My friend Deborah Harvey got me involved in a group writing exercise called "River of Stones" around New Years Eve. The idea was to write a short piece (poetry, verse, prose) each day for a month, putting it into a single document with all the other participants. The pieces were to be inspired by something we experienced and made an effort to record in writing. The original document is here
, but it may be private. Deborah has posted her "stones" on her blog
, and I'm putting mine here at LiveJournal. I missed a few days, but there were four of us who made it all the way through. These are really better read in the original doc, because we seem to have inspired each other with the topics we picked.
January 1, 2012 7:30 a.m.
Morning sunlight, through clicking waving branches,
silvers the wires and reddens the snow.
The refrigerator hums the same old tune.
January 2 2013
An occasional flat-out semicircle
sometimes toward and sometimes away
from the summit center
January 3 2013
Grey but gaudy,
the tufted titmouse
prefers to dine upside-down
while the dark-eyed junco waits,
yielded and still,
on the ground.
January 4 2013
Settling back under the covers at 3:00 am,
- Did you notice the icicles?
I groan, throw off the blankets,
put on glasses, go to the window.
Just the right proportion of moonlight and starlight
lets icicles gleam with blue-yellow iridescence.
Oh thank you!
5th January 2013
Icicles grow downward, don't they?
Then why does this one point dagger-like
at the wall of our house
from its perch on the lightbulb?
6th January 2013
The missing cookstove manual, page 38:
To re-light the pilot,
strike match with right hand
plunge right shoulder to the floor and
stretch to the back of the stove.
Reach left hand up to the button and push.
Lower eye and squint to see the blue flame flicker.
Keeping the button depressed,
count to sixty slowly.
Let go the button.
Lower eye to look for the blue flame.
If it's not there, repeat.
7th January 2013-01-05
"Be patient with the ice-dam",
I keep telling myself,
"By June it will be gone,
no matter what you do."
January 8, 2013
Robin Williams said,
"I haven't seen the spiders lately;
Do you suppose they're plotting something?"
I hadn't seen them either,
not even in their favorite spot by the composting toilet.
Early this morning Denise allayed my fears
with news of a giant spider sighting.
8th January 2013
I know William Morris would disapprove,
but as I round the bend,
seeing the green bow of the Tyngsborough bridge
shining in the sun
after its long long rebirth
makes my heart glad.
10th january 2013
Brown rice sprinkled with juicy, violaceous pomegranate seeds,
beside beans and winter vegetables:
something I'd never make for myself,
just one unexpected benefit of last night's community supper.
What a luxury to have all this only a mile away!
11th January 2013
Stephen used to work in Vaudeville.
Now he is turning ninety-two,
with a walker and oxygen tube.
I sat beside him last night.
He knew all the Beatles and Woody Guthrie songs
as well as the oldies.
His voice was strong and on-key as we sang our way through request after request,
sitting together in our circle.
January 12th 3013
One by one,
the little stores and cafes have shuttered.
Chatting on the street corner,
sadly, the owner tells us the movie palace will have to close
after 60 years,
unless a miracle of community support takes shape
13th January 2013
on white gesso ground.
January 16, 2013
Flashing lights up ahead in the driven snow:
Do they signal some awful danger
Or are they the snowplow coming to our rescue?
17th January 2013
Taking apart the Holzhaus she made
and feeding it to the stove,
all unprepared, I come upon
the squirrel's treasure trove
acorns, beech nuts, pine cones
all safe from Winter's snows.
18th January 2013
The directions seemed so simple:
make your own
bright butterfly from aluminum-can cocoon.
Crude outline drawn,
scissors for tin snips,
colored markers for the finish.
But real butterfiles' wings don't draw blood!
19 January 2013
Wake before dawn on the coldest morning of the year
All this bustling about for warmth
makes the waking-up go fast.
21st January 2013
-They got inside the chimney and chewed away the new lining
Thought to myself:
-these were none of the sweet-tempered red squirrels I know,
mining for sunflower seeds under the bird feeder.
22nd January 2013
What is it about hearing Passamoquoddy?
Like a forgotten childhood language,
not from my childhood but
from some other childhood.
(Mine would have included lots of English,
some Inuit, Norweigian, Spanish.)
I wake up in the starry morning with Saturday's prayer in my ears.
All I can say is "Willywen, Thank you".
24th january 2013
Variations on a theme -
My cat says "mmmmrrr" with a rising-falling-rising intonation
I answer with rising-falling-rising-rising
He answers in kind
I answer with rising-falling
He answers with rising-dipping-rising
I think I get the message.
25th January 2013
In change I find
An 1898 liberty nickel,
Liberty's head on one side,
Roman "V" on the other.
Did everybody speak Latin in those days?
27th January 2013
Standing in the snow,
in air that numbs our mittened hands,
we gaze in wonder at the sweat-soaked brow
and bare arms of this refugee from the all-day dance upstairs.
Before signing our book,
the poet warns us that
signed books bring less
in the rare books market.
I think he knows we won't be selling this book, though.
28th January 2013
He pries back the wall plank and sees glowing eyes staring back.
Raccoon! He nearly falls off the ladder,
remembering that battle with those masked clowns
that held the Grange hall against all comers a few winters back.
"It was only me", the cat tells me later.