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A Medley of New England Poems 2
Not since the temples
and shrines of Kyoto
have I seen such
reaching and spreading
with sacred incense
and glowing in slanting
sunrays that highlight their
own deep aura of
ageless yellow moss.
(Skater at Walden Pond)
Not the astronauts circling around earth,
nor jet pilots breaking sound barriers,
but Henry Thoreau skating over ice,
whizzing past white birch and red berries,
annihilating distance between man and nature,
recording divine correspondence in his mind.
The screaming jays and chirping chickadees,
the lofty white pines with red squirrels
were objects of his examination--
a space frontier barely penetrated.
Not surprising to see
waves of grass
flow toward the sea
from high dunes of
beach plum and bayberry.
(Cape Cod's Own Thunder)
With its own thunder
a belly flop
far out on
Cape Cod to
back in the dunes
with storm fear
though no clouds
would confirm it.
(The Maine Woods)
As soon as I enter
the State of Maine,
I can clearly imagine
Henry David Thoreau
going deep into the woods
through ferns and moss all aglow
in the forest of thick black spruce,
home of the truly mythic moose.
He wished to learn what the top
of a mountain has so far from
cities and towns and masses of
people. No, for Thoreau it was
the Penobscot Indians who
had so much to teach where
all of Nature lay within their reach.
A Thoreauvian Dilemma
I am day-dreaming as I
sat at a pine-wood writing desk
but begin to feel conflicted
between a desire to depict a
spruce tree grove with dangling
gray-green moss in the midst
of a salty marsh and actually
going out there to touch their
scaly bark and smell their wet
needles on a very damp and
foggy day on the eastern shore.
Distant Isle on the Coast of Maine
I look eastward and spot a densely wooded
arc of land called Eagle Island in the
outer Casco Bay with a selvage of granite
cliffs fringe with boreal trees that entwine
the summer home of Admiral Robert Peary,
and for me the very sight of it evokes a sense
of polar wonder--a place that's out there
luring my spirit northward to narwhals
and Inuit villages at ocean's edge where
seal-skin kyacks weave in and out of bright
white ice floes amid very misty arctic seas.
In a cottage near the shoreline
of the rugged coast of Maine,
I enjoy the warmth and crackle
of our driftwood fire on a chilly
evening quite late in August
when thoughts of returning home
to muggy New Jersey dampen our joy
of listening to the blare of foghorns
and tolling buoys marking channels
for fishing boats coming back to harbor.
Perhaps it won't be quite so bad if we
mosey back by way of Franconia
New Hampshire or old Rutland Vermont.
But the laughter of herring gulls and
the pungent smell of crashing waves
have become so much a part of me
that I'll have to tighten my belt until
apple blossom time once again.
Henry Thoreau and John Muir Among the Native Americans
Have you been to Walden Pond?
© 2010 Richard Francis Fleck