Poetry is the genre I feel least comfortable attempting. Most of the poems I’ve written deserve their ignominious fate in manilla folders. I write them most often to sustain a contemplative mood or moment.

Here’s one inspired by thinking of my daughter Kate and some of her favorite things this time of year. Apologies to Jane Kenyon.

Recipe for a November Evening

Take one Winesap apple. Wash

and slice into thin crescents. Arrange

into a pleasing shape. Sprinkle

cinnamon generously over the plate.

Add a few dark chocolate Wilbur

Buds. Pull the Santa mug from the

tallest cupboard. Fill with tropical green tea.

Take the plate and the mug to the red

chair next to the fire. Soak up the

savory time the way Kathy worked

her fingers into tired muscles.

on her table this afternoon.

Feel dusk descend.

Let winter come.

Shirley Showalter


  1. Phyllis on November 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Feeling nostalgia for you and for me. Beautifully put, as always, Shirley…

    • shirleyhs on November 20, 2010 at 11:20 pm

      Thank you, dear friend. We will celebrate our 30+ years as friends soon. And we will always be connected, whatever the season, whatever the place!

  2. gerry on November 20, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I love this poem–it brings many word pictures to my mind. You might enjoy the poetry book, I Saw God Dancing, by Cheryl Denise. She is a Mennonite, raised in Canada, now living in the U.S. Very worth reading. I enjoy your writing and your blog, and look forward to getting your emails. Cheryl is married to my nephew–but I would love her poetry even if she was not “family”.

    • shirleyhs on November 20, 2010 at 11:37 pm

      Thank you, Gerry. So glad you saw pictures. I love the title of Cheryl’s book. Thanks for bringing her and your poetry to my attention. And do come back often. I love to read your comments!

  3. Sharon Palmer on November 21, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Shirley, Thank you for this lovely late November poem. It’s just right!

    • shirleyhs on November 22, 2010 at 2:58 am

      So happy to have you join me for tea, Sharon. Come back any time! Thanks for sending me a poem for the season. You inspired me!

  4. Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler on November 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Hello Shirley, I enjoyed the contrast between the contemplative activity and the complete surrender at the end. Is being in touch with the seasons a Mennonite ‘thing?’ I know I find it utterly satisfying, and I am Mennonite, but one who lives where Mennonites are a minority. Dolores

    • shirleyhs on November 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm


      You ask a great question. My honest answer is that I don’t know. I do think that the seasons, both annual and life varieties, matter more to me now than they used to. But having grown up on a farm, I have been influenced by the motions of the earth and all the celestial planets more than I realized. Maybe Mennonites, who tend to have only one or two generations removed from the farm, “know” the seasons deeply. Nice thought, anyway. 🙂

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