Poetry, Theresa Hickey

Gray Day

by Theresa Hickey

Raindrops chime against
a metal watering can left outdoors
among seedlings, yet to be planted;
unopened bags of loam
lie neglected,
stacked obelisks awaiting sun.

As rain ripples, begins to pool,
it gathers in gutters
along the potting shed
before cascading
in sheets along matted ground.

I sip morning coffee, lukewarm,
cool feet against smooth surfaces of tile,
eyes, not quite alert from rivers of sleep,
ideas, slow-rising from dormancy.
What lies ahead from this infant-of-a-day?

A clock ticks, insists on flicking
immediacy upon the present.
Should I go off to perform rituals,
begin gardening when the sky
clears, check items from a list?

I want only to remain here,
to look out my window—
embrace this small contentment
dwelling in the quiet
before contending
with a less-than-perfect world.

 

Parker Towle, Poetry

Embarking

by Parker Towle

Fog rose off the still lake
like wisps of flame. Two hundred feet
from shore we were on instruments, in trust

to a compass resting on a bed roll: an hour
with no direction, no idea, swallowed
by the other, not in dark but rather

in a vague receding white. When it thinned
by a sun you could stare right at,
the far shore came out—

mirage, and a bald eagle
soared over swamp grass and
lit in a bare-limbed tree.

Not poetic license, this is true. Her
scruffy adolescent chicks groomed
nearby, not anywhere either, but

Umbagog Lake. By then we were singing
Harry Chapin’s Taxi and A cat’s
in the cradle, a silver spoon…

Three generations in
an old green canoe fishing
the depths of a family.

 

 

Poetry, Sherry Jennings

The Gift

by Sherry Jennings

 

The peach fell from the tree.
I plucked it from the tillering grasses.
Ripe, warm, juicy,
the sweet, sticky nectar slid across my lips,
circling the contours of my cheeks.
The sun juice dripped from my chin;
droplets rolling to my elbows
as I held the succulent fruit to my mouth.
The naughty temptress,
offering her breast-soft flesh,
had just given me the gift
of tasting summer.

 

Ann B. Day, Poetry

Home Concert

by Ann B. Day

Rain:
flute drops
against the yellow leaves,
flat on twigs and trunks
of blackened trees.

Rain:
strings slide
down the silver panes,
beyond the puffs
of popular gold
on hills and wooded lanes.

Rain:
piano plays
a beating bass
upon still waters
of the pond,
where circles interlace.

The afternoon
of music
mingles rain
and sweet memories
of you.

 

Photograph by Ann B. Day

 

Poetry, Rodger Martin

East Boothbay

by Rodger Martin

Just beyond the looking glass of dawn
when the cormorants reel and swoop down
over glassy water and up above the threaded
needles of the boatyard masts, the shock
of the welder’s arc, a spray of white sparks, and grumble
of diesel help the yard of Goudy and Stevens
give birth to the stubby iron plates of an oil skimmer.

A steel crane, a tall, unforgiving frozen joint
of an arm, slowly lifts the pilot house up
and up the four stories to its slot on the bridge
above the wide mouth whose jaws gape, anxious
to strain the sea and digest man’s greasy plankton
before it oozes into the pores, onto the feathers,
and over the scales of every creature cheaper than gas.

It’s the biggest job in years for East Boothbay—
a place of rivets and old boats—where the tides keep
the starfish bright under the clear prism of the sea
and above the shale shells of clam. On a Sunday
when only the gulls work, and the breeze pushes this way
till the mollusks scent the air more than oil, one can stroll
under the skimmer’s hull and imagine a sweep

of huge, green seas lunging against
the plates to hold the skimmer back
as it strains against the scream of salt
spray to reach yet another great, black
tanker stacked beneath the gray rock
turned white under ageless seabird droppings.
Oh the North Atlantic is a towering heavyweight

who will not pay a lot for a tanker—
ocean biceps never tire. They clench, draw
their tidal gloves back to launch blow
after blow thudding to the body and the head,
driving the punch-drunk shell, eyes bruised
to slits, deeper onto the granite ropes
where it begins to bleed and buckle.

After the count, the always champion
Atlantic raises green fists in victory
then lumbers from the ropes leaving the ring
to a skimmer from a clapboard town
with a boatyard, one store, a church, and an inn.

 

This poem was previously published in Northern New England Review, 1996. It was also adapted and recorded as the song “East Boothbay” by Doug Clegg on Only Fools Predict The Weather, 1996.

 

 

Irma Haggerty, Poetry

Kayaking Streeter Pond: Seasonal Rentals

by Irma Haggerty

Winter’s chill past, the lakeside dwellings
belong again to me. Quietly as deep water currents,
I kayak by them, share their space and reflect.

Behind a thicket, I have heard harsh sounds,
discordant engine-driven cuts delivering lumber
measured to fit precut logs, a rustic build,
its russet roof shingles finally showing
above the thinnest limbs of trees;

and often paddled by a tidy bungalow,
its splitting cedar shakes and Adirondack chairs,
gray as spit curls pinned by the aproned woman
sometimes sweeping splintered deck boards;
sometimes standing still as the watchful heron,
marking the brightening morning,
its slow pace and peaceful progression;

or docked at an untrimmed, walnut-stained house
settled within land shadows waiting to be razed (where
a permanent home, they tell me, will soon be built),
its six years of memories staying
as toeholds for those to come.

Each visit I trace the evolving perimeter, watch
lovingly over all the cottages as the shallows
become dense with water lilies,
their blossoms splaying under the platinum sun,
knowing that as the earth tips away,
ice will quiet overlapping wavelets that tease
rooted growth framing the pond,
and smoke will rise through cold chimneys
mingling with winter’s returning chill.

Then, and only then, will I surrender
all the seasonal rentals.

 

Parker Towle, Poetry

New Hampshire Notches in December

by Parker Towle

Crawford Notch—no views,
today watery snow
crusts the headlights, pebbles
the windshield. Deepening
ruts of a car that struggles
up ahead swerve with no center lines
to guide. When he stops
to strip ice, wet snow

swirls down his neck. Back inside
his reddened hands clutch
the wheel. It’s too late to turn back.
Wheel spins flick the speedometer.
Under Frankenstein cliffs
wind shifts lighter snow,
clears spots, jolts the car.
He shifts up on the flats toward

Bretton Woods and Twin. As
sudden as a shutter, snow
stops, no wind, clear
black. Within two minutes
or is it hours, millennia, a splash
rains down that wipers cannot wash,
roads glaze; He slows toward
Franconia Notch, more rocking wind.