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.
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.
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! Grindthem 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.
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.
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.
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.