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A Poem for a Thursday #41

Photo by John Bakator on Unsplash


Jane Hirshfield is an American poet, essayist, and translator. Poet Kay Ryan described her as "that rare thing in contemporary American life, a true person of letters--an eloquent and exacting poet, first, but in addition the author of enduring essays and influential translations and anthologies."

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down--
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

as all flesh
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest-

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a 
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.

For What Binds Us
Jane Hirshfield

A Day Out//Mont Mégantic National Park


I had never been to Canada. I know, that is a bit ridiculous. Canada is not that far away from Connecticut, maybe seven or eight hours, but somehow we have never made it. So, when we were in New Hampshire a few weeks ago we decided to take a day trip into Quebec. It was only a few miles up the road so it would have been silly not to. We went to Mont Mégantic National Park and it was absolutely gorgeous.



Mont Mégantic has lots of beautiful trails and we walked quite a bit. We weren't prepared for intensive hiking so we did some of the shorter trails but the views were still breathtaking. It is worth noting that once you are in the park there are very few bathrooms and there isn't really anywhere to get food or drinks. We walked for a few hours but eventually I got thirsty, hungry, and a bit grumpy so we had to leave to find somewhere to eat. Of course, the park is big and maybe other areas have places to buy things but we didn't see any. If I was going again I would bring a backpack of supplies.



Mont Mégantic is known for its observatories and in 2007 the area was recognized as a dark sky preserve. It would be fascinating to visit again, especially at night when we could go to the public observatory. Unfortunately, we had to get back to our vacation rental in New Hampshire that evening so we could head home the next day.




We were only able to get a tiny taste of the Quebec region but we will return. It was beautiful and there is so much more to explore. We would love to visit Montreal. Maybe some day soon.

A Poem for a Thursday #40

Photo by Logan Fisher on Unsplash
I have featured Robert Frost's poetry before because I love so much of it. His poetry frequently brings to mind typical New England scenes and has a quietly contemplative tone.

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that.  Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain.  They click upon themselves 
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust--
Such heaps of broken glass to seep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break;  though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
(Now am I free to be poetical?)
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer.  He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground.  He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping 
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth a while
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate wilfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return.  Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Birches
Robert Frost

Here is the poem Reese chose this week.