When times are challenging-– and they certainly have been lately– I take inspiration from William Wordsworth and find solace in nature. I began writing this poem in situ at an organic farm and sculpture studio in Harvard, Massachusetts, once a rural area of apple orchards. Old Frog Pond Farm is one of the surviving working farms west of Boston.
This poem was recently published in the Old Frog Pond Farm anthology of plein air poetry, edited by Susan Richmond. The theme for this year’s anthology and September 16, 2018 plein air reading was Paths, Tracks, and Trails.
In a voyage of the imagination, my poem traces the water path from Old Frog Pond (on an organic farm dotted with sculptures by amazing artists) to the grasslands of the Assabet River.
Water Path, from Frog Pond to the Assabet
Ignore the overturned canoe on the lawn.
Don’t linger studying the lily pads on the green pond today.
Focus instead on the water, on where it’s headed.
The highway thrums in the distance. Here, Queen Anne’s lace
sprouts from cracks in the cement embankment.
Walk around two metal chairs placed at a ten-foot distance from a third
as though a couple came for psychotherapy, then left
by a path through the woods. Do not take that path.
There’s another way from here, by water from the pond
into a lower level, a rill that leads somewhere you haven’t been,
through tall grasses, under a stone footbridge.
Let those souls driving on the Interstate keep driving towards something
they believe will make them whole again, revive them
bring them hope like the hope sung by the grasshopper sparrow
whose staccato notes follow you from pond to stream.
A lone cicada tunes up early for August’s insect orchestra.
Keep following the water path from farm to stream,
from stream to brook, on at last
to the grasslands where the sparrows breed,
where the dragon and damselflies dance above the river.