The Poetry of Betty Ann Whitney
New River Poets chapter, Zephyrhills FL
President, Anthology Editor, Florida State Poets Association
In a big chair by the light of sunshine,
I am half way into a book of poems,
undisturbed by the busy world of my sister,
who is creating bouquets of straw and silk,
placed in containers carved from wood,
as she hums softly to her working with flowers.
She hasn't always worked with flowers.
For months she searched for the warmth of sunshine,
let the bitter edge of her thoughts carve planks of wood—
to comfort her—as does my book of poems
envelope me, shimmer inside me, like silk.
There aren't enough people in this world like my sister.
A year ago, you would not know my sister.
Of all the things she might choose, the last would be flowers,
standing in the doorway, her hands pulling silk
scarves away from her head in the bare light of sunshine,
her voice falling like the ending of sad poems,
her eyes, unremittingly solid as a block of wood.
But there is something settling in the richness of wood
with a deep sigh of its own, learned by my sister.
Like the metaphor of soothing poems
she found in it, a vessel for flowers,
leaning against the hope of crystal sunshine,
a sheen about her face—pure as silk.
There is something precious and delicate about silk,
working over a rough plank of wood—
her voice humming the melody of sunshine....
I have never seen her so beautiful as today, my sister
in the quiet moment of flowers....
She is the holiness of poems.
She is the commitment expressed in a Book of Poems,
her head wrapped in silk,
her strength, placated by bouquets of flowers,
the fury of her cancer carved in wood—
this ordinary woman of thirty-six, my sister
so young to be called from sunshine.
As the sunshine of spring garden poems
my sister will leave me scarves of silk
the scent of wood, and light crossing bouquets of flowers.
How easy it is for me
to want to comfort you
on days drifting dark circles, like smoke
on your skin -- deeper than an eye can know.
No one should have to focus on so much negation.
We are connected through eyes that see
rather than merely sense another.
From image to thought, the sparkle of life
returns life to us, again and again
as if from a spell of blindness.
...Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Volume I, Issue
In the Garden Year
Among the months
May and June
Sprout root and grow.
Soon will dance
On wiry stems
A blend of upturned blossoms.
...Previously published in Sol Magazine, this poem is a Whitney, a syllabic form created by the author.
It consists of seven lines in the pattern 3,4,3,4,3,4,7.
Betty Ann Whitney
"A blend of upturned blossoms"
BETTY is a poet, essayist, short story writer, visual artist, and current president of New River Poets chapter of FSPA.
Her poems have won numerous awards and appear regularly in anthologies and journals. She is one of four poets featured in
the 2006 summer issue of Ampersand Poetry Journal.
Betty's hometown is Narragansett RI, where she was an instructor of acrylic and oil painting before relocating to Florida.
In Florida she continued her interest in painting and "found her voice in poetry" while maintaining a successful career in
real estate. Retired from real estate since 1998, she devotes more of her life to writing and painting.