January 2019

Happy New Year!

Old Frog Pond Farm & Studio is hosting its first poetry series this season with readings in January, February, and March as follows:

Heather Corbally Bryant and Lynne Viti:  Sunday, January 20 at 3 p.m.

Terry House and Susan Edwards Richmond, Sunday, February 10 at 3 p.m.

Moira Linehan and Mary Pinard, Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m.

As an introduction, the next three Poem of the Month postings will feature work from these poets!  If you live near the farm, we hope you can make it to one or more of these readings.

Holly Bushes

            by Heather Corbally Bryant

Holly hedges bloom with pinpricks

Of vermilion, sticky branches

Wind their way, needing to be

Tamed—a row of blue spruces

Grown tall, below yet more

Trees, pear I think, still full

With copper leaves bearing

The shape of their fruit—


Morning mist thickens,

Descending into the valley,

The edges of our terrain wedged

Into a hilly crevice, part of

The Appalachian chain,

Sharp rocks rising out of soil

Where I begin again.

Heather Corbally Bryant teaches in the Writing Program at Wellesley College.  She received her A.B. from Harvard and her PhD from the University of Michigan. She has given poetry readings at many universities and bookstores in the United States and also in Ireland. She is the author of Elizabeth Bowen: How Will the Heart Endure, You Can’t Wrap Fire in Paper and the following poetry collections: Cheap Grace, Lottery Ticket, Compass Rose, My Wedding Dress, Thunderstorm, and Eve’s Lament. James Joyce’s Water Closet won honorable mention in The Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Competition in 2017. Two of her poems were nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize, and Thunderstorm was nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award.


 Deep Midwinter After-Party

                        by Lynne Viti


Empty kitchen. Morning of snow. Small birds
make quick round trips from bush to feeder.
Hardly a sign of the knot of guests who last night
stood by the French doors, beers in hand
or gathered at the table of empty plates,
glasses half full of wine.

Traces of crackers and salsa marinate
with vegetable peels in the compost tub.
We used to be busy with kids and pets,
used to be the ones driving south for winter,
getting home to pay the babysitter,
wondering if we’d ever make up lost sleep.

I saw you lean back in the yellow armchair
listening to the thirty year olds
talk about work, their children, the news.
It made me wonder at how time
had moved up so fast on us, how
we ignored it as long as we could.

We’re old, admit it, I tell myself, don’t have time
for twenty to forty years of reforming the country,
the world—we barely have time
to read the books we want to, plant the gardens,
see the fifty states, see refugees welcomed,
resettled, find a glimmer of a hint of a possibility
of peace on the planet, this home to our
benighted race, drowning in stuff or in our confusion.

Let the younger people take the reins. I’m
straggling at the back of the crowd as it pulses down
Independence Avenue. You might glimpse me there,
like the gray panthers I used to see on the picket lines
–when I was young and fecund—
time biting at their aching heels.

Originally published in Porcupine, Lost Sparrow Press, Fall 2017.

Lynne Viti is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Baltimore Girls (2017) and The Glamorganshire Bible (2018). Her poetry and fiction has appeared in more than one hundred online and print venues, most recently, Constellations, Muses Gallery, Highland Park Poetry, Gargoyle (forthcoming), and Bay to Ocean: The Year’s Best from the Eastern Shore Writers Association. She has received Mass Center for the Book nominations for both of her chapbooks and has recently been nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize. A faculty emerita at Wellesley College, she blogs at stillinschool.wordpress.com.





December 2018

Before the Ash

by David Giannini


Dip a sliver of bone or wood

into wet ochre-based compound

and you will be on your way

back 100,000 years

to wall-painting in Africa

where you make no more

splash than spit in a cave

among groping fingers of flame.

Go ahead, go




come forward again, mere

man among trees, 2018.  It is early

and late in human history

with original African genes

in you bending at the woodpile,

split logs with their grain

cells drying fast,

shrinking as you shrink,

toward ash.


“Before the Ash” appears in David Giannini’s forthcoming collection, In A Moment We May Be Strangely Blended (Dos Madres Press, 2019).

David Giannini’s poetry collections include Traveling Cluster (Feral Press); Four Plus Four (Country Valley Press); Porous Borders (Spuyten Duyvil Press); AZ TWO (Adastra Press), a “Featured Book” in the 2009 Massachusetts Poetry Festival; and Faces Somewhere Wild (Dos Madres Press). His book, The Future Only Rattles When You Pick It Up, was published by Dos Madres Press in 2018. His work has appeared in international magazines and anthologies. He lives in Becket, MA.

November 2018


          by Eamon Grennan


Soon enough, of course, the eyes adjust to this huge absence in which

Trees begin wintering, their coloured draperies given over, leaving


Naked shapes, ramifications, a reminder of what’s at the heart: a going

Away, the brilliant vertiginous vocabulary of leaves, of being-in-leaf,

Stripped down to sheer unmitigated syntax, this sense that what begins


In anchorage and rooted thickness will taper till the endmost twigs are only

Hair-wavers wincing in air, tiny cleavers of light, solid shadow-nothings

Of live wood reaching out the way wiry white tendrils of roots go groping

Down in the dark. Now


                             emptiness is all, and you may read what this late

Radiance has left in its wake: signs—stark silent—saying what’s what.


            Reprinted with permission from The Quick of It, Graywolf Press, 2005.


Eamon Grennan taught for many years in the English Department of Vassar College.  His poems are published in America by Graywolf Press, and in Ireland by Gallery Press. His most recent volume is There Now (2015). For the past ten years he has also written and directed short plays for voices on Irish subjects for Curlew Theatre Company in Connemara.  He lives in Poughkeepsie and the West of Ireland.


October 2018

Watching Light in the Field

          by Patricia Fargnoli


It may be part water, part animal—

the light—the long flowing whole

of it, river-like, almost feline,

shedding night, moving silent

and inscrutable into the early morning,

drifting into the low fields,

gathering fullness, attaching itself

to thistle and sweetgrass,

the towering border trees,

inheriting their green wealth—

blooming as if this

were the only rightful occupation,

rising beyond itself, stretching out

to inhabit the whole landscape.

I think of illuminations, erasures,

how light informs us, is enough

to guide us. How too much

can cause blindness. I think of memory—

what is lost to us, what we desire.

By noon, nothing is exact,

everything diffused in the glare.

What cannot be seen intensifies:

rivulet of sweat across the cheekbone,

earthworm odor of soil and growing.

The field sways with confusion

of bird calls, mewlings,

soft indecipherable mumblings.

But in the late afternoon, each stalk

and blade stands out so sharp and clear

I begin to know my place among them.

By sunset as it leaves—

gold-dusting the meadow-rue and hoary alyssum,

hauling its bronze cloak across the fences,

vaulting the triple-circumference

of hills—I am no longer lonely.


"Watching Light in the Field" from Hallowed: New & Selected Poems, published by Tupelo Press, copyright 2017 Patricia Fargnoli. Used with permission.

Patricia Fargnoli, former New Hampshire Poet Laureate (2006-2009), is the author of five published books of poems which have won numerous awards, including the May Swenson Poetry Prize and the Jane Kenyon Award. She is a retired social worker and lives in Walpole, New Hampshire.  

September 2018

Trail of Song

            by Dawn Paul


A veery unravels his glissade of song

from the top of a tall oak along this trail

and I am reminded of the deep forest

at Saguenay in Quebec,

filled at dusk with veery song

every night we tented there.

As the light faded, one bird would

call a few tentative notes,

then others would join in

like an orchestra tuning up in the trees.

Soon melodies poured through the air,

thrush songs like crystal

chandeliers in the wind.

One bird now, yet I hear them all,

decades ago, hundreds of miles north

on the St. Lawrence River.


I was caught in this moment while walking the trail that runs past the bell.

Dawn Paul is the author of two novels, The Country of Loneliness and Still River. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in anthologies, journals, and magazines. She is also a frequent performer on the Improbable Places Poetry Tour and has received writing residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Ragdale, the Spring Creek Project, and Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories. She teaches writing and interdisciplinary arts at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Included with Dawn’s poem is the note she wrote for Old Frog Pond Farm’s 2018 Plein Air Poetry Walk and chapbook, Paths, Tracks, Trails.

Please mark your calendars for this year’s Plein Air Poetry Walk on Sunday, September 16 at 2 p.m. at the farm. Twenty-seven regional poets, including Dawn and several other poets who have been featured in this blog, will read new site-specific work on the theme of Paths, Tracks, and Trails. The Poetry Walk is free and open to the public. Chapbooks of the poems will also be available for purchase at the event. Hope to see you there! 


August 2018

The Last Mile

          by Martha Carlson Bradley


Not just south, but down

the boulder traveled, not just with


but through the melting glacier,


pollen, sand, the grist of smaller rocks

also adrift and sinking—


to land where, eons later,

ferns have learned to cluster


every spring, persistent—

and wilt back down come fall.


Barbed wire, rusted, skirts

the hulk of stone; the road


diverts around it,

like the tracks of deer—


while the boulder, half buried yet,


is flying—its shadow veering

at the speed of Earth.


Martha Carlson-Bradley has published several collections of poetry, including Begin with Trouble, which was a 2017 title in the Hobblebush Press Granite State Poetry Series; Sea Called Fruitfulness; and Season We Can't Resist. She also published three chapbooks with Adastra Press. Her poems have appeared in the LA Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Valparaiso Review, Zone 3, and other magazines. Her awards include the Baron Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society, an Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, a St. Botolph grant-in-aid, and the Gretchen Warren Award. She earned a PhD in English from the UNC–Chapel Hill and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. A grant writer at Strawbery Banke Museum, she is currently writing a novel.

July 2018

The Keepers

          by Kirk Westphal


Reverent hands select boards

that will hold the books,

Poplar, neither hard nor soft – 

the durability of words

and malleability of intentions

embossed with clear grain of a Vermont river,

shadowed with alluring verdant hues

exposed to light

after years of quiet preparation 

in the lexicology of trees.

These boards might have become paper

but do not choose their resurrection

nor measure one against another.

Ink on paper smells as new and old

as a fresh saw cut –

no knots in finely crafted lines.


Kirk Westphal is a water resource consultant, amateur carpenter, coach, author, and songwriter. The poem, "The Keepers," is excerpted from his first published collection of poetry, Bodies of Wood and Water (Kelsay Books/Aldrich Press, 2018). He is also the author of No Ordinary Game (DownEast Books, 2015), a collection of stories about great moments in sports that happen to everyday people. He lives in Stow, MA and is currently putting the finishing touches on a timber frame cabin in the Berkshire foothills, which is sure to become his favorite place to write in the years ahead.


Kirk will be reading from Bodies of Wood and Water at the Silver Unicorn Bookstore’s first poetry night on Wednesday, July 18 at 6 p.m., 12 Spruce Street, Acton, MA. Joining Kirk will be Helen Marie Casey, Christopher Clark, and Susan Edwards Richmond. Please come, hear some great poetry, and check out this beautiful new bookstore in West Acton.

June 2018


            by Jeanne LeBaron Sawyer


‟marsh marigolds”

                             she notes

as we round the corner by the brook

and in my head I hear a timeless chorus

my mother’s voice and mine joining hers


‟skunk cabbage!”

                            as we compile

the catalog of spring


Jeanne LeBaron Sawyer, librarian and dedicated amateur naturalist, wrote this poem in about 1985. Like almost all her poems it had never been published until the past decade, when Jeanne worked with her daughter, poet and editor Polly Brown, and with book designer Sarah Bennett, to produce a first book. Evolution: Poems Across Seven Decades was released by Heron Pond Press in 2017. Jeanne died in May 2018, at 90, leaving many memories of shared ‟bog joy,” as her grandchildren referred to it, and these poems.


May 2018

This month’s poem was selected by Polly Brown.


Beltane—May 1

       by Deborah Melone


Today is Beltane

Wear yellow flowers

Walk your cows between

The two bonfires


Leap over the flame

Garland the cattle

Leave the spirits oatcake

Drink the winy caudle


Dance round the maypole

Decked with shells today

Honor the union

Of Lord and Lady May


Strew primrose and hawthorn

At windows and doors

From the Beltane fires

Rekindle yours


Deborah Melone lives in Watertown, Massachusetts. For many years a writer and editor at a scientific consulting company, she now teaches English as a Second Language to adult students at the Watertown Public Library. She has been a member of the poetry collective Every Other Thursday since 1983, and has published in a number of magazines and journals. She has published the poetry collection Farmers’ Market and two chapbooks, Walking the Air and The Wheel of the Year.


April 2018

Near the Connecticut

            by Polly Brown


Four of us travelling in one canoe—

two small enough to fit between


the paddlers—down the Connecticut,

New England’s watery spine.


We sat on a ledge in sunshine;

then, needing to pee, I climbed


to a small wood. Sun-dappled shade,

blue chinks of sky, nameless


sparrows dipping in, weaving through:

no remembered detail explains


why in that moment I woke

to our life in paradise. Which means


it could happen

almost anywhere again.


Polly Brown has organized outdoor poetry events on her hillside in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, has written about war and peace at the Joiner Institute at UMass Boston, and will lead a workshop focused on two poems by Stanley Kunitz at the 2018 Massachusetts Poetry Festival. Pebble Leaf Feather Knife, her new book of poems, will be released by Cherry Grove in 2019. The two children in this poem are now busy rearing another generation of canoeists and kayakers.





March 2018

This month’s offering is selected by Terry House, President of the Robert Creeley Foundation. Join us for Mark Doty's reading at the 2018 Creeley Foundation's annual event. Details below.  

Heaven for Stanley

          by Mark Doty

For his birthday, I gave Stanley a hyacinth bean,
an annual, so he wouldn’t have to wait for the flowers.
He said, Mark, I have just the place for it!
as if he’d spent ninety-eight years
anticipating the arrival of this particular vine.
I thought poetry a brace against time,
the hours held up for study in a voice’s cool saline,
but his allegiance is not to permanent forms.
His garden’s all furious change,
budding and rot and then the coming up again;
why prefer any single part of the round?
I don’t know that he’d change a word of it;
I think he could be forever pleased
to participate in motion. Something opens.
He writes it down. Heaven steadies
and concentrates near the lavender. He’s already there.

—Copyright 2005 by Mark Doty

Mark Doty is the Winner of the Eighteenth Annual Robert Creeley Award. He will be presented with the award and give a free public reading on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, at 7:30 in the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School auditorium.  Hope to see you there!

Mark Doty is the author of nine books of poetry, including Deep Lane (April 2015), Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, which won the 2008 National Book Award, and My Alexandria, for which he was the first American to receive Great Britain's T.S. Eliot Prize. He is also the author of three memoirs: the New York Times-bestselling Dog Years, Firebird, and Heaven's Coast, as well as a book about craft and criticism, The Art of Description: World Into Word. Doty has received two NEA fellowships, Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, a Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Award, and the Witter Byner Prize.

February 2018

Poem of the Month selections can now also be accessed through my website at www.susanedwardsrichmond.com.


The Orchard in Winter

     by Terry House


Storm's end quickens;

Still, wizened apples cling;

Barred owl glides

Silent as the last, slow flakes -


In their kitchen

The farmers scan

Nursery lists,

Plotting spring.


Terry House is a poet and educator living in Acton. She currently serves as President of the Robert Creeley Foundation.