Works)
Annie in Wonderland
Faux Snow
A Pondering at Dawn
My Habit
When Harry Hawk Met Sally Dove
It Ain't Necessary, I Say
Little Old Lady

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my interconnected collection ~



I Don't Do Windows

I don't find demeaning,
It's something I find no time for.
Can't be scrubbing and mopping,
I must do my shopping
For something I'll need a rhyme for.

My floors may lack luster
And I've misplaced my duster
(not virtues I mean to extol).
Can't see your face in my windows?
Well, that's how the wind blows,
To let you see into my soul.
© Annie W. Small 1999


Fool's Gold

Last night I was dreaming
I was dreaming up verse
That spilled from my soul like
Gold coins from a purse.

Its lyrics were models
Of analogous truths,
Like classics of old, sans
The "yeas" and "forsooths."

Its meter was steady
As a welcome Spring rain,
Its rhyming was artless ~
No "rain" and "again."

Its form being faultless,
Of the crop, 'twas the cream;
And folks everywhere could
Relate to its theme.

I stowed my rare treasure,
Though I needn't as yet ~
Such luminous phrases
I'd hardly forget.

Last night I was dreaming
I was dreaming up verse,
But when my eyes opened,
How empty the purse!
© Annie W. Small 2002


Divine Intervention
(A true accouint--which the preacher will swear to.)

You'll never believe my advice to a preacher ~
She had come to me, like student to teacher,
Eager to see her pious verse
Offered to all, in a book,
And I, self-published poet,
Might tell her what it took.

I would gladly give her some tips
On how I did it myself,
But was helpless to help her with
How to get on a bookstore shelf.

The cleric, while passively waiting
For God to show her the way,
Had turned to me, the agnostic,
Who preached to the preacher ~
To pray!

She pondered this thought for a moment,
Like she'd just come across a new diet,
Easy and quick, that might do the trick,
And vowed she would certainly try it!

As I met with this pastoral preacher,
I turned student, she was teacher,
For I learned that I had what she needed ~
Advice that a minister heeded!
© Annie W. Small 2001


Sandburg & Me

Carl Sandburg* and me,
We're as close as can be.
In our mutual poets society
We support each other
Through thick and through thin,
Though I'm a newcomer
And he's a has-been.

Oh, he was so prodigious,
And I am but a pup,
Yet, people treat us equally ~
They mostly pass us up.

What makes us so close,
Carl Sandburg and me?
(Yes, it's Sandburg and I,
but we're licensed, you see.)

If you're ever in this place,
check us out for yourself.
Yes, we share a public space
On a Library shelf!
© Annie W. Small 1997
*(American Poet Carl Sandburg, 1878-1967)

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Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
You do not reflect my self at all.
You show me a granny-type instead
Of the girl I see inside my head.
You show me a "senior" in your glass,
Not the graduate in my senior class.
You give me back what others see
Who take at face value that this is me.

But you taught me to see
Beyond people's looks,
And, like the old adage,
To judge them like books.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
You're the fairest one of all!
© Annie W. Small 1997


I'm Beautiful
(The first musing occurred because I'd nearly
lost my eyesight, and the rest followed.)

My little eyes are beautiful
Because I still can see,
My funny legs are beautiful
Because they carry me,
And because it's mostly there,
I can love my once-red hair.

My hands may sometimes fail me,
But still I have and hold,
My whimsical feet
Are a wonder to behold,
And I'm happy to relate
That my aching back is straight.

As for my falling face,
I'm not afraid to show it;
Accustomed to my face
Are so many glad to know it.

And the beauty of my brain,
Being human, has been shown
(though I sometimes think my brain
has a mind of its own).

I may not have exactly
The shape of my youth,
But I try to stay in shape
And accept nature's truth.

To gravity and time,
My body must be dutiful,
But I can't complain ~
Though it does sound vain,
I'm beautiful.
© Annie W. Small 1997
"I'm Beautiful" is included in the book
"The Older the Fiddle, the Better the Tune"
by Willard Scott and Friends, published 2003 by Hyperion


The Two In My Locket

I brought them back together, in my locket,
Sixty years from the time he went away,
And every night I look into my locket,
Kiss their care-lined faces, and I say:
"Thank you Papa and Mama,
for watching over me today."

The two become one in my mirror,
And I like what I see, despite the gray,
But how strange that the two in my locket
Seem somehow to get younger every day!
© Annie W. Small 1995

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My Earliest Memory

My earliest memory,
In the summer I turned three,
Is of being attacked
By a once-friendly bee ~
And my once-friendly world
Changed instantly.

I'd been stung on the chin,
And cried woefully,
But in that tall meadow
There was no one but me ~
And my once-caring world
Changed instantly.

There must have been someone
Who comforted me,
Who helped me pick daisies,
Who watched over me,
But I felt all alone
In a threatening sea ~
And my once care-free world
Changed instantly.
© Annie W. Small 1995


Schoolyard Scene

There I am,
In cotton stockings
And sausage curls,
Timid and smart,
Standing apart,

Wistfully watching
The other girls,
With their anklet socks
And normal hair,
In their giggling clan
With a secret air.

There I am,
Feeling inferior,
Not knowing they're saying
I think I'm superior.

And here I am,
Knowing I was.
© Annie W. Small 2001


I Never Cried for My Dad

I cried, and they called me "crybaby"
(the baby my father had known?),
I cried as I picked at her good-for-you food,
As my poor mother struggled alone.

I cried, sent at eight for a school year
In the country, where sickly girls board.
I cried for a two-dollar paint set,
And I grabbed what we couldn't afford.

I cried, before school graduation,
For a white dress like other girls had.
Sorrowful tears marked my growing-up years,
But I never cried for my dad.
© Annie W. Small 1980



No glory for me as the good one,
No notice of me as a sad one,
Dragged like a rag doll from jumble to jumble,
Lost in a tenemented, sidewalked jungle,
Where everyone but me knew the score.

Now, all sorted out, in my front-lawned lair,
I am taken, in my dreams, to a new nowhere,
A citified jungle where lions roar,
Where I'm lost and as helpless as ever before,
And where everyone but me knows the score.
© Annie W. Small 1999

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My Ideal Man

My ideal man is a real man
You wouldn't call macho,
A nice guy who isn't a nerd.
He isn't bad looking, but doesn't know it;
He's a fun guy, a responsible guy,
A man who keeps his word.

He's a superman who cooks,
Tends to overspend, on books,
The artist type, the type for me,
Even if he sings off-key.

He honors vows,
Like all others forsaken
And the usual three,
But he's not for you, ladies,
He's already taken ~
By me!
© Annie W. Small 2001



When we moved to the country
That glorious fall,
To our very first house,
That we called Cottage Small,
We had country roads and a country store,
And milk every morning at the door.

And now we reside in a house big enough
To house our computers and forty years of stuff,
On a street nice enough, but not rural at all,
Just a five-minute drive to the nearest mall,
And with six supermarkets, we have it all,
With a four-lane highway around the bend,
And lines of traffic that never end,
And the corner stop for the county bus;
But it wasn't our fate to relocate ~
Suburban sprawl
Had come to us.

Yes, we lost our old location
But moved not at all,
And home sweet home
Is still Cottage Small!
© Annie W. Small 2001


If You're Set in Your Ways

If you're set in your ways
And you're spending your days
With that someone who's equally caring,
You pay little heed
That you're going to seed,
And you count up the blessings you're sharing.

If you've gone out of style,
Still wearing that smile,
And you can't bear the music they're playing,
You hum an old air
As you rock in your chair,
And you couldn't care less what they're saying.

If a move makes good sense,
But your side of the fence,
Though seedy, is much more appealing,
You pass up the hassle
And sneeze at that castle
In Spain, or in France,
Or Darjeeling.
© Annie W. Small 2001

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Inadequate Words
(Penned 9/12/01)

Distant witness to disaster,
to old catastrophes with names
now casually mentioned,
and one too new to be named,
too calamitous to comprehend,
too threatening to take in,
we seek out each other for solace,
with words that feel like we're saying,
"What terrible weather we're having!"
© Annie W. Small 2001


Common Ground

Who ever thought I would get an e-note
from the likes of a guy like Rod,
a cowboy-type in Texas,
who begins with a "Howdy"
and closes with "Your pard,"
who had nothing in common with Bronx-bred me
than a penchant for penning poetry.

With a "Bless your heart"
and a thank-you for checking his link,
he told me September's tragedy
showed him courage and humanity
that no longer let him think
of New York as a country apart.

We fly our nation's banner
and applaud every hero,
New Yorker and Texan
with common ground zero.
© Annie W. Small 2001


Fly Me a Banner
(In response to a Canadian's flag-waving poem after 9/11)

Give me the scarlet Maple Leaf,
Give me the Union Jack,
When there's justice and peace
For all mankind,
And there's no turning back.

Give me Old Glory, and all of the rest,
When humankind is none but the best,
When flags are flown to honor
Each country of our birth;
And above all, fly me a banner,
The proud and free banner of Earth!
© Annie W. Small 2001


Dear Canada
(Prompted by the same as above)

Being in the shadow
of the good old USA
may have bred some resentment,
before events today.

You're the nice, quiet one
who gets nary a mention,
your celebrity sibling
commanding attention.

You're like the great Chicago ~
it really is a pity,
most New Yorkers know it
as just the Windy City.

Chicagoans grew weary
of talk, talk, talk
about the great and glamorous
New Yawk, New Yawk.

New Yorkers saw Canada
as up there, right at hand,
to let one pay a visit
to a friendly foreign land.

Now dark days are upon us,
and you're there for us, it's true,
as America is covered
with the red, white and blue.

Of course you're supportive,
as you've been ever thus ~
in your place, I'd be thinking,
Thank God it wasn't us!
© Annie W. Small 2001


A Rude Awakening
(Pillow Notes)

This morning, an airplane
Thundered down on my head
As I lay, deep in sleep,
In my warm little bed.

In the midst of a dream,
When reality struck,
It occurred to my mind
That I'd run out of luck.

My dream was a sweet one,
Which is all I recall,
For the roar of the jet
Put an end to it all.

'Twas not a disaster,
Still attached is my head,
And a new day awaits me,
When I roll out of bed!
© Annie W. Small 2001

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The Oughts and the Shoulds
If I waken and lie there, daydreaming,
with my back to the face of the clock,
morning guilt rears its head,
and I'm bounced out of bed,
while my musings fly off in a flock.

If I fiddle around at the piano
with Beethoven, Mozart or Bach,
I hear Mama's voice say,
"It's too nice of a day,"
and I bow out and trot 'round the block.

If I scribble away at my desktop,
when I meant just to search for a wok,
then the Oughts and the Shoulds
overpower the Coulds,
and my thoughts and my Dell run amok.

Having filed my complaint, I'm unloading
my good-for-naught, guilty-edged stock,
to make my heart sing
while I'm doing my thing,
and the Oughts and the Shoulds, poppycock!
© Annie W. Small 2003


Quote Unquote
"I must go down to the seas again,
To the lonely sea and the sky," *
Which is how I would feel at a nice, even keel,
But my stomach says don't even try.

I must go down to the sea again,
To sport in the waves with the kelp,
But for all I know an undertow
Could carry me way beyond help.

I must go down to the sea again,
On the soft, warm sand I would lie,
But not if old Sol might ignite my thin skin,
Or if sand might be kicked in my eye.

"Praise the sea, on shore remain," **
Was much better said, there's no doubt,
Than, "I do admire a pretty scene,
From the inside, looking out." ***
© Annie W. Small 2003
* From Sea Fever by John Masefield, 1878-1967
** By John Florio, 1553-1625
*** From Nature Lover by AWS 1923-


Nothing Fancy
(This first addressed fellow poets in my online forum)

Lacking both imagination
and a higher education,
I receive my inspiration
from the memoirs in my head.

A compelling introspection
of no commonplace collection,
plus a penchant for perfection
paves the pathway that I tread.

I may grope for words in speaking,
and my mem'ry may need tweaking,
but I loose my tongue-in-cheeking
on the patient page instead.

I abstain from affectation,
and I love alliteration.
Lest I stain my reputation,
enough said.
© Annie W. Small 2003

(A Selection of Latest Works)

Annie in Wonderland

"You are old, Mother Annie," the young man said,
"(Though to me you look far from a fright)
Yet you're constantly turning out rhymes to be read -
Do you think, at your age, this is right?"

"In my youth," said the rhymster, "my talents were few,
But my woes and my sorrows were many;
And now that I'm blessed, and can do what I do,
My poems are ten for a penny."

"You were bald, Mother Annie," the youth did declare,
"And I see you're not wearing a hat;
Yet today you are looking uncommonly fair;
Pray, what is the reason for that?"

"In '03," she replied, as she shook her gold locks,
"My beseeching, in bald-headed prayer,
Produced two small miracles - one of de-tox,
The other, a full head of hair."

"You are old, Mother Annie; one would hardly suppose
That your mind is as active as ever,
Yet on the computer your rhymes you compose;
What makes you so awfully clever?"

"You are being too kind," was the humble reply,
"I just do what I do, 'sakes alive;
I know cleverer rhymsters, older than I,
And I'm hardly a hundred and five!"
© Annie W. Small 2004

* * * * * * *

Faux Snow

The poet and her better half went to bed
At their usual midnight hour;
The shades, they were drawn
To hold back the dawn,
With the aid of prescription pill power.

They said their goodnights, and went their own ways
In the fanciful Land of Nod;
Then, wouldn't you know,
He got up to go
At three, which was not at all odd.

The poet and her better half broke their fast
At their usual mid-morning time;
He was reading his news,
She was needing her muse,
When he looked up and said (not in rhyme):

"I saw quite a sight that fooled me, at first,
When I got up to go, you know:
The lawn was snow white,
Just a trick of moonlight."
"Eureka!" she cried,
"Faux Snow!"
© Annie W. Small 2004

* * * * * * *

A Pondering at Dawn

To people who people my dreams,
who know where they're going, it seems,
to faceless forms in a nameless city
who pass me by, not taking pity
on someone trying to find her way
back home, wandering more astray,
someone stopping to try and choose
from a tangle of alleys and avenues,
having no notion of where is home,
feeling forever fated to roam--
am I one of the passersby who seems
to know where she's going,
in their dreams?
© Annie W. Small 2004

* * * * * * *

(With apologies to Joyce Kilmer)

I thought that I would never see
The sky behind that giant tree,
That pine that stood across the street,
That made my vista incomplete
When looking out from Cottage Small,
That tilting tree I prayed would fall.

While from my kitchen I did stare,
In sixty-four, they planted there
Two puny pines, to flank the drive.
One of the pair did not survive
A stormy wind in eighty-one;
The other stretched to block my sun.

When winds pruned woodlands here around,
That lonesome pine, it stood its ground.
A force much greater struck today
And opened up my view. Hooray!
Poems are aped by fools like me,
But, thank God, woodsmen felled that tree!
© Annie W. Small 2004

* * * * * * *

My Habit
(With apologies to R.L. Stevenson)

I have a little habit that's been long attached to me,
And what can be the use of it is something you will see.
It is very, very like me, when my mind is in a mist,
To clarify my thinking with a nicely drawn up list.

I itemize my things to do, and where to go and when,
And look up where my stash is kept when I can't find my pen;
That is, if I locate my list that says where stuff would be--
A handy guide, if squirreled things don't shift around on me.

In manner alphabetical, I catalog my works
Of poetry, photography, and such. The thing that irks
Is, sometimes, when I need to find a picture or a rhyme,
I can't recall the name I gave it once upon a time.

Today, I went out shopping for my fam'ly to be fed;
Had I with me that note I wrote, I'd not forget the bread.
But, still, my little habit isn't one to be dismissed;
This treatise that came out of it will go upon a list!
© Annie W. Small 2004

* * * * * * *

When Harry Hawk Met Sally Dove

When Harry Hawk met Sally Dove,
He knew he'd found his one true love.
He set about doing
Some serious wooing,
And soon they were lovebirds,
A'billing and cooing.

Like birds of a feather,
They stuck close together,
Till Big Chief White Hawk
(whom she didn't elect,
and for whom Harry Hawk
had a world of respect)
Uttered squawks to attack,
Ere invading Iraq.

It was then Harry Hawk
Showed his warrior side
To his peace-loving Sal,
His soon-to-be bride.

But she knew her own mind,
And she joined her own kind
In a'rallying for
"Make Love, Not War!"

While she cried out for peace,
Harry flew off to war.
Big Chief White Hawk regrets
Harry Hawk is no more.
© Annie W. Small 2004

* * * * * * *

It Ain't Necessary, I Say

No sermon I'll piously preach,
To approve, or disparage, or teach,
But I question a term
That makes oldtimers squirm
At that three-letter figure of speech.

Now, Noah, he saved, two by two,
The creatures you'd find at a zoo;
No couples were "gay,"
In the sense of today,
Or we'd know that the story's untrue.

It ain't necessary, I say,
To use g-a-y in that way,
For, that word we avoid
In our songs leaves a void,
And we're no longer happy and gay.
© Annie W. Small 2004

* * * * * * *

Little Old Lady

Yes, I may have shrunk a little,
And I'm classified as old,
And I guess you could say I'm a lady,
But I'm filing my objection
To such placement in a mold
That stigmatizes little old lady.

In these days of color blindness
And "politically correct,"
And with prejudicial practices shady,
Jokers jab at certain figures
They feel free to disrespect--
Very often it's the little old lady!

Though I can't be protest-marching,
I won't take it lying down,
Not this not-so-very-little bold lady.
Some day, they may pay tribute
To grande dames, in every town,
With a statue of a Little Old Lady.
© Annie W. Small 2004

Annie Small
This is me, July 2003

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