Tuesday, August 29, 2006

linda buckmaster

I am originally from Belfast (Maine) and it pleases me to see Belfast taking a real interest in poetry. Of course, in the late 1960s we had Bern Porter as local bard, but now there is a yearly Belfast Poetry Festival, and every year the Mr. Paperback in Belfast hosts a Waldo County Youth Poet Laureate event, and more things are happening around town. Three of the current Belfast poets I particularly like are Karin Spitfire, Elizabeth Garber, and Linda Buckmaster. All three of them have new collections of poems coming out this fall. Here is a poem by Linda Buckmaster, called Nine Ways To get To Bangor. (When I was a kid, Bangor was where you went to get books, records, clothes, to go to Freeses, MacDonalds,Viners,the Bangor Fair, the Paul Bunyan Statue...)

Nine Ways To Get To Bangor

One watershed. Penobscot Bay gathering,
funneling every rill and stream, from its namesake
running past the hospital to the waters at the end
of my street. Carry on - Marsh Stream, Goose River,
Meadow Brook, Kenduskeag, Westcott Stream, Hurds Pond,
Mendall Marsh, Passagassawakeag, Burnt Swamp,
Belfast Harbor.

Three surgeries. Biopsy, lymph node, lumpectomy, Route 1,
1A, 141, 139, 69, Dahlia Farm Road, City Point,
Head of the Tide, Oak Hill, Nealey's Corner,
Exit 49.

Four Hospitals: Waldo County, Pen Bay, St. Joe's, Eastern
Maine, osprey, porcupine, scrub jay, roadkill, pothole,
lesser newt.

One diagnosis: Prospect, Frankfort, Waldo, Stockton Springs,
Belfast, CancerCare, Winterport, Searsport, Monroe, Hampden,
bald eagle.

Seven weeks of radiation: Exxon, Mobil, Coke for the good
things in life, two hot dogs for a dollar, Dino's Pizza, general store,
road work, free zucchini, real estate real estate real estate,
blind drive.

Five years of follow-up: Gowned waiting.

Twenty seasons on the Penobscot:
Freeze up,
ice out,
spring flood, carry on.
Skunk cabbage, fiddlehead, shad bush, trillium, skullcap,
fireweed, goldenrod, swampberry, hackmatack,

Twenty thousand years ago: Ice pack weighing
heavy on earth's crust. Glacier thaw receding, lifting,
leaving behind rock
rubble, limestone drift,
granite ledge and groundwater
moving unseen below, squeezing
between cracks, through soil to
run and rise and fall again.

One watershed:
Carry on,
Carry on.

Linda Buckmaster


Blogger SNW said...

I heard Linda read this at Kathleen's "13 poets and a chemist" event in.. 2009? And still think of it.. always find it here!

8:03 AM  

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