Adrienne asked me to share some of my poems in her blog which is just like her, isn’t it, always encouraging others. I retired seven years ago after forty years of teaching and I took up poetry seriously, or more seriously. I quip that my role model is Grandma Moses, the folk artist who began her career at age 78. She portrayed life growing up in Vermont in her primitive art. I too look at what is directly in front of me in this very tiny part of the world where I live.
When I first met Adrienne I lived on a dead end street in Norwich, Vermont where we lived for 31 years. There our children moved comfortably and safely up and down the street with their dogs at their heels.
On the Street Where I Live
I hear Molly’s call, Asa! Asa! Asa!
before I see her glide past the living room windows
open wide to welcome the summer breeze.
With her right foot she pushes hard off the ground
then sets her shoulders in a forward lean.
Eyes fixed ahead she stands steady on her scooter.
She is eight, her blonde hair flies behind
and he runs along beside her
or up ahead which is when she cries,
Asa! Come! NOW!
He is small, a herding dog
with black and white paws
made to run.
Sometimes her calls sound like a bird
nesting on a branch in the tall pine
claiming its territory,
Asa! Asa! Asa! Asa!
The dog would never leave her
but that’s the fear that comes
from loving hopelessly.
2012 “Perhaps It Was The Pie” a collection of poems
We sold our house and built a retirement home on a lake in western Vermont, but while we wait for my husband to retire we live in a NH high rise apartment building, (four stories) which is something we hadn’t done in fifty years.
I get into bed, adjust the covers and then
listen to the couple in the next apartment
settle in also. “I had my prunes.
Yours are out there.” He says this so clearly
I wonder, Is he talking to me?
In my head I search for the prunes
in our shared floor plan from the small balcony
that overlooks the street to the kitchen,
a nook at the end of the living room space.
I find them on the counter in a small dish
five prunes, carefully counted out with a spoon
beside. I wonder, did I find them before his wife?
Should I shout out, “I found your prunes!”
but what if the people across the hall hear
and like me, go looking. When we moved
to this large apartment building I didn’t expect
to meet anyone and here I am helping the neighbor
find her prunes. We turn off the lights and our eyes
go soft to the sounds of our shared rhythms.
2014 Poem Town Randolph, VT
In a year, when my husband does retire, we plan to move to our small house on Lake Bomoseen where we will live with our many new neighbors.
One morning at the lake house
I took my coffee outside
and slumped comfortably
into a bright yellow adirondack chair
perfectly placed for one to watch
the sun rise over the island’s pines.
I observed a small ball
sliding in and out of the rippling
rivulets of water. As it came closer,
I could see it was the small head
of the muskrat I knew lived under the dock.
He crawled onto the shore
and when our eyes met, we stiffened,
aware of each other’s presence.
I knew he was nothing to fear.
Earlier that week I googled,
Muskrats in Vermont.
I let my shoulders fall.
His nostrils flared, his whiskers twitched,
his way of knowing I supposed,
I was nothing to fear.
He relaxed and waddled off.
How quaint, how old-fashioned of him
to come to knowledge through instinct.
“Perhaps It Was The Pie” a collection of poems
2013 Poetry Alive! Montpelier, VT
One thing I can say for the lake. It comes with four seasons of astounding beauty.
The Symphony Remarkable
Outside the window
across the street
two birch trees
rise from one base
two long graceful limbs
against any sky
stem up and stretch away
from the other
like a conductor’s arms
every day directing
the harmonious musicality
of the field