December 2014

Winter Squash

          by Charles W. Pratt


In bare December, the spirit seeks out matter.

You turn from the window and go down to the cellar,

Past braids of onions hanging from the rafters,

Sacks of potatoes and carrots, boxes of apples,

To stroke the hard smooth skin of the winter squashes,

Tawny butternut and ribbed green acorn,

Row after row on shelves, like words in Webster’s,

Waiting. You pick one up. Sun on your shoulder

Weighs as you stoop to plant, to weed, to water.

Cool and dark, you stand in the buried cellar

Forming your sentence, then climb back up to winter.



From From the Box Marked Some Are Missing by Charles Pratt, Volume I of the Hobblebush Granite State Poetry Series, Hobblebush Books. Book available at 



Charles W. Pratt taught English for more than 25 years, mostly at Phillips Exeter Academy, before he and his wife Joan bought a small apple orchard in Brentwood, New Hampshire, and became apple-growers. In addition to From the Box Marked Some Are Missing, he has two previous collections: In the Orchard and Still Here.


November 2014

Bright White Shine Across Water

          by Susan Edwards Richmond


Bobbles like buoys, my senses cry

bufflehead first,

as I walk to the point

the ragged shapes of bare limbs embrace,

my vision a peephole through woven screen.


Binoculars raised I see the unmistakable

dark bordered accordion crests

radiate from yellow eyes—

breasts from the side, inked

lines beside chestnut stripe:


drake mergansers and a hen,

then another rising on her webs,

shaking out buff headdress, wings. 

Four turn into eight, a magic

trick of doubling, until a ninth


tips the gender scale, female.

Alabaster and obsidian, tawny

and dun, chug and swerve, submerge.

A zephyr smacks the surface, wiper blade

swipes clean across glass.


Deep down in the damp reeds,

a quiet peep begins, then climbs

twig by tendril by needle of pine   

into the open waning light, song

sparrow emptied of its summer song.


Everything is still and straining

to be touched by late

late November sun, as the ducks

twirl and turn on their reflections

whether to stay or go.


Up the hill, another loose flock

spills from a truck, motor blowers in hand,

rounding up the year’s debris,

as if it had to be cleared—

as if it could—for the winter to come.

October 2014

The Final Taste

          by Barry Sternlieb


With bow season almost here,

two whitetail does become moonlight

searching for apples. Down near

the burly old trees they browse like


sisters, or mother and daughter. Quietly

I step out on the porch to get

a better look. Frost arches an ivory

back along midnight. My breath,


given body, tells me I’m destined

for the greatness of fallen apples

going bad on the lawn, this second

discovered by sudden muzzles,


crushed and swallowed, the final taste

of earth putting everything in its place.


Barry Sternlieb’s work has appeared in Poetry, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review.  The recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, his collection Winter Crows won the 2008 Codhill Press poetry award. He is the editor of Mad River Press specializing in letterpress broadsides and chapbooks.


September 2014


          by Joanne DeSimone Reynolds                                                       



She of the troposphere.

Of ash-tipped cirrus-wings

pinning all that is current.


She of her own sun.

Attendant as any bridesmaid

who fluffs the gown.


Death as much her rapture

as love. The mischief

of her rapture.



Reliquary of her own ivory

caging an egg of myrrh.


Envy her billiard-eye.

Her closed-beak prophesies 



scribbling a clean field.

She, too, of the ancient



lone confinement.

Her talents root prey

more succinctly


even as it mouth-squirms.

Swift of terra firma

she is ambition itself.



The story I read on the website about the red-tailed hawk capturing one of the farm’s chickens, prompted this poem. There are some beautiful, if graphic, photographs of the kill on the website, as well.


Joanne DeSimone Reynolds lives in Scituate, Massachusetts. Her book of poems Comes a Blossom was published by Main Street Rag in 2014.

August 2014

The Oxbow of the Connecticut

            by David Davis



The water lies in a loop curling back

upon itself so that the small figure

in the canoe can almost touch

the surface he will be gliding on

ten minutes from now, the way

time rises up in sinuous loops

over the scene, turning back toward itself—

I’ll be here three months from now

and that moment seems nearer than the bends of life

I will navigate to reach it,

and the events after that

will flow in this direction,

to the way we go out and come back,

a little bit farther,

and a little bit changed.



David Davis is a member of the Powow River Poets in Newburyport, is Poet-in-Residence at Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Joppa Flats center, and is currently editing an anthology of en plein air poetry.  His book of poems Crossing Streams on Rocks was published in 2013.


July 2014


          by Ann Taylor


There’s nothing going on here

this overheated July afternoon –

no redtail, no snapper, no coyote,

no wind roughing into whitecaps,

no blizzard whitewashing the mountain,  

nor wobbly ducklings, goslings, cygnets.


Nothing but stands of Queen Anne’s Lace,

Purple Loosestrife, Yellow Butter and Eggs,

Cat o’ Nine Tails, new in lush brown.

Nothing but the silhouette of a Black Lab

poised like a figurehead on the prow

of a fisherman’s rowboat.


I follow the flight of one Herring Gull

across the one cloud,

itself dissolving into the hazy blue.

For the almost-children’s-picture-book

Monarch and a Honeybee competing

for a single nectarous blossom, I pause.


The evergreen trail home

is dusty, rusty green where

a red-eyed Cooper’s Hawk calls,

settles just above my head.

Back to me, he ruffles smooth shades

of slate gray layered in a subtle cascade.



“Pondwalk” also appeared in the summer 2014 issue of The Avocet: A  

Journal of Nature Poetry



Ann Taylor is a Professor of English at Salem State University in Salem, MA, where she teaches writing and literature courses. She has written two books on college composition, academic and free-lance essays, and a collection of personal essays, Watching Birds: Reflections on the Wing (Ragged Mountain/McGraw Hill). Her first poetry book, The River Within, won first prize in the 2011 Cathlamet Poetry competition at Ravenna Press, and her chapbook, Bound Each to Each, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2013.  


June 2014

Tim Dickey’s Nails 

by Marian Brown St. Onge


Marian Brown St. Onge retired seven years ago from her position as founding Director of the Center for International Partnerships and Programs at Boston College, where she also taught French and directed BC’s Women’s Studies Program. Her publications include more than twenty poems and several articles on women writers, cultural issues and topics in international education. Beyond her poetry, St. Onge is working on a biography of a World War II French Resistance fighter for which she received a Norman Mailer Fellowship award in 2009.

May 2014

Agnus Castus

          by  Cammy Thomas


Agnus castus, “chaste lamb,” long-limbed shrub

in my neighbor's yard.  Known from antiquity, it lifts

its purple spears to the hummingbirds.  The ocean

is not far, the air buzzing and salty, bees

from the hive up the hill buried in every bloom. 


Chaste lamb, Abraham's balm, monk's pepper

from the Mediterranean, it visits this colder climate

to shake our frozen muscles and remind us

to stay pure.  The bees may milk it, flavor their

honey with it, but for us, it's always upright.


Its leaves like hands, five on a bract,

a perfect, neutral green, a color-wheel

green, calm and plain.  They shift in the wind

as the bees come off and resettle.  The trunk

is slender and lit by low sun. 

Could I grow this pure, this straight,

this beautifully colored, so effortlessly--

just the sun and there I would be, reaching

without striving, watered by a benevolent

spirit who can appear and disappear

while I remain rooted, extending

upward yearly from my fertile bed.



Cammy Thomas’ first book of poems, Cathedral of Wish, received the 2006 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her second book, Inscriptions, will be out in October, 2014. Both are published by Four Way Books. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Appalachia, Bateau, The Classical Outlook, The Healing Muse, and Ibbetson Street Press #30. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, and teaches English at Concord Academy.  

April 2014

Picking Up Pinecones

          by  Mary Ruefle


I light a few candles, so

the moon is no longer alone.

My secret heart wakes

inside its draped cage

and cracks a song.

After a life of imagining,

I notice the ceiling.

It is painted blue

with a border of pinecones.

I’ve spent my life in a forest.

Picking up new things,

will it never end?


 from Trances of the Blast, published by Wave Books, 2013


Old Frog Pond Farm & Studio is sponsoring a free public reading by Mary Ruefle, as she receives the 14th annual Robert Creeley Award on Wednesday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m.  The reading is at the Dragonfly Theater, R.J. Grey Junior High, 16 Charter Road, Acton, MA. 

Mary Ruefle is the author of many books of poetry and prose, including Selected Poems; A Little White Shadow; and Madness, Rack, and Honey. She is the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Book Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Award.


March 2014

To the Constant Season

Lunenburg, 2012

by Zachary Bos


Frost on the marsh grass this morning,

    and a line of crows flying over.

Time for praising what fills the year

    with transitoriness: the cold,

the scarcity of food, changing

    in the angle of the sunlight;

for praising the iron cycles

    the birds read as Time to move on;

for praising what makes the singing


of the music of the woods of

    gladful songbird April nothing

like burnt October birdsong—like

    the hink-hawnk of the coughing geese

enlarging and diminishing


    as they come in vees and go, gone;

like the sound of the hawks leaving;

    like clouds of straw-crowned chaffinches

alighting on branchtips, melting


into the brushwork of the bush

    waiting hidden until duskfall

when they flock through the dark, going

    to some elsewhere where they’ll be new

for a few days or weeks, passing


    over or through, never staying,

never always here, always just

    missed. Till… nearly here again. When

the lilacs bud bright again and


the beautiful birds, thank it all,

    unmigrate, come back to unwatch

the constant burial of fall,

    cover the skytop nakedness

with their numbers in returning.



Zachary Bos is a founder of Pen & Anvil Press, the publishing enterprise of the non-profit Boston Poetry Union. An alumnus of the graduate poetry program at Boston University, his poetry has appeared most recently in Bellevue Literary Review, Spare Change, Route 2, Oddball Magazine, and Found Magazine.

February 2014


          by bg Thurston


Her belly is silent with colic, her legs stiff with age.

A ragged mane, half white, half brown sticks out

over a shaggy face, grey hair feathering her cheeks.

Her past unknown, she could be from Chincoteague—

the pinto pony I wished for when I was seven.


We walk in frozen circles, exhaling thick plumes.

Each time I stop, her legs crumple, her small body

thuds down on its side. Shrill nickers of pain escape.

I pour more soda and ginger down her throat.

The vet comes, shakes his head, injects Banamine.


I expect her gone by morning, but she’s there,

waiting at the fence for feed and hay and attention.

Her whiskery lips move over corners of the bucket

steaming with molasses, sliced carrots, and bran mash.

She snuffs at my pockets, hoping for more.



Published in The Wolf Head Quarterly, Summer 1998  Volume 4 -- Issue 3

The term “colic weather” refers to drastic temperature changes which can sicken horses.


After a career in high-tech, bg Thurston now lives on a farm in Warwick, Massachusetts. Her first book, Saving the Lamb, by Finishing Line Press was a Massachusetts Book Awards highly recommended reading choice in 2008. Her second book, Nightwalking, was released in 2011 by Haleys. Currently, she is writing the history of the 1780’s farmhouse she lives in. She teaches poetry workshops year-round, except in March when she is busy with lambing season.



January 2014

For Lola    

            by Lila Linda Terry


The orchard is asleep.

All the sweetness of the berries

driven deep in the ground

is alive in the frozen roots.

The warm juices are brewing even now

in deepest winter

under a cloak of white.


The farmer rests.

She can sleep in the morning

and doesn't watch the sky,

the soil, the pickers.


A frost does not matter.

She may allow herself a nap,

a crossword puzzle,

to read the pruning book. 

She sits.


The world is white.

The night is deep.

Quiet presides.

Rest begets earnest labors.

The deepness of winter,

the crystalline icy night sky

will bring forth  

summer’s rich sweetness.


Lila Linda Terry lives in Cambridge where she maintains a private practice in the healing arts. She is a certified Sage-ing leader and facilitates wisdom circles, groups which focus on cultivating wisdom from life experience. She grows a medicinal plant called the Light Root at Old Frog Pond Farm. She writes, "My hands are always busy...writing, healing, growing... This poem was written to honor a friend in the depth of New England winter."