VERY VERMONT

Poems, Paintings and Prose Inspired by

the Green Mountain State

 

My Beloved Vermont                                                                                                  

 Kaleidoscope meadows, flower-speckled fields,

Birch silhouettes reaching toward heaven

Moose in the marsh – a cow with her calf –

Deer leaping cross creeks that flow now and then…

I’ve come to you for comfort and peace

When seeking solace from cruelty and pain

You’ve enveloped me in your loving woods,

Caressing my face with falling rain

Then warming me up with your sun’s golden rays

Restoring and making me whole once again

 

It seemed like any other storm

When rain began as mountain mist

Then transformed to snowstorm clouds

Swirling billows in the air

 

In spite of the rain, a hummingbird

Flew in to sip syrup at window pane

Even a monarch butterfly

Arrived in search of sweet feeding flower

 

It started late and rained all night

In spurts of downpours riding on gales.

Once it stopped the wind arrived

Blowing trees with gusts, sideways.

 

I heard a flock of Canada geese

Flying above in off-formation

Their youngsters couldn’t hold the V,

Bumping into one another.

The honking racket made me laugh

As I hoped they’d all safely pass.

 

But after Irene your open wounds

Pained my heart and shook my soul

Where river banks crumbled as water rushed by

And hundred year trees fell to their doom

Breaking up bridges that lay in their path

Even those, covered, from pioneer days

When horse-drawn carriages passed through on their way

To homesteads and farms, now flooded, in ruin.

 

 

To witness a storm of that magnitude

Whose rains eroded whole mountainsides

Was an experience I’d prefer to forget

But Vemont’s transformed landscape will always remember.

 

I’ve come now to give you comfort and peace

As you seek solace from cruelty and pain

I envelop your woods in my loving arms

Caressing your trees in the falling rain.

 

Homecoming

When one comes home to Vermont

it is like no other homecoming,

passing cow pastures and farms,

crossing rivers, thick with trout,

winding our way

through village-sprinkled valleys

Up, up, up we climb

shifting gears downwards while

hearts and hills heave upwards —

anticipation builds

Up, up, up we climb

through forest-clad mountains

where windows fall open

to breathe mountain air

Up, up, up we climb

past deer and moose crossings

hunting warm, woolen sweaters,

weaving our way around bends

Smiles grow, tears gather –

we’re home at last

surrounded by the ones we love

whose welcome warms our hearts, souls…  and toes

Under the Spell

Twin fallen birch by water’s edge,

not beavers’ work with carving teeth,

but rain water washing above the shore

that toppled the giants to their end.

Knobby, gnarled roots standing tall

clutch a rock in mighty grasp

like a jewel in its setting, all entwined –

such handiwork, I pause to admire.

North wind blows to lake’s south shore

where pretty prism dancing waves

toss water lilies to and fro as

sunlight spotlights rocks below.

Kayaks drift, floating on ripples –

reflections like brush strokes that

blend with white birch stripes,

criss-crossing shimmering, silver sea.

Steep slope boulders and stones,

frozen in time, prepare to plunge

into deep water, hover on shoreline or

challenge the hiker with bumpy terrain.

Chipmunk charges boldly across my path

and chirps a warning to its mate.

I slowly return to civilization on the north shore

where tadpoles zig and zag —

A desperate dash to escape

toddlers’ toes, shovels and nets.

Another day passes

under the spell of Emerald Lake.

Tea with My Grandmothers

Lovely lace labored by loving hands

of my grandmothers and theirs’–

ladies long gone throughout the ages

whose masterful handiwork remains —

dainty doilies with scalloped edges

dresser scarves fringed with frills

demure collars worn on diminutive necks

Victorian blouses of sheer elegance,

damask napkins and grand table cloths,

embroidered, French knotted, inserted and edged

Generation after generation, including my Mother,

who learned ancient ways by adding her own

flowers and birds with colorful threads,

petals and leaves appliqued all around

on card table cloths for tea parties and bridge,

bath and dish towels too precious to risk —

heaven forbid — a stain, that is.

I sit here in joy and also remorse

knowing not what to do with box after box

of my fragile collection, but in the end,

to the linen lady I carry some –

She sorts them abruptly with critical eye

then offers a pittance for the pile she grasps

with long, sharp fingers accosting my stash

She shows my treasures no love nor respect,

“Turned yellow, need mending, no value, undone” –

I wish I hadn’t gone to her shop

for her comments make my guilt all the greater

I return home with her discards, defeated,

feeling sorry and mad – I go to brew tea –

then a smile appears as I spot the last box

of the very best heirlooms I’d saved just for me!

Kent Pond

Brook cascades while white bubbles foam

around boulders and rocks where rapids flow

ferns tickle my knees as I pass by

forget-me-nots along the way

Broken birch I step across –

tree trunks down all around –

Has a Nor’easter just passed through?

sharp teeth, short work, the beaver’s doom

Kent Pond dances in evening breeze,

speckled leaves, sunlit floor

bouncing water, glistening boughs

water lapping upon its shore

Terraced steps of woven roots

along the trail to trip me up,

tracking who has turned the bend

paw prints in mud — man’s best friend

Quiet cove where ducklings hide

under their mother, still as stone,

I hold my breath as I walk past

but step on sticks that break and snap

A far-away loon’s hypnotic call

reminds me of home where my mate waits –

shimmering twilight on Kent Pond falls

enchanting my spirit, making me whole

WHAT IS IT ABOUT MEN?

WHAT IS IT ABOUT MEN AND THEIR POWER SAWS?

When we looked out through walls of glass,

low limbs and trees shielded us from the world,

nestled in our private lodge –

perched upon one mountain

looking towards the next

But when the men folk of the family

got hold of a power saw

that pounded my ear drums

and shook the woods to its roots,

creatures fled for their lives

as branches and trees fell

and the road appeared in view…

WHAT IS IT ABOUT MEN AND THEIR LAWN MOWERS?

Long ago Dad answered Mom’s pleas

by saving a patch of wildflowers for me

to paint as prolifically as I pleased

whenever I’d come to stay for a spell.

Daisies and buttercups,

chickory and clover in red, white and purple

enchanted me with their charm …

Black-eyed Susans welcomed me

as I wandered through Queen Ann’s lace.

Indian paint brush inspired me

as I chose just the right spot

to sit and paint, dream and write.

Under the Milky Way at night

I’d watch for shooting stars

then make a wish

that this would never end.

But now Dad isn’t here to save the patch

or Mom to lobby on my behalf

and the EVIL LAWN SERVICE with its brutal machine

has passed this way again and again

to cut off their heads with the guillotine!

PLEASE STILL THE SAW AND THE LAWN MOWER!

Answer my plea for peace in the meadow

so I might paint and dream again

surrounded by beauty and quietude.

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