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Given we just had snow (7 inches) yesterday, I thought I would share a poem that talks about natural wonder.  Although I now live in Minnesota, I find myself often returning to my hometown and Pennsylvania when I write.

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Natural Epiphanies

 

Among the smokestacks, buildings,

pollutants, steel,

of my childhood town

God was an abstraction,

impenetrable.

 

But camping in wild hills

of whitetails and hemlock

I could feel God’s glory.

 

The stretches of wild blackberries and huckleberries,

The shimmering aspen leaves,

The coy May apples under their umbrellas,

The delicate sassafras leaves in their threefold variety,

Black-eyed Susans, lacy Queen Annes,

Grasshoppers dancing ahead while we walked.

 

            The profusion of it all —

 

Racoons seeking refuse

Newts under rotting logs

Groundhogs waddling beside dirt roads

Wild turkeys raising a ruckus in the brush

A bull snake, crushed and broken on the road,

Her eggs exposed for us to see

Spiders in their webs in the corners of outhouses.

 

Here I could imagine a god

using these places as a palette.

 

At my first camp job,

I escaped the children and routine.

           

            My blaze orange poncho glowed,

rain dripped on my glasses.

I moved through an impressionist painting.

            Light trickled through leaves

Wet grasses brushed knees

Brambles grabbed at sleeves

            Low branches swiped at my face.

           

            Until —  suspended in time, rooted in place —

           

            Poised, we stared at each other

            Breathless, that instant captured us

            Knowingly, our eyes shared understanding

 

Then the deer bounded off.       

I was alone, connected.

 

Now, deceptive stillness

fills the urban yard.

Snow covers brush piles

Pine branches fill with snow

Oak limbs create abstract patterns

of hoar frost in the sky.

 

            But life spills out with of a shimmer of sun.

            Chickadees, feathers puffed for warmth

            Squirrels, scavenging acorns

            Blue jays, on alert

            A grey rabbit, peeking through shrubs

            A cardinal, singing flamboyantly

            Snow-suited children, exploding with energy.

 

Here too, amid the trees,

I seek the ineffable —

on my face, I feel the wind

bringing me

to what is.

 

Copyright (c) Lydia A. Schultz

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I’ve decided to separate my poetry from my blog for learning about technology.   Hey, I work as a librarian; I categorize things for a living!

Anyway, this poem is a reflection I made about two of my great aunts about a dozen years ago.  While they aren’t physically alive anymore, my memories of them certainly are.

I welcome constructive feedback.

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Kinship Shows

Kathy and Eleanor sit
                daintily
on the sofa.
Their        interacting,
                polite arguing,
                being individuals,
somehow point up the similarities:
                beauty shop hair
                ironed print dresses
                inflections of their voices
                shared blindness.

A gentle breeze and the summer heat
encircle them
and the stories I know.

Their Scottish father came to this coal region–
doing the same work he’d always done–
But in America, work echoing
                promise and plenty.
Kathy cared for him until he died at 96
in Smithton
a coal and beer town on the Youghigheny,
where she lived a genteel life.
Yet not.

She and a different sister–Agnes–
married brothers, those Stolting boys.
In the 1930s and 40s,
in that rural Pennsylvania backwater,
Kathy’s husband Carl and Eleanor’s Frank ran a tavern.
But Carl chose
                perhaps not only religiously
to be a minister.
From a barman’s to a minister’s wife–
perhaps that’s why she takes so much
                in stride.
Till 94 she lived in Smithton
fortified by the brewery’s fumes.
But now,
because her blindness scares him,
her son Roy cares for her.
At 98, in Texas,
she is remote
from home and family.

Rooted still in her rural home
Eleanor is surrounded
by fruit trees and family.
Even blind she bakes
                pies
                cakes
                cobblers
as she always has.
The baby in her family at 93,
she spends her days with daughter Doris Ann
and the extensive generations
who all live nearby.
While she traveled with her husband Frank
to remote places in Europe,
she always remained grounded
                not far from where she was born
                in her spot in the Laurel highlands.
She looks so much like her mother
who died when Eleanor was just a girl.

As they click their teeth
and dispense firmly loving hugs,
I see them
                now, but then too,
as the younger women they once were.
I imagine my grandmother Agnes on the couch there too–
a woman I never knew–
between them

in age, appearance, views–
The lovely Robertson girls
                still
ready to take their town by storm.

Copyright (c) Lydia A. Schultz