RSS Feed

Category Archives: Uncategorized

BARE BRANCHES

Here in southern Maine we had an unusually snowy November.  Many of us didn’t have time to rake leaves before the snow came.  Here is a timely short poem by William Carlos Williams.

Warm holiday wishes to all.

 

WINTER TREES

 

All the complicated details

of the attiring and

the disattiring are completed!

A liquid moon

moves gently among

the long branches.

Thus having prepared their buds

against a sure winter

the wise trees

stand sleeping in the cold.

snowy branches

Advertisements

Letting Go

(“Fall Trees” c. 2018 by Alice Persons)

fall trees done

As wind and rain strip colorful leaves from the trees here in Maine, here is a timely poem by David McCann, who lives in Massachusetts.  David has two poetry collections from Moon Pie Press:  SAME BIRD and LOST AND FOUND.  Reprinted by permission; copyright 2016 by David McCann.

Detachment

She imagined each tree would have one leaf

that would be last, late November,

to give up to some indifferent gust,

or more simply at the end to gravity.

 

What prepares the leaf to fall is cold.

 

Temperature, a relative term;

the precipitous fall at night, more likely,

below a certain determinate level

that triggers a leaf’s detachment.

 

Study the leaf, she would say.

 

What it learns

as the wind sighs fly away,

take as a token of wisdom.

 

 

The Road Taken

road in fallThis is a road in Maine (photographer unknown) – no Photoshopping is required in this spectacular season.

Here is a fall poem by two-time U.S. Poet Laureate Howard Nemerov (1920-1991) who wrote sophisticated “form” poetry almost exclusively. He also said, “Write what you know.  That should leave you with a lot of free time.”

Absent-Minded Professor

This lonely figure of not much fun

Strayed out of folklore fifteen years ago

Forever.  Now on an autumn afternoon,

While the leaves drift past the office window,

His bright replacement, present-minded, stays

At the desk correcting papers, nor even grieves

For the silly scholar of the bad old days,

who’d burn the papers and correct the leaves.

 

Fall in England (not New England, for a change)

John Clare (1793-1864), the son of a farm laborer, was a fine Romantic poet known for his celebration of the English countryside.

 

Here is a timely Clare poem.

Autumn

The thistledown’s flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting it bubbles red-hot.

The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.

Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we’re eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.

 

Narrowing It Down

Recently a friend challenged me to post 7 favorite books on Facebook.  Being an inveterate list maker,  I liked this task.  But it is surprisingly hard to narrow a lifetime of books down to seven favorites.  Here is a list of nine – I posted the first seven.

John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist

John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

Jane Kenyon, Collected Poems

Lee Smith, Oral History

Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

Margaret Atwood, Life Before Man

It occurred to me that my list is lily-white, though it does include books by 2 Brits and 2 southerners.  For poetry I would add books by Richard Hugo, Audre Lord, Derek Walcott, Nikki Giovanni, Tony Hoagland, William Stafford………..I could go on, but I won’t.  (I’m not including any of the fine poetry books published by Moon Pie Press, but there are a lot to choose from.)  I’m always interested in lists like “The 50 best novels ever written”, or “The 25 best movies you’ve never seen” or “100 books to read before you die”, etc.  Sometimes the lists seem too arbitrary and even lame, but often I get good ideas.  My personal reading challenge for 2018 is 125 books, and I’m at 90 right now on August 20.  I wish you all happy reading.books crucial

Full On Bug Season

It’s July, and that means a proliferation of bugs – including the deer ticks we dread in Maine for their ability to carry Lyme disease.  The mosquitoes in Maine are pretty legendary, too.  I dislike bugs, except perhaps fireflies and butterflies.  They are the price we pay for our short, glorious summer.  Here is a poem by William Oldys (1687-1761) – not very sanitary, but an interesting meditation on the fleeting nature of existence.  Oldys lived to be 74, which in the 1700s was a long life.

 

On A Fly Drinking Out Of His Cup

 

Busy, curious, thirsty fly!

Drink with me and drink as I:

Freely welcome to my cup,

Couldst thou sip and sip it up:

Make the most of life you may,

Life is short and wears away.

 

Both alike are mine and thine

Hastening quick to their decline:

Thine’s a summer, mine’s no more,

Though repeated to threescore.

Threescore summers, when they’re gone,

Will appear as short as one!

fireflies and jar

Summer

 

Here is a timely poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, a black American poet who lived from 1872 to 1906.  He died far too young, but left some lovely poetry.

 

A Summer’s Night

The night is dewy as a maiden’s mouth,

The skies are bright as are a maiden’s eyes,

Soft as a maiden’s breath the wind that flies

Up from the perfumed bosom of the South.

Like sentinels, the pines stand in the park;

And hither hastening, like rakes that roam,

With lamps to light their wayward footsteps home,

The fireflies come stagg’ring down the dark.