Alan: I wrote this in memory of my uncle, Bud Butterworth, and of the many summers spent at our families’ New Hampshire lakeside camp.
Et In Arcadia Ego
After Uncle died
I felt sure I’d see him
back at the summer place
sawing up stovewood.
He always eluded me.
Still, years on,
I expect him around a corner
humming his curious baggy tunes,
a free spirit in the pine-woods.
When, nearing the end of life,
he hobbled one last time up the hill
to his old abandoned haunts –
the hut in ruins, the clearing overgrown –
did Ryokan find Ryokan
puttering among the weeds?
Nancy: I’d name the bird “knee deep” except one of the frogs already has that name!
One First Morning
If this were the first morning
if I were the first woman
if the birds had just been made
I would name them all
I would give them their proper songs
I would set one on the birch
and one under the rose bush
and the hares would come up to me
and I would name grass, and clover
and then as the sun rose
I would call the water
the schools of fish, the copepods
the seals, and birds with long legs
to walk out into the rising water
toward the fish.
Before the dew burns off in the sun
I will have it all in place,
although I have not found a song
for the long-legged fishing birds.