Archives for posts with tag: travel

david young
Tywyn, 1974
by Cynthia Anderson

There’s magic in being led to a place,
riding the train toward a dot on the map
and seeing what happens. We were two
American girls studying in London,
on spring holiday, Tywyn our first stop—
enchanted by the Welsh elf-land,
damp and quiet under grey clouds.
We carried our bags down empty streets
to a whitewashed B&B—where the proprietor,
a grandmother, brought us into her family
as naturally as breathing. She filled the holes
in our itinerary—insisted we attend church,
coaxed her grown son to take us hiking.
After a snug night in beds with hot water
bottles, and breakfast enough for ten,
we walked the beach to Aberdyfi,
sand wide as the sea, the tide so distant
we barely reached it, ourselves the only
humans in sight. On Sunday, at the old
stone church of St. Cadfan, we were greeted
from the pulpit as “our American friends”
and stood transfixed by Welsh hymns—
ordinary folk with the voices of angels.
Then a ramble in emerald hills, our guide
and his dogs putting us at ease. We knew
nothing would equal the start of our journey—
nearly stayed, but left with regret—strangers
who came with blind luck and rail passes
and received more than we guessed.

PHOTO: Scenery outside Tywyn, Snowdon, Wales by David Young.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always treasured memories of a trip to Wales that I took with my college friend Ann nearly 50 years ago. Everything was new, unfamiliar, a grand adventure—we took our chances, and we were blessed by the travel gods time and again. I have just two faded photos from that trip—one of Ann on the beach at Aberdyfi, described in the poem—and the other, a bucolic stream where we came upon a young girl and her grandfather as we were hiking. She looked at him with rapt attention as he spun her a story. At some point later on that hike, I realized that I’d lost my wallet while rock-hopping in the stream. Determined to find it, I retraced our steps and sure enough, there it was, sitting on a rock in the middle of the water as though the travel gods had left it there for me to find.

PHOTO: Wales stream by Cynthia Anderson (1974).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cynthia Anderson has published 11 poetry collections, most recently Full Circle (Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2022) and The Missing Peace (Velvet Dusk Publishing, 2021). Her poems frequently appear in journals and anthologies, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Cynthia is co-editor of the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens. She has lived in California for over 40 years.  Visit her at

by Ruth Bavetta

In Norway they have a saying
I fjor falt sommeren på en torsdag.
Last year summer fell on a Thursday.

Summer, when the temperatures reach
a torrid 75 degrees, the balconies
of houses and apartments are festooned
with quilts hung out to air, and women
on park benches unbutton their shirts
to soak in the thin northern sun.

Summer, when the flower boxes
on every window burst with
open-throated petunias in every color,
and the sun shines and shines
as if to make up for time lost
in winter’s dark and cold.

Summer it was, when I was there,
and sailed with the love of my life
on a sailboat on the Oslo fjord,
stopping at a friend’s island hytte
for wild raspberries and cream.

And when we docked, the sun
at midnight, at midnight, at midnight.
Oh, the midnight sun.

Previously published in the author’s collection, What’s Left Over (FutureCycle Press, 2022).

PHOTO: Fjord, Norway, Summer by David Mark.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: During my husband’s decline and after his death, writing poetry saved my life. This poem is from my book, What’s Left Over, dedicated to him. “Sommer” is a cherished memory from a long and very happy marriage.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruth Bavetta’s poems have appeared in Nimrod, North American Review, Tar River Poetry, Slant, American Journal of Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Her fifth book, What’s Left Over, was published in 2022.  She has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, the smell of the ocean. She hates pretense, fundamentalism, and sauerkraut.

Gas Station Guru
by Olive L. Sullivan

The haloed lights from the Conoco look good.
They make me squint my eyes
and wish for that wispy river bottom fog
I’ve been driving through all night.
I’m not exactly lost, just
turned around, mixed up
somehow and
looking for some guidance.
The light and warmth and the smell
of hot dogs seep out into cool night, and
the woman behind the counter,
she says, Hey. Mean night.
Yeah, says I, I’m lost.
She glances at me sharp and says,
No, you ain’t. It’s just a dark patch on the way.
And I want to kneel and hug her feet,
cry out my sorrow and
let go the rigid strength that’s all that holds me up,
like she sees my knees start bending
she snaps, Hold on there, honey.
I ain’t your mother and I ain’t
no gas station guru, but I’ll
be your friend, and she loads my hands
with talismans —
beef jerky and Ding Dongs,
a package of Doritos and a large Diet Coke.
She takes my map and marks the route.
When she touches my hands,
her own are cold as ice and
she sees I know it
and she laughs, says,
This here’s your way — go down
to the third light, turn left til
you hit 96, then you’ll see,
you’ll be home by mornin’.

Previously published in Wandering Bone (Meadowlark Books, Emporia, Kansas, 2017) and in Resonance: One World, Many Voices (Fall/Winter 1986).

PAINTING: Gas by Edward Hopper (1940);

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was living in Denver, Colorado, divorced ,and raising two small sons. We traveled back and forth to visit my parents in Southeast Kansas, where I now live (again), and I usually drove at night so the kids would sleep. This is a route I had been taking since childhood, so it was unusual for me to get lost. It was a very stormy night, and the canoe strapped to our car roof caught every tornadic gust. There was rain. You get the idea. I ended up making a wrong turn into a town, and this experience happened. The clerk’s message, “You’ll be home by morning,” resonated with me far more than just highway directions. It seemed like a life lesson, and I’ve never forgotten it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Olive L. Sullivan holds an MFA from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Her work has appeared in various journals and two collections from Meadowlark Books. Wandering Bone (2017) was published as she was recovering from acute myeloid leukemia, and her most recent book, Skiving Down the Bon, has just been released. Sullivan is a bookbinder when she’s at home, and loves taking long walks with dogs on the prairie or traveling anywhere that requires a passport—and almost anywhere that doesn’t.

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Bodega Bay
by Sheila Sondik

The dunes changed shape every year
and every year the change surprised us.
We flew kites, snapped bull kelp like whips.
The giant shrub ate our shuttlecocks and wiffle balls.

We found an LP of Just So Stories in a closet
and played it for our daughters.
The great, gray-green, greasy Limpopo River,
all set about with fever-trees…

We’d sit in the tiny, whitewashed porch,
and watch the broad creek riffle in the breeze.
Only here, we indulged in saltwater
taffy and 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles.

Great blue herons stalked Salmon Creek
while ospreys dive-bombed for their dinner.

Next door, a mysterious round structure
gave off a counterculture scent.
Lines of pelicans back from the brink
coasted over the surly gray-green Pacific.

Farther up the dunes, I poured sand
from plastic bucket to sandmill
and watched the spinning paddlewheel
with a dumb joy I still can’t fathom.

Previously published in Williwaw Journal Issue 3 (Spring, 2018).

PAINTING: Bodega Bay by ClaudiaSavageArt. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheila Sondik is a poet and printmaker in Bellingham, Washington. Her poetry has appeared in CALYX, Kettle Blue Review, The Raven Chronicles, Floating Bridge Review, frogpond, and many other journals. She has degrees from Harvard College and California College of the Arts. Egress Studio Press published her chapbook Fishing a Familiar Pond: Found Poetry from The Yearling in 2013. Her artwork and links to her poetry are available at

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Rehoboth Beach
by Beverly M. Collins

Sand crabs tried to hide themselves
from capture in the palm of my hand.
Like all of us, they carried home on their back.
The splash sounds of the ocean mixed well
with the welcome smell of salt water.
My sisters and cousins laughed at each
other’s newness-reactions.
Awkward is fun when you love who
you laugh at, the humor felt like safety.
Sand and water gave in to our imaginations.
We buried our pirate uncle up to his chest as
a joint project and worked together to build a
sand castle that the evening tide quickly
washed away. Joy was simple as sunset, sand,
breeze with more sunset, sand and breeze.

IMAGE: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, beach scene, available at Lantern Press.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For this particular poem, I wanted to recall my deeper memories of our extended family’s time at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, when I was a child. I was born in Delaware and raised in New Jersey. Some of my fondest childhood memories were our visits in the summer with our family members that were still located there. I wanted to include the sights, feelings, sounds, and smells that impressed me most at that time. This was one of my favorite beaches in Delaware.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beverly M. Collins is author of the books Quiet Observations: Diary Thought, Whimsy and Rhyme and Mud in Magic. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications based in USA, England, Ireland, Australia, India, Germany, and Canada both in print and online. Winner of a 2019 Naji Naaman Literary prize in Creativity (Lebanon), she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and is a prize winner for the California State Poetry Society. Born in Delaware and raised in New Jersey (USA), her photography can be found on Fine Art America products, Shutterstock, iStock/Getty images, Adobe Stock, and other sites. Visit her at, and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Gloria and I
Dressed Alike
by Margaret Duda

Gloria resembled me with dark hair,
softly curled on a wig of mohair,
realistic dark glass eyes that blinked,
and a composition head and limbs
made of sawdust, glue and cornstarch
attached to a soft, stuffed cloth torso.

Mama decided we would surprise
Papa for his birthday and sewed
matching dresses of dark gold satin
for Gloria and me on her treadle machine.
Each dress had a wide gathered collar
and puffy short sleeves and we wore
matching patent leather shoes. Mama
called them our go to meeting outfits.

Excitement started as soon as we took
our padded seats on the train
and others passed us in the aisle.
Women stopped to stare at us
and all took time to comment.

Oh, look, she is dressed like her doll.
I love the matching dresses.
You are a very lucky little girl
to have such a clever Mama.
You and your doll are so pretty.

Matching. Lucky. Clever.
I soaked up the new words,
asking Mama the meaning of each,
as I slowly learned more English
every weekend on the hissing train,
bucking us forward on rapid stops.

When we arrived, Papa was waiting
on the platform. The door opened,
and Gloria and I ran into his arms.
“You both look beautiful,” Papa said.
“I have a clever Mama,” I told him,
showing off new linguistic skills
“Yes, you do, Mancika,” Papa agreed,
smiling at Mama with appreciation.

PHOTO: The author with her beloved doll and traveling companion, Gloria.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In 1946, when we lived in Watertown, New York, my father took a better job in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Since I was in kindergarten, my mother said we could join him when I finished the school year. My father took the train to see us every other weekend and on alternate weekends, we took the train to Bridgeport. Since my parents immigrated from Hungary in the 1920s, we spoke Hungarian at home as we lived near Hungarian friends and relatives. My mother taught me English six months before I started school, and by the second half of the year, I spoke and read it well for a five-year-old, but learned new words every other week on the train. I always took Gloria, my favorite doll, with me, and my mother made us matching dresses to surprise my father on his birthday and gave him a photo of me in the dress. Seventy-five years later, I found Gloria tucked away safely in one of my closets. Her curls were gone from all the brushing and small cracks could be seen on her composition face and limbs, but she still wore the go-to-meeting dress and reminded me of the English words I’d learned on the train. I learned to love traveling on those trips and traveled to more than 40 countries as a travel photographer and studied six languages later in life. I had to smile when the American Girl doll with matching clothes for a little girl came out and bought a doll and a matching dress for the four granddaughters I had then.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is a photo of me and four of my six granddaughters (two were yet to be born) with the American Girl dolls I bought, as I remembered how much I’d loved the matching dresses my mother had made. To show how long ago this photo was taken, the granddaughter to my left just graduated from law school and the one on the right is in her second year of dental school, the one on the lower left is doing an MFA in creative writing at Columbia, and the one on the lower right is studying cognitive science in college.  How time does fly!

Mancika 1 in dress

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is the “go to meeting dress” that my mother made. She gave my father this photo of me — I was then known as Mancika — to keep while he was working in Connecticut. I don’t have a photo of myself and Gloria in the matching dresses.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As a poet, Margaret Duda has had numerous poems published during the past year in Silver Birch Press, THE  POET (UK) anthology entitled Friends and Friendships (Vol. 1), the anthology Around the World: Landscapes and Cityscapes, A Love Letter (or Poem) to... anthology, several poems on Connections and Creativity in Challenging Times, and three poems in Viral Imaginations: Covid-19. As a short story writer, she has had her work published in The Kansas Quarterly, the University Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, the South Carolina Review, Fine Arts Discovery, Crosscurrents, Venture, Green River Review, and other journals. One of her short stories made the Distinctive List of Best American Short Stories. She has written five books of nonfiction, the latest are Four Centuries of Silver and Traditional Chinese Toggles: Counterweights and Charms. Listed in Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2021, she is currently working on the final draft of an immigrant family saga novel set in a steel mill town from 1910 to 1920.

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Café, Switzerland
by Pauline Flynn

Viewed from the outside,
nothing momentous happened that day.
It was my nineteenth birthday
and I’d pinned a sprig of edelweiss,
soft as a fresh fall of snow,
onto my frock and set off with Heidi
to buy coffee and chocolate
over the Swiss border with Germany.

At 11 a.m. we stopped at a café
and I saw her on the terrace
reading a paperback.
Drawn to the relaxed way she sat
in the chair, her face shadowed
by the slight droop of her head,
the book resting on the edge
of the table, her order already served,
she took no notice of us.

I folded the dollop of ice cream
into cold coffee, and sank
into a sanctuary of silence.
I often think of her, unaware,
how on that day she’d bequeathed to me
a silver salver piled high with gifts.

PHOTO: Edelweiss and mountains, Switzerland. Photo by Ayko Neil Kehl on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was quite a naïve young woman living away from my home in Ireland when I saw the woman in the poem. My background was conservative and life choices for women were limited.  It was mid-morning and this woman was out and about enjoying her solitude and taking time for herself. Something about her opened up something in me whereby I could visualize a different kind of future for my life than the one expected of me. I never forgot her.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pauline Flynn is an Irish Visual Artist/Poet. Shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2010, her work has appeared in literary journals, including Skylight 47, Boyne Berries, Sixteen Magazine, Into the Light, Light Journal, Orbis 81, and The Blue Nib. 

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What We Bought at the Market
by Ralph Earle

on the old deck
by the old docks
at a weather-worn table
together after eighteen months
we raise a glass
to this meal from the old market
wild and bitter watercress
rich flesh of tomatoes
honest and humble
air-dried sausage
bakery baguette
Bretonne butter
soft-hearted Neufchâtel’s aroma
rising from a crumbling mantle
Camembert almost urbane
chèvre bleu with a bouquet
of sourness and warm chalk
strawberries unexpectedly
recalling the wild
ones I ate as a child
and red wine
arrived from the south
raised to the reunion
the sunshine the sea air

IMAGE: Charcuterie board by kgbranch, poster available at REDBUBBLE.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I recently visited my son and his family in France, I was overwhelmed at the quantity and quality of food sold at the Saturday open-air market. I was spending the month writing a new poem every morning in a variety of different forms, so the following day yielded this ode to the previous evening’s dinner, maintaining a focus on the tangible qualities of the food itself, while capturing the festive tone of our post-Covid (or intra-Covid) reunion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ralph Earle lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, where he designs websites for poets and other creative people. He holds a Ph.D. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he taught poetry before working in the high-tech industry. His collection The Way the Rain Works won the 2015 Sable Books Chapbook Award. Recent poems have appeared in Indelible, Tar River Poetry, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Sufi Journal.

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Calving at Glacier Bay
by Karen George

We wake before dawn, rise to the promenade
deck while the onboard naturalist broadcasts

seeds of glacial wisdom. As our ship queues
to enter the inner sanctum, thousands maneuver

for spots at the rail. Ice floes bob, unveiled
by tendrils of first light. Many hold hands

while we glide through the bay’s mouth.
So much silence. Even he no longer explains

how slabs of ice cleave and, seconds later,
thunder-crack and impact arrive. Cloistered

by cliffs of blue ice, our lungs bathed
in elemental air, we spoon to view the sacred text,

and I believe every wrong unwound,
all ebbed back to innocence, your cancer cured.

Originally published in the author’s chapbook, Inner Passage (Red Bird Chapbooks) and the collection Swim Your Way Back (Dos Madres Press).

PHOTO: Glacier Bay, Alaska. Photo by Brad on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem about the memory of visiting Glacier Bay on an Alaskan cruise that my husband and I took four months before he died. The cruise was filled with such beauty, and at the same time, such sorrow because my husband had stage IV terminal cancer. I’m often struck by how joy and sadness are sometimes inextricably mixed. Visiting Glacier Bay while the sun rose was one of the most wondrous sights I’ve ever witnessed, and I’ll always treasure experiencing that memory with my husband Richard. Calving is the term that describes when an iceberg or glacier splits and sheds a huge mass of ice directly into the sea. It sounds like thunder.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen George is author of five chapbooks as well as three poetry collections from Dos Madres Press: Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and Where Wind Tastes Like Pears (2021). She won Slippery Elm’s 2022 Poetry Contest, and her short story collection, How We Fracture, winner of the Rosemary Daniell Fiction Prize, is forthcoming from Minerva Rising Press in Spring 2023. Her work appears in Adirondack Review, Atticus Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Indianapolis Review, Poet Lore, and I-70 Review. Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

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Saigon, 6:30 a.m.
by Cynthia Todd Quam

Condensation mists the windows
to the small round balconies.
We wake in the clean white room
with your arms around me
like the old days.

Doves circle
the golden scroll gate
across the dusty street,
the city already well-awake
in the pink and greening light.

Tiny jewel of an apartment,
two-burner kitchen
with a black iron rail
above the sink, just enough
for a dish rack and one small pot.

The electric kettle quietly rattles.
The sunhat we bought yesterday
rests atop a porcelain urn.
Black and white floor tiles
cool our feet. I’d forgotten

how important it is
to love your surroundings,
to live in a day
unstructured as silk,
when evening comes

to dine outdoors
with the prodigal son
and his graceful wife
whose hair
lifts in the breeze.

NOTE: “Saigon, 6:30 a.m.” won 10th place of 25 prizes in the 2021 Writers Digest Poetry Awards.

PHOTO: City view of Saigon through window by Wirestock.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem started as a journal entry on a trip my husband and I took to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to visit my son, who lived there at the time. My cat allergies precluded staying with him and his wife, so they reserved a small but charming Airbnb for us a few blocks away. One morning, the contrast between the awakening city and the simple, calm room prompted me to record the moment. I hadn’t seen my son in person for several years, and spending time with him again suffused me with a feeling of well-being and an appreciation for unhurried days and ordinary objects.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cynthia Todd Quam holds an MFA in Poetry from Bennington College. She is the author of the chapbook The Letter Q, and her work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, After Hours, The Humanist, The Chicago Tribune, and The Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press), among other publications. She is an Eileen Lannan Poetry Prize recipient and a Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards finalist.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken at a restaurant in the Phu My Hung neighborhood of Saigon during that same trip in February 2019.