by Susan Powers, Poet Laureate 2023-
Graceful hemlocks wave by the sparkling Shetucket.
See the steady beauty and pulse of this land.
It is strong like its people, generation after generation
cultivate earth, herd cows, plant tomatoes that
tumble in gardens, catch the morning sun.
There is music here for those who listen.
At the farmer’s market, neighbors laugh, joke in the saw shop,
greet each other while gathering mail, and cheer when
children hit home runs. Chainsaws whine, motors run,
sirens wail when trouble strikes: a burning barn, an accident.
All the while, Merrick Brook gurgles -- trout leap, fins flash.
This is a world bewitched by mourning doves
and hawks broadcasting their need to survive.
These same woods bow under snow, limbs break,
succumb to ice outlining their oak skeletons.
White blankets cover fields shorn of corn. Rolling hills
sleep, wait for the rain, the mud, the determined daffodils.
The moon casts light while families congregate,
settle quietly into homes, share stories, watch evening fall.
Sometimes coyotes howl, owls hoot, remind us who owns the woods.
Shadows of early settlers embellish our dreams, drift through
homes standing for centuries. Spirits witness the magic
of forest and community -- the subtle alchemy of love.