I came upon a well in the woods,
a cattle well you covered over years
ago to protect raccoons and people too
who might be exploring this thicketed part
this branchy path where also walk
the ghosts of farmers
who kept these woods as fields before
they’d grown to brush, then pine
and hemlock trees five stories high.
Do they keep an eye on the old well?
Is it they who have moved the wooden
cover, making a way for unwary people
or pets to stub a toe or paw on stones
that open a way down to the cool
temptation of life everlasting that water
is? Well water, that is, with its placid
face that draws us in. Kith or kin
are we to them who have gone before
ever we were born? Who maintained
the spirit of the 100 acres given to crops
and animal grazing and once-on-a-time
wells where a beast could drink?
stewardship of the land we bought
when we were barely old enough
to grasp the meaning of being stewards
of what we had been given.
With age comes understanding.
With age comes sense of responsibility
to history held in the rings of the oak
in the whorls of pine crowned with cones
and even deeper in glacial stones
raked across this land in a distant time,
all of it passing through our hands
like water, as do the passing years …
And what we choose, our actions now
are the future for stewards who follow.
I would sweep the world clean with my yellow broom
but all I am asked to do is sweep my own
room, which is my world in this latter hour
when the sun sets early and naught flowers,
when all sinks deeper with each passing day
into the freezing ground that calls to sleep.
Fly-specked and dusty and perfectly mine
is this space for poetry out of time
where worry troubles not the moted air.
Once over the threshold nary a care
can raise its fleecy bothersome head
demanding attention I’ve already shed
when doffing my coat and winter hat
and lighting a fire, spit-spat.
Done, I assume the writer’s seat
pick up the pen and relish the heat.
Ink on paper, word on tongue …
a chant that can be daily sung
to invoke the Muse in all its glory
and contribute one note to the human story.
Early in the morning
on the first day of the week
while it was still dark … John 21:1
You describe the state of the Model A
pushed over and down the river bank
to become part of a family’s history.
Brought to its resting place by one
of the brothers who knew
of your interest and restorer’s soul,
he said he’d be glad of it taken away.
You’re making your plans involving
a skidder to pull it up and onto
the flat, where you’ll bring a trailer
to haul it away, as you’ve hauled
a lifetime of ruination for restoration
in studio, in shop; it’s underway
in your mind. It’s underway.
The child touching the mother’s hair
watching the touching I sit behind them
watching the touching, wishing the touching
would never stop.
When did you start to write stories?
the child asks the poet.
Not until I was in my 30’s
but I was writing poems when I was a child
White paper. Black pen.
Ready? Let’s begin.
A fall day. Is that enough to say?
Do I need to list colors? Not Roy G. Biv
but fiery orange and wild pink
sharing branches of the same tree
even the same leaf,
and that’s the beginning.
Ready for a day of walking, looking
in order to really see and faithfully
deliver the Good News that life goes on
in spite of politics, including politics
falling at our feet each day in newspaper,
on television and now on line––
wars and threats and rumors of war
started by irresponsible men. And
women too, who get on the wagon
that climbs not to any star, but rolls
its way to hell on wheels of stone.
That given, remember the colors
of orange and pink that share
the veined space on the same leaf.