Dedicated to the Deities of Ditties

Every so now and again, I wane poetic. Maybe it has something to do with the moon. Oh, I know that it is what some might call "trite" poetry. But, it was written from the heart. This page will be dedicated to the ditties I've written over the years.

                       Storytell, March 24, 2006:

While truth wears its birthday suit:

Story is truth in a mix and match wardrobe:

Allegory is truth in a thinly veiled dress

Legend is truth in the multi-layered fashion

Fable is truth in a mini-skirt

Folktale is truth dressed in workman's britches

Urban Legend is truth dressed in friend of a friend's clothes

Tall tale is truth gussied up in fancy pants

Fairy tale is truth dressed in a symbolic gown of the godmother's choosing

Literary story is truth dressed in a hand-made smock.

Personal story is truth dressed in a unique design of patchwork

added by fellow storyteller...Sebastian Mendler

A politician’s speech is truth dressed in a body bag

Myth is truth dressed in “one size fits all.’

 A sermon is truth dressed in a robe with religious overlays.

 Anecdote is truth dressed in jester’s clothes.

 Horror story is truth dressed in Goth

 Fantasy is truth in sheep’s clothing

                                 Hand-out in Northlands Workshop Bag, April, 2007

                                                        If you are a dreamer, come in.

                                      If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope, a prayer,

                                                                           a magic bean-buyer.

                            If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,

                                For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!”

                                                                                                              Shel Silverstein


                               Dear Northland’s Friend and Fellow Traveler,

The Northlands Storytelling Network welcomes you to our doorstep. You have traveled your “due North” to arrive safe and sound at the water’s edge.  Now, it is time to take a moment and rest before you gear up for the weekend. Your workshop, your story, your presence will go far in making this Northland Conference’s 25th anniversary celebration a memorable one for all.

The road you charted for yourself brought you to us this weekend. For that we are grateful. Now, we will try to make the rest of your journey smooth sailing. To help you find your destinations there are signs marking your way. Northlands board members will be there to guide, to answer questions, and to bring you anything you may need. For, as the Chinese like to say “Only he that has traveled the road knows where the holes are deep.”


“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”     



                                                      Fair Journey…Your Northlands Board

                                                     In memory of my best friend -

                                                            Jane Ellen Mueth

                                                              November, 1995


A Patchwork of Kites



Marilyn Kinsella


Come, I will give you a kite to fly.

So you and I can fill the sky with a patchwork of kites.

But first, you must stitch your kite together with the fabric made from the memories of our friend, Jane Ellen Mueth.


So, take the day you first met Jane, and sew it next to the sound of her voice.

Piece together the places and faces you shared with the lessons she taught so well.


Fill in with scraps of funny faces, exasperated sighs, and sassy humor.

Edge the kite with the feeling you had when she walked into a room.


And don’t forget the tail - ribbons of amethyst and gold - streaked with the sound of Jane’s irrepressible laughter.


Hold tight to the string for the thread easily breaks, and once you let it go, you may never get it back.


Now lift the kite to the wind, and let its breath take it away.

So all may see how the life our friend

Jane Ellen Mueth

can fill the sky and color our world.

In honor of my manicurist who was moving to Italy with her husband. I used the names of nail polish in this prosette:

                                               A Nomad’s Dream


                                         Traveling with Bill and Tracy


Once upon a time in the Year of the Dragon, Bill traveled the wide-open state of Texas until he met and married his Baby Blue-eyed, Rodeo Rose. He plucked her from that great state of Texas and transplanted her to the bluffs of Illinois. Her name was Tracy and she quickly became his Star Passion with a simple Angel Kiss. But after several years of living in the St. Louis Sorbet, he said with much Persuasion, “Let’s get Back in the Saddle and leave this Tinsel Town.  I say ‘Head ‘em Up and Mauve ‘em Out.’ I want to find a place that’s Not So Bora Boring.”

Tracy was a bit Purplexed. “But you must understand, darling. I’m Not Really a Waitress. I am a nail specialist. I have a whole file of clients. It would be Sinful to brush them off. They would be Red Hot if I cut them off.

But Bill wove a little Black Magic and surprised Tracy with a glittering Sparkling Ruby. He looked at her with his Cosmic Gray eyes and said in his deep resonate voice,  “Kimona’ver Here and have some French Cognac as we rekindle our Gilded Passion.” Tracy’s resolve began to crumble. “Let me suggest a Chicago Champagne Toast” announced Bill. So with a Whole Lotta Seoul he proclaimed, “May we always ride off into a Sonora Sunset and wake up to a Hot Sunrise!!” Then they clinked their glasses filled with Brandy Wine elixir and their fate was Sealed with a Kiss.  Soon the True Red flames of the Fireside flared until nothing was left but a Violet Haze.

So they left and began their journey to see the world. Oh the adventure they had! They enjoyed a Cancun Feast and they painted Moscow Red. However it was only a matter of time before they became lost in a Maui Maze and then became Marooned in the Subway at Grand Central Carnation. “Bill, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore. Perhaps we should Desert our quest for Madison Mauvenue and a Life in a Cabernet.”

“Now, Tracy, I never promised you a Japanese Rose Garden. But, all is not lost. Perhaps, Mia Tia, we will live in Italy. Italy? Tracy loved Italy! Then Bill made a call on his cell phone and when no answering services picked up, he said, “Hey Vito, Is My Car Ready?”

“Sorry, Senor, my Auntie Drinks Chianti and when she reached inside her Pistol Packin’ Pink purse, she became involved with a Shoot Out at the Ok Coral during an Italian Western. All the main roads to Italy are blocked. Perhaps you would like to go to Yucatan, If You Want.”

“I should have known. I could have been Smokin’ In Hawaii or relaxin’ in Kenny Bunk Port.  We’ll never find our way to Italy.”

“Don’t worry, Cara Mia,” purred Tracy.  “Haven’t you heard Confucius Say that All Rose Lead to Rome?”

“Zowie!! You are right.

As they disappeared over the horizon, Tracy smiled and whispered into Bill’s ear… “Your Villa or Mine?”

With that the director of the Silent Mauvie, “A Nomad’s Dream,” called out, “Cut! It’s a Rap!”

Stay tuned for the much-awaited sequel – “Arrivederci Italia, Hello America!”

 Iridescent Memories


Marilyn A. Kinsella


Brian’s 21st Birthday

When did he lose the gold flecks in his hair?

When did his voice turn deep?

When did he stop asking for a story

Right before he fell fast asleep?


Wasn’t I paying attention, Oh Lord?

You gave me son to love.

Wasn’t I present in the present you sent

From your heavenly kingdom above?


All that’s left are the memories

Swirling ‘round like bubbles so clear.

And if I reach out to hold one

It will pop and disappear.


You gave me details, Lord,

But I missed your well-laid plan.

I wasn’t paying attention

                                                                     When Brian became a man.


                                                     Postcards from God’s country


                                                      Marilyn A. Kinsella

                               To my friend, Donna Meyer, as she and her husband Dale moved to Arizona


So long, Illinois!

  To corn and cantaloupes and cow-dotted land

To dew-kissed autumns painted by God’s own hand

To stories told and to those we love

To Blessings we’ve received from Thy Bounty above.


Hello, Arizona!

    Vintage Arizona Postcard

To coyotes and cactus and canyons so grand

To earth-toned deserts painted by God’s own hand

To untold stories and to people not known

To grandkid’s faces…and a place to call home.

  Very silly poem written to Bobby Norfolk upon finding my keys (in the trunk of my car )


                         FIND MY KEYS?   


              (July, 2003)


Would I, could I

Find your keys?


I will look in the car

I will look near and far

In the trunk

On my knees

In the dark

Behind the trees


I will find them. Now, let me please

Let, let me, find your keys


I will look here and I will look there

I will look for them everywhere.


Not in the car

Not near/nor far

Not in the trunk

Not on my knees

Not behind the trees


I won’t give up till I find your keys!


I can’t find them here

I can’t find them there

I can’t find them damn things anywhere!





I will, I will find your keys!

Wait a minute I’m on my knees.


Under the car

Up on the bar

What is this I seize?

Could it be, I seized your keys?







(for my Sister Melissa, 2006)

When grass was a marvel to behold

And Lambie-pies ruled.

When frilly dresses

And Crayolas colored our world

When Toni Perms and headbands

Bobby pins and rollers curled our hair 

When boys replaced our “dolls”

And “Sorry” was the name of a game.

When having our own space

Meant moving upstairs.

When we thought we were not only sisters

           But best friends.

                         Caught Knapping



When my son Brian was just four years old, we spent the day at Cahokia Mounds State Park.  It was "Rediscover Cahokia Days," a hands-on activity program, and my husband Larry was demonstrating the art of flintknapping by chipping, knapping, and grinding the stones into fine points. He was located at the far end of the park, while I was inside the pit house sharing myths and legends of Native America. During one of my stories Brian slipped out of the house.  I hurriedly finished the story and went out to find him.  I walked to the far end of the park searching for the familiar blue baseball cap with a shock of red hair to no avail.  After a half hour of futile searching, panic set in.  Finally I went back to the pit house and looked behind the building where a garden was planted with all native foods.

There, hunkered over a grinding stone with bits of chipped acorns and ground corn, was Brian.

"Brian, what on earth have been doing?"


                                         "Oh," he replied, "just corn-knappin' and nut-knappin.'"


                                                                   Bling Moments

                                                Fall, 2007

My childhood was full of magical, bling moments. One of my shiniest memories was my mother's jewelry box - full of gold, silver, diamonds, and rubies. She kept it tucked away in her lingerie drawer to keep sticky fingers from finding it. But, my treasure hunt was never complete until I found the mysterious little key and opened it. There was always the lingering scent of Evening in Paris perfume as my eyes dazzled over the sparkling contents. Quickly, I donned the family treasures - an elastic gold bracelet that pinched my skin, an ruby hair pin to hold back my hair, a silver ring encrusted with diamonds, and, lastly, a necklace that held a king's ransom of fine jewels. The morning light filtered through the tiny window and lay fire to my jewels. I grabbed the scarlet blanket from the bed and lay it over my shoulders. I was Cleopatra, Mary Queen of Scots, and Marie Antoinette all rolled into one. Then, I heard the dreaded footsteps coming down the hallway. I pulled the beloved jewels off and put them safely back into the treasure box before the bedroom door slowly opened. But, she knew. She always knew. What was I doing in her bedroom? Hadn't I been warned to stay out of her jewelry box? But, how, how did she know? As I left the room, she plucked the errant ruby hairpin from my head. Drat! Outed by a hairpin!


The treasures in that box were rhinestones and paste, but my memories are pure gold.

                                    Poem to my mother, Vera, on Mother's Day, 1984

                                                       Touch My Hand


Remember when I was born

And held your finger ever so tight?

Remember when  I grabbed your hand

And pulled with all my might?

Remember when we played pat-a cake...

And sometimes peek-a-boo?

Remember when I clapped

When you said, "I love you."


I remember taking your hand

As we crossed the busy street.

I remember you helping me tie

My shoestrings nice and neat.

But most of all I remember

That your hand is always there

In times of trouble and times of need

For me to reach, and touch, and care.




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