Tuesday, October 15, 2019


Okay, seriously . . . a show of hands: how many of you can relate to this?

Tough-Talk Monday Morning
by Judith Cullen
© 2019

The alarm is the first to speak up,
klaxon of Monday's dawn arrival.
Could another 30 minutes be stolen?
The voice of commuting cars nearby
confirm time will not, cannot wait.

I want to stomp my foot, to rage.
I want all the little things to inflate
to insulate against things that matter
the things that hurt, wound, frustrate:
despair, anger, and disappointment.

My aged inner voice says, "grow up!"
wild, childish passions of the weekend
are banished, rinsed away in the froth
of cooling lavender scented soapsuds.
Then standing, fully rational and adult
I face the chill air of a brand new week.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

*NEW POEM* On the Inevitability of Autumn

Gone Back to School
by Judith Cullen
© 2019

As if there were books involved,
pencils and pens, sharp and new,
backpacks crisp from purchase.
Though decades have passed since
our feet trod the waxy floors,
the reality of autumn is here, and
we have all gone back to school.

The carefree mists of summer
have all evaporated in entire.
No more pretext of long days,
no more buoyant assumptions
as the world seems endlessly
in bloom and perpetual growing.
We have all gone back to school.

Friday, September 13, 2019

IN DEDICATION to "Calendar Girls"

Like the Trees
by Judith Cullen
© 2019

It is happening now, the first bright accents
tipping the leaves, portents of change.
Undeniable inevitability calling forth,
trumpeting the arrival of Autumn.

Soon the trees will be ablaze with Fall:
red, orange, golden and ranges in between.
They've lived the innocence of Spring blossoms,
endured the long labors of Summer.

Now they vibrantly erupt, a brilliant flare
inconsiderate of the looming Winter.
One glorious, joy-affirming exultation
before the great sleep that comes to all.

In my Autumn, I will be like the trees.
I shall courageously dress myself in flame,
Tossing the years of happiness and sorrow
around me proudly - a shawl of experiences.

Not for me the dull dimming of the day,
consignment to a faded ghost of endurance.
I shall burn bright at the waning, in celebration,
then crumble to dust with the satisfied sigh of life.


This poem is dedicated to the cast, crew and staff of Tacoma Little Theatre's 2019 production of Tim Firth's Calendar Girls, directed by Vicki Webb.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

POEM: A Brand New View

Finally from the Inside
by Judith Cullen
© 2019

Quite ordinary, this couple:
she was not a breathtaking beauty,
he was not ruggedly handsome.
Not dressed all in the mode,
shoes showing some common wear.
They were not blushing youths,
but had not reached the middle.
There they were, resplendent
in their normality.

Little things gave them away;
how they dropped off the prescription
together, speaking casually.
Their rapport steady, not constant.
A gesture by way of direction,
the closeness of their walking,
a momentary grasped hand.
It was an effortless, comfortable,
apparent easiness.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

ANOTHER READING - Tuesday, April 9th

Hear ye! Hear ye!  Fans of my Irish Tales ...

I'll be reading "Two Houses" from A Trio of Irish Tales II this week, live online, Tuesday April 9th from 7-8:30pm pacific time.  It is one of the most complicated short stories I have ever written - in many ways a climax of an emotional four year journey that preceded it.

In "Two Houses" a young American couple on their honeymoon find their ties to Irish heritage are far more insistent than just a simple perusal of genealogies. As the past disturbs their future, Mark and Cate must unravel the mystery of two houses that suffered very different fates, but that are somehow connected.

Interested?  Send me a Personal message on facebook, of comment on my facebook page and I will send you the link to listen.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

POEM: Priorities Are Important, in Love.

This one, for fun ...

How Do I Love Thee?
by Judith Cullen
© 2019

Sitting together on the hardwood
the box slid carefully in my direction.

Cautious question, and "just open it!"
I lift the lid, part the tissue, and sigh.

They lay in a cushioned delicacy,
dark as midnight, and gleaming.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

POEM: Everyone Has Their Own Little Phenomenons . ..

Public Domain
Peter Newell illustration from 1902

. . .  here's mine!

My White Knights
by Judith Cullen
© 2019

How could I fail to love them all,
clad in shining good intentions,
loyalty, truth, and studied courtliness.

They bow with dignity, holding
a hand when steadying is needed,
a door when access is required.

When a perceived threat draws near
they lock arms, eyeing each warily,
stepping into the breach before me.

It is touching, in its way, being
the recipient: beloved and dearest,
held high at gracious arms length.

I feel a certain felicitous luck
attracting such quality consideration,
a relief after the disappointments.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Fantasy Art Winter Moon, Public Domain, publicdomainpictures.net

by Judith Cullen
© 2019

The poem was waiting when I awoke
curtains reflecting the night's depth,
a beckoning glow through many folds
of lunar transit shifting soundlessly
from one to the other window.

What if I cast back the drapes, letting
the moonlight shine on my skin
as it drinks its way across the stars;
elixir of imagination, natural magic
conveyed in airborne beams.

What if I moved beyond the confines
of this definition, and that certitude;
allowing myself to drift without limits,
absorbing the languid enchantment of
a clear winter sky at three in the morning.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

SOMETIMES Poetry Becomes Real . . .

I've been trying to get out of the habit of commenting on my work - somehow explaining it in advance.  The work should speak for itself, yes?  But I do want to say that this poem was inspired by a real devil of a week, and a real late afternoon nap where I dreamed like I had not in well over a week. In that magical dreamworld, two dear friends came to me . . . 

Dream Therapy
by Judith Cullen
© 2019

Dragging the week behind,
doubt, fear, sorrow, and pain
thudding at each labored stair,
an accumulation of fighting
weighting every step, till I drop.

Subsiding into dreams, expecting
more monotone wanderings -
tears unexplained, unshed and
more steps, more labors till
somehow the fog would clear.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

POEM: The Inverse Laws of Nature

Inverse Laws of Nature
by Judith Cullen
© 2019

Nature is composed, we are taught
of immutable laws, immovable realities.
Change, challenge, departure are things
we impose using the tools of mortality:
desire, hubris, and occasionally need.

Limited options of docile acceptance,
or wrestling the universe into submission.
In our haste to control destiny, we miss
the perverse nature of the natural, choosing
to interpret bluntly, without nuance.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

FIRST POEM OF THE NEW YEAR: "Welcome to the Light"

Come to the Light
by Judith Cullen

"Come to the light," they implored.
While I, blackened fog, lurked uncertain,
wrapped in blankets of complacencies,
familiarities, and chilling sufficiency leading
to the same inexorable cycling.

Reaching out from beneath the comforter
hands touch mine, "Come to the light,"
they repeat in chorus, "We miss you, join us."
They cannot pull me bodily from my gloom,
the impulse must be my own.