Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Yes, I remember. Charley Merserve and I had come to his house for a weekend off from Fryeburg Academy. Here is a poem published years ago in Galley Sail Review — with a few current changes.

Jackson, New Hampshire: Sun., Dec. 7, 1941

Visiting at Charley's house (hymns from
the radio on the nightstand between
twin beds) as we discussed the diminished
possibility of still being give breakfast
when down the air waves, but not from
Marathon, the runner came and in that
white-painted, sun-drenched room above
a yard brilliant with the fresh snow 
we'd taken a weekend from school
to explore we both were suddenly 
Athenian (or was it Spartans) and
quicker than thought, as our fathers
had taught us, we said we'd come.

We didn't wait for Pheidippides, the
runner to come, to tell us we'd won.
And here, after 70 years, we wait again
for the runner's spirit to appear and
tell us, if we've not won, we're done.

Monday, December 5, 2011


What We Hear

As he reads I want to know more  
about him so I imagine a home,
a history, while waiting for the final
words of a long poem that reminds me
of long ago Christmas oranges
in the toe of a stocking. He reaches in,
into the past without looking.
It's as if it were my own story
and he may not recognize himself.

That's my mother bathing me 
as I stand in the wash tub in front of 
the green enamel, chrome trimmed stove. 
I grimace, then giggle, as rinse water 
pours over my head, down  my body. 
She brushes wet hair from my face.

The Homestead

At the auction we withheld a dusty 
framed photograph of The Homestead as it was 
in nineteen thirty. In the picture's lower 
foreground flakes of foam float on waves of grass,
blurry images of Queen Anne's Lace in bloom.

The buildings, burned, in eighteen sixty and
rebuilt, had been repaired, expanded, revised, 
modernized. Dormer windows budded from roofs.
Ell and shed became dining room and kitchen.
In the barn the hayloft became a dance hall.

The picture was taken from this un-mown meadow where, 
age four, I would have played and where, ten years
after the auction, I kneel, age sixty-three, to
photograph where The Homestead had been. Queen Anne's
Lace flowers lie like giant snowflakes in the grass.