Poetry from Vermont

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Ode to the Moon

Shining moon,
what beckoned you
from ‘hind that hazy cloud?
To show your face,
to shine down bright,
to cut the night in ribbons white?


Glowing moon,
what summoned you
from Earth’s far side this night?
To cast shadows
amongst the trees?
Illuminate the haunting breeze?

Radiant moon,
what called to you
to tend this quiet dusk?
To kiss the grass,
to blanket all,
to glide through window, home, and hall?

Perfect moon,
why hang you there
adrift in starry seas?
To light my way?
To watch me sleep?
To guard me while I’m dreaming deep?

Silent moon.
No answers come.
A quiet companion
who does not speak,
but merely shines
bright shafts of beauty through the pines.

"Ode to the Moon" is a poem I composed one evening in Vermont several summers ago. It is the first poem with which I was pleased enough to publish it online and share it with the world. It also marks the first ever poem that I wrote entirely without pen and paper of any kind.

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Frozen Starlight

My breath escapes,
rises in a column before me,
dissipates into the sky,
as if drawn away
by the frigid night air.

It wafts skyward,
spirals and swirls and fades,
drawing my eyes
to follow its accent
upward, ever upward.

As I watch it dissolve,
melting into the sky,
I behold the spread of the heavens,
stretched before me:
a priceless tapestry of light.

Pinpricks of brilliance
strewn across a canvas
so exquisite that the night
crystallizes my tears
before they can even fall.

I blink, forced to lower my gaze
from the stunning splendor above.
I shiver in the cold air, and smile,
the stars overhead mirror the crystals
in my eyes, both now frozen in my gaze.

"Frozen Starlight" is another Vermont poem, written on a cold night during the summer of 2010. It was my response to an emotionally powerful moment alone under the stars.

Transcendence

Oh World!
Consume me.
Take me up,
that my tears and sweat
may fall, not as blood
sprinkled upon my shoes and the rocks,
but as sweet cold rain upon the land,
that others may drink
and quench their thirst
as I was unable to slake mine.

Oh Earth!
Let this cup pass from me,
that I may vainly toil no more.
Let me leave these dirty hands,
these leaden arms,
and these dust-covered boots,
that I may find some sweeter rest.

Let me be done,
so I may lay in greener grass,
gaze up at bluer skies,
walk in quieter woods.
Let me sit in peace among the boughs
and remember
all the work that I have done,
the toils of every kind,
all the songs I left unsung,
the melodies I left behind.

"Transcendence" was written (almost as a sort of prayer) in an attempt to capture the crippling physical exhaustion after a full day of laboring in the backwoods on a trail crew.

Final Hour

Leaden with weight,
my eyelids droop.
Firelight and shadow
play across my face.
flames dance,
shifting, popping, licking,
casting grim shifting forms
upon the walls.

As the light slowly fades
the blaze burns low,
reduced to a ruddy glow.
Shadows lengthen.
Light is almost extinguished,
just as my time here
is almost spent.
Now, naught but coals remain.

As for me,
I have but one day.
Then I will depart
and only God knows
when I will see this place,
these jagged peaks,
these green forests,
this whispering wind,
this quiet sanctuary,
again.

"Final Hour" was written on my last evening as a Backcountry Caretaker atop Mount Mansfield. I lived a solitary life for two weeks in a small cabin, and during my work day enjoyed the best views in the entire state.