September-A Birthday Month

This month holds my birthday a new grand-daughter’s, a sister-in-law, a daughter-in-law’s mother, my step-mother and my ancient black dog.  I am expected to provide poems and art.

This summer brought an unusual gift a ‘grand-daughter’ almost 17 who is Sudanese.  She recently celebrated 17 and I used the occasion to write her a welcome to the family poem.  I’ve done this for every new child and this warm and talented young lady deserved no less.  (She is also a poet.)  Here is her art and her poem.

Tulip From a Spring Garden in Nebraska

Tulip From a Spring Garden in Nebraska


 On a soft summer evening

bathed in moisture laden air,

a new bloom rich in midnight velvet

shown like a sudden sun into our lives.


The bright bud blown by unexpected winds

landed in many different places but

the fickle wind never left the young bud

alone long enough to take root and blossom.


Her bright bloom fell into our lives

to perfectly fill the empty place in our garden.

Our family garden glows with many flowers.

We welcomed each with words of love.


So, welcome Nya, to our crazy quilt bed of flowers.

You fit right into the song our blossoms sing.

Hello to your sudden sun smile and

hello to your midnight velvet stalk and leaves.

Janice Eskridge © 2014

A Peony-Rose Birthday Bouquet

A Peony-Rose Birthday Bouquet


layer upon layer

budding flowers

flowing into being

on growing stems

making us who we are

what we will become

layer upon layer

flowers grow

vibrant petals of youth

fling themselves

against the darker

petals of sorrow


they create a backdrop

for the bursts of bold pink

that toss golden tips

careless into the air

here come the mellowing peach

patiently they all mix

until we are still blooming and growing

here we are with decades of rapturously spreading blooms

trailing without thought of pattern or care

up and down our stems

magically grown strong and straight inside ourselves

to hold us bravely into the sunlight and rain

fed by the years, the love, the care

that show us


Janice Eskridge 2014

(Note:  This poem can be read both directions.  It was written for a 70th birthday and is meant to show the joy of growing older from a person further along on the journey.  I will be 72 tomorrow so am qualified to speak. )

About Winding Stream Press

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge, M.F.A. is a poet who worked for over a decade as a poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools. Helen Shoemaker, Ph.D. L.M.F.T. is a university professor who teaches in the areas of child development and counseling. She is also a therapist in private practice.
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