Peggy Shimkus has been writing poetry since the age of 17. Her poems have been published nationally and she has an anthology View From The Verandah, soon to be followed by another in 1997. She has worked extensively with students as an extension of her duties as a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and moderator of the Root River Poets of Racine.

The Albino Stag

It was one of a series

Of ugly, rainy days. A day

When it was easy to raise up

Frankensteinís castle brooding

Over an Albanian abyss;

Or to bury oneself in a poetís

New book. It wasnít a day for rare

And wonderful things to happen.

My husband was in the garage

Stomping cans to smithers and rattling

The pieces of his backbone

Like dice in a box.

I was picking apart Kevin Kochís

Latest book of poems and asking questions

Like how did he dare to take sentences

From his college journal and line them into poems?

Wondering what made him so successful.

Drifting into the kitchen, I put

On the pot for Taheebo tea.

While waiting for the water to boil,

I wandered to the window

And peered through the deluge.

Suddenly, there it was-the unexpected!

A fine and beautiful thing-

An Albino stag

My husband didnít hear my shouts

Until too late. First he

Did not believe my uncommon adventure.

Then there was an inquisition,

Like how did I know

It was an albino? Was it white

Like a Unicorn?

(I asked real polite if he had

Ever seen one of those.)

Why did I call it a stag?

More fitting for a beautiful

Creature, I said.

Then he took charge of my rare adventure,

Called the newspapers, the Conservation Society,

And all of his friends;

I returned to Kevin Koch and his book,

Having discovered at last,

The secret of his poetry.

Published in View from the Verandah.Copyright © 1997 by Peggy Shimkus

Facial Isometrics

exciting new exercises

to make

your face and neck

look younger

eliminate the expense

of a facelift

in just

a few weeks

smooth out those


lift a chin

look here nurse patterson

et al

at what is left

white trace lines

like stretch marks on

a womanís belly

the purchase price

of which

cannot be effaced

no matter how little

the cost

how great the effort

Published in View from the Verandah.Copyright © 1997 by Peggy Shimkus


Once I caught a phrase in passing

a questioning phrase which

intrigued me.

It haunted me on sleepless nights

while mingling with

the hurdy-gurdy scene;

it came again while leafing through the current magazines

and played against the background noise

on the TV screen.

What is the Common Denominator of Man?

I held no disputations with Huxley types

in fact refused to hear distortions

of meaning or the answer

for through it all

a woven thread

the answer could clearly seen-

A Babyís Cry.

In laced and silken cribs

crumbling ghettos

nations starved-

arms stretch out for

love and food and

silent babies cry.

Voices interchangeable

for in distress our children cry;

everywhere man must pause

to note it for without


the whole world dies.

Unpublished. Copyright © by Peggy Shimkus

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