Picture by Hewnoaks artist Tonee Harbert

Picture by Hewnoaks artist Tonee Harbert

 

Hewnoaks Poems from July 2016

Poetry Workshop and Poetry Reading

We met at Hewnoaks Artist Colony for a third annual gathering of writers to enjoy poems by beloved poets and, using themes of the natural world and a wide range of techniques, wrote poems and shared with each other. Wind blew off the lake as sun warmed us. The following week, writers from the Hewnoaks workshop and others from surrounding communities read poems at the Charlotte Hobbs Library. Thanks to all participants and to the Charlotte Hobbs Library, the Greater Lovell Land Trust, and Hewnoaks Artist Colony for co-sponsoring these events.  We hope you enjoy these poems. 

Judy Steinbergh

 

BLUE

 

Fragile, fading many stems bundled into then bending from the vase neck. 

The bouquet Dakota finished that his mother started. 

Early hepatica pushing up through the snow. 

Chicory through the car window. 

Cornflower eyes rarely out from behind dark glasses. 

Flax atop feathery leaves. 

The un-count-on-able blue of sky or water that follows its lead. 

Indigo bunting landing close enough to touch. 

Never food. 

Our skin when it's too late. 

 

by Susan Welchman

 

 

Morning Blessings 2

 

                                 Se’u marom eyneychem u’ru mi vara eyleh?

                                 Lift up your eyes and see – who created all this?

 

Se’u marom eyneychem u’ru. . . 

 

Before I open my eyes I know

the woods are full of life.

Shrill squirrels

sardonic jays

a honking goose flies up the lake

crows are discussing something nearby

and that woodpecker, nature’s jackhammer,

must have bored clear through that tree by now.

 

When I open my eyes I see

the quiet ones, the waiting ones –

the little birds,

finches,

nuthatches,

chickadees, 

titmice –

and I know it’s time for the new morning ritual:

put out the bird feeder.

 

It’s a new ritual

because of the bear.

 

She came late Sunday night

darker than the dark

a massive black shape

under the deck light

a fluid, moving . . . nothing.

Feeling ridiculous, I stood 

barefoot at the screen door.

“Shoo!” “Go away!”

“That’s bird food!”

She forgave my insolence,

strolled over, 

raised her huge head

and studied me.

I noticed that her chin was brown,

not black;

her dark eyes glinted under the light;

her teeth (was she smiling?) were white.

I mended my manners.

“Good evening,” I said.

She stood tall, 

pivoted with astounding poise,

embraced the bird feeder,

glanced back at me once,

gracefully stepped off the deck

and rode the feeder to the ground

as its iron hanger curved into a new arc.

 

I have not seen her since.

But each night, 

as I bring the tooth-dented feeder indoors,

I scan the dark for her darkness,

and apologize.

 

. . . mi vara eyleh? 

 

by Jo Radner

 

 

 

Old Trees

 

The forester says

our trees are dying.

You can tell, he says,

by the tears of pitch

their trunks are crying.

 

They hold each other up,

roots entwined, stems aligned,

branches stretching, pushing

back at relentless wind

 

but thin now, abashed, tattered

from years of needles falling

to soft brown carpet, tribute

to long labor and lost hopes 

 

but kind to my bare feet

grateful for the cushion,

as I walk the old paths,

remembering those roots

 

entwined under me,

stout trunks now toppled;

I call them to mind

on these forest paths

as I shed my leaves.

 

by Jo Radner

 

 

Kin

Susan W. Golder

 

Spoons and cups clatter.

Conversations brew.

Clans sip and gab in a communal chant to the awakening day.

I steal away.

Measuring my steps until voices fade, 

I go to the place that beckons me 

          to be still …

               to be silent. 

I land, as I mostly do, under the canopy of a mighty pine.

I watch its needles fly and float in silent homage to the dawn.

I feel its trunk, solid and strong at my back.

My feet settle onto its tangled and ancient roots.

I am still. I am silent. 

Here, with the mighty pine, I am one.

 

 

Matins

by Susan W. Golder

 

A still lake in quiet slumber

 

stirs,

 

lifts its gossamer veil of mist,

 

laps a gentle ripple,

 

     then a rhythmic flow . . .

 

a hypnotic refrain.

 

Fish twirl.

 

Trees hum.

 

A distant loon sends a tide of tremolos.

 

In silent witness, I wait; I listen . . . 

 

Then, suddenly, in that space, I catch the call.

 

Come.

 

     Come.

 

          Come.

 

My paddle, slow and steady, leads me into the circle of morning’s song.

 

 

 

New Friends

 

To my eyes in the past only a mass of green in the backyard.

One, an old friend, with three fonds, strong and bold, is a protector from bugs.

Now, here is a seductive lady friend, with black unshaven leg hairs and lovely curved eyebrows.

Her escort is regal, crowned, broad leafed, standing by the river edge. This hardy friend with stout green boots will be here through the winter.

A different fate from this summer companion who is the most sensitive of my new friends and recoils at the approach of cold.

A slender candle burning at both ends glows in the low greenery, hiding under the open arms of tall lookalike neighbors, one with pointed finger tips and hairy armpits, the other, no hair and a rounded manicure.

This fellow looks a bit stiff: flat and fused at the shoulder blades, with a long, heavy tail.

Some backyard friends are not familiar faces yet. I know a few of their names: hayscented, wood, ostrich. The wood family has many lookalike siblings. I met evergreen wood and silvery glade just today. I hope I will recognize them when we meet again.

These fern folks are a few of the green people that enrich my life.

 

by Ann Johnson

 

Camp

The rusticator, with one child lost to the flu

and the one remaining a shameless cad.

Picked a hilltop with a modest view

of a distant drumlin.

 

Hope built the seven bedrooms;

possibilities the sweep of a porch;

potential the tumbling stone chimney

high above the lake in a song to the future.

 

The docks and boats a distant diversion over

the rise that the fourth generation

cursed each afternoon on the trudge

back to the house he called “Stonehenge.”

 

The conceit of the name redeemed

by a day in the garden where the

stone crop was ever the most reliable

perennial among the cutting flowers.

 

Gladiolas that spread in fanned vases behind

candles and glasses laid in the evening for cocktails.

Grandmother’s sparkling eyes and crinolined dresses

Mother’s perfume; Green and White.

 

This was the routine.

The end of the days of woodland hikes,

hopeful dangling of fishing lines,

canoeing to the shallows of the brook.

 

He wouldn’t imagine the angry end.

The boathouse fallen to the years of ice.

The tennis court a nursery to a forest of white pine.

The cutting gardens vanished in the forest.

 

Where the view has grown in.

 

© Jill Rundle

 

A Blink

The days that open so softly

the pre-dawn cacophony settled

To the occasional alert of a chickadee

 

Water like a tabletop, air heating as the sun clears the eastern tree stands.

Before the stewing night weather unhooks from the western mountains

Disengages from the peaks and rushes down

 

The woods are full of the remains of the blow down.

Massive stumps pulled from their mooring,

eviscerated from the peaty earth.

 

Centurion trees in age and stature

laid out together, all in the same moment of the tempest,

all in the same direction bowing to the hundred year drama.

 

(C) Jill Rundle

 

 

3 Poems by Mia Kelly-Lanser

 

The Bird

 

Sits still on the long, sturdy sill

Takes flight, gracefully gliding through the wind

The light blue silk of its wings

Only one, far away from the others

Flying freely across the morning skies

Over the forest she goes

Nothing but trees, to her delight

The hush of the wind

The rustling of the bushes

True happiness

The love and joy of the world

True meaning of life.   

 

 

The Huntsman

 

A satchel

A bow

Some arrows

Out for the hunt

Makes his way to the forest

Listens to the wind

Searches for his prey

Soon spots the bird

Follows through the woods

Quiet as the morning 

Only the sound of the target bird

Waits for the right moment

Draws his bow and arrows

Aims towards the sky

Silence falls throughout the world

 

The Arrow

 

Shoots through the air 

Makes its mark

A final note to the song

No more flight

All is still

A world of singing and joy coming to an end

The bird falls slowly to the ground

A moment of dread

The birds last breath

The bird is gone

The huntsman has won

The arrow has no more use

A new life to come

 

 

 

 

 

For José

 

I call my husband over

To the porch

Where I was reading.

 

Listen, do you hear that?

 

He does not.

He pushes his ear against the wet screens.

Now he does.

 

A long screech, sad and eery.

Over and over.

 

My husband gets out his iPhone.

Together we listen to recordings of birds,

Our ears close to the little speaker.

 

Then our heads lift again to listen,

To the live sound.

 

Back to our recording.

There, that’s it!

A fledgling barred owl begging.

Pure poetry in one sentence.

 

We look at each other,

loving the words,

loving the porch,

loving each other.

 

by Anna Römer

 

Contrast at Hewnoaks

 

How fitting that contrast, the first law of all art, should visit us today.  

It is a time for bonding with old friends and meeting new acquaintances.

Our attention vacillates between poetry focus

and the distraction of strands of hair blowing across our faces.

We progress from the stillness of poetry readings to the active exploration of the grounds.

 

Wandering about the bucolic landscape that is the Artist Colony of Hewnoaks, 

we witness the dark clouds, interspersed with the bright sunlight; 

we feel the chilly lake breeze interspersed with warm pockets of air ...

that kiss our cheeks, often in concert with the sun's warming rays.

 

We listen to the loud trilling of the songbird high in the treetops,

while enjoying quiet contemplation of surroundings;

We watch the bright whitecaps roll over Kezar Lake's waters, dulled by passing clouds.

We observe the contrast of dark wood and light stucco facades on the cottages,

and the majestic pines towering over the minuscule insects we spot as we sit on lawn and log.

 

We apply black pen to white paper … 

or is it soft fingertips applied to laptop hardware?

We tweak our rough drafts into smooth lines of poetry;

We share our compositions depicting care for the present estate and reverence for its past.

 

We begin our poetry writing with an idea, our alpha; 

and end the morning with round-table readings of our art this day, our omega.

 

My first poetry workshop shall not be my last.

 

(c) 2016 Mary Anderson Ginder

 

 

3 Poems by Mark Cadman

 

Valley Fog

The fog sea flows in the valley

Lapping at the mountains shore

But it will subside

As though with the tide

Until daybreak comes once more.

 

 

Snapping Turtle

A moving hulk, moss covered stone

The snapping turtle stands alone 

Traveling far from its watery abode

Crossing field, farm and road

To lay pearl-like eggs in warming sand

A new generation close at hand

 

This slow moving relic of eons past

A dinosaur that was built to last

A tank built of leather scute and bone

Yet graceful and free in its watery home

A testament to the great mystery 

Of God's greater plan for turtles, you and me.  

 

Ducks on the Porch

The springtime beauty of ducks of the wood

Rivaled only by the stately merganser with a hood

Mallards and black ducks, blue-winged teal

Canvasbacks and pintails, could this be real?

With rain this heavy and a bit of luck

My front yard will be home to frog, turtle and duck.   

 

 

 

 

 

LAKE NEWS

 

We’re out talking about herons, our paddles 

dripping, as we nose toward your canoe,    

 

the eagle, immense and looming, returned 

to perch on your towering pine,  its nest 

a distance up the shore from which we hear

squawks and squeals, the young? or are they

fledged?  evident in a huge mottled bird

we see skim out dipping toward water. 

 

No loon chicks swim on the backs of the parent,

but a grandchild is due for you, David and Nell, 

and Mina up on her hands and knees rocks

toward crawling; our Julian orbits in his cardboard 

spacecraft, the teen girls, sleek in their fashions, 

hair pressed and toes painted, lean and lure.

 

Our boat tips lift lily pads, send up

nets of dragonflies, a hushed music of motion.

A winged shadow circles and swoops, 

 

and we with our aches and creaks, our retirings 

and survivings,  our long memory of weather, 

glide on: the day is clear, a wisp of wind, 

white clouds nudge peaks of the Carter range.

 

                  by   Judith Steinbergh

 

WILD RIDE HOME  

 

Mazzy’s in his booster in the back seat,  

rolling home from pre-K,  

discussing his day, well... me asking,

 

him mumbling something, as we drive through flickers

of late fall;  scarlet and golden leaves tumble along 

the roadway,  while dusk sweeps blue away.

 

We curve, we bend, we turn toward East

at the main road by the college; students cross, 

flashing caution lights behind them;  

 

fuchsia streaks adorn a grainy dusk, 

the Reservoir holds silver in the evening light.

 

Far beyond, a flash, office tower set aflame

from western setting sun, each pane its own

conflagration, a wavering beacon

silvers as the sun descends.  

 

Then huge as Jupiter approaching,  

translucent as a Chinese lantern, papery, 

ephemeral as a luna moth...

                 What the heck! we shout,

 

driving toward the rising moon, born 

out of earth, dripping from the sea, emerging 

from the road ahead, obscuring

city towers, palming the horizon.    

 

The circle of the pond is milk, the moon

agauzy haze;  Oh gravity, set free and let 

the pallid face of moon arise...

 

as we near home, safely 

tugged by family tides. 

 

J  udith Steinbergh  

 

PERSPECTIVE

Flight446,  East Coast

 

Just a little off the earth

the continent flattens to paper,

needle to pine to green black thumbprint

lake to pond to mirror to sequin glint

sandy cape to bent arm to curl of hair  

 

From 6 miles up, 

Barrier islands, are mere eyelashes of the continent

wisps, calligrapher’s curve, brushstroke

beaches, pale line of chalk, a thin hem 

to the cloth of the continent,

 

Little breaks, thumb of sea pushed in – blue into sand,

black up the tidal rivers, brown into the lowland marsh.

 

What keeps the sea at bay? a stone jetty, a splintered pier, 

sea wall andsea grape, sand bag and jellyfish stranded, 

shingle of shells, eel grass, cedar shack

corn rows, tobacco sheds, shoots of rice?

 

The sea encroaches, licks away familiar shapes,

breaksbarriers, 

Spring tide and neap tide

sea suck and storm surge.

      

Wake up,  traveler,  

Do not shutter that portal 

that tethers us to the land’s embrace,

 

Smoke billows,

storms swallow

our continent, so easily 

erased.

 

by Judith Steinbergh (Muddy River Review, sprg 2016)