Meeting on Saturday

 

The next meeting of the North Shore Poets’ Forum is Saturday, March 21, 11 a.m. to 1ish, at the Beverly Public Library, Program Room. It is the first full day of Spring, the Vernal Equinox having officially begun the evening of March 20. So, with any luck but bad, it should be a lovely day.

The program will be led by Jeanette Maes, who will pay tribute to two poets who died recently: Philip Levine and Rod McKuen.

Save the Date

Although we did not have the annual Naomi Cherkofsky contest, we will still have a poetry reading on April 18 with an Open Mic. Please invite your poet friends to join us in our celebration of National Poetry Month.

To get you in a poetic frame of mind, here’s a little number from Seamus Heaney, who also died recently and whose birthplace, Ireland, and its patron saint, St. Patrick, are brought to mind this time of year:

Digging

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound.
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.
The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

 

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