From 2011 until November 2015 I was Poet Laureate of Vermont, during which time I visited 116 Vermont community libraries, not so much to read but to talk about what poetry can do that other modes of discourse can't. I loved the Q&A the most, because those within the academy often ask things that show how much they think they know, whereas library patrons are inclined to ask the important things: Who's talking here? To whom? Why? Where? I hope my poems can answer those questions, that no one needs some special knowledge or language to penetrate them. My twelfth collection of poems, NO DOUBT THE NAMELESS, is just out, as is my fourth collection of personal essays, WHAT'S THE STORY? REFLECTIONS ON A LIFE GROWN LONG. www.sydneylea.net
Some weeks ago, it looked as though
Sparse snow had fallen along the dirt road
Where we walk our dogs, in a straight line. Odd.
It was only the year’s wild strawberry blossoms.
Today, that small drift vanished again,
The fruit is ready for reaping. But then
How little one gathers for the effort involved!
The berries, more hull than meat, are stingy,
And my back is old, and my fingers are clumsy.
When our children were small they could sometimes be chores–
Beautiful chores, but chores nonetheless.
Now we’d have them back. They grew up too fast.
Ten minutes of picking, scanty harvest.
It seems, as my grandmother used to mutter,
Not worth the candle, though no candle is called for,
The late-spring morning crisp and alive,
Lit by a thousand thousand greens
From the arch of trees, and no matter I lean
A bit at the waist, having stooped to my task
For meager reward, when I reach our door
My matchless wife is standing there.
My wife, open-armed, at an open door.
©2016 Sydney Lea
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