bye bye battenkill

It’s that time of year
When bright October
Gives way to gray November.
When the last of summer’s sun
Fades into winter’s grip.

I feel the river’s pull —
The last fish caught,
The trees’ bright leaves
Reflecting on the water.
A continuum, of shapes and colors
From bank to water to bottom and back up.
The surface by some miracle intact.

There will always be October
On the Battenkill.

October 21, 2017

On Living

(My friend Lois Holzman posted these lines from the Turkish poet and activist Nazim Hikmet on Facebook)

Living is no laughing matter:

you must live with great seriousness

like a squirrel, for example—

I mean without looking for something beyond and above […]


49 years since the Tet offensive

And the murders of King and Kennedy.


The Ken Burns documentary

Reopens old wounds.

For anti-war activists, veterans

And the many who became both


The conflict was brutal and absurd.

How could our “leaders” so mislead?

Dishonestly seeking political and moral cover

While sending 57,000 American boys to die.

Killing hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese.

For what?


I’ve been to Vietnam.

Not then, but a few years ago.


I had to see first-hand people

Who defied the calculation that the infliction of pain

From airplanes and helicopters

Will bring surrender.


On camera they express a quiet pride in their victory,

Pain at their fallen comrades and ravaged land.

Some sympathy for the American boys who died.

And an acceptance that does not diminish

Their embrace of what they accomplished

October, 2017