AUGUSTA — The Beet Poets of Wayne, with special guest Ted Bookey from neighboring Readfield, read and sang their poetry to brighten a dreary Sunday afternoon in the sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Augusta.
“We aim to be entertaining,” said David Moreau, one of the trio of Wayne poets — hence, “beet,” a play on the beat poets of the 1950s.
Moreau said he likes to write “poetry that won’t put people off poetry.”
Stan “Big Cat” Davis — as Moreau described him — wants to mesh poetry and music, and brings his voice and guitar into the mix.
“Music is poetry with notes,” Davis said, and one of his lyrical poems credits Henry David Thoreau’s work with helping him to grow. Davis is a retired guidance counselor and social worker who continues to work in bullying prevention.
Jay Franzel said the Beet Poets of Maine began performing together about a year ago, but all those involved have been performing for a long time.
Moreau told the two dozen listeners, “For a poet to be asked to read is like a golden retriever asking to be petted. We never say no.”
Bookey’s verse took a light-hearted look at religion, particularly with the initial “Moses gets a bad rap …” poem where the title easily outstrips the poem itself, which bemoans Moses “unmanageable assignment from God.” Bookey brought smiles and laughs from an appreciative audience.
Then the white-haired, white-bearded Bookey turned to hearth and home, writing about the Bad Cat, who was a menace when alive and sorely missed when gone, and a grandfather who spoke little.
Bookey teaches Joy of Poetry at the at the University of Maine at Augusta’s Senior College.
Moreau, who works in Lewiston with adults who are developmentally disabled, and Franzel tag-teamed, exchanging the podium after each poem.
Moreau read a love poem he wrote to his wife when he was 22. Franzel focused on New York City for a couple of stanzas, and read a poem dedicated to the late Russell Libby, a leading advocate for organic farming in Maine and a poet himself.
Franzel, who teaches in Winthrop public schools, took listeners on a cross-country tour where he saw “horror films in Erie,” “went wacko in Waco” and ended up with some “good luck in Providence.”