March 2016

Flores Woman

          by Tracy K. Smith

A species of tiny human has been discovered, which lived on the remote Indonesian island of Flores just 18,000 years ago. . . . Researchers have so far unearthed remains from eight individuals who were just one metre tall, with grapefruit-sized skulls. These astonishing little people . . . made tools, hunted tiny elephants and lived at the same time as modern humans who were colonizing the area.

—Nature, October 2004

Light: lifted, I stretch my brief body.
Color: blaze of day behind blank eyes.

Sound: birds stab greedy beaks
Into trunk and seed, spill husk

Onto the heap where my dreaming
And my loving live.

Every day I wake to this.

Tracks follow the heavy beasts
Back to where they huddle, herd.

Hunt: a dance against hunger.
Music: feast and fear.

This island becomes us.

Trees cap our sky. It rustles with delight
In a voice green as lust. Reptiles

Drag night from their tails,
Live by the dark. A rage of waves

Protects the horizon, which we would devour.
One day I want to dive in and drift,

Legs and arms wracked with danger.
Like a dark star. I want to last.


from Duende (Graywolf Press, 2007)

Tracy K. Smith is the 2016 winner of the Robert Creeley Award. The public is invited to see Ms. Smith receive her award and read from her work at the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School auditorium on March 29 at 7:30 p.m. Old Frog Pond Farm & Studio is a sponsor of this free community event. We hope to see you there!

 Ms. Smith is the author of Life on Mars (Graywolf Press), which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011; the memoir Ordinary Light (Knopf, 2015); and two other award-winning books of poetry, Duende and The Body's Question (Graywolf, 2002). She teaches at Princeton University.




February 2016

The Future of Apples

by Eve Linn


Remove spurs that do not fruit,

dry wood, water sprouts, or green

wood that crosses another branch.

One rubs another, bruises bark,

causes cankers, then rots.


In gloved hand, curved

shears, wait, oiled and ready.

Dive close. Cut slant and quick.

Sever the twig, still

sap-filled, clear, juice-sweet.


A clean cut with a sharp blade

is always best. Expose the wound

to sun. To dry, to harden, to callus.

The burn pile is full of twigs

cut for good reason.


Eve F.W. Linn received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing with a Poetry Concentration from Lesley University, Low-Residency Program and her B.A. cum laude in Studio Art from Smith College. She lives and writes west of Boston with her family. She enjoys fiber arts, photography, strong coffee, and dark chocolate, and dislikes small salty fish.

January 2016

Wassail Bowl

 a renga* in celebration of apples composed by Susan Edwards Richmond


the first icy snow


like a flock of angry sparrows


now, branches steeled

against a steely sky


the orchard is asleep

all the sweetness of the berries

is driven deep in the ground


the farmers scan nursery lists

plotting spring


the list of apples

her father grew in their orchard

high on the shoulder of Mount Blue


the cool taste of promise

on her tongue-


Green Crisp


Maiden Blush


maybe Rhode Island Greening-

starting tart but aging sweet,


listen carefully

to what the trees tell us, saying

pay attention to the changes


the knowing

when to flower, when to fruit


toast with spiced cider

wassailing the trees,

the fairies, the nature sprites,


the scent of apples to come

animates the senses.



*A renga is a Japanese form of “linked poem," composed of alternating three- and two-line stanzas by poets working in pairs or small groups. This poem links lines excerpted from complete works from the following poets:  Polly Brown, Lila Linda Terry, Terry House, William Lenderking, Deborah Melone, Franny Osman, Cheryl Perreault, and Susan Edwards Richmond.



December 2015

To love a salt marsh in winter

by Dawn Paul


To love a salt marsh in winter

is to love the color brown

crumbling storm-ravaged creek banks

slick frozen mudflats

weathered rushes and reeds.


To love a salt marsh in winter

is to love the sound

of tide-jumbled ice chunks

in flooded creeks

surf thrashing the beach

beyond the huddled dunes.


To love a salt marsh in winter,

face the wind

watch the horizon long and low

as one lone harrier drops down

from the empty sky.


Dawn Paul teaches writing and interdisciplinary studies at Montserrat College of Art and has published two novels, The Country of Loneliness and Still River. Her poetry has been published most recently in the Naugatuck River Review and the Paterson Literary Review. She is also a frequent performer on the Improbable Places Poetry Tour and works with the Mass Poetry Festival.

November 2015

Asking the Great Meadows a Question

            by Louise Berliner  


Evening primrose went crisp

and caught the fuzz

off the bulrushes; yes,


they went pale and skeletal

while the asters merely fizzed,

and the explosion of the bulrush    

soldier hats—shocking.


Even milkweed joined the rampage,

launching parachutes

while the waters rose

on either side of the dyke,

the geese and ducks

once again in charge.


As I lay in bed,

I thought I walked among the herons,


escorted down avenues

of blooming goldenrod,

by buttonbush, horse lettuce,

blue vervain, meadowsweet;


saw the burr marigolds

shining in the shallow flats,

the lotus still late summer green

with her fabulous floating platters

clouds for the fish below.


Now those elephant ears

listen under water,

and their seedpods hang

their little Munchkin hat heads

like old-fashioned telephone receivers.


Hello? Hello?

Is anybody there?


A solo honk cuts the air,

bare stalks rustle in response.  

I may not speak Goose,

but I recognize November.


What surgery did the seasons perform,

while I lay recovering in my bed,

the green going all kinds of color,

before surrendering to brown?



Louise Berliner plays with words, herbs, fiber, and vine. She has a studio at the Umbrella in Concord, MA. Her poems, articles, and short fiction have appeared in VQR, The Mom Egg, Porter Gulch Review, Ibbetson Review, Sacred Fire magazine, and plein air chapbook collections from Old Frog Pond and Fruitlands. She is the author of Texas Guinan, Queen of the Night Clubs, and when she isn’t writing or weaving can be found walking at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

October 2015



by Leonore Wilson


He walks down the hill alone

away from me, with his bike

slung over his right shoulder

like a silver lyre, this man

who will pedal the eighteen miles

to the factory where he will mix

barley and hops and yeast

and water and watch as the alchemy

of beer cooks and the steam

rises out over the sunflower fields

and back pastures of the air force

town wishing he was on those wheels

again coming back through

the beneficence of buckeyes,

their flowery scent catching in his hair,

his sweat alive with the memory

of morning when we were

awakened by the same pure songbird

in the far canyon, the one hidden

we have yet to name, but

there steady as sunlight

and mist as we sidle up face to face

and our sleepy eyes open

as if we were the only dependable gods

on earth lending

our entire breath to the day.



from Western Solstice, published by Hiraeth Press


Leonore Wilson is the author of Western Solstice and Tremendum, Augustum, and has published in Quarterly West, Madison Review, Third Coast, Poets Against the War, and other journals. She has taught at universities and colleges throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and won fellowships to the University of Utah and Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts. She lives on her family cattle ranch in Napa, California.


September 2015


Raspberry Picking at Old Frog Pond

     by Heather Corbally Bryant


Already the smell of Concord grapes punctuates

The night air—the mornings are cooler now, and chill—


Grass still green again now after summer’s burn—

Darkness comes more quickly, without hesitation.


We walk along a ridge and through an abandoned quarry

Past layers of ferns and darkened mosses.


The water reflects black from marble gathered

From underneath—beneath now stilled currents


Where the river used to flow. Afterwards, we follow

Signs to yet another pond where rows of raspberries


Grow side to side, reddening in the late August sun,

Almost full, dodging in between the buzzing bees


Busy pollinating for the next season while we pluck

Small jewels, plunking them in our baskets.


I am loath to relinquish this time, to return

To the routine of school, to realize that, as I watch,


My children are slipping through my fingers.



Heather Corbally Bryant teaches in the Writing Progam at Wellesley College. She is the author of a non-fiction study, “How Will the Heart Endure: Elizabeth Bowen and the Landscape of War,” a novel, “Through Your Hands,” and several poetry collections. Her poetry chapbook, “Compass Rose,” is forthcoming from the Finishing Line Press in February 2016.


August 2015

The Mallow Leans toward the Sun

          by Helen Marie Casey


Songs of cicadas overwhelm silence until even the whispers

of trees grow inaudible. Beneath ancient canopies,

mottled oaks shake tired leaves, butterflies sail into and out of

darkest shadows. I am the one who slakes the thirst

of daisies, lilies, catmint. The chipmunk, the squirrel,

and the crow gossip. Impatiens would like to dominate. Weeds,

in wild abandon, shrug. Asters rise, too common for notice.

Sundrops, yellow luster out of season now, straggle and grow limp.

The Japanese maple, silent as a queen, keeps its purple secrets.


“The Mallow Leans toward the Sun” is excerpted with permission from Casey’s longer work titled “Maybe an Iris.”

Helen Marie Casey has lived in Sudbury, Massachusetts, for 35 years and has learned to love New England's seasons and heritage with an unanticipated passion. Her chapbooks include Fragrance Upon His Lips, a series of poems about Joan of Arc, and Inconsiderate Madness, a series of poems about Mary Dyer. She has also written a biography about one of Sudbury's artists, My Dear Girl: The Art of Florence Hosmer.


July 2015


          by Mary Pinard


You can wear a body down to bone.  Bold

beak, featherless head, even your feet are bald: 

you are made for deep passages, final journeys. 


Cathartidae:  Purifier.  No stranger to the lonely

roadside, no stranger to the field of battle—all

our endless wars—you do extra duty for the dead.  


And yet you make the distant sky alive:  your high 

teetering glides and brush-like wing tips draw our eyes

open to new light, to heights far above this earthbound life.    



Mary Pinard teaches in the Arts & Humanities Division at Babson College and lives in Roslindale, MA.  Her  collection of poems, Portal, was published by Salmon Press in 2014.                        

June 2015

In the Works

        by Moira Linehan


Clamped crosswise in the heron’s bill—a sunfish,

squirming to get free. At least an hour

the great blue had stared into the pond,

watching for it to show. Will now stand as statue

until it stops. But even then, won’t eat,

will first lower the fish back into the water

to make sure not a tremor of breath’s left.

Or is it to rinse death’s smell from its scales?

What’s ever clear? A bird’s daily devotions,

like this one: flip the fish lengthwise, slide it whole

down each inch of its long elongated

throat. An afterlife, already in the works:

fish into heron. And I, too, the bird

lifting wings, lifting them, lifting from this

narrow yard. I, too, taking to the sky.



Moira Linehan is the author of two collections, If No Moon and Incarnate Grace, both from Southern Illinois University Press.  She lives in Winchester, MA.


May 2015

Notes on a Mulberry Tree

      by Hilary Sallick


New swellings     green eruptions     each rise of spongy     tissue

emerging     from inside a brown skin    no longer container   

but pressed back     about a cluster the size of the tip

of my finger     giving so softly to my touch—


this history revealed along each narrow branch:   

the outer-most buds    still hard unopened     

then inches away      the softness     the tiny serrated

edges of leaves—


I’m trying to see it clearly    to understand more

this way of becoming     leaning into the low-hanging branches   

following     the path back to the trunk—


trusting    in the absence of words                                 

in each word’s eventual     unfolding



Hilary Sallick is an adult literacy teacher in Somerville, Massachusetts. She loves looking closely at language, poems, and the natural world—with her class and on her own. Her poems have appeared in the Aurorean, Salamander, The Human Journal, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere.

April 2015

After Another Spring Snow

by Jenna Rindo


She waxes brave,

leaves the dry heated air

and shabby furniture

to trespass the farm fields.

Acres of stalk-pocked dirt

soothe her undiagnosed

craving to eat earth.

She clicks into narrow skis,

leans into the bloated sky,

pushes across still frozen pastel acres.


She searches for danger,

certain each box elder border

will reveal coyotes that yip and howl

through crescent moon nights.

But the coyotes stand her up.

They wait for the dark,

pre-dawn, pre-Darwin

to clear the barbed wire

then feast on the Shetland lambs

still rooting to let down April’s cruel milk.


Originally published in Verse Wisconsin

Jenna Rindo worked as a pediatric intensive care nurse in hospitals in Virginia, Florida, and Wisconsin and now teaches English to Hmong, Spanish, Kurdish, and Russian students.  Her poems have been published in Crab Orchard Review, Shenandoah, American Journal of Nursing, Calyx, Bellingham Review, and other journals.  She lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband and children, a small flock of Shetland Sheep, Rhode Island Red Hens, and other less domesticated creatures.