Musings about life on Earth in all its aspects…

Links to My Poetry Posted On Line

Here are links to various poems of mine that may be found on the internet.

“Pink Angels” (After De Kooning’s 1954 painting of the same name), May 12, 2016, The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing (On-line literary journal):


“Imbrued Angels” (After Simberg’s 1902 painting, “The Wounded Angel”), Feb 20, 2016, The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing (On-line literary journal):


“Jacob’s Angels” (After Marc Chagall’s 1977 print, “Jacob’s Dream”), Feb 25, 2016, The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing (On-line literary journal):


“Angel, Falling” (After Jagoda Buic’s woven sculpture “Fallen Angel, 1967), The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing (On-line literary journal):


“Skull of Sirius, Crossbones of Cassiopeia”

“The Chase”

“Daylight’s Starring Role”


“Magisterial Moon”

All five poems published on The Syzygy Poetry Journal, Issue 3, April 4, 2016


“Cerebellum’s Fire” – Winner of the 2016 Kansas Voices Poetry Award, May 7, 2016. Posted on my blog, Phanaerozoic:


“fifteen panes of glass” – 3rd place winner of Zingara Poet 2016 Haiku Contest, Jan 2016:


“Stand By Me” – pif Magazine (On-line Journal) Feb 1, 2016


“Fables for Children of the North” (Silver Birch Press – Mythic Poetry Series) Oct 28, 2014


“At Night in the Southern Rockies”


“Canada Bound”

All three poems excerpted from my book, Music I Once Could Dance To, at the web page We Wanted To Be Writers, Sep 15, 2014




“Oh, Come Share”

Both appeared on The Light Ekphrastic web site Aug 20, 2014:


“Front doors” – a cinquain published as part of Kansas Poet Laureate Wyatt Townely’s Homewords Project. Published Apr 2014:


“Cancion De Amor” – Kansas Humanities Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

“Lincoln’s Horse” – Kansas Humanities Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

“For a Distant Friend” – Kansas Humanities Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

“Prayer of Letting Go” – Kansas Humanities Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

“Under the cold moon” – haiku – Kansas Humanities Council Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

“Hymnal” – Kansas Humanities Council Pin-up Poetry, April 2014


“Train Sounds” – Straylight Magazine On-line, April 28, 2014



“Tree Shadows”

Both at my entry on Map of Kansas Literature


“Oceans of Kansas” Feb 24, 2014, Kansas Time + Place

“Initiation Song from the Prairie” Dec 2, 2013, Kansas Time + Place

“Encore” Aug 11, 2014, Kansas Time + Place

“After the Storm” Mar 3, 2014, Kansas Time + Place

“KaSantatieh” Feb 11, 2013, Kansas Time + Place

“A Kansas Farmwife’s Snow Song” Nov 19, 2011, Kansas Time + Place

“We Discuss the Geomorphology of Life” Apr 5, 2011, Kansas Time + Place



“In Kansas to Stay” Kansas Poems

2016 Kansas Voices Contest

Pleased to report that my poems, “Staying Warm,” and “Cerebellum’s Fire,” won first place in the Free Verse and Traditional Poetry categories, respectively, in the 27th Annual Kansas Voices Writing Contest. “Cerebellum’s Fire” also took the Overall Award for Poetry.


image   – Roy Beckemeyer

Ways of the Wind

In Volume 12 (2014) of Kansas City Voices, my poem, “Ways of the Wind,” inspired by a vivid image described by poet Xanath Caraza in a few lines of her poem, “Matilde en la Hamaca,” appeared on page 74. I am reprinting it here as an example of the use of an epigraph and how that epigraph can illuminate the interplay between the visions of two poets.

Ways of the Wind

“There she was
In her yellow dress
And her hair open to adventure…”
Xanath Caraza, from the poem
“Matilde en la Hamaca”

The wind had its way with her hair,
made it flow and twist, turned
its movements liquid, its strands
currents of streams braiding
the valley of the Brahmaputra.

The wind had its way with her hair,
brushed it with bergamot
oils from Calabria,
bathed it in the moist breaths
of benedictions, prayers
for intercession mouthed by
processions of faithful
in the plaza Catedral Basílica
de la Virgen de la Asunción

The wind had its way with her hair,
used it, strand by strand, to catch
all the hues of a Sinai sunset,
as if it were yarn carded
for a coat of many colors.

The wind had its way with her hair,
sent it searching the leniency
of her neck, the Sahara slopes of
her shoulders, had it conform
to its caresses, its advances, its
countless ways with love.

– Roy Beckemeyer

Five of My Poems on Syzygy Poetry Journal’s Vol. 1, Issue 3.

Pleased to have five of my poems on the on-line literary magazine The Syzygy Poetry Journal. Link to them here:

“Skull of Sirius, Crossbones of Cassiopeia” is a sci-fi sort of a poem. “The Chase” a sort of mythological one, with Orion and the canids chasing the moon across the sky. “Daylight’s Starring Role” is a sort of extended metaphor, with the arrival of dawn the lifting of a stage curtain. “Sunset” imagines the setting sun seen through a fluttering dragonflies wings and stretches that image into some other but related metaphoric ones. “Magisterial Moon” is a sort of adult nursery rhyme personification of the Moon and Sun.

Hope you enjoy.

  • Roy Beckemeyer, April 12, 2016

A Christmas Memory in Poetry – “Christmas Interregnum”

Thanks to Nancy Julien Kopp for her reminder to us all to write down our Christmas memories for our children and grandchildren. Here is my 2010 poem, “Christmas Interregnum.”

Looking like the last
Of the three Magi
My brother trudges through snow
Behind our two sisters.
His left mitten
Trails behind,
Tethered to him
By yarn the color
Of the cedars of Lebanon.

A rookery of nuns
Awaits us in the schoolyard,
The black of their
Black and white habits
Stark against the white,
The white blending with the snow.
Black veils over white wimples
Make them look like
The penguins in our geography books.

Morning Mass is full of the smells
Of evergreen boughs and beeswax,
Incense and wet wool,
And the lemony oil our mothers used
To wax the pews.
We stand, sit and kneel
With our hands folded
While the snowflakes
Studding our caps and coats
Slump and melt,
Beading our clothes with droplets
That briefly encapsulate
The warm light of Christmas candles
In their round cold wetness
Before dripping off
To puddle on the slate floor.

Through ice-sparkled
Schoolroom windows,
We watch the wasted brilliance
Of winter’s first snow;
Having to go to school
A whole half-day
Before the holiday vacation
Is penance enough
Without this purgatory.
But the wait for morning recess
Is just a small preview,
A preparation,
A prediction
Of the longer wait awaiting us
On Christmas Eve.

At last Sister Michael takes up
The hand bell.
Holding it in both hands,
She fills the hall
With its brass reverberations
And we are rescued,
Resuscitated by recess.

The ceremony of pulling on
Still-wet coats and mittens,
Ear-flapped hats
That tie under our chins,
And squeaky-wet galoshes,
Is completed in record time.
We all know that
Snow down the neck
Awaits any slowpoke straggler.

Facing an untrodden school yard
In black rubber boots
Is like having
A clean white page of paper
And a newly sharpened
Ticonderoga # 2 pencil in your hand.

The pent-up pressure
Of seventy-three kids
In single-file best-behavior
In the nun-lined hallways
Propels us out the door
And down the steps
Into a jostling chaos
Of splendid, snowy exuberance.
Soon snow angels
And snow-tag wheels
And names written in snow
Are everywhere and the snow
That isn’t packed down by feet
Is filling up boots,
Being rubbed in faces,
Rolled into balls
Or flung into the air.

By the time Father Schoen arrives.
Smelling of cigars and mothballs,
With the cold outside air still clinging
To his black clothes,
Our splotchy red cheeks,
Still cold as snowballs,
Are the only sign of recess
Remaining in the classroom.

He will quiz us on the Catechism,
Twisting the cheeks of those
Who can’t answer correctly,
Or quickly enough,
Between his thumb and index finger,
Marking them as the reddest
Of the red cheeked students
Of St. Anthony’s Parochial School.

At long last noon arrives,
And with it St. Nicholas,
Appropriately announced
By Sister Michael’s bell.
His red vestments and red mitre
And golden crosier
Light the classroom
Like a blazing Yule-log.

He gives us each a gift:
A brown paper bag
Holding a juicy fresh orange,
A polished red apple,
A candy cane,
And a picture of the Nativity scene,
Blessed by St. Nicholas himself.
Then he makes the Sign of the Cross
Over our heads with his
Ringed right hand,
Blessing us as well.

Going home, we can no longer tell
The street from the sidewalk,
The sidewalk from the yards,
And after a block
It is so cold
That the snow does not melt
As it falls thickly onto our treat bags.
Children drift off
In all directions,
Bundles of dark wool,
Against the bright whiteness.

My brother calls out
“Wait for me”
To my sisters;
His mitten is again
Tobogganing behind him
As he catches snowflake
After snowflake
In his small bare hand,
Delighting in each unique,
Christmas treasure.

The air is full of snowflakes,
Full of the smell
Of the freshly broken orange in my hand,
Full at last of the promise,
The certainty,
The familiar and longed-for
Reign of Christmastime.

by Roy Beckemeyer, December, 2010

Posted December, 2015


Interview Conducted for Kansas Public Radio by Kaye McIntyre Aired September 20, 2015

During the Kansas Notable Book Awards, Kaye McIntyre of Kansas Public Radio interviewed the Notable Book Awardees including yours truly. Here is the link to the program, which aired on September 20, 2015.


My interview and reading occurs about 35 minutes into the program.


  • Roy Beckemeyer

Interview in The Active Age

Check out Amy Houston’s interview covering my 2015 Kansas Notable Book Award.


4th Printing of “Music I Once Could Dance To”

My poetry book, “Music I Once Could Dance To,” published last year by Coal City Press, is now in its fourth printing. We have added a note about the book having been selected as a 2015 Kansas Notable Book.


I will be reading from the book at the Kansas Book Festival in Topeka on September 12th. My reading takes place at 2:00pm.

Kansas Book Festival 2015

Please come and join in the festivities.

  • Roy Beckemeyer, Aug. 27, 2015



Another Place in this World a Woman Can Walk

Standing on the Edge of the World Cover

Review of the poetry book:

Standing on the Edge of the World by Lindsey Martin- Bowen, 2008, Woodley Memorial Press, Topeka, KS, ISBN 978-0-939391-44-8, 92 pp., $10.00

“The night is Dresden…” reads the opening line of Lindsey Martin-Bowen’s poem, Working Toward the Last Line, as she compares the arcing flashes, sparks, and chaos of downed tree limbs and power lines in a raging Kansas ice storm to a WWII firestorm. She uses such apt but unexpected allusions throughout this book, enriching her poems and expanding our perception of her poetic vision. This is work of sumptuous insight and surprising conjunctions. In one of my favorite poems in this book, Hanging Out in the Student Center, Martin-Bowen juxtaposes Lorca, Caravaggio, Borges, and Ferlinghetti, who comprise a strange enough crowd in themselves, then places them against the streets and landmarks of Kansas City Missouri: Troost Avenue, Swinney Gym, Country Club Plaza. And, by God, they all seem to belong there; you find yourself wanting her to text you so you can follow her down those streets the next time she gets them all together.

Martin-Bowen is as effective in making magic of our prosaic small town back yards (“…an old tire swing moans empty,” from Dancing with Aunt Virginia) as she is in showing us the wonders of the world. Here is how she sees classic Italian statues: “…I think about / how Michelangelo freed their forms, / how their eyes have no pupils. / They stare into the future / without flinching / and show no regret.” (from the poem Statues).

The book is divided into four sections: Seasonscapes, Another Place in this World a Woman Can Walk, Two Brown Bears Dancing, and Beyond the Vanishing Point. There are rich gifts to be found in each section, but I wish to focus next on some of the poems that appear in the last.

I am particularly attracted to the way in which Martin-Bowen can bring Biblical characters to life with layered depth and fierce vitality. Peter’s Wife asks: “How could you abandon me for a man? / … you won’t live in Capernaum again. / You won’t fish again. You won’t drink again. / We’ll no more share our strange sin, / this earthy love.”

And listen as myrrh-bearer Mary Magdalen Rebukes Peter: “… / At our gatherings, / you boast of your loyalty / and call me a whore / who will destroy him. / But he knows your game: / when I wail at his grave, you will / deny you walked with him, / deny you slept with him, / deny you knew his name.”

In The Madonna she captures the essence of all the lovely Marian icons we have ever seen “… / I shiver above flames / in tiny red and blue jars / … / My son stepped through fire. / It darted from the eyes of throngs / that had fanned him with palms / the week before… / …I give off no sweet scent. / It’s the candles’ perfume that fills the nostrils / of seekers who fall prostrate. / Far from my fingers, they bend / too low to touch.”

Pick up a copy of Lindsey Martin-Bowen’s book. Read it. Here are words that will remind you what an exquisite combination we humans are of the spiritual, the passionate, the proud, and the profane. Hers is the work of a perceptive and extraordinary poet.

– Roy Beckemeyer, 24 June, 2015

Prayer Card Poems – To the Virgin Mary as Un-tier of Knots

Untier of Knots copy

Dearest Mary,

I have really done it this time,
knotted myself up in rhyme.
I tried to return from the road of sin,
then went and hogtied myself again.

Half-hitched my legs together once more.
Yes, I know, the last time I swore
I would carry my knife, cut the knots through,
but sorrow and strife has me back here with you.

Square knot and granny,
there are so darned many
knots that I thought I knew
how to untie, but here I lie
can’t untie them and so I chew
and twist, and break fingernails.
Everything I try, it seems, fails.

Oh Mary, I dearly need your aid.
So please untie these knots so I
can become one of the saved.

– Roy Beckemeyer

I know that Catholics have a lot of things for which they ask the Mother of God to intercede with her Son for them, but this was a new one for me. So I could knot resist trying my hand at this poem/prayer. Back during my stint in the Boy Scouts I could have used help from the Saint of Tying Knots, but didn’t then and don’t now know who that is. Back to google, I guess.