The history behind these two poems is interesting. Middlebury, Vermont invited local poets to send in poems for a sidewalk project in which the poems would be imprinted in the sidewalk’s concrete—part of a poetry project. The poems came with strict line length and word limits. I don’t remember them now. But why not? Middlebury is one of my favorite Vermont towns and Brookway, the fictional town of my novels, is loosely based on it. I submitted the poems and—never heard anything again. Story of my literary life. Since they were written for a very particular location—a sidewalk—I was never sure what to do with them. Now I know. If they can’t be in Middlebury’s sidewalks, then they’ll be in Brookway’s sidewalks—a sidewalk of the imagination. They have a home again.
If despite your hurry You pause just long enough To momentarily query The verses here and there, You next may ask yourself If poems aren’t everywhere?— If maybe all along (And even by a sidewalk) There wasn’t always song? And though that may be true, It’s true because all poetry Is truthfully in you.
You mostly needn’t guess (Or second guess) the season, You know it more or less: You know it by the spider Fattened on the addled flies. They crowd September’s cider. And if the weather’s terse And fitful then it’s likely April; yet suppose this verse Is buried under snow? Your guess is good as mine. Vermont. You never know. Every year it’s touch and go.
upinVermont | March 6th 2022