Night Visitors

It’s the first week of February.
Wild apples picked in October
have shriveled into themselves.

No longer suitable for apple pie
we dump them out for the herd of deer
that haunted our woods through

January, scavenging among spruce,
standing on hind legs in the snow
to reach the buds of high-bush and tree.

There’s no distinction on the ground––
everything was eaten as we found
the morning after a moonlit meal in Maine.

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To Bury or to Burn?

The reign of God is like a buried treasure
a man found in a field. Matthew 13: 44

To bury or to burn drafts of poems
stacked two feet high in my writing house––
I have no illusion of them being sought
by academy, library, or even family.
So what’s the point of saving them
and not throwing them in the recycling

bin, onto the town dump, or into the stove?
How quickly those piles of poems
would burn to ash.
I choose not to burn
but to bury, honoring the work by giving
its shaping back to the earth from which it
sprang, a witness to the promise of resurrection.

Left with Questions About …

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.

Almost April

March snow inches in
from the edge of the field
to the warming center
where sun and sod converge
in a soggy melt

as our wooden fingers,
our wooden toes
are warmed from the center
when blood flows out to extremities
trembling, and awaiting relief.

On the Feast of St. Nicholas

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?

Left with Questions About …

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.