A Medley of New England Poems 1
Robert Frost Postage Stamp
Robert Frost's Face of Verse
Frosty white eyebrows, hoary mass of hair,
like snow-covered bushes on high mountains,
deep set, wintry eyes, wrinkles all around,
like frozen lakes deep in northern valleys,
leathery, windblown face with smile or frown,
like rocky landscape changing with reasons,
Robert Frost's expressions of pain and joy
were his own country in a face of verse.
Break in the Clouds (after Homer's White Mountains painting)
Blowing, foggy clouds rush over summit
and race on to join swiftly moving gray sky.
Wet rocks glisten in glare of alpine sun
faintly glowing through sea-coast-like air.
For an instant brilliant blue sky appears,
and dizzy views into valley below
surprise saddled riders on mountain slope
high above treeline's gnarled branches.
Prout's Neck (after Homer's painting)
Top heavy crested wave curves down and pounds rocks,
and white spray with foam shoots high into wind
blowing against trees like sudden shower.
Homer's inspiration is Prout's Neck in a storm
that changes slowly with crested waves to mere chop,
and black clouds break into reddening sky
as lighthouse lights twinkle in dark distance.
Now only the moon betrays a few whitecaps.
Kissing the Moon (after Homer's painting)
From a salty old wharf splashed by the sea,
three sailors set off in a wooden boat
bobbing up and down with the moon to the lee.
Rolling green waves rise like walls of a moat
hiding all but three heads like peas in a spoon,
as choppy waves swell and kiss the white moon.
Andrew Wyeth's Wind*
Curtains light as cobwebs
blow in a sharp gust through
an open window facing a salty bay
bordered by dark spruce around
a green meadow with wheel ruts
leading up to old cabin
under white sky and a glaring sun.
An old woman, firmly resolved,
let ocean air rush in at last,
coming off a point of land
where husband lost his life and
is buried within those dark spruce.
*This painting called "Wind from the Sea"
is one of my favorites as it reminds me of
my boyhood days along the coast of Maine.
A Connecticut Book Barn
I squat and kneel to see
all the books on each and
every shelf while rain drills
the roof above to make them all
a bit more musty.
How good they smell those
old and moldy volumes and
stacks of obscure magazines
with fading covers.
Is that Shoenberg I hear,
or just irregular drippings
from the ceiling into pots
above endless sets of Browning.
Still another room to explore
lit up with bare lightbulbs
dangling between the aisles.
Here's a book I think I'll buy--
Rain Forests of Southern Latitudes.
I'll find a stool and read a while
until the closing hour and hope
by then the rain has stopped.
All but the last poem originally appeared in my first book, Palms, Peaks, and Prairies (The Golden Quill Press, 1967).
© 2010 Richard Francis Fleck