November

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There’s nothing left but overall
Remnants of what had once been fall;
Even where a week before
A leaf or two blew through the door
The dwindling days have turned to soot
The little traveling underfoot.
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Snow will follow soon enough
Careening through the unmown scruff
Of jimson weed and bush clover,
Nothing apt to be covered over
With just a midday’s squall—but soon
Winter will stay the afternoon.
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Then who will afterward remember
The few days readied since September?—
The ghostly sighs of thimbleweed,
The bony knuckles of the reed,
Whole fields of startled hair turned white
Before the year end’s stricken flight.
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I wouldn’t ask but that I know
It’s not just seasons come and go.
When ice gives way to watercress
And all of April’s loveliness,
Remember, though the days are few,
November has its flowers too.
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Pussy Willow Branch (Reduced)·
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by me | January 8 2018
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  • This is my first audio recording using my new YETI microphone. My reading of the poem is just okay, but then I’m never satisfied that way. Best that I never hear myself. The poem itself is one I started not in November of last year but the year before, with a haiku. I finally devoted the time to finishing it.

 

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December 31st 2017

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With a pinch of sorrow I write my last haiku tonight—the last for 2017. I will write another year’s worth of haiku, but not next year. I went out again and captured some of what’s going on in Vermont.
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Apples
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This was a blind photo, as I had to stand on my tiptoes and hold the camera as far over my head as I could—a couple scrogglings with their caps of snow.
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apple branch

Despite the cold, which tonight may almost reach -30 below, winter is never so beautiful.

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The sun doesn’t have it itself to melt the snow that caps the branches, apples still dangling from the tree (all with their little winter’s caps), or the limbs of the evergreens.
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traveling
····whichever way—the Milky Way and horizon
········meet
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Icicles
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The wind-raked icicles on my house. Though they’re charming, they’re a bad sign. They mean that you’re losing too much heat through a poorly insulated roof. That’s something I’ll fix this summer or next. If the windows look like they’re leaning, that’s because they are. The house was built in the 1810’s and the wall was farmer-built, braced to last as long as the farmer, not for 200 years. The wall twisted and all the window openings with it. When I put in the new windows, I reasoned it was the character of the house. That’s how the house wants them. And that’s how you will always know an old house from a modern reproduction. To really reproduce the old colonial houses, a builder needs throw out his levels. Then, when all the clapboard’s are out of tune, the roof a little out of sorts, and the windows not quite right, you’ll know the reproduction was done good.
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playgroundAnd to the left is a little bit of a playground I rescued. These climbers were headed for the metal scrap. Couldn’t bear that. I had them brought to my back yard with a front loader and my girls played and played on them—and still do just a little. A house with children is the right place for them to retire.
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And with that, my haiku year ends. To all a Happy New Year.
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365 December 31st 2017 | bottlecap
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December 27th 2017

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hard
····as stone—the Milky Way in a winter’s
········sky
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The temperatures tonight are expected to approach -20 Fahrenheit. The coldest it’s gotten at my house, while I’ve been here, is -35; though it might have gotten colder during my teen-aged years elsewhere in Vermont. All in all, we’re having a true New England winter—startling, beautiful and unforgiving.
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361 December 27th 2017 | bottlecap
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December 26th 2017

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wings
····folded to their spines—winter’s black
········leaves
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Another several inches fell last night. We’ve already had nearly as much snow as the last two winters combined. With the icy nights arriving, none of the snow is melts from the trees. The mountains are beautiful—green pines shimmering under layers of snow and the black trees glitter.
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360 December 26th 2017 | bottlecap
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December 23rd 2017

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bent
····under the dark of snow—the dreaming
········pines
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DSC01204
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The walk over the brook back of the house, and out to the barn.
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DSC01202
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A little piece of our house, the original old barn that later became the connector between the original farmhouse, left, and the larger barn, right. The barn later turned into a second house. This is the way Vermont houses grow over a hundred years and more.
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20171221_121059_resized_1
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And an abandoned house a little ways south of us. There’s something in me that imagines secretly putting a Christmas tree in the house and lighting it up on Christmas Eve, as if to give the house a little memory of what it once meant to a family.
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20171221_121150_resized
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And a look through the window into the kitchen. You can see some shelves with bottles still on them.
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357 December 23rd 2017 | bottlecap
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