Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb – Three Poems


Giving Thanks Before Dinner In The Present Progressive

For Pat


Thank you, Lord, for this food
we are about to receive
my cousin offers as we hold hands
and bow our heads; I try to hide
my chewing, swallow my first bite
quickly, hoping no one notices 
I forgot to first give thanks, am not
in the habit of doing so at all.

My cousin overlooks the obvious,
catches my eye, judges me neither
as glutton nor ingrate; instead,
having practiced patience, she
gives me an understanding glance,
smiles, and begins again,
Thank you, Lord, for this food
some of us are presently receiving . . .

Boot Camp For The Blocked

They call it a retreat,
but it’s really boot camp
for poets who have been
in the trenches too long;
gone is our discipline,
desire to create, fate
in a world that wages
war against time—tick tock,
tick tock, the muse
does not adore the clock,
so we tap tap tap out
our lives in endless
residency, imprisoned
by amenities and critique,
pretending someone cares,
sharing secrets quietly
until they explode
through the souls
of some future others
who serendipitously
trespass on our frontlines.

While Her Husband Is Inside Getting Some Lemonade

“How do you deal with
your depression?” I ask.
We swap mood talk
like desserts. Old friends
catching up, it’s the first
item on the menu;
I bring up the starred
discussion topic.
“Feeling down are you?”
she replies with a question,
then simply states,
“Appreciation,” telling me
how she was just sitting
on her front porch
waiting for me to get there,
anticipating our spending
time together, knowing
that one day soon enough
she could be waiting
alone, expecting
a visit from no one.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is born of mystery, the awe of the unknown—creative process, for instance, the newly born poem or life. The need for beauty, however, is both a spiritual and, yet, an evolutionarily adaptive propensity. We can attempt to define or identify beauty in art or nature, in the metaphorical or the magical, but I believe the aesthetic response that allows us to comprehend, absorb, or be overwhelmed by what we feel is beautiful dwells in our very neurological structures.  Our need to encounter aesthetically-pleasing experiences is perhaps critical to our survival.  We love, for example, vast green and colorful spaces because they represent the potential for nourishment.  We are attracted to water, whether to deep blue lakes in the natural world or to indoor waterfalls in architectural design, because water is crucial to our existence.  Paintings, parks, or poems—the human capacity to appreciate beauty seems, then, both biological and mystical. Our aesthetic sense—our desire for beauty—is unique in that it is a spiritual sense that is curled deeply within the core of our cells.  We need beauty not only to survive but to thrive.


Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb’s poetry has appeared in many publications, including Depth Insights Journal, Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments, the anthology Talking Back and Looking Forward: An Educational Revolution in Poetry and Prose (Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group), and others, with work forthcoming in Weber—The Contemporary West, The American Journal of Nursing, and others. She has been an educator, a researcher, and an editor, and is co-founder of Native West Press, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit natural history press. More at: nativewestpress.com.