"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Chores

The wind waters my eyes as I carry a 5-gallon bucket of water from the hydrant to the molting chickens. I plug in a heat lamp at the back of the coop so it doesn't freeze.They aren't laying as they should but still need to be tended, fed, bedded and watered. The temperature is dropping and chickens can't be without water, even when they're molting.

Snowflakes drift down from the overhung sky. The wind rises. I set the basket of eggs on a board in front of the bins where we store feed and containers at night so they don't draw rats-a measly four eggs from a flock of fifty- open the lids and eye the feed I have left for the week. Yesterday, I pulled dead pepper plants and some mustard and fennel gone to seed out of the hoophouse and threw it into these hungry chickens. Today, it was a jar of dill pickles that failed to pickle and a delicata squash with a soft spot. They like squash. The pickles lie untouched, along with the sprig of dill and the clove of garlic. Finicky.

I step off the board and it seesaws, tipping the basket over. The eggs roll out and one breaks on the hard ground. I scoop it up and put it in the cat's dish He eats good too.  Who says farming is hard?

Friday, December 1, 2017

The multi-cultural beach

Woman in hijab in line at the bath,
child clings to her hand with wondering eyes.
I wonder what they think of us-
bathing suits and messy hair,
bare legs and fleshy thighs.
I wonder what they think of us.


Monday, June 12, 2017

The Day The House Came Down



I hung a hummingbird feeder outside my window
The horizon is empty where a house once stood—
shingles crushed, glass shattered, beams broken.
I hung a hummingbird feeder outside my window.
The dump trucks are gone and the excavator is stilled.
The demolition work is done—that which withstood
tornadoes, storms, and depression fell in eight hours.
I hung a hummingbird feeder outside my window.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Standoff At The Bird Bath



Robin looks at Blue Jay
Blue Jay turns his back
Robin fluffs his feathers
Blue Jay preens and flaps.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

One Sentence Story

The "get well" card arrived too late.





Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day

Robin in the maple tree
scoping out the scenery.

Redheaded woodpecker
walking down a tree.

Little brown sparrow
splashing in the bath.

April on the rim.
May rushing in.




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Not All Of Me Will Die


Sorting through handkerchiefs,
sweaters and hats,
war time correspondence,
linens and scarves.
Ironing pillow slips, the smell of perfume,
suspenders, and medals,
silver and glass.
Baseballs with scuff marks
grade cards with C’s,
cribbage boards and erector sets
nails and tacks.
Wooden checkers and wooden rosaries,
German missals in a safe,
mink stoles wrapped in newspaper
love notes written in haste.
Non omnis moriar
says an ancestor’s note,
but steam rises off the board like
mist off the lake
and unanswered questions
drift off in space.


Linked to the Garden, peace bracelets, poets and writers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

G.I. This and G.I. That

Now that our mother has died, almost exactly four months after father, it has fallen to me to stand in as the family archivist.  At first this seemed a daunting task. After all, they were married for seventy years, and after our grandparents died, mother became the keeper of their prized belongings, namely pictures and correspondence dating back to the turn of the century. So, here I was with over a hundred years of family history to sort through. Daunting. Yet....as I sat amoungst yellowed boxes of cards and letters, from airmail wartime correspondence to envelopes addressed only by name and town (as that was all that was necessary), the dots connected and the lines crossed. I sat in a living room emptied of their physical presence yet stacked to the ceiling with the lives they led and the people they touched, and the task became easy.

Following is a poem I found with dad's pictures from India and China and Tinian in the Mariana Islands from where the air assault on Japan was staged during WWII. I will continue to share their lives and accomplishments that this might be true:  "Not all of me will die".

Here I Am

Here I am, sitting on my G.I. bed,
My G.I. hat upon my head.
My G.I. pants, my G.I. shoes,
Everything free, nothing to lose.
G.I. razor, G.I. comb,
G.I. wish I were home.

They issue everything we need,
paper to write on books to read.
They issue food to make us grow,
G.I. want a long furlough.

Your coat, your shoes, your G.I. tie,
Everything free, nothing to buy.
You eat your food from a G.I. plate
buy your needs at a G.I. rate.

It's G.I. this, and G.I. that,
G.I. haircut, G.I. hat.
Everything here is government issue,
Gee, I wish that I could kiss you.



Monday, November 14, 2016

The Winter Warrior



The sun burns a path through the morning fog
to capture the transient russets and golds along the road
that wither and waste with winter’s approach as a lone tractor creeps
across a field on a final till fore the ground is left
to settle and sleep and recover.
The old man on the tractor across the way
feels each bump and dip through his booted feet up to his hips,
he knows the clay and the sandy hill and the stubborn drain
of the muddy low. The lay of the land is choreographed
in the analytic brain of our winter warrior
who refuses to go south with the rest of his friends.

This is where I’m from, from how far I’ve come
to come back to the quiet of October russets
where the birds hover and hide in the dry rustle of the corn.
They swoop across the land in flocks
for they need their kind come winter.
For now they rest in the standing corn
as the tractor crawls across the field with a man at the wheel—
an old tractor that needs a firm hand on the wheel,
the swollen knuckles of the winter warrior.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Sand Dollar


As sand falls from a sand dollar
set on a shelf far from the seashore
(the tide pools of Oregon),
so do the seasons shift and leaves drop, 
weighted with rain from a gunmetal sky.
It muddies the unmarked grave,
the shoveled dirt, blackened and coarse,
unlike his face, clean-shaven on the blade of the mortician.
Lids drawn over the sterling blue eyes,
tie straightened and mouth closed,
tight-lipped, as our father never was.
The mouth isn’t right, my sister whispered
as the kneeler wobbled under our connected sorrow.
I checked his pockets, like a child for a coin,
climbing on a lap, cool and deep, and empty.



Linked to the Tuesday Platform (Poets Choice) at The Imaginary Garden.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Did I Tell You I Love You?

I see I've written nothing here since, well, since last December, but this is still my old faithful blog, waiting in the clouds for an update. I pulled it up (down?) once in a while to see if it still existed and to check on familiar blogs, but I didn't write. Now I have to write.

Dad died four weeks ago today. His life was a grand one of 96 years, full of many accomplishments and good works, so why do we cry? my mother asked as we waited for the hospice nurse to wash the body and the undertaker to come and wheel him out of the house on a gurney, wheeled him out from the room where he died, the same room in which he was born. We should be happy, said mother (as a good Catholic would say) but wherever he was, it wasn't with us. He was gone, still warm, but gone, and we missed him, so we cried.

We cancelled his "lifeline". We contacted Social Security and the Office of Personnel Management regarding his pension, sent out our thank-you cards and backstroked our way through the public grieving process. Now the private grieving has begun.

My father was a writer and his office was a vast library of agricultural yearbooks and farm journals and novels such as The Beast Of Muddy Brain, a novel about farming during the depression, and I wanted to write something memorializing him, but the how of doing that in a way he would approve is difficult.

On a morning such as the one a week ago, with the heat and humidity washed out of the air by a torrential downpour and straight line winds the night before, with puffy white clouds dotting the cerulean blue of Earth's atmosphere, with the corn tasseled out and standing motionless in the sun while the crickets sang and the geese flew overhead, while a pot of San Marzanos simmered on the stove readied for ladling into hot jars which now line the shelves in the cellar lined with fresh newspapers, as our mother taught us, I missed him.

On a morning like this with the eastern sky tinged with light by the sun at its back and an owl calling in a low throttle from the woods who-who-whowhowho, not singing but crying from the woods still dark, dad would be up; pushing himself out to the living room in his wheelchair in his fluffy white robe (sometimes getting it caught in the wheels) to sit at the picture window facing east where he could look out over the farm he loved that his grandfather started, looking out over the best place on earth and wait for the first person to come in the house and pour his morning coffee and give him a graham cracker. (The first cup is always the best.) Sometimes that was me. On a morning like this, I'd like to do that one more time.

Did I tell him I loved him? At the end of the night when he was tucked into bed, hearing aids on his bedside table, rosary where he could reach it, when I rubbed his foot under the blanket and said "good night dad", did I also say I love you? I love you I love you I love you?

On these fall nights, dewy and still, the chill of winter hovers in the air and the corn rustles on the slightest breath of a night bird, with the lights of his bedroom dark and bedside lamp off,  I miss him.

Today marks the Autumnal Equinox with fall arriving at 10:21 a.m. here in the Eastern Time Zone. The heat of summer has overstayed its welcome but soon harvest will begin. But dad won't be here to watch them bringing in the corn. He won't be here to check the yield per acre, dust flying out of the back of the combine as the beans are harvested, grasshoppers jumping and the smell of chaff in the air. Even when he could no longer be actively involved, he would be at that window, watching.

On this first day of fall when the grass is still green and the roses thrive, with the coffee growing cold in my cup, I miss him.





Robert Raymond. Linck
8/07/20 to 8/25/16
A farmer, an environmentalist, a progressive, a writer, a father.




Saturday, December 12, 2015

Haymow Workshop

There's a new bird in the haymow,
more musical than the sparrow,
less mournful than the dove.
Singing from the rafters.
Invisible.



From a writer's retreat.

Linked to the Imaginary Garden's micro poetry link.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

THE ROAD TAKEN

From The Imaginary Garden comes a prompt imagined by Kerry O'Connor - from Elizabeth Bishop, The Fish, "Our Open Link provides us with the opportunity to write a promptless poem, to plumb the depths of consciousness and present our own visions in the form of poetry."

The detour led us off the highway
and onto a gravel road,
past shacks and crooked trailers.
The gravel in the wheelwells
amplified the quiet in the car—
our children in the back suddenly paying attention.

We’d crossed an invisible border
and entered a country where people sit on porches,
stare at the oddity of traffic, and don’t wave.
The road led us deeper into the woods
and through hills fit for a brochure

but outside the window garbage overflowed the ditch—
discarded tires and old car bumpers,
scraps of metal and broken glass signaling for help.
Dust hung in the air and breached the rolled windows,

and I wanted the highway, manicured rest areas and speed limits.
Our detour through this country inside a country
made our children put down their books
and ask questions we couldn't answer.


And what I remember more than what I wrote is the sense of fear that permeated the car, fear of the unknown and resentment at having been thrown into such an uncomfortable situation. We did not want to see what we were forced to see. And while it's been a while, I still see the vacant stares and feel the stillness that hung in the air.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Flash 55!

I'm  happy to join  this month's Flash 55 now sponsored by The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

Purpose

Woman walks down the road
with a scissors in her hand,
kicking a stone with a scissors in her hand.
Bleached skull in the ditch
stones ricochet and skip.
Eye on the road, eye cast to the ditch,
cresting the hill, she chases a stone.
Hips swing and sway
with the scissors in her hand.