Poetry month Day 4

It’s a busy time, even this early in spring, as summer starts to stir … but right now it’s National Poetry Month, with its poem-a-day challenges, and I’m following as long as I can. Yesterday I remembered nights in the newsroom, and today I’m remembering the summer I left. Prompts today are, from NaPoWriMo, “the cruelest month”, and from WordxWord’s 30/30 challenge, “the truth you don’t want”

July — the heat
of the full season,
bouldering deadlines.
Past the first rush
of young actors
laughing in rehearsal
and Van Gogh fields
in the baking heat
of Provençal chalk dust
and noon blue sky
— into the wearing days,
late nights, blurred eyes
over an old screen,
constrained space


— until now. Until
space is what’s left.
Without warning
you are spreading mulch
around the sand cherry,
planting bush beans
and watching the storm
blow across the hayfield.
The world is formless.
You are not needed.
At a music festival
in a museum courtyard
Richard Thompson
turns fury into chords,
and everyone knows you,
and no one knows
you’ve changed.


And still. In time
far up the coast
you pick up a sea-wet
fragment of brick
made centuries ago
along the Damariscotta River
and the stories pulse
— the two men giving tours
of the farm house where
they live happy together,
where he grows wood lilies
and his grandmother was a girl
here before she pulled
the labor movement
into the New Deal —
they share her laughter
with you, and you feel
constraint may be
all you’ve lost.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

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