April 14, 2014
2014 Members’ Nature Poetry
Ten Laurentian Chapter Poets presented some of their work to 23 poetry aficionados at the Members’ Nature Poetry Reading at the Potsdam Civic Center Community Room on April 6, 2014. The poems are reproduced below.
By the Waterfall, Evening Early May
Purple trillium are appearing
near the bench where I sit
over the waterfall
enjoying evening’s coming.
I watch the setting sun
reflected on the White Pines
up the hill opposite.
They glow yellow-green
stand, arms outstretched upward
through a screen of Maple, Beech,
Popple and Ash, leafless still
below them on the hillside.
As I sit here, mosquitoes assault me
at near 8PM tonight
for the first time since last summer.
The water’s loudly splashing,
falling over the rocks below,
a noisy fall for noisy Spring coming.
The brook is full right now
it having rained last week.
Something wants to bite my face
I can’t tell what it might be yet,
Mr. Black fly? Yes, he too!
There! On my hand, ouching!
The cool air of coming night
is falling with the water down the glen
from up above.
I can feel it gently moving past
in that direction
and seeping into my clothing,
which may become inadequate
if I stay out much longer.
Meanwhile, the sun lingers
on the White Pine above.
A backward sunset
I can see none the less
indirectly its effects.
These trees for a few spectacular moments
Glow orange and reddish
in the light,
signals end of day
and welcome gentle night.
The Sacrifice on Mother’s Day
One day not long ago
while wandering with my dog
We came upon the carcass of
an unfortunate prickly hog.
I chanced to mention to dear wife
who then with varied wills
Suggested I collect the lot
so she could use the quills.
I thought Oh my!
How could I ever do that!
I don’t particularly relish
carrying the dead, not even a small rat!
But on Mother’s day wandering close
I remembered her request
And a thought entered my mind
whether to conclude this behest.
The thought I had went something like
I could go just over there,
After all it’s just a few hundred feet
what little sacrifice to bear?
I banished the thought immediately
from my fevered brain
And continued on my way
it growing dark with rain.
Then something stopped me moments later
as other thoughts entered mind
Such a lovely lady I’ve married
to my children and hers, so kind.
So banishing fear of carrying the dead,
I swallowed hard and bent
Off the trail towards the place
where dog had found the scent.
And there it was unfortunately
just like we had left it,
I tentatively touched it with my glove
and barely tried to heft it!
At first it seemed too awful
but then I saw I could
Carry it with confiding hand
be-gloved, as well I should.
For to carry a porcupine
one must great care take
Otherwise the stickly thing
may journey painful make.
I got it home and placed it in
the barn so it could rest
Not much smell it had left,
at some dear angel’s bequest!
I noticed that in my gloves
six quills had found a home
I gingerly removed the lot
and placed them there alone.
Went into house announcing present
a Mother’s day tribute
And she said “Oh my! I hadn’t thought
you’d bring home the entire brute!”
Just the needles s’all’s I need
for my shaman’s work
Now that would be a sacrifice
picking needles in the dark!
In the end she did appreciate
the quirky gesture bold
And examined next day the quill-mine
happy with her needle-gold.
So husbands all, remember
Your wife on Mother’s day
and lovely gifts a-bring her
such as what I here relay.
Booming of Partridge
As we go out in woods early Spring
we hear a distant putter,
As if some farmer’s tractor old,
starting up, began to sputter.
But then we hear it over again
and again and again each day,
There aren’t that many old machines
out there, a-sputterin’ away!
No, it’s booming call of male partridge
announcing his magnificence,
To any passing she who happens
in woods, on field or fence.
And thus it is, Spring’s many sounds
do waken in us wonder,
Like the booming, birdy sound
of grouse’s miniature thunder.
A sounding time is Spring all right
a-callin’ us to better,
Wake us up to life’s sweet purpose
released from Winter’s tether.
The Side Yard - July
Robin’s a-top the red spruce tree Hummingbird’s at bright red bloom
he sings his warbly song, of Oswego Tea,
High, surveying all about flitting, visits each flower
where birds and trees belong. Then flying off to who knows where?
perhaps to seek his bower.
Two humming birds are fussing
with each other over feeder, The worrisome deer fly
The garden lilies blooming grand buzzes me,
beside them, by the cedar. zooming around my head
Landing on some sweet part he fancies
So flowers, birds, expansive tree and dining there instead.
share space in this endeavor,
The kingdom of the little joys The sun is seeking my bald spot
that bring us all together. though at start,
I sat in shade
Watery clouds pass overhead Earth revolving moves the shadows
possible shower coming, the standing trees have made.
Oswego Tea is blooming bright
nature, her song humming. Barn doors open
both sides too,
The pleasant smell of wild plant so I see to forest beyond
rolls over me as sitting, Through the shadowy interior
I feel the cool night air descend bright sun on bushy frond.
an end of day most fitting.
So sitting here
in chair repose,
The side yard peaceful lies
Soft breeze for mid-day’s meal
the nourishing air supplies.
Southville Forest Blues
Oh, I went out this morning, walked the Southville forest trail,
Yes, went out this morning, walked the Southville forest trail,
It’s a forest with everything, trees and rivers, junk and trash.
You walk into the forest, on a sand road through the pine,
You walk into the forest, on a sand road through the pine,
Take a left at the old junk drier, and you will do just fine..
Walk around the washout, where the atv’s made a cut,
Oh, walk around the washout, where the atv’s made a cut
You get down to the bottom land, and watch out for the rut.
Quiet on the bottom trail, through the hardwood trees,
Quiet on the bottom trail, through the hardwood trees,
If you are careful, you’ll see the deer browsing as they please.
Gotta skirt the mudhole, it’s getting wider every time
Gotta skirt the mudhole, it’s getting wider every time,
So many truck’s been through here, making grunge and slime,
Now we’re at the river, sit down and have a break,
It’s a beautiful river, I could sit all day and take that break
It’s just us and the river, nothing going to make me late.
It’s a half mile on the river, the going is just fine,
Yes we’re walking on the river, and the going is just fine,
The going is so easy, I think the wheel marks are just in my mind,
Now we climb up on the bluff, round the bend and through the trees,
Found the party spot, where they burn the tires and the trees,
Burned an old mattress and the springs lie free.
Another party spot, just past the dryer with the wheels,
Found another party spot, past the dryer with the tires,
This one’s even bigger, and they put the couch on the fire,
Oh, I skiied here last winter, it was good and it was fine,
Oh, I skiied here last winter, 3 feet of snow made it look fine,
Now I see it in the summer, it’s so bad it is a crime.
Candlemas* on a Northern Island
(Mount Desert Island)
The land lies frozen. Occupied.
Wind batters at the small outposts of heat and light.
Beleaguered defenders turn up the heat in their warm forts.
And, noting the frost on their windows,
Look hopefully to their calendars, watching for the relief columns
From the south to lift the siege of winter.
And outside, the interstellar cold sits smug and has his day:
Snow on snow. Water to stone. Oil to sludge.
The boats lie locked in the harbor.
The cars lie clogged in the driveway.
And death peeps in at every window.
Steadfast Flame of lamp and stove and altar
Keep us from the everlasting frost.
Southwest Harbor, Maine, Feb. 2, 1961
*Candlemas, Feb.2, is the traditional day
in Catholic and Episcopal churches
when altar candles are blessed for the year to come.
Girl on a skateboard
Flashing smile full of her joy
Old man’s spirit soars
SUNY Potsdam Campus, 2013
They chatter, walking on the sidewalk
In the Pacific Northwest drizzle
Sneakers, jeans, baseball caps
All of thirteen
Mt Vernon, WA, 1997
High-Ku: Poems From the California Sierras and Colorado Rockies
A broken zipper
Changed my tent from the Ritz to
The summit will wait
If I wish to see old age.
Heed first thunder clap.
Chance encounters suit me fine…
Maybe once a week.
Only sounds of birds,
The soft patter of rain drops.
Peace torn by jet plane.
Rain, please quit, I said.
Rain kept up, but now with sun.
Behold, the rainbow.
First day on the trail,
Feet ache, lungs burn, pack straps cut.
Spirit soars each step.
Pines grow out of stone.
Who would tend such a garden?
God… or some dumb fool.
I topple from my log seat.
Whirr of wings and gone.
I saw the danger,
Round rocks scattered on steep trail.
Now I’m on my back.
A steep pass insures
The valley behind a long,
The Mountains Will Be There Still
The mountains will be there still
Long after you and I have gone.
Do not try to understand.
Bears will prowl the berry patches
Loons sing their siren songs
And dive in silken ponds.
Snakes will swallow frogs
Bobcats feast on snowshoe hares
Black flies scent our blood
White pines birth cones and die
Shag moss live a century
On icy wind-raked peaks.
Lightning spears will shatter nights
Snow quilt sleeping woods
Sun warm brook trout eggs
Trillium blaze the forest floor
Milkweed disperse its feathered young.
Stars will flash their ageless eyes
Northern lights embrace and weave
Moonchips dance on darkening lakes
Ridges hold their silhouettes
Against all sky and space
Far above the tallest graveyard stone.
The mountains will be there still
Long after you and I have gone.
Do not try to understand.
Published in Northerly: Fourteen North Country Poets,
ed. John Brillhart (Watertown, NY: Flagtree Press, 1995)
and in Poems from the Journey, ed. Margaret Dyment
(Argenta, British Columbia: Argenta Friends Press, 2007.
Walk down to the river
Some wet late-winter day
Feel sugar snow drip
Down your thirsty arms
Listen for the moment when the woodthrush sings
And sing yourself in harmony
With the rhythms of the river
Melodies of melting ice
Watch the river
Curl upland snowpacks oceanbound
Until you realize
You’ve lost all track of time
Pick a fragment of the river
And ask yourself
Even as it slips away
Did it begin where
Does it go
And will it come by here again
Embrace the current
Let it take you where it will
Rapids and pools
Stillwaters and falls
Join the circle
For life earth sky
And one day you too will come by here again
Flashes from a sumac limb
Left for dead
By winter’s sabre thrusts
Across a farmer’s field
Burlapped under dying snow
And last year’s uncut hay
Against a stone-age sky
Pressing down on rain-torn woods
And sings a victory song
She’s home again
To rotting ice
Buckets on the trees
Pussy willows by the road
Are magnets in the flyway winds
Signal flares on spring’s warm edge
Fireworks on a summer night
The Adirondacks - Below Zero
Are pure blue
So blue you blink in disbelief.
Hands thrust deep in woolly pockets,
Breath-clouds vanish in the fragile air
Deer tracks point to scented cedar groves.
Are peaceful, still.
Stars sparkle in an ebony sky,
Winking but an arm’s reach distant.
Old snow crunches loudly underfoot;
There’s a tingling in the ears and nose.
At home, a warm fire kindly glows.
Published in Friends Journal Vol. 20 No. 3 (February 1974), 76.
Experts say this bog has been around a billion years
And will be a billion more.
They say it’s full of rare and special life
A living lab of plants and beasts
A museum of the evolution of the Earth.
That’s what the experts say.
Me, I think this bog just plain is.
Waiting for a Train
At the Plattsburgh Amtrak Station
perhaps a stray
has left its mark
a dark green
door that used to open
to a spacious room
my father told me
just before he died
bearded men in derby hats
smoked cigars and sent commodities
to shining city markets
It’s been locked up firmly now for forty years
Lake Champlain slaps gray
and dirty white on rocks
past rows of rusty tracks
where Plattsburgh put a sewage plant
about the time the railroad yard shut down
makes the single track that
still gets used with any regularity
reflect as though it had been polished by
some long-dead Casey Jones
who took a kind of pride
we can’t imagine now
in nearly living locomotives
under his command
Wind gusts whirlpool
cigarette butts and candy wrappers
torn remnants of last fall’s leaves
across the blacktopped station platform
as dull brick towers
tombstones to Victorian exuberance
drip rain and melting snow
The fancy logo “D&H”
Initials of the company that
ran this line a century and some
before a huge Canadian conglomerate stepped in
from plywood shields
far up the streetside wall
a bit less blue and gold with
every passing year
The waiting room
a pocket in the cellar
yellow-green foundation walls
contains a pair of scarred-up wooden benches
rescued when they turned the
upstairs lobby into a restaurant
that didn’t last
a rack with Amtrak schedules to
places few from here will ever go by train
two smoking college kids
a clock that ticks
to the rhythm of the icy rain
Published in Blueline XXII
(Potsdam, NY: SUNY Potsdam), 2001,
and in The Blueline Anthology
(Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press), 2004.
Two White Guys Drive
Through the Navajo Nation
Arise from sand and sage -
Or ruined Spanish missions
Heat waves pirouette
Light plays on painted rock
Jackrabbit darts to prickly pear
Sun fades to gray
Black ragged thunder sky
Swirls desert down upon us
This Arizona’s not the sun-drenched one
We see in kitchen calendars
Sand whips and stings
A million flying scorpions
Drifts like fine snow
Seeking cavities in our cars
Native on a thin dark horse
Plods slowly home eyes down
Unconcerned about the storm
He’s smart enough
To back the weather unlike us
Taking pictures from windswept
Maybe his grandfather
Killed one of ours
A U.S. cavalryman
Who probably deserved it
Ponies swatting flies at a tourist trap
Where bored Indians
Take L.A. families
On little oval rides
Turn rumps to wind
Tails to earth
And wait oblivious
To lightning jags
Casual Navajo vendors
Pack corn necklaces
Turquoise bracelets silver pins
In cardboard boxes and wooden crates
Load sagging swayback pick-ups
Leave plywood booths
To wash in slashing rain
I wonder did they dance it down
We turn to go on highways
Lined with shattered glass
And empty beer and soda cans
Past signs that say
PLEASE DON’T LITTER
Under broken rainbows
(On US Route 163
at the Arizona-Utah border, August 12, 1991)
After circling the snow-covered lake on our skis
Pete and I stare unbelieving:
separates us from the boathouse
where we had set out just an hour ago.
A warming wind has bewitched snow into melt water.
what is beneath that rippling breezy skin?
Only thin rotten fragile ice?
We are only seventeen -
There once was a man from Lake Placid.
Whose muscles were really quite flaccid.
He couldn’t hike far,
Or climb Mt. Debar.
But his fondness for beer was quite massive!
The Adirondack Guest From Hell
The month of March is a drama queen, a prevaricating virago, a beautiful bitch, a seductive siren.
When we are all hungry for love, starved by winter’s white icy fingers
And weary from general lack of affection, maniacal Miss March blows in, uninvited,
Dumps her bags of wind, rain, sleet and snow on the front porch,
Not having the decency to ring the bell or knock politely.
No, she barges through the front door,
“Well! This wallpaper was a bad decision!”
She won’t walk with you, she won’t talk with you,
She won’t ride along in your car.
No, she won’t say “Thanks for this delicious food.”
“What!? All out of sand and salt?
Drive down this icy road right now and go buy more!
Your snow shovel is broken! Buy a better one!
Arthritis? Fibromyalgia? Spinal Stenosis? Bad Knee?!
Well, poo, poo to you! I don’t want to hear about it!”
Tote that food! Drive to that SALE!
Get a little hopeful and you’re covered in hail!
She chooses the biggest guest room, a long month,
Next to your tiny bedroom under the eaves.
She snores all night, snorting and sighing.
The wind whips around the peak of the roof,
Causing attic beams to creak and moan.
Exhausted, you finally fall asleep at dawn.
“What’s for breakfast? What’s for lunch? What’s for dinner?
I’ll make reservations at Turtle Island Cafe.”
She orders a bourbon Manhattan and then talks
Only to your husband. Your name has been erased
From the blackboard. All your life she has never said
“How are you? What’s up? That’s really funny! I love you.”
No, she’s in charge and she disapproves.
Her angry words bend over the birches, confuse the cedars,
Whip the empty maple branches against the sky.
Her acrimonious anger re-freezes the river of your soul.
Her casual cruelty eviscerates your guts like the knife
Of an old deer hunter’s measured, calculated expert accuracy.
She hangs your body from a strong oak branch
And waits for the blood to drain
Before cutting you up, wrapping each piece in freezer paper.
You must say, “Thank you for killing me and eating me.”
Unlike the Indians,she is not grateful for your sacrifice.
Hungry chickadees fly in and out of your abandoned ribcage,
Pecking at suet along the bones,
By the side of the lonely wooded road.
She always hunts out of season, aiming for the
Healthy brown-eyed doe, grazing with her
Spotted fawn at the edge of a field
By the woods, sloping down to a stream.
And then, just as suddenly as she arrives, she leaves,
Icicles dripping from her nose.
Lake Champlain is still frozen.
You want to ski on the Boquet River for miles.
She’s heading down the Northway in her
Little dark blue rental car to Albany Airport,
Leaving you crying in church after
She has sung the solo. You look out the window
At brown grass, bare trees, gray sky,
Then see four fat red-breasted robins
Fly out of a cedar, land under a crabapple tree and
Start bobbing for tiny, shriveled black sweet crabapples.
You realize March can’t last forever.
She rants and raves and jerks us around.
She stamps her foot, enjoys behaving badly.
No one has taught her otherwise.
She holds us captive with her volatile mood swings.
Geraniums in the southern bay window relax and bloom.
Red, pink, white, magenta in the warmer sunlight of spring.
I listen to the calming patter of rain on the roof,
Car tires on wet pavement.
My body needs time to recover, a walk in the woods
To find the curled furry buds of hepatica, squirrel toes.
In the rotting snow, the porcupine’s tracks going
In and out under my camp, the chipmunk’s steady stare
From a stump, the busy nuthatch who still needs his
Adenoids taken out, exclaiming up the box alder branch
At every delectable insect case, the handsome cardinal,
Dull and shabby all winter, now seductively shining
Vermilion, singing so alone from the top of a tall poplar.
“Come ‘ere, come ‘ere, I’ll love you, faithful, loyal am I!”
Yes, we must learn to love Miss March.
Like an old, cranky, knuckle-rapping spinster school teacher,
She really makes us appreciate the warmer, gentler
Glories of spring and summer.
Mist swirls through the
the pitch black night has come
The shadows waken to the sun
as darkness starts to
turn and run.
Mist, wind and shadowns
dance through trees
and night, as always,
turns and flees.
---Chris McCamic, at age 11 (son of Betsy Tisdale)
DAWN OVER LAKE CHAMPLAIN
From my window first I see beneath a starlit sky
A glow begin to spread above the shadowy shapes of hills;
Slowly, yet with persistent strength, it creeps upon the world.
Against a frame of goldent tints rise peaks in silhouette.
The Lake responds: --reflects bright sparkling glints
From climbing sun when it surmounts the mountain range. Then soon
The surface quickens; zephyrs come, and ripples lap the beach.
To watch the dawn approach, and follow through advancing day
Is joy for one whose life marks slight distinctions ’round the clock.
A growing sense of warmth pervades the air as I emerge
To breathe the fragrance of awakening flowers, the earthy smell
Of dew-soaked soil, the tang of cedars, balsam, pine. Life now
Begins its routine course; two herons pass in lazy flight,
A flashing bird darts by and splashes in a sheltered cove,
Retreating then, on jutting branch to gulp a luckless fish.
Who more alert than feathered anglers out at dawn for food?
A short way from our camp the noise of crows comes from a grove;
They rise with rucous cawing and depart: - a knavish clique.
Small chance to learn why they thus mar the hush of morning hours!
Afraid, but curious, a rabbit bides my slow approach.
He freezes in a pose that augurs flight; yet hesitates.
At last, convinced, he disappears in thorny bramble patch close by.
In poultry yards the scratching hens ignore the cock who called
The sun. He struts in satisfaction, proud to guard his flock.
Along the highway rolls a truck with milk in banging cans,
The men askance that I should choose this hour to roam.
For them, perhaps, the lure is lost of Nature’s charms at dawn:
Their chores alone dictate each day this morning toil;
They may just see the commonplace. Although through eyes attuned
To matin hues, the commonplace acquires such state that light
Revives a welcome sense of Faith, and Reverence fills the soul.
---Noah Reynolds Brooks (grandfather of Betsy Tisdale)
Here they come.
Here they come at top speed,
half running, half flying up the snow-covered hill
from the marsh,
through the maples and pines,
thornapples and bent birches
over the February crust of freezes and thaws.
They are BIG. They are HEAVY.
And they are wound up!
Dark and glossy under the winter sun,
they lurch forward on feet
seeming to rotate, as if in a cartoon, like wheels.
They have the appearance of a motorcycle gang
accelerating into the lure of the sweet scent of corn,
revved and ready to seize the loot
that I, in the early morning, scattered for them in the woods.
I stand still at the window
watching this rush of an invasion.
I count them. There are six.
If I should blink or breathe
their keen vision will spot me
and they will yelp and honk and squawk
as they launch themsleves into the air,
in spite of their weight,
and with a powerful lift wack their way through the tree limbs
like flying furniture.
Pell-mell they will go,
feathered cannon balls,
and heading for the hollow.
Bye bye turkeys.
See you later!
JANUARY - THE MOON OF THE POPPING TREES
The ice of the night is climbing up the window as the light of the late afternoon slides across the field and through the trees off into the west blinking goodnight and good luck, taking her heat with her and skidding away across the marsh leaving us to freeze. Crystal air seems like no air at all. Twenty below zero tonight with a wind blowing thirty five miles an hour - the stars, how they will twinkle.
At about midnight I could see through the western window the sliver of a moon. She had travelled across the loft of the sky hailing the long-gone sun - wait for me! I set my eyes tightly on her light and could then perceive the enormous event of the movement of the universe. Embracing the earth one hemisphere at a time, sh went swinging, it seemed, from limb to limb while sliding untangled through the branches of maple and cherry, hemlock and pine. Without a sound she then slipped out of my sight and into the silent roar of a universe on the loose, one among many, too many to count, too far to follow, too glorious for human understanding. All of this without leaving my house.
I put on my sleeping gear and climbed into bed to listen to trees pop on this frigid night. A house can pop too.
My Porcupine has three thousand quills
three thousand quills has he
there is not one less
there is not one more
as far as I can see.
My Porcupine chatters and clicks his teeth
chatters and clicks does he
he growls and hisses
and squeaks and grunts
and all those around him do flee.
My Porcupine shuffles along the ground
shuffle and waddle does he
his heavy tail swishes
side to side like a broom
making a path through the snow for me.
My Porcupine nibbles pine, cedar and fir
nibbles buds, stems and clover does he
with four toes on his forefeet
and five toes on his hind
he spends much of his time in the trees.
My Porcupine ambles his way through the woods
through the woods beneath the pines does he
and then sleeps in his house
in sweet timothy hay
only he, himself, has the key.
This is my Porcupine and I am his Person
on the watch for each other are we.
We watch for each other
for all the long day
what good luck for him and for me.
Porcupines have picnics
just like people do.
They spread their little carpet
and stir their little stew.
Their stew is always seeds
and apples in a pot
with corn to overflowing:
who likes corn a lot?!#?
They told me, you’re invited
to eat their porky stew --
at dusk on any evening
they’ll be waiting just for you.
The rose-glow yellows, melts,
and green leaves float on liquid day….
The bullfrog sleeps.
Silver sprays are caught in molten yellow,
The Sunfish leaves its rock….
young with grass and stream and sound….
Three finches ruffle, skim, and sing
to three new fawn.
Lace fern bends and drinks.
Beneath, a thousand locusts crush the grass….
Birch and pine grow short, full shadows….
Red and yellow dart through cooling branches,
past obscured neighbor nests.
Wild bees turn from brambled rose vines;
The shadows are like snakes
And slither soft across the deer trail….
Pastel grows purple deep below the water.
Heavy, thick with numb, the trickles shiver….
The bullfrog wakes.
Lonely moon-rays and the bullfrog
While beyond cold, quiet dark, beneath the rock,
The Sunfish sleeps….
(at age 16)
Some are like mountains, feet planted in rock,
Head in the heavens, unsheltered at top.
Come away to the mountain,
Be carried away.
Learn your way as you go:
This mushroom is deadly;
This stem full of blood.
Needles fall from the tree;
They prompt you to look.
Every path is a world.
Every leaf is a book.
Sounds make you vulnerable: chipmunks in leaves,
Creaking tall branches, drone of the bees.
Wind in near grasses, birds voicing their peeves.
Hear the crunch of the lichens as you walk on downed trees,
Loose pebbles on slopes, the world as it breathes.
Teach yourself patience.
Sit down beside ferns.
Dip your feet in the water;
Sometimes the trail burns.
Now skirt the cruel boulders! No, keep walking among them,
’Till you tame those rock soldiers; you too are tamed by them!
Feel the bark of the cherry,
The softness of moss,
The thorn of the berry,
The bridge you must cross
Over the waterfall, cataract crashing;
Mists soften the path, on the earth which is trembling.
Spray washes your face while your soul too is cleansing.
In the madness of love,
The lake lapping on shore
Could last you forever,
Fulfilled to the core.
Rest on the ledge.
Sate yourself on the sun.
Rise up on the ridge;
Slake your thirst with the wind.
Soar aloft on an updraft
Above the sky’s edge!
Remembering Porter Hill
On Porter Hill
the small stream beside the road
is milky white with kaolin and clay
and fringed with pussy willows.
In winter, beside their home,
close to the road,
the Palmer’s boil their sap
and throw some on the snow to freeze,
for us to taste the maple miracle.
the “people of the barn”
live in built-on rooms,
drinking-in the chain of mountains,
and sharing space with animals.
Then the road is dirt;
hidden behind the trees,
Will take him to work.
Around the bend,
the Brennan’s dome,
a geodesic Fuller’s dome,
two stories high inside,
is filled with vehicles,
forge, shops, and tools.
“Phil can do anything,” says Suzy
with the wisdom of a child.
Woodworker, ironsmith, builder of roads, clearer of land,
he built their home
across the clearing.
And he plays guitar.
To the west,
a widening field,
in summer fragrant with hay;
Mt. Blue, not far away,
promises lake and late-day swim
Apr 14, 2014: 2014 Member Nature Poetry