Hi poetry peeps: Here you will find poems separated into The Four Seasons, and Life and Times. 
More categories may be added. Check in from time to time to see what's new. Thank you for reading. If you'd like to comment, you can email me: kfernsuess@gmail.com. 



borrowed from a vagabond

in a down jacket

greyed with winter

and cigarette smoke


of poetry recited in parked cars

and library steps

graceful bony fingers painting images

of newfoundland

and chairs on pulleys

and the stark landscape


crackling brown eyes

pleading for something

unknown to me 



borrowed from a vagabond

of a used-to-be blue jacket

emitting feathers

like newborn chicks


of a laugh that stabs at trees

in lacy white coats

voice like gravel in the night

Dostoevsky entwined in his meanderings

Kafka overseeing a frugal life

made rich with forays into rooms

of willing women who listen to

poetry recited
as he crushes their resolve

Winter Haiku

Soft powdery snow

sugar coating covers deck

chairs idling till spring

Winter Poem 

I am the Duchess of layering,
a wizardess of wool.
embracing winter with gusto

Though I long for mittens to type
I tire quickly of the moaning
the whining and the gripe

Bring it on! I say
Though even nighttime tunneling
cannot prevent cold hair
I will not lean to despair


published Chronogram, Feb. 2018


October Moves

Mid October sees windows

snap their mouths shut

against the chill air

Bird chatter is hushed in a

church like whisper

Wind chimes,

like admonished children,

are seen but not heard

Socks urgently rush 

duty bound, from drawers

plates clatter with cold from the cabinets

the oatmeal box marches confidently

to the forefront


Without struggle

the house adapts this quietude

then quickly switches

to the clatter of logs

dropping to the basement floor

furnace rocks and rumbles

The dehumidifier nods to duty well done

Until next year


Mid November and the sudden cold snap

bites me in the ass like a vicious dog

My crooked finger wails with pain

I curse those autumn lovers who

Knew this was coming

And nonetheless

hailed the harbinger

the brown, the orange, the gold,

the dead leaves of autumn

October 2019 Guest Poet: Jeff Mansfield

Having tested my surroundings
battered my Rams
pulled things out of hats unknownst to man;
kindled the craven fire
drawn black on my arteries
and color coded the universe,
There is nothing more I can do today.


Tomorrow, no doubt
I will blunder past reason
trade convention for beads
mock sleep
and wreak vengeance on my intentions,
But today there is nothing more I can do.

Autumn Drops it's Veil

The house next door comes into view
from the upstairs bathroom window.
November, and the green lush curtain of summer is suddenly swept aside
In its place, leaves, yellow, rust, and brown
twirl and rush to betray my privacy


Long antennaed brown seed bugs,
mistaken for brown marmorated stink bugs,
invade the house,
landing high up on walls and drapes
they cling tenaciously to their slow life
ready for that lethal blow,
that strong scent released at death
fighting, their last valiant effort

Autumn drops its veil upon us.
Wet, brownness all around
Sweaters must appear
scarves must protect
farewell bare feet.

Give Away Day


Equal amounts of leaves on trees
as on the ground

brilliant above

withered below

crunchy scattering underfoot,
a pa
rched smell hoovers the air

folks rub their hands together
with expectation in the

early morning chill.


Give away day at the library

Bibliophiles eager, quiet, purposeful

The ringing of a cell phone draws frowns

and disapproving glances

This old barn is the anti-technology


An empty coffee can

sits on a rickety card table

outside the barn door

Donations accepted

several other handmade signs

tacked up inside the barn

printed in shades of dried out markers


formerly stuffed boxes

lie empty on the tables

Still the book seekers search busily,

like squirrels foraging for nuts

soiled canvas bags bursting at their feet

Winters coming

Books will be needed.



The Almost Entrance of June

May fades, begins to saunter away in a hazy morning
while June waits eagerly in the wings
quarantining has given new meaning to
nature awareness

grateful of the opportunity
grateful of health maintained,
the natural habitat of a house set in woods with pond
where flora and fauna abound
dictates that certain wildlife, fowl, and fur
begin to assert themselves

Two scampering chipmunks use the deck
for their daily travels
Why can’t they go around?

A horny Tom turkey makes himself known each
late afternoon and early evening
with loud and incessant screeches sounding like
a barking dog, more than a gobble, gobble.
He puffs up his body and struts,
spreads his tail feathers like a peacock
No females in sight, he wanders from front to back yard, finally making his way desultorily up into the woods, feathers still puffed out, like a nasty ole blowhard.


Ants tangle and wiggle together on the tile floor. Are they coupling or is one saving the other from sudden death after exiting from the poison ant motels in the corners?


Geese, two or four or six or eight, arrive with great honking fanfare each morning,
careening into the pond with a sudden splashdown,
akin to a Boeing 747, wheels down for a quick landing. 
They swim and dunk and pond-argue with each other,
then come out to graze and poop on the lawn
As dusk descends, they waddle up the driveway to prepare for takeoff,
where they gather and honk loudly, before taking off with a great noisy display. 

A red tailed hawk screes overhead,
perches imperiously on the deck railing,
reminding all who’s boss of his kingdom.


Joy comes full force as sliding doors
and windows are opened
to a slight breeze that is Spring. 


Yet the joy comes with a price
one is reminded once again of the flies, gnats, wasps lurking nearby,


Frogs, lawn mowers, weed wackers, buzz saws…
soon they will make their presence known.

Spring Haikus

when will the green come?                         

to sooth winter weary eyes                          lone robin waits patiently 


morning nods its song                                

lime green spreads slowly across               

maples, oaks, birches.                                    

laughing lemon drops                                

spreading across green landscape 

dandelions tease 
(published in Chronogram, May 2019)                                            

Ohayo Mountain Road                               forsythia bedazzles                                  winding yellow curves       


How Many Signs of Spring are Found on a May Day?

A mammoth ant appears from nowhere,
marches across the white counter

to commandeer my crumbs

I swipe him away; he hits the floor,

takes his mission elsewhere


The sweet scent of viburnum rolls around the corner
on a gentle breeze, drifts into the kitchen,
thick and spicy, compelling
I drop my lunch and track the scent,

like a teenaged girl following a musky scented male
down a crowded school hallway


Outside I grow saddened by the daffodils
as they fade and nod,
worn out and resigned, like former beauty queens
forced to hand over the reigning garden crown
to the statuesque perfumed lilacs


Lilies of the Valley push hither and yon;

the circle so carefully planted last year
resembles now a hastily scattered display

as greenlings, prepare to unfurl

share their sweet scented tiny white bell clusters


The placid pond reflects a lime blush from eager trees
and with the May sky’s bright blue face,  
creates a blue and green liquid tapestry.


A pair of geese repose statue-like and unawares
under a Japanese maple
resembling a placid old couple
bench sitting in a park


I crank open windows
stretching and breaking
accumulated winter cobwebs.

Chimes tickle the air 
Birdsong trills from the trees

How many signs of spring on a May day?

I Like
published Chronogram April 2020

I like my toast light,
my coffee dark,
my men well mannered

I like my sunsets pink and orange
my clouds fluffy,
men who can still dream

I dream of beaches
canyons, puppies,
ribbons, glitter
loving hands

I see pain
feel pain
know pain
dream anyway.


Twice the Monarch fluttered and danced

in front of my face

Flaunting its brilliance

in black edged orange and gold


Startled once

then again

I felt a chill

Whisper thru the hairs on my arm

Was it telling me something?


June Morning

and the ant struggles slowly
across the tile
hauling a crumb half the size of his body


and the butter in the dish
on the counter is soft and spreadable on the hillocks of the olive ciabatta slice


and the pollen dust,
yellow and fluffy
settles softly on every flat surface


and the bull frogs in the pond honk
moaning for a mate

and the red tailed hawk
and the red winged Blackbird
and the red throated hummingbird
and the purple finch
and Mrs. Cardinal
and the spirit of Benny the Bluebird

and they call, in screes and warbles, tweets and chirps
and they soar and glide, fly and flutter
in their sky traveling ways
and my hair expands to greet the muggy morning

Plums are Summer

Plums are a screened porch

On a rainy day

The musty smell of old cushions on a sagging divan

faint mist of cool rain easing through the screens

Lazy July days of rummy, Sorry!, Monopoly, Masquerade Party


Plums are hammock swinging under the birch trees

Faded shorts on straight skinny legs

Plums are sour skin breaking thru to
dark red pulpy inside

Juice dripping down the hand

Plums are savoring the pit till all pulp is sucked off

Chewing on it till you forget what it was

Plums are summer

June Morning at Calamar

And the green is of trees and leaves

and grass and weeds

and yellow undersides that tease

Whispering its softly, lulling breeze


And the lilt and chirp and Mozart songs

of birds who soar

And swoop in blue and white and black and yellow

Cruising red in wise symphonic splendor


And the grey smooth slate of chunky ends

And rust embedded corners lying next to next

And end to end, on bottom, on top

Curving, sliding, arranged in studied disarray


And the two foot weed so dark

And fuzzy, droopy one leaf wonder nodding

And swaying, proudly defying, pushing forth

Saggy, upside down purple, covert blossoms


And the worn out table staid and square

And stolidly sitting in wood-like wonder

And reposing in vague uneasiness

Scarred tribute waning, fading in relief


And the Jessie dog lies panting, panting

And pink tongue hanging, hoping

And shade insufficient under boat dog house

Wishing for cool, wood warped table shade


And the woodpecker rat-a-tat-tats

and drums and bangs and hammers his native beat

And bores in undisguised tenacity

Slamming the house in drilling, pounding holes


And the black taut fly of green iridescent cape

And spinning, buzzing, racing intentions

And droning, circling, suggesting, landing,

Hoping for skin and sweat, not swat


And the cottage quaint and faintly smoky

And sleepy cool and green alone there

Alive with moist and showy ferns

Winding cobbled path tiptoeing to forgotten door


And the sting of friendless words

And the memory of laughless conversation

And the wonder of nature’s backyard comfort

Soothing, smoothing wrinkled emotions

Poems from Tablecloth Nights, a Memoir

All Day the Urge
To shout it out
To the hilltops, to all ears
Even as bees buzz on the deck
Drone in harmony, seek refuge
As squares are stitched together
Side by side
Top to bottom
As groceries find their way into basket
Chicken beside rice
Beside green bananas
Ripening even as I have the urge
As second gear slips into third
As clutch moans softly
As Jessie dog trails tongue to the wind
Even as conscience reminds
Respect their wishes
The tradition of secrets
Even as I know that shame
Is all that stands between revelation and
Respect for privacy
Even as I know how secrets
Worm their way
Out of closets
Out of respect
All day the urge
To shout it out.

Comes a Time
those hurried school mornings
Looking down at my feet
ensconced in scuffed oxfords
navy blue, color of my life
his firm jaw working
above a starched white collar

“Take them off, they need a shine”
At the table he spreads a sheet of the
Journal American, completed puzzle face up
fishes out the small round can of Kiwi polish
from under the kitchen sink,
the shiny, scented rag, the worn brush
stained brown and black and blue
I wait in stocking feet

Meticulously he applies the paste,
rubs and rubs, brushes, and buffs
“Here” he says, his voice softened
My cold feet slip quickly into place
I feel the insides still warm from his hands.


I left home without 
my cell phone
but didn’t miss it
didn’t need it

the absence of its dull weight
freed me 
to devote my attention 
to the very large footed woman
in the cafe 
and her cell phone

and her fascinating 
pink sneakers
with tongues painted blue with white clouds,
and rainbow stripes circling the rubber soles

My eyes are drawn to her phone
I watch with text envy 
her thumbs wiggle madly,
displaying brilliant texting expertise  
far beyond my own limited 
single middle finger jabbing technique

I rue the inability to train my errant thumbs
to perform swift acrobatic 
sit-ups over the edges
of my phone

But in truth I envy 
her pink sneakers more.


My Wooded Path

...resembles a game board of

child’s pick up stix

littered by deliberate winds

Past the felled whiteness of the old stately birch

I hear the roar of

Spring’s rejuvenated stream

running like a wild child

raucously tickling the ear

chortling happily over rock steps


Froth builds like washday around

matted piles of brown leaves

snags stick stubs

trickles down atop

pale lettuce-stamped rocks


Morning is sanctified here

Rain blackened trees eagerly await

the imminent kiss of morning sun

Brown carpet complements

the mossy green smattering of feathered firs

Herein lies the altar to pray


they taught us about
nuns in fresh scented white garments
we sat primly
dressed in eternal navy blue
retaining what made sense
forgetting what we didn’t like
they hoped we would remember
years later when back seat
shenanigans took place
we didn’t

Soft Sliver of Time

Somnambulating in the soft sliver of time,

mushy, cushioned niche lulls

before full wakefulness

before physical or emotional discomfort or
life’s burdens threaten with

piercing fingers.


Somnambulating before awareness of age

or chapter in life

slaps like ice water

before frustrations
or fiascos strut into view

before deadlines, or lack of deadlines.


Somnambulating before cognition
of loss or grief

grips tightly in sore awareness

before a niggling hint of annoyance

chips at a perceived

or insignificant hurt                                         

Somnambulating in the soft sliver of time

the fleeting split-second ledge

of comfort and equanimity

Resting within the delicate fissure

twixt sleep and wakefulness

Holding tight to a brief and flawless reverie

Going to see Mary

If I could bring to Mary

one thing
one thing to the city
to the chill of her hospital room

one thing
to coax a smile to her face,

that wide, wide smile that crinkles her eyes,

closing them in delight


I would bring her the sounds

of a quiet village on a spring morning

She would revel in the chirping and tweeting

of the May happy birds,

broken by the soft grunting muffler of a
passing red pick-up truck


I would bring Mary

the sweet fragrance of late blooming lilacs

and early blooming phlox,

parsed delicately by the sweet aroma

of morning pancakes floating thru scented air


I would bring Mary

the sight of the smug black cat

with debonair white mustache

as he steps gingerly in the display window,

reaching a sunny spot to warm himself


I would bring Mary

the vision of one hundred yellow iris

standing tall and proud on Tinker Street,


I would bring her the green vista of
Spring in Woodstock

the hand sized leaves of the mighty oak,

the delicate, dancing leaves of the birch trees,

the just past-bloom petals of the grand magnolia,

relaxed now, after it’s exuberant pink display.


I would bring Mary

the smiles of all who love her,

that she might imprint them

inside her eyelids to dream on,

to know how we all care

I would bring Mary

all these things from my heart,

and press them to her,

then wait to see that wide, wide smile

that crinkles her eyes

closing them in delight.

The Wiz with the Sciz


so much more than a haircut



neuroses exchange


hip hop hipster

be-bop bipster

talk of the hood


banter spills out

fast, faster,

snip-snap snipster

clumps of bray hair

hit the black and white checkered floor


a quiet man listens on the zebra striped bench

chartreuse molding collects curlicues of dark hair


“Stigs” says the Wiz

my grandfather

the greatest ballplayer on the planet

he lived in Kingston

people said he was shit.

Two Hawks

Two hawks and a great widespread owl in my dream

a large, nubby red wool sweater lies in the woods

Is it a sweater installation I asked the brothers?


"Over educated is the new black" my pencil states

as it whines thru the sharpener

Rice Krispies stick to fuchsia sox

My egg is a pathetic substitute for a Churchill egg,

it's pale frightened yolk with runny white

scampers to the edges of the black skillet.


Hibiscus and geraniums, plump and bulky,

coral and Pepto-Bismol pink,

protest loudly in in the living room

Take me back outside!


Pain reminds me of who I am these days

my right arm captive and useless

observes the left fingers tapping the keys

letter by painstaking letter.

Radio drones

Washing machine hums

Coffee soothes.

Image ©2018 kathleen suess