Bright As Wild Mustard—
And Other Poems About Everyday Life

An appreciation of Kansas and things Irish. Delight in family, including children, grandchildren, and the family Chevrolet. A celebration of the seasons and of holidays. The poems in Signs of Life, by Kathleen Metcalfe, are the poems of a warm and friendly voice.

These poems in Signs of Life take delight in the details of daily life: coffee rings on a counter, kittens napping on a haystack of clothes, and panties waving brazenly on a clothesline. There is also pleasure to be found in travel—from Korea to the British Isles—and in karate and in old popular standards. Metcalfe has a deep appreciation and respect for work, as in the poem about her father’s love affair with the land. There are also some joyful tributes to physical love, such as a memory of a dance the poet performed for her husband, wearing only festive Christmas wrap.

But Kathleen Metcalfe doesn’t only write about delight. As in life, there are darker moments in Signs of Life that the poet isn’t afraid to delve into and explore. She looks honestly and strongly at widowhood, the death of loved ones, and at love gone sour—because in addition to being friendly, this voice is honest. There is catharsis here in Signs of Life and the capture of both heightened and quiet moments. We trust this poet to take us through her feelings, as well as our own, as she flushes out the remarkable in the quiet and the quiet in the extraordinary of everyday life.

Kathleen Bird Metcalfe was raised on a farm in Kansas and was trained as a nurse. After serving as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean conflict, she and her pilot husband settled in California, where they raised two children. Following her husband’s death, she remained in California, working as a nurse until her retirement. She now writes poetry and maintains a massage practice. She is the co-author (with Myrtle Olson) of Marginal and Footnote Poetry, published by Boxwood Press.


Signs of Life

Kathleen Bird Metcalfe
ISBN 1-56474-412-4
80 pages, paperback, $10.00

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