Looking Back

This blog features poems by a native New Englander and octogenarian, as he looks back on the stomping grounds of his youth -- Chaffee's Woods, Kent Heights, Beach Pond, Escoheag, Wood River -- and his army days in Europe towards the end of WWII.

Friday, April 22, 2011

One Day's Memories

I walked on lonely Moonstone Beach
One misty Saturday
When sounds of surf were muffled by
The foggy shroud that lay
Upon the sea, and on the dunes
Where children used to play.

I watched a couple stroll along
Oblivious of me,
They went their way as lovers do
When happy just to be
Together for a little while
To share the wind and sea.

I thought of days when you and I
Once drifted off to lie
Upon this stretch of sandy beach
Where seagulls wheel and cry,
And where we spoke of quiet love
That promised ne’er to die.

Those days were warm with carefree love
And I remember well,
When side by side we laughed and swam
On each incoming swell.
Then soaked up sun, entwined in love
With only gulls to tell.

I cling to those fond memories
Of happy times gone past,
Of days before you went away,
Of time that went too fast.
You’ve faded like this mist will fade
With love that didn’t last.

I wish we could return those days
Of sun, and sand, and sea,
I’m sure with wisdom gleaned from years
We’d live more peacefully,
And find that deep, eternal love
That’s meant for you and me.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


February 2011
‘Tis snowing – once again I fear
With spring far off, and winter here
We went to bed
That’s all – we said,
But woke to more of winter’s cheer.

And even though we think we’re tough,
We have no place to put the stuff.
It’s piled so high
Above the eye
That’s how we know, we’ve had enough.

We wonder what the months will bring
Before we ever see the spring
More snow, we’re sure
We must endure
This climate’s cold, a wintery thing

And tho we think of better times
We’ve chosen this o’er warmer climes
And so we must
Dig out or bust
And only dream of melting rhymes

And so we gaze upon the snow
And go outside, so slow, so slow
And wonder when
The snow will end
And once again the grass we’ll mow.

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our Travels (Jon)

Now Jon, who was my younger son
Loved his tennis as much as Jeff
I could not seem to interest them
In baseball, that I always played
From a kid thru army days.
But Jon, who is his high school days
Always liked to go off with me
Where e’er I went he would go too.

We made a trip, as I recall,
Way up to Nova Scotia’s shores
And stayed with some good friends of ours
To visit, and to look around
At properties that were for sale
To see if we could find a place
To stay at our vacation time
But this trip was of no avail.

And then when Jon had finished up
His schooling at Wachusett High
He did apply to BYU
And in his second year we chose
To drive to school, and then to make
The western loop e’er school began
And so we left, and took along
His girlfriend Chris, who would return.

We traveled westward that first day
And slept that night in Illinois
We stopped for meals and cooked ourselves
And reached Wyoming for the night
Then traveled southward where the map
Showed a road, but was mostly track
At last we came out on the road
That led to Vernal in Utah.

And here we backtracked just a way
To watch the workers chip away
Around the dinosaurs’ old bones
In Dinosaur National Park.
From here we traveled south and west
That led to Moab where we stayed
Then up the mountains the next day
To visit Arches Monument.

From there we traveled west and south
And stayed that night in a small town
The name of which escapes me now.
But off we went the next morning
Up Red Canyon and then to Bryce
Which is a fascinating place
Of windswept towers, red and white,
Standing like ancient sentinels.

From here we traveled on down south
And reached Grand Canyon after dark
We could not find a place to stay
So slept outdoors in sleeping bags
And with the morning’s early light
We watched the changes that took place
Across the canyon and within
We stood in awe at Angel Point.

We then went south thru Las Vegas
Not to stop, but just to see the
Brilliant lights of the gambling halls
That lighted all even in day
And when we felt we’d seen enough
We drove up to the Boulder Dam
Whose giant generators spin
To send its power to the coast.

And so we headed off again
Westward thru old Death Valley
To where it got so very hot
One hundred twenty in the shade
We passed thru there as best we could
Then needed water for the car
And were grateful for the soul who
Gave out water to those in need.

When we had cooled the car enough
We headed north to Ursula
And this is where we spent the night
And after eating some breakfast
We left there for Yosemite
This was a place we could not miss
So spent our time in roaming ‘round
To see the sights that do abound.

We looked up at the giant cliff
Known only as El Capitan
And then we watched the giant falls
That must have dropped a thousand feet
Before it ever struck the rocks
And this is what we’d come to see
So sat there for the longest while
Just watching as the water fell.

Reluctantly, we left this spot
But had to go if we were to
Get through Sequoia National Park
Before we got to Livermore.
In Sequoia we did see the
Biggest trees that had ever lived
We filled the trunk with giant cones
Then later found ‘twas not allowed.

We stayed the night in Livermore
And called the Hinkley’s that we’d be
In Sunnyvale early next day
And got directions to their house.
We reached their home ‘fore ten o’clock
And met my daughter Jennifer
Who’d stayed with them for a few weeks
To tend the Bishop’s three children.

We stayed there only for two days
And while there we saw the sights
Of San Francisco’s Golden Gate
And the prison at Alcatraz
The trolley also we did ride
And had lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf
Not just because the food was good
But so we’d say we’d eaten there.

We left next morning early on
Leaving Jenn until summer’s end
We crossed the bay on Tower Bridge
And headed up toward Oregon.
Jon was driving while I relaxed
But soon was going much too fast
And so missed the Highway Patrol
And got a speeding citation.

But we continued on our way
And by three that afternoon
Had nearly reached the Crater Lake
And so we detoured just a bit
To see this lake that is renowned
For having depths the likes of which
Are rarely seen in other lakes
We stayed a while, then went our way.

We crossed into Washington State
At Ellensburg and it was late
We took Route Ninety heading east
And soon we entered Moses Lake
We found the road that led to Jean’s
And woke them up well after dark
Not knowing when we would arrive
They didn’t wait up but went to bed.

We stayed at Jean’s in Moses Lake
At least three days and maybe more
We saw the farm, met Max’s kin
We played with Erin and with Gill
But finally we had to leave
And so we headed east again
Thru Montana’s towering peaks
To reach Yellowstone’s North Gate.

We stayed the night in Gardiner
In a log cabin did we sleep
And woke up early in the morn
To hear the bugling of the elk
There was a herd of elk nearby
Protected by a high wire fence
And they were kept just for their meat
A private herd that all could see.

We ate at a nearby diner
Then left there for the park’s North Gate
And once we entered, we made the loop
That circles thru the entire park
So we could see the moose and deer,
The elk, the bear, the buffalo
We saw the geyser and hot holes
And will remember Old Faithful.

But back to school and back to work
Both Jon and Chris and I had dates
He to Provo to start his year
Chris to Mt. Holyoke back home
And I back to my work again
And so we headed south once more
Past the lake at Yellowstone
Next the Tetons and Jackson’s Hole.

We traveled south on Eighty-nine
And kept on going past Bear Lake
Then came into the Cache Valley
Where the church kept its films and fiches
We went on by, then thru Ogden
And saw the temple on the way
Then to the City of Salt Lake
To hear the singing of the choir.

We got good seats and heard them sing
For they did practice Thursday nights
For the Sunday presentation
Of “Music and the Spoken Word.”
And after we had heard them sing
We headed south to Provo where
Jon would go back to BYU
And Chris and I would head for home.

We stayed that night at Royal Inn
I was tired from driving so ate
Two tacos, then went right to bed
While Jon and Chris on their last night
Went out to eat, then roamed around
The campus where he’d go to school
He showed to Chris all of the sights
That people see who visit there.

When morning came we said goodbye
Both Chris and I had just two days
Before she was due back in school
And I had to get back to work.
So Jon and Chris said their goodbyes,
Then we took turns and drove straight thru,
Never stopping except for gas
And reached our homes on Sunday night.

There is much more that could be said
But from that time on Jon and I
Did not go on long trips again
He came back east to finish school
And earned his way, two years at Clark
We helped him out in many ways
I drew his plans, helped build his house
But after that he went his way.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Now Jeff who is my elder son
Who went to school for just a while
Then traveled ‘round the countryside
‘Fore settling down in Washington
He’s climbed the mountain trails alone
And often slept ‘neath starry skies
Enjoying what may come along
From all the birds, to deer and bear

Who sometimes took his old kayak
And up into the Cascades went
To paddle on a stream he knows
To practice and to test his boat
But often just to get away
From cares that cities often have
That bring a need to be alone
To take the pressures from his life.

But often he would take his wife
And with his two-seat kayak go
Out upon Vancouver Bay where
He and she would move for days
Around the isles that fill the Sound
While catching fish to supplement
The food they brought along with them
Jeff and puppy Phooka
Then sleeping on an isle of choice.

Jeff likes to hunt, so got a dog
A ten-month pup, a good Black Lab
Then trained the dog so very well
That when he hunts for ducks or geese
The Phooka’s ready to retrieve
Whatever lands, no matter where
He’s off the moment Jeff commands
And brings the bird back to the hand.

I now see in my elder son
The feelings that I had myself
The love of water and the woods
That puts us in a different world
And though our lives are far apart
He in the West, and I the East
I’m satisfied that now he’s found
The things I knew, when just a boy.


Nate, Jeff and the Phooka 2010

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Moonstone Beach

We often went to Moonstone Beach
To spend a Saturday,
Down in South Kingston we would go
Complete with lunch and gear,
To get away from work and school
And give us all a break,
So off we’d go to the south shore
To frolic in the sand.

We’d park the car on Moonstone Road
And pick up all our gear
Then make the hike into the beach
Through hot, hot sand and stones
But stop to soak our feet a while
In water at the bridge
And then we’d go across the dunes
To set up on the beach.

My children played on Moonstone Beach
In sand – and water too
They’d build a mountain out of sand
Then watched the rising tide
As it demolished all they’d built
With just a wave or two
And then they’d lie upon the beach
To sunburn or to tan.

There was a pond behind the beach
Where Jeff and Jon and I
Would often catch some big blue crabs
On fish heads cast out deep.
Then after waiting for a while
We’d slowly pull it in
And catch the crabs that were attached
With a long handled net.

We’d fish that way until we’d caught
As much as we could eat
A bushel basket’s what we had
And when that was half full
We’d cover up the basket tight
Then pick up nets and lines
And set the crabs in water deep
Until the time to leave.

We’d often wander down the beach
To watch the great white swans
That paddled so effortlessly
Around the salty pond
Catching minnows and tiny frogs
And small green crabs as well
Then soaring off as swans will do
Their flight so beautiful.

Some days, the ocean was dead calm
Without a trace of haze.
We’d look far out to sea and catch
Block Island’s shining cliffs.
It was then that little ones could
Get wet up to their chests,
With little fear of being bumped
By the incoming waves.

Sometimes we’d watch the ferry boat
Leave the Point Judith side,
And on an ebbing tide would head
For the Block Island dock.
She’d travel fast down through the gap,
Then past the breakwater,
And if there was a little fog
She soon would disappear.

On days when waves were four feet high
The older kids and I
Would sometimes dive right through a wave
To catch the next in line
Then use that wave to body surf
And ride it into shore
Then when we tired of having fun
We’d lay down in the sand.

Now when we all had had enough
Of sand, and surf, and sun
We’d pack up all our gear again
Along with crabs and nets
And make the hike back to the car
Each carrying a share
And though it was late afternoon
We’d head up to Beach Pond.

Once there we all would jump right in
To wash off salt and sand
Then after eating leftovers
We’d change into our clothes
Then watch the sunset in the west
Until the sun was gone
And at the whip-poor-will’s first call
That’s when we’d leave for home.

Each year we went July the Fourth
When water warmed enough
To swim and loaf around the beach
Without our wrapping up
And often met the Bates there
To spend the day with them
And when the sun was getting low
‘Twas then that we would go.

But on the Fourth we always watched
The fireworks galore
We’d go to Roger Williams Park
They had the very best
We’d park the cars where we did work
In Narragansett’s lot
And watch from there for we could see
As well as anyone.

And when the fireworks were done
We’d leave to go back home
We'd say goodbye to our best friends
With whom we’d had much fun.
When we got home we’d carry kids
So very sound asleep
From all of our activities
But mostly Moonstone Beach.

And once we went to Moonstone Beach
But did not go to swim
For it was later in the year
We'd had a hurricane
We went there then to watch the waves
Come crashing in to shore
They breached the pond where we caught crabs
And left a big dead shark.

We marveled at those giant waves
Caused by the storm that missed
Rhode Island by some sixty miles
Yet caused such havoc here.
The swans were gone, we know not where
The crabs had drained to sea
The beach was littered with debris
And sand had washed away.

Thus after viewing all the change
We hoped that by next spring
The waves would wash away the shark
And clean up the debris
Then close the breach made to the pond
So crabs would grow anew,
And make again our Moonstone Beach
The place we used to know.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tippecan Trails

I often think about the trails
I roamed when still a boy of twelve
Although I never went alone
I always took my dad along.
We sometimes hiked most of the day
Along those dark and lonely trails
Always alert for different trees
On which my father would expound.

This is mainly how I learned of
Different kinds of trees and shrubs
Along with birds that we did see
Once stopped to watch a red tailed hawk
That circled in the sky above
Then we’d continue on our way
Along the trails that had no name
Or marks, for many years to come.

We roamed the trails and old dirt roads
That circled Tippecansett Pond
From Escoheag at Palmer’s store
Past old Money’s place and farm
Then past the Hazard burial place.
We’d hike on past the iron tower
Where rangers watched for signs of fire
And where blueberries grew the best.

Molasses Corners came up next
After passing the old homestead
Of Welcome Burdick, known those days
As Welky T., my cousin’s dad
A Yankee with a gray streaked beard
That I remember to this day,
Who had large holdings thereabouts
On Escoheag and other spots.

Now bear in mind that where we hiked
Was once all farmland, mainly owned
By Welcome Burdick and his son
The old Pratt Place on Escoheag
That did include the Stepstone Falls
Besides his homestead near the spring
That’s on the trail to Tippecan
And crosses over Parris Brook.

The land is now a forest thick
With oak and maple, pine and birch
And has a host of other trees
That make the forests of today
No chestnuts are there anymore
For they were done in by the blight
But of mosquitoes and deer flies
There are enough for everyone.

On summer days when we did hike
The sun from noon to five got hot
But when we stayed among the trees
The shady forest was so cool
And so we’d hike the open roads
In morning ‘fore the sun was high
and reach the shaded forest trails
To rest, and beat the summer’s heat.

That portion of the trail that ran
From the tower at Escoheag
Down past the spring on Burdick’s place
To Parris Brook at Tippecan
Then up the hill, around the pond
Until it hit the road again
That old dirt road that once was known
As the old road to Voluntown.

It went right past that burial ground
Where the Congdon’s buried their own
And where in many years to come
I’d buy this land so I could camp
Close to the lake of memories
We’d often pass right by this land
Not knowing what the future held
Then take the trail back to our camp.

I’ve often thought of those old trails
That now are marked and carry names
Like Tippecansett, North and South
Divided by the Ten Rod Road
If one goes south along this trail
He’ll wind up at the Boy Scout Camp
By going north eventually
Breakheart Pond would be his goal.

In later years, my boys were grown
I took my Scout troop to Breakheart.
I parked my car down near the brook
Then we’d hike to Ten Rod Road, and
Going westerly toward Beach Pond
Here we’d pick up the yellow trail
And go north until we came to
The old Congdon burial ground.

And just below this sacred spot
My scouts had made a camping site
And here we’d build a fire to cook
The wrapped up stew that we would eat.
And after eating would clean up
Then take out maps and compass too
And then decide which way we’d go
To meet the trail at Parris Brook.

Then thru the woods in Indian file
We’d check the compass as we went
And in this way these boys could get
Their map and compass work complete
Along with their twenty mile hike
And when we cut the yellow trail
Just above the rock bound brook
I knew these boys would now do well.

We traveled northward up the hill
And stopped for water at the spring
That once had housed the old milk house
Of Welky Burdick long years ago.
I once had tried to buy this piece
Through a rep, who wanted land for
The South County Rod and Gun Club
And so this piece was sold to them.

We kept on climbing thru nude trees
And thru the bare blueberry shrubs
Until we came up to the tower
That looks out over Escoheag
And all surrounding hills as well.
We were now going in reverse
To what my dad and I once hiked
So many years ago it seems.

We went on out into the road
That passed the Hazard burial lot
Then past old Money’s empty house
To enter into woods again
On the east of Escoheag.
We traveled downward ‘til we met
The parking lot at Stepstone Falls
Then moved on down to River Road.

We hiked along the Falls River
Until we met the old dirt roads
That took us back to Breakheart Pond
Which frozen solid from the cold
Made a playground for the boys and
Here they decided they would play
While I went on to get the car
And then we headed back to home.

I have not hiked those trails again
Since we did move to Holden, Mass.
Though often parked quite near one trail
The one that led to Stepstone Falls
And I would take my children there
To see the raging water flow
O’er all the giant rocks that made
These Stepstone Falls the place it was.

Now these occasions did occur
When we had spent the entire day
Swimming at the Beach Pond beach
And wanted just a little change
From too much sand, and too much sun
So took a ride to Escoheag
Then down the C.C.C. built road
To park in shade quite near the trail.

This was a spot I used to know
The time the road was built by the
Civilian Conservation Corp
For it was on the old Pratt place
A place my cousins used to own
Where my cousin Esther and I
Did pick so many blueberries
For all the bakeries in town.

We’d stay in camp that Shorty built
For three or four long weeks or more
And on each Saturday would come
My cousin in his Overland
To take the berries that we’d picked.
I know not what the bakeries paid
But I received ten cents a quart
A goodly sum to a boy just twelve.

These were the memories I had
When ever I did pass this way
What once was camp with open fields
Now camp was gone, fields filled with pine
The well that had been used for years
Had been filled by the C.C.C.
And all that land that I once knew
Now was known as the Beach Pond Park.

I finally sold the land that held
The Congdon cemetery lot
That bordered Tippecansett North
The trail we all did like to hike
From Dad, to Larry, and my kids
To Boy Scouts from the troops I’ve led.
All now are scattered far and wide
Not one now hikes those well-worn trails.

My dad has gone, and Larry too
Both hold a great part in my life
Both wandered with me on these trails
And gave to me a sense of right
My dad taught me what I now know
Of woods and streams, of birds and trees
And Larry shared these things with me
These trails are now just memories.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Deer Yard

I looked out at the depth of snow
At least three feet and maybe more
Brought on by many storms that moved
Across the land now left so white.
But now this day was bright and clear
And brought me thoughts of getting out
I wondered how I’d move around
And thought “snowshoes,” that is the way.

And so I took the snowshoes down
Right off the wall where they’d been kept
As ornaments for all to see
But useful purpose, again to fill
I tied them on – the bear paw type –
And stood to see just how they felt
I tested them upon the snow
And found I moved around quite well.

And so I left the warmth and cheer
Of cabin, and went out into
A wilderness of cold and snow
That was so deep, and white and cold
I headed up a trail I’d made
With my Kubota and a skid
In bringing cords of wood to burn
On cold and winter days as this.

I moved along this whitened trail
And often stopped and watched the woods
To see if there was ought but me
That ventured out among the pines
I saw no signs of tracks or flight
Of nothing showing, none at all
I began to feel I’d never see
A bird or beast this wintery day.

And so as I continued on
I was surprised to see a trough
And looking closer at this trail
I noticed way down in the depth
The hoof prints of a deer – no, two.
These deer, for hungry they must be
Had plowed their way thru deepest snow
And stripped red cedar of its bark.

Then turned once more and ploughed their way
Until they met the trail again
The trail on which I stood and gazed
At hoof prints that were large and small
And knew that I was looking at
The split hooves of a doe and fawn
The doe ahead and breaking snow
That must have come up to her chest.

I now proceeded cautiously
With hopes of catching sight of them
I checked the wind and found it too
Was in my favor, thus I knew
They would not catch my human scent.
As I continued toward a stand
Of pines I knew that lay not far
And where these deer could hunker down.

Now cautiously I moved ahead
And always searched before I moved
Then carefully would take a step
Listening, listening for any sound
Especially that of crunching snow
That would tell a deer’s ahead.
And so I closely watched the trail
That led me toward the copse of pine.

I was surprised when I got near
That group of pine that grew so close.
Some other trails came into view
And like the one upon my trail
Were made by deer, more than a few
I saw them now, their trails well packed
But then they sniffed and caught my scent
And scattered, thru the snow they went.

I watched for never had I seen
As many deer as I saw now
They leaped and bounded thru the snow
As frightened as most deer can be
I’d startled them, and off they went
But knew they would return that night
I’d seen the yard where these deer stay
Where snow is deep and cold holds sway.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A New England Autumn

October in New England is
A wondrous time to dwell
Amid the wooded hills and farms
And fields that bound with stone
When nights are cool and days are warmed
By sunlight strong and bright
And forests turn from green to gold
With reds and yellows too.

And mingling with the rusty brown
Of oaks both red and white
Where goldenrod and asters too
Will reign and justly so
For nature’s other pretty blooms
Have long since waned and gone
To wait until another year
And then burst forth again.

When shadows lengthen early on
And afternoons bring chills
Foretelling that a frost will come
To whiten stonewalled fields
And often on these chilly nights
Is heard the great horned owl
Who as he makes his silent flight
Does boast his hunting call.

While far above, the honk of geese
Comes from a cloudless sky
All heading southward in great vees
Toward warmer winter climes
And when the autumns last cut hay
Of timothy and vetch
With clover and alfalfa mixed
Will sweeten up the air.

The squash and pumpkins fill the fields
And apples load the trees
The smell of wood smoke drifting by
A sure sign summer’s passed.
The autumn’s frost is in full sway
A pleasant time of year
For when the work is mostly done
Then hunting time is near.

A time of preparation for
A winter long and hard
The field corn’s chopped and siloed high
The baled hay crams the loft
Of barns so overflowing that
No space exists for that
Which lies out in the field today
On this the cattle feast.

There is a sense of fulfillment
That always fills the heart
And lets all know that when the storms
Of winter really start
Each is prepared and will fare well
And none will ever want
For October in New England is
Our favorite time of year.


[started in 1978, completed in 2011]

The early forest night is still
The snow drifts softly thru the pines
And hemlocks stand as sentinels
To guard and mutely shield from view
The cabin that I built of logs
That has become my oft time home
When solitude and need to think
Become the foremost needs in life.

But though the snow is very deep
And nearly hides the house from view
Its very depth provides the warmth
The peace and solitude long sought.
Where thoughts, and fantasies of thought
Develop into dreams that seem
So real – yet aren’t reality.
A life that I don’t care to live.

I sit in warmth, and comfort too
And gaze into a hickory fire
To contemplate the years ahead
Without a western girl to share
This simple, forest life with me
A life that I have known for years
And one that would the envy be
Of those who wish to be apart.

It’s here I’ve spun my own cocoon
Of sturdy logs of pine that shield
Me from the sweat of summer’s heat,
And helps to beat the winter cold.
But more importantly it hides
A world of care “this veil of tears,”
That often presses down and bears
So hard upon this native son.

I’ve watched for years, as seasons change
I’ve seen the cycle, from the spring
Through summer’s heat, to fall that’s filled
With yellows, reds, and rustic browns
Until the leaves come drifting down.
The chill before the winter’s storm
And then begins again the time
When depth of snow brings peace sublime.

Is she the one? The thought returns
As so it has at times before
But could she ever share this life
And come to know the pageantry
My forest shows, though now it lies
In winter’s shroud of virgin snow
That never lets a dreamer see
The secrets held beneath its depths.

But gradually the snow does melt,
And forest come alive once more,
The spring returns and starts to show
That green that reaches toward the sky
And warming sun. And soon we know
The beauty of it all is here
In forest, glades, and fields aglow
With types of flowers, some known, some not
A kind of medley of the wild.

Where evening brings the whip-poor-will
Down near the lake, its notes do swell.
A great horned owl gives forth its hoot
So all may hear its hunting call
While bats abound, and “skeeters” don’t
I no more hear their whining hum.
And coyotes up upon the hill
Send forth their howling, mournful cries.

Where cautious doe, with spotted fawn
Seek out a hiding place ‘fore dawn.
And turkeys, with their young do strut
So blithely past the cabin, where
A big black bear, so rarely seen
Has left his scat along the trail
And on occasion will a moose
Be seen by some – for Quabbin’s near.

I’ve seen bald eagles circling high
Above the Quabbin’s pristine shore
While sharp eyed fish hawks hover still
Above the stream before the plunge.
And blue jays with their raucous cries
Alert the world that something’s nigh.
I see the partridge with her brood
That live each year along the brook.

And later when the sun is low
I’ll wade into the silent stream
And tie a fly on leader long,
Then roll cast, watch it drift, then see
The rise, the rainbow’s flashing swirl.
He fights, the struggle lasting long
But e’re he even comes to net
I know what I will eat this night.

The sun is low, and going down
In all its splendor, reds and golds
That slowly turn a purple hue
Until the daylight fades away
And evening shadows start to play
Upon the stream in which I stand
And watch a black-capped chickadee
Go upside down on a willow tree.

I hear the sound of whistling wings
And see a pair of blacks glide in
To land, where silvery dragonflies
flit to and fro among the reeds.
I watch as trout in failing light
Jump one last time to take a nymph
Then hear the flapping of great wings
And know a heron’s just gone by.

While in the darkening shadows hear
A bittern’s short but mournful cry.
And then a fox’s warning yelp
Tells me he’s caught this human’s scent.
Now light is gone. I wade ashore
And hear the sounds of coming night.
It’s then I know that in my heart
Peace has come with the coming dark.