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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.


Bill Mueller
By the Waterfall, Evening Early May
The Sacrifice on Mother’s Day

Booming of Partridge
The Side Yard - July


Tom Ortmeyer
Southville Forest Blues

Arthur L. Johnson
Candlemas on a Northern Island (Mount Desert Island)
Autumn Walk
Two Magpies

Bruce Brownlee
High-Ku: Poems From the California Sierras and Colorado Rockies

Neal Burdick
The Mountains Will Be There Still
The River

Redwing Blackbird
The Adirondacks - Below Zero
This Bog

Waiting for a Train At the Plattsburgh Amtrak Station
Two White Guys Drive Through the Navajo Nation


Duncan Cutter
Seventeen

Marianne Hebert
Limerick

Betsy Tisdale
The Adirondack Guest From Hell

MISTY (Chris McCamic, at age 11, son of Betsy Tisdale)
DAWN OVER LAKE CHAMPLAIN (Noah Reynolds Brooks, grandfather of Betsy Tisdale)


Rosemary Kriescher
Turkey Boys

JANUARY - THE MOON OF THE POPPING TREES

MY PORCUPINE
PORCUPINES’ PICNIC


Lila Hunnewell
Beethoven’s Sixth

Mountain Idyll
Remembering Porter Hill

Bill Mueller

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.

top

Bill Mueller

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.

top

Tom Ortmeyer

Southville Forest Blues

(Chorus)
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.

(Verses)
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.

top

Arthur L. Johnson

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.

Autumn Walk

Girl on a skateboard
Flashing smile full of her joy
Old man’s spirit soars

SUNY Potsdam Campus, 2013

Two Magpies

They chatter, walking on the sidewalk
In the Pacific Northwest drizzle
Sneakers, jeans, baseball caps
All future
All excitement
All of thirteen

Mt Vernon, WA, 1997

top

Bruce Brownlee

High-Ku: Poems From the California Sierras and Colorado Rockies

A broken zipper
Changed my tent from the Ritz to
Mosquito hotel.

The summit will wait
If I wish to see old age.
Heed first thunder clap.

Backpacking alone,
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.
Jokester hummingbird.

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,
Lingering farewell.

top

Neal Burdick

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
Fiddleheads unfurl
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.

The River

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
A molecule
And ask yourself
Even as it slips away

Where
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
Give thanks
For life earth sky
And rivers

Dream
Dream
Dream
And one day you too will come by here again

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Neal Burdick

Redwing Blackbird

Redwing blackbird
Flashes from a sumac limb
Left for dead
By winter’s sabre thrusts

She swings
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
She soars
And sings a victory song

She’s home again
To rotting ice
Buckets on the trees
Pussy willows by the road

Her wings
Are magnets in the flyway winds
Signal flares on spring’s warm edge
Fireworks on a summer night

The Adirondacks - Below Zero

The days
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.

The nights
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.

This Bog

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.

top

Neal Burdick

Waiting for a Train
At the Plattsburgh Amtrak Station

A cat
perhaps a stray
has left its mark
upon
a dark green
door that used to open
to a spacious room
where
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
or more

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

Misty drizzle
nearly snow
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
shingled turrets
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
protrudes
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
and ticks
and 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

Buttes
Arise from sand and sage -
Praying hands
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
Two tourists
Taking pictures from windswept
Tumbleweed shoulders

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
Arching partly
Over
ancient
sagebrush
buttes

(On US Route 163
at the Arizona-Utah border, August 12, 1991)

top

Duncan Cutter

Seventeen

After circling the snow-covered lake on our skis
Pete and I stare unbelieving:
    open water
    separates us from the boathouse
    where we had set out just an hour ago.
A warming wind has bewitched snow into melt water.
    We worry
        what is beneath that rippling breezy skin?
            Only thin rotten fragile ice?
We are only seventeen -
    We Charge!

top

Marianne Hebert

Limerick

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!

top

Betsy Tisdale

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.

top

MISTY

Mist swirls through the
coming dawn,
the pitch black night has come
and gone.
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)

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Rosemary Kriescher

Turkey Boys

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,
aloft,
and heading for the hollow.
Bye bye turkeys.
See you later!

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Rosemary Kriescher

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.

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Rosemary Kriescher

MY PORCUPINE

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’ PICNIC

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.

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Lila Hunnewell

Beethoven’s Sixth

I
The rose-glow yellows, melts,
and green leaves float on liquid day….
The bullfrog sleeps.
Silver sprays are caught in molten yellow,
drowning eddies.
The Sunfish leaves its rock….

II
The mountain’s
young with grass and stream and sound….
Three finches ruffle, skim, and sing
to three new fawn.
Lace fern bends and drinks.
Blue-white glares.
Beneath, a thousand locusts crush the grass….

III
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….

IV
Pastel grows purple deep below the water.
Heavy, thick with numb, the trickles shiver….
The bullfrog wakes.
Lonely moon-rays and the bullfrog
curfew day
While beyond cold, quiet dark, beneath the rock,
The Sunfish sleeps….

(at age 16)

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Lila Hunnewell

Mountain Idyll

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!

February 2013

Remembering Porter Hill

(Farmington, Maine)

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.

Further uphill,
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;
DeStefano’s plane,
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
amid mosquitoes.

March 2013

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News Archive

Apr 1, 2017: Great Lakes Water Levels

Mar 15, 2017: Extended New Brunswick Outing Proposed

Jan 1, 2017: Boreas Ponds

Jan 1, 2017: 2017 Photo Contest Announced

Dec 2, 2016: Camp Colby Scholarships Available

Nov 29, 2016: Winter 2017 Outdoors-Indoors Schedule Announced

Nov 21, 2016: Wilderness Thru-hiking to Wilderness Advocacy

Nov 16, 2016: 2016 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Oct 1, 2016: Membership Survey Preliminary Results

Oct 1, 2016: John Omohundro Passes The Torch

Sep 8, 2016: 2017 Extended Outings Proposed

Apr 1, 2016: Solarize

Mar 29, 2016: 2016 Photo Contest Announced

Mar 17, 2016: Teen Trail Project Scholarships Available

Jan 6, 2016: Perry Yaw Commemorative Quilt

Dec 2, 2015: Trail Work Day Attracts Huge Turnout

Dec 2, 2015: Outdoors-Indoors Schedule Announced

Dec 1, 2015: 2015 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Sep 17, 2015: RRAC Explained

Sep 17, 2015: Oswegatchie Blueway Open Houses Scheduled

Jul 1, 2015: Perry H Yaw Jr

Jul 1, 2015: Ididaride Annual Biking Event

May 5, 2015: SUNY Potsdam Wilderness Education Mountain-A-Thon Training Exercise

Apr 1, 2015: Spring

Apr 1, 2015: Educational Affiliate Program Expands

Jan 1, 2015: Call for Distinguished Volunteer Nominations

Jan 1, 2015: 2015 Photo Contest Opens

Nov 27, 2014: 2014 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 27, 2014: 2014 Photo Contest Winners Announced - Copy

Nov 17, 2014: St Lawrence Flatlands UMP Hearing

Oct 1, 2014: Chapter Offers Outing Leadership Training Course

Jul 1, 2014: Jean Hardy, 1926-2014

Jul 1, 2014: ADK and Trails

Apr 14, 2014: 2014 Member Nature Poetry

Apr 4, 2014: Stone Valley Management Plan Finalized

Apr 1, 2014: Educational Affiliate Program Gathers Momentum

Mar 24, 2014: North Country National Scenic Trail

Dec 30, 2013: Stone Valley Management Plan Review

Dec 6, 2013: 2014 Photo Contest Opens

Nov 12, 2013: 2013 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Oct 1, 2013: Spring Outing Retrospective

Sep 6, 2013: Finch Pruyn-Essex Chain Action Alert

Aug 22, 2013: Ragnar Relay Race

Jul 1, 2013: New Trails for Stone Valley

Jun 27, 2013: North Country Trails Membership

Jun 19, 2013: Spring Outing A Great Success

Apr 2, 2013: Laurentian Loon Shirts

Apr 1, 2013: Brian Baston, 46r

Dec 21, 2012: New Chapter Officers Elected

Dec 6, 2012: 2013 Photo Contest Opens

Nov 27, 2012: 2012 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Jul 17, 2012: Raquette River Documentary

Apr 1, 2012: Acadia Trip Sept 2012

Jan 21, 2012: Stone Valley Trail Maintenance A Mammoth Undertaking

Jan 1, 2012: 2012 Photo Contest Announced

Nov 19, 2011: Peter Blood and Toni Towle Finish the 46

Nov 19, 2011: Moose Talk At Fall Potluck (1)

Nov 16, 2011: 2011 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 9, 2011: Sherman Craig Nominated To APA

Oct 16, 2011: Mt Arab Vandalised

Oct 1, 2011: GPS Group Forming

Jul 23, 2011: Allegany State Park Action Alert

Jul 2, 2011: Stone Valley Trail Report

Jul 2, 2011: Red Sandstone Trail Report

Jul 2, 2011: Friends of Higley Flow Capital Campaign

Jul 1, 2011: JBL Seeks All-Season Hosts

Apr 29, 2011: JBL Seeks Volunteer Hosts

Apr 1, 2011: Outings Announced

Feb 25, 2011: 2011 Fall Outing

Feb 4, 2011: Tug Hill Winter Outing

Dec 9, 2010: 2010 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 21, 2010: Omohundro Whalen Distinguished Volunteers

Sep 22, 2010: Nominees Announced

Sep 22, 2010: Fall Potluck to Feature Permaculture Talk

Sep 22, 2010: Bylaw Changes Proposed

Sep 15, 2010: Dogs on Chapter Trips

Aug 16, 2010: Raquette River Information Center Opens

Jul 27, 2010: Raquette River Information Center To Open

Jun 2, 2010: Sacred Tools Exhibit

May 26, 2010: Plants of St Lawrence County

Apr 13, 2010: Chapter Basket Donations Needed

Mar 23, 2010: Second Annual Photo Contest Announced

Mar 22, 2010: Laurentians Invited To Colorado

Mar 21, 2010: Spring Potluck To Feature Northern Canoe Route

Jan 1, 2010: Calling Kids For Camp Colby

Nov 8, 2009: 2009 Photo Contest Results

Oct 1, 2009: Brian Mann To Address Annual Meeting

Oct 1, 2009: Archivist Needed

Jul 1, 2009: Raquette River Awareness Week

May 23, 2009: Tom Wheeler Elected 46ers President

Apr 30, 2009: Cutters Receive Award

Mar 31, 2009: Spring Potluck

Mar 30, 2009: Photo Contest

Mar 29, 2009: Hospitality Coordinator Needed

Mar 21, 2009: Gloria Daly Completes Winter 46

Mar 16, 2009: Lyle Montgomery Completes Winter 46

Dec 23, 2008: Chapter to Sponsor Campers at Camp Colby

Nov 2, 2008: Anna Gerhard-Arnold Recognized

Oct 1, 2008: Roy Horst to Speak at Fall Potluck

Sep 13, 2008: Tom Wheeler Receives Award

Aug 3, 2008: SLC EMC hosts NYS Conference on Environment

Jun 10, 2008: Lows Lake Floatplanes Action Alert

Mar 22, 2008: Winter On The Red Sandstone Trail

Mar 15, 2008: Nancy LaBaff Completes Winter 46

Mar 1, 2008: Environmental Protection Fund Being Raided

Feb 15, 2008: Red Sandstone Trailworker Tshirt

Nov 28, 2007: Hearings on National Scenic Trail

Nov 26, 2007: Laurentian Chapter To Sponsor Campers

Nov 11, 2007: Annual Meeting Highlights

Sep 27, 2007: Clarence and Paul

Sep 26, 2007: Neil Woodworth To Visit

Sep 25, 2007: Red Sandstone Trail Report

Jul 1, 2007: Legislature Passes EPF Enhancement Act

Mar 22, 2007: Call for Adirondack Stories

Mar 17, 2007: Mud Season Potluck Features Stuart Mesinger

Jan 25, 2007: Chapter Endorses Grace Peak Proposal

Jan 15, 2007: Public Comment Requested

Jan 1, 2007: Paddle The Rideau

Jan 1, 2007: Calling Kids For Camp Colby

Nov 28, 2006: Dick Mooers Named Distinguished Volunteer

Oct 2, 2006: Laurentian Chapter Hosts 2006 Fall Outing

Sep 1, 2006: Update on SLC ATV Trail Plan

Aug 30, 2006: Teens Complete Stone Valley Trail Work

Aug 28, 2006: Stone Valley - A Community Resource

Aug 28, 2006: Keeping Stone Valley Trails Open

Aug 25, 2006: White Hill Draft UMP Released

Aug 25, 2006: ATV Plan Comment Period

Jul 1, 2006: Raquette Boreal Forest Plan Moves Forward

Jun 6, 2006: Piercefield Dam Whitewater Release

Apr 21, 2006: Natural History Museum Seeks Volunteers

Apr 2, 2006: Peter OShea Addresses ADK

Mar 29, 2006: Laurentian Chapter To Host Fall Outing

Feb 28, 2006: High School Trails Program Seeks Participants

Jan 4, 2006: Chapter at Remington Gala

Dec 16, 2005: Camp Colby Youth Summer Camp

Dec 1, 2005: Paddlers Rights

Nov 12, 2005: Higley Flow Leanto Dedicated

Nov 6, 2005: Sandy Hildreth and Eileen Wheeler Honored

Oct 16, 2005: Stone Valley Trail Maintenance

Oct 4, 2005: Laurentian Chapter Hosts 2006 Fall Outing

Oct 3, 2005: Annual Meeting November 6

Oct 2, 2005: Friends of Mt Arab Seeks Volunteers

Sep 12, 2005: Proposed Bylaws

Aug 25, 2005: Musings On The Word Laurentian

Aug 25, 2005: Higley Flow Leanto

Aug 25, 2005: An Adirondack Diet

Aug 20, 2005: Bear Canisters

Aug 15, 2005: Firetowers

Aug 10, 2005: Executive Director Visits

Aug 5, 2005: National Trails Day

Aug 1, 2005: New Publicity Coordinator