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Poetry Where You Live 1


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Poetry can be found anywhere. It doesn’t have to be something you do all the time.

Published in: Spiritual, Education
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Poetry Where You Live 1

  1. 1. Poetry Where You Live Ray Foss Barrington
  2. 2. Most of the poems in this presentation were written in this cabin on Harper’s Island in Swains Lake
  3. 3. Morning
  4. 6. Wow!
  5. 7. <ul><li>40 years old </li></ul><ul><li>Accountant at UNH for 16 years </li></ul><ul><li>Barrington resident since December 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>Amateur Photographer – website with over 2,200 pictures of UNH buildings and sporting events ( </li></ul><ul><li>Interest in Presidential Succession Law </li></ul><ul><li>Member of Budget Committee - 3/98 to 3/00 </li></ul><ul><li>School Board member since March 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Poet since April 2000 (thanks Marcy) </li></ul>Who is Ray Foss
  6. 10. Why I started writing <ul><li>I read a poem I wrote at the April 17, 2000 school board meeting and I liked the response. </li></ul><ul><li>Because of my interest in close-up photography, I see parts and pieces of things. </li></ul><ul><li>At work, I have been accused of being wordy. Poetry is the opposite. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a way to say things in a crisp, direct way. </li></ul><ul><li>Writing poetry is a great way to express and share feelings. </li></ul>
  7. 11. People say that a picture speaks a thousand words. With poetry, I can paint a picture, capture a moment, a smell, a scene in a handful of words.
  8. 12. Poetry   I have found my voice. Moments captured in word and rhyme. Free form verse And stream of consciousness. Spell check off, Why spoil the mood.   Where did the words come from. Where were they hidden. Why now.   I am free. To share thoughts untold. To open up. To live.
  9. 14. Because I have seen the world through a camera lens for 18 years, almost as an extension of my eye, I have taken a lot of pictures. I have tried to be just as visual with my poetry.
  10. 15. The second poem here, Swains, was about 2 canoe rides on Swains Lake off Young Road in May. After a hard day at work, a late afternoon canoe ride can be like medicine for a headache.
  11. 16. Swains   Life is simple. In my canoe. Strokes in the water propel me forward. I chart my course around the cove. Stress melts away.   The paddle bites into the tawny depths. Shafts of light illuminate the newborn waves. Wind and wave push back. I tack into the breeze.   Muscles turn to the task at hand. Shoulder and forearm, Biceps and back. Familiar work, instinctive in time. Left, right. Alternating sides of the hull. A ribbon of water streams off the blade.   A beaver dives into the cove. We glide together toward the bridge. He and I know the way. Measured distance preserves the spell.
  12. 17. An army of turtles drop into the lake, Escape their only defense. Each on their own, a ballet in the water. A slow elongated dive, glinting in The reflected light.   Silence in my own little world. Water, wind, muscle, motion. Form and function as one.   Panorama of a sunset, Purple, lilac, amber and gold. Clouds and pine outline the sky. Ripples on the water shimmer with the failing light. The trill of the loon, haunting and pure.   Goldfinch, oriole, grackle join the chorus, Bullfrog and cricket too. Heron and osprey soar overhead. A halo of blackflies silhouetted on the sky. A fly kisses the surface.   On shore again. Canoe in its place. Life is simpler, still After a paddle on Swains.
  13. 20. A Bit of Down   The edge of the water’s surface Cupped a bit of Mallard down this morning. Shed and forgotten by its owner Adrift to float with the ripples.   Caressed by the surface But never breaching it. Part of the water But not in the water   Beads of dew clung to The spine of the feather Marking each fiber.   The bent quill left some Of the fluff dry, Murmuring in the Gentle morning breeze. A sail to guide the Feather on its journey.
  14. 22. June Morning   Dawn on the lake The world is still. Water like a mirror. Land and water blur. Bold bright colors in the morning light.   Steam rises from the still surface In wisps and swirls, Soon to evaporate in the warming air. Birds and I stir Ready to face a new day.   Above a chorus Joins my world. A flock of Canadian geese A squadron of at least Twenty-five land off the point. Squawking and trumpeting Their arrival.   Tea on the porch Soaking it in, The wonder of God’s creation. Oops, time for work.
  15. 23. Nightfall   The sun drops behind the shore, The sky aglow. Nightfall on the water. I pull and push The canoe away from shore. Longing for the warmth. The great blue heron Perched on the skeleton Of the ancient pine, Silhouetted on the Oriole sky. The skin of the lake Ablaze in orange, yellow, and black. Waves swelled and fell. The canoe pitched and bobbed. The paddle blade leaves Bright eddies on my side. Colored lights on a deck Elvis on the stereo Easy laughter from a porch. Failing light, all in shadows.   Dark houses, silent waters A beaver before me. He slaps his tail and dives Shallow near shore. We cross again, Repeating the dance. A light from my window Guides me home. Dark around me All is still.
  16. 25. Sunday Afternoon   The Loon and I Alone on the Lake Below the Threatening Sky.   He Watches Me Warily. His Red Eye Afire. Am I a Predator. He Doesn’t Know.   He Drops Below the Waves Bobbing Back up Again.   The Swallows Dart and Dive Skimming on the Wind Dimpled Surface.   Too Early for Boaters. Too Late for Fisherman. Quiet on the Water.
  17. 27. Alone in the Rain   I am alone on my porch, in the rain. Nightfall is closing in. Now, the island is lonely. The world is muffled.   The rain falls on the porch roof. Two mourning doves twitter as They go from tree to tree, Branch to branch. Now they coo and call To their mate. The water shimmers As sheets of rain Disturb its surface. A small yellow warbler alights On a branch before me, Ready to add its cheerful song to the mix.
  18. 28. Rain now falls from the roof The staccato of the heavy Drops on the hard ground below.   A lone boat courses across the water, Eager for home. It leaves but a wake, lost on the rocks. Mist obscures the shoreline. Loons steer by me.   I am still, writing these lines. But I am anxious. How I long for the sun For the warmth to join me again In my rustic cabin in the lake.
  19. 31. The next slide is of another kind of poem, about using poetry to deal with open issues. It is about my father. He died on the Spaulding Turnpike. These are questions I can’t ask him. It was the most difficult day of my life.
  20. 32. Mile Marker 19   I drove by the spot again Today, this afternoon. Where you lost control. Where fate found you Tired, and unprepared For eternity to call you.   What went through your mind That night in winter? That split second of time. Anger, surprise, fear Or were you asleep Unaware that the ice Held your destiny?
  21. 33. This next poem, Dew in the Morning, is very visual. So, I have included some images that may set the mood.
  22. 39. Dew in the Morning   It is 7 am And the world awakes. There’s dew in the morning.   Every tip of the serrated Wild strawberry leaves is gilded With a morning’s tear. The crown of each green Blueberry clutches A single dewdrop.
  23. 40. The carpet of moss is softened By the morning mist. Small spider webs in the Lawn hold pearls of dew, Outlining their maker’s artistry. New birch leaves Are ever greener.   Panes of mica in the Granite underfoot Hold a special sheen. The world is brighter When there is Dew in the morning.
  24. 42. Wind   The paddle and I Out in the middle of The churning lake. The wind pushed the bow Turning me around. I pitched into the wind, Back erect, leaning Against the blow, Making for shore .   The paddle, 24 years old, Fit comfortably in my palm Familiar pressure, angle and form The varnish worn and cracked. The shaft and handle darkened With my sweat, dirt, and age. The blade narrow for river work As it was on the Allagash Split and chipped From years of use. A treasured memento Of a wonderful trip.
  25. 43. The waves broke and pitched. The canoe moved Like a cork on the water. Paddle left, back paddle right. The splash of the water As I fought to gain control. Progress slow but real Cutting along the edge of shore Easy to measure Foot by foot. Away from shore again Buffeted by the air once more . An hour from home Muscles taut And cramped Torso twisted Fighting the storm As I contort To steer the canoe
  26. 44. The Ledges   Eight silent canoes Pushed off onto the still waters At 2am on a July night. The full moon and stars To guide us across the lake And down river.   The loon and bullfrog The only sound Save for the sound of The bite of the paddle, The drizzle of water off the blade, And hulls breaking the surface.   No one spoke, None of we sixteen. Lost in our own thoughts Not wanting to break The spell The night and the water Held on us all.
  27. 45. Mates   The mallards Paddle before me Male and Female Two abreast One wake.
  28. 48. Apricot and Periwinkle   Apricot and periwinkle Robin’s egg and salmon. Moments of Yesterday’s sunset Frozen in my mind.   No Nikon or Kodak, No disposable or instamatic. Images captured on Rods and cones this time, Fine grained And enduring. Synapses growing.
  29. 49. Soft shadows And wispy clouds. Bands of color and mood Share the sky With small birds And a damselfly Before the dark.   Stars create a canopy After the light fails. The sunset now A part of my Memory. To cherish.
  30. 51. Moonlight   Board meeting over Stars and clouds call. Alone on the lake, Time to unwind. 11 o’clock under A moonlit sky.   Away from shore Out onto the Still water, Hushed air.
  31. 52. Moon before me Shore behind. Paddling silently To hold The stillness.   The moon A bright plate On the water Then a filament Twitching on The waves.
  32. 53. When I turn And pull On my paddle It becomes an Oscilloscope wave Bouncing along The surface.   Caught between Deep night and day Muted shadows and A hint of blue under The moon.
  33. 54. Touchdown, UNH
  34. 55. Fall is Coming   Still nights On the calm water. Late summer on the lake.   Crisp nights Fog in the morning A chill in the air.   Rocks exposed, An empty boat launch, Full-grown ducklings.   Leaves of crimson and gold Join the yellow Lily pads. Fall is coming.
  35. 56. Winter too soon Sean Matile As UNH won the Hockey East Title March 6, 1999
  36. 57. The last 5 slides are images from a canoe ride August 5 th of this year. It is funny sometimes the things that catch the eye.