Late April

Late April

In the yard rivulets of water

run through mud. I pick up

the rake to drag mounds 

of gravel back into deep tire 

troughs. A warming sun shepherds

in snow melt and sap flow.

Later, I look out the window

when a doe raises her head to

look inside at me. Surprised,

we both pause a moment.

Two fawns come into focus

as they move on the hill. One 

eats an old squash I tossed out

last night. The other fawn jumps 

in the pond, her back legs splash high.

It’s still cold. Salamanders are expected

soon. Deer herald spring’s arrival now, when

our mealtimes coincide. They portend spring

better than any calendar. We share suppers 

now, only a pane of glass separates us.

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Brattleboro VT Virtual Poetry Reading this Thursday Night

ZOOM LINK to Brattleboro Poetry Reading:  Anyone on or off Facebook. As part of the Poems Around Town project, please join us for a virtual reading by participating poets on April 22, 2021 at 6:30 pm.

A joint project by three local writing organizations to celebrate National Poetry Month, Poems Around Town placed poems by area poets in downtown shop and restaurant windows for the month of April. Doors open at 6:15.

To receive the link for the reading please email info AT timetowrite.us 

Each poet will read one poem. If you’d like more information, visit my Facebook page, Elaine Reardon, The Heart is a Nursery for Hope.

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Vermont Story Walk

I invite poetry lovers that live in the area to Brattleboro Vermont.

Write Action, Time to Write, and Brattleboro Literary Festival have splashed out with a wonderful event, and I’m fortunate to have one of my poems entered. Poems are tacked up in front windows of storefronts downtown. This makes for a nice walk on Main Street, Flat Street, and Elliot Streets. There are cafes open f and the Food Coop is at the bottom of Main Street, as well. I visited on Saturday, and it was the first time I’ve strolled on a ‘city’ street in more than a year. There was plenty of space, and it was a great spring treat. On April 22 they’ll be a virtual zoom reading of the poetry, and a book may also be forthcoming.

Happy Spring!

image description

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Reaffirming our Lives

When I was young, holidays meant cooking special foods. Two foods we had for each holiday were choreg, wonderful brioche-like rolls, and paklava or bourma. I learned to cook at my grandmother’s knee, still young enough to need a stool, and to have the apron wrapped around me more than once, a bit like I was stuffed into a large sausage casing.

This is our second spring of pandemic, and while I celebrate separately and differently, I feel fortunate to remain healthy. While I might be too old for an Easter Bunny visit, I’ve had a couple visits from a cottontail rabbit this week. The rabbit was looking for a few tips of new growth just beginning to grow, so this morning I shared some carrots and greens for him/her. This afternoon I walked down to the vernal pool in my forest-edge yard and found six wood frog egg masses. Despite worldwide difficulties, life continues.

I wish for you to have peace and health settle in your hearts and lives. I’d love to hear from you, if you’d like to share, what you are doing this spring that’s different than you would have planned. And below, I share my early Easter memory.

Hye Holiday Gathering

Gram prepared paklava and bourma

without a written recipe. Like a newly 

hatched bird I’d wait for bits of sweetness

to fall, walnuts covered with cinnamon, 

honey mixed with lemon. I stood on a stool 

to watch. Before me, Hrpesima, Anoush, and Mariam had 

mixed the dough and rolled it by hand, but when I was six

we bought paper thin phyllo from Sevan’s Market in Watertown.

Gram melted butter in the cast iron skillet.

Don’t let the butter sizzle–too hot!

She mixed sugar and cinnamon in a bowl for me to add

then got out the heavy rolling pin and I crushed

walnuts beneath its weight. Gram said be sure 

the nuts are ground  fine!   Grind them again—

still too big. I pushed the rolling pin hard against 

walnuts, then we mixed in sugar and cinnamon .

We took one layer of phyllo at a time, 

brushed with melted butter, sprinkled in nuts, 

then rolled as quickly as we could. 

Finally, using the sharpest blade, 

we sliced the fragile rolls and

placed them on the cookie sheet.

Hers were straight and long,

mine crinkled, like thin fabric. 

I have the recipe still, yellowed with age,

thin and tattered, like phyllo dough, 

filled with handed down memories from those

who sat at this table before me —Shushan, Bedros, 

Kevont, Katchador, Sitanoush cooking and eating

to honor Kharpet, our homeland no longer on the map.

I’m the old one now. When I cook,

grandmother’s voice follows me, step by step.

Photo by Tejas Prajapati on Pexels.com
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Easter Morning

Easter Morning

Double breasted pink and grey coat,

new straw hat with elastic tight

under my chin. Shiny new shoes.

Gran makes sure I’m dressed right.

It’s a long walk to Saint Theresa’s;

my father carries me part of the way.

My stomach rises

as incense swings.

The sound of bells calms

when the priests walk past, 

smoke rising from candle flames.

Head bowed low 

I hunt for clean air

when incense billows. 

I kneel, eyes clamped on Saint Theresa

hands clasped in prayer. 

I count the bells “Holy, Holy Holy,’

imagine angels descending

the priest pours wine into the chalice,

comes up with communion wafers, 

miracle of mass.

My empty belly rumbles.

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Mystery

If you love stone places that are older than the pryamids, you might like Loughcrew. For me, it has the feeling of solitude of refection that happens at a silent retreat, linked to inner work. At Easter sunrise, the light will find it’s way to the back altar.

Loughcrew Passage

Broken passage tombs,

scattered relics beneath.

Old bones and altars still

hold the strength of Danu.

Carved inscriptions 

endure in grey stone.

Feel  cool air move past

your calves to carry you 

where soft light radiates

from large carved stones.

Did you ever think you’d

stand in the in-between, 

green mist to light your way

to the furthest altar, to find 

what is left there for you?

Reach out to what you cannot see.

Hear the ancient ones. What 

do they whisper before you rise?

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Irish Memories

This poem comes from the memory of a fiddler I met in a small Donegal town. It’s the story of his family, and how he came to be born in Sligo. As he told his story, we all had tears running down our faces. The famine soup pot was only a few minutes away from the kitchen where we sat together.

famine time soup pot

Fiddler From Sligo

We were strangers sharing

the house for this week. 

He tuned his fiddle and turned 

to look out the window,

towards the old soup cauldron.

I waited for the kettle to boil

when he turned to me, quiet

tears running down his face.

I’m Liam. I used to live here. 

My family did I mean; 

we lived in this village 

but they took the soup. 

They drank the soup,

then we had to go away.  

We looked to the famine pot, 

used during the hunger times 

when his family made hard choices,

times difficult to endure.

We left here after

we drank the soup. 

We took the soup

then we had to go away.

wading across to Inishkeel
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March

In New England, March brings the hope of spring. The sun is with us longer, snow melts. And we can have lots of snow fall. In my yard right now there is 8 inches of snow, lots of ice, and tracks of hungry deer, fox, and raccoon, all foraging for the smallest bits of nourishment. Neighbors are tapping their trees for maple syrup.

image

March

March Madness

Sometimes early spring splatters violets

other times there’s a resurrection of winter

or impassable mud-thick roads

birds beg and search for any

useful thing for nest building

buckets hang from maple trees

when sap runs fast

churches flip pancakes

for mud season breakfasts

deer reach into the front garden

graze on dried grass and weeds

dark clouds heap high

another nor’easter

dumping a foot of snow

breaking tree limbs

downing electric lines

closing back roads

we sit to watch the shimmering

aftermath when soft wind pushes

snow from pine boughs into the sun 

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A Thank You

Thanks to Wilda Morris. My poem, written about the Warwick Cemetery, won 3rd place http://wildamorris.blogspot.com/

Clonmacnoise Ireland
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Memory

First Communion Class

We argued because I didn’t want 

to wear a hat. I had a new yellow 

rain slicker with a hood, like the 

ones the American kids wore.

Mama collected her umbrella,

pushed the hat onto my head, 

but I took it off and hid it, pulled up

the hood when I walked out behind her.

We walked down Vernal Street

in the rain, took a turn at Sak’s 

Drug Store, and walked three blocks 

uphill to Saint Teresa’s Church.

Mama was only allowed in the chapel,

not being Catholic. She stayed until I took 

off the rain slicker. The nun frowned. Mama

frowned and placed a handkerchief on my head,

then she left. I don’t know where she waited.

Holy Holy Holy, Lord God of Hosts. 

Maybe she stayed in the drugstore 

across the street, or in the library. 

When Mama returned she waited outside 

the chapel, like she knew she was the kind

of mother who allowed her child to come 

to church without a hat, and all that that meant.

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