Thursday, May 31, 2007

poet in new york

Gary at Bowery Poetry Club
Gary with Judith Schwartz, Simon Pettet and Brenda Coultas
Beth and Gary, in Central Park Zoo, with Gary's poem
Gary with poem
Polar Bears in Central Park Zoo, from site of Gary's poem
So Beth and I went to New York City. We had not been there for over 30 years, but George Wallace invited me to read at the Bowery Poetry Club, so that served as an excuse, and some wonderful friends loaned us their apartment, so off we went.
I did read at the Bowery Poetry Club, where we met up with friends George Wallace, Chris Martin, Paul Pines, Judith Schwartz, Simon Pettet, and where we met Brenda Coultas. After the reading we walked with Simon to the Saint Mark's Bookstore, where I bought Brenda's book A Handmade Museum - what a powerful book. A real treasure.
The next day we went to the Central Park Zoo, to see a poem of mine on a wall near the polar bears. A couple of years ago poet Sandra Alcosser had some kind of artist in residence gig at the zoo, and did permanent installations of a number of poems (Old Walt Whitman thinking that he could go and live with the animals, Sappho, Elizabeth Bishop, Frank O'Hara, Naomi Nye, and here I am as we walk along toward the bears.) I had foolishly asked if my poem could face the bears, and not the onlookers, but if you turn around while reading the poem, the bears are there. The poem now, written maybe 20 years ago, seems prophetic when you consider the fate of these polar bears in the face of global warming.
Here is the poem:
Treat each bear as the last bear.
Each wolf the last, each caribou.
Each track the last track.
Gone spoor, gone scat.
There are no more deertrails,
no more flyways.
Treat each animal as sacred,
each minute our last.
Ghost hooves. Ghost skulls.
Death rattles and
dry bones.
Each bear walking alone
in warm night air.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day at Chimney Farm

Memorial Day at Chimney Farm. We have given Elizabeth Coatsworth a fox for her grave. Foxes appear in many of her books and poems, including her books Fox Footprints, The Fox Friend, and here, in a piece called The Fox-Woman, in Personal Geography:"Of what are you afraid? Of the loneliness in the heart of the fox, or of the beauty with which she has clothed herself on this spring evening? You would not be afraid if you saw me running along the ground with the dew wet on my fur and the stars shining in my eyes.
We are all visions, dreamed by the gods as they sleep."
There are many colorful birds at the feeder these days - orioles come for the orange slices, a cardinal couple and rose breasted grosbeaks at the feeder, among others.
We have a list of apple varieties planted here at the farm by William Hall in the 1870s: Baldwin, Fameuse, Foundling, Golden Russet, Gravenstein, Granite Beauty, Hurlbut, King of Tompkins County, Jonathan, Marshall, Minister, Northern Spy, Porter, Red Astrakhan, Rhode Island Greening, Sweet Bough, Talman's sweet, and Yellow Bellflower.
Several years ago we planted Golden Russet and Fameuse, and this year Nancy Holmes brought us Northern Spy, Baldwin, and Astrakhan, so we are on our way to restoring the old apple orchards here. If anyone has a line on any of the varieties we do not have, please let us know. We want to thank Nancy Holmes, John Bunker, Dr. George Dow and mary Sheldon for apple advice so far.