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I am home. Not at my house, but at my home, where the waters of Oregon and Cedar Creek combine. The home of my birth and true root. After a heavy week, it is exactly where I need to be. The arrival was an Arrival in many senses.  It is rare that I feel so connected to my place. Since my parents retired to our family cabin, off the grid, they’ve made some amazing technological inhancements, which means that I can sit here in the den, surrounded by old books and kerosene lamplight, and poem. What sweet release.  I feel inspired BY EVERYTHING. I’ve received enough inspiration for a week or month of poems.  You might be reading about a lot this place in the next little while.

 

Today I got to share heartfelt conversation with my friend, Jan Roberts.  She is eighty-eight years old, recovering from a broken hip, and lives by herself in these woods, tarting her own generator, bringing in her own wood, and slowly recovering from the loss of her partner, the illustrator and painter and artist Dick Roberts.  They went to Black Mountain College, and their friends and teachers weere Anni and Joesf Albers, Alfred Kazin, M.C. Richards, and many other amazing artists. Jan pioneered early education in Montana, her husband Dick was an illustrator and teacher.  As a kid, I loved the smell of his pipesmoke, the dim light inside their mountain home, where I went for brief piano lessons, kitten petting, and cookies. Dick had a heart attack a couple of years before he passed, and immediately after being released from the hospital, he drove himself home with Jan in the car, only to find a fallen tree across the path. He hopped out of the car with the chainsaw, cut it up, and loaded up the wood to bring back for their fireplaces. Jan is an amazing spirit, and being with her is always full of lessons.
There’s too much beauty here. I can’t choose. Jan shared with me about her time at Black Mountain College, and I got to read some of Dick’s poetry. It is stunning. I think she would be okay with me sharing a line: “And the black iron, cindered whistle / of a freight train in the afternoon / has something to do with it”.  The rest of that poem, “The Heart Is Hermit”, is astounding, and I will share it with you when I’m back to my regular spot.  While I do have internet, my devices aren’t keeping speed tonight. I’m going to try to poem fast, so HP and I can play some board games. It’s what we do here.

Here:

Birth Waters

Cedar Creek, I want to hold you in my mouth.
When the ground and the sky are the same color of milk, and the branches run down to their smallest interred veins,
When the place holds us,
and the remembering holds us,
and the inheritance of laughter
holds us,
this is our own congregation.
The muted shadows spook the youngest of us,
but we have learned their big lessons. Move slowly, and keep your hands about you.
This certain familiarity becomes an accordion minute,
that folds years into minutes.
Toys in the loft that were my five-year old treasures,
now belong to her enthusiasm. She is five, and up there in the shrinking space,
so am I.
Thirty three, and five and, if wishes are granted,
sixty-four.  Will you still need me? Please me? Please.  And slightly deaf eighty-eight, please, too,
If wishes are granted.
My mother’s silhouette in the doorway carries conscious love,
her voice is a cookstove, and the stew bubbles. From her I learn,
the clock of huckleberries and snowfalls.
The cowbell during the birthday song makes my father laugh. It is delicate. Tomorrow he will let my daughter trim his beard.
In youth, in young love, in early aging, these trees turned to glass will look the same at the end,
as they did at the beginning.  All moments in one certain familiarity.
Beginning or end, I hope for one thing only.
My hand, gnarled and bent, reaching for yours,
acknowledging gifts.
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Poemhearts, I have too much soaking up to do. This is so sweet. Happy Friday! Love, Anna

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