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From the High

Hills to the Bay

Walt Franklin

From the book:


Set aside

Books and camera.

Enter pine and

Maple woods

Where meadow eases

Into autumn’s fire-leaf

And birdwing canopy.

There’s a wildness

In the robin,

A divinity

Where no one stands

To taste wild apple

Or to hear

The distant chainsaw’s

Growl. Each entry beckons

Under changing sky.

Set aside

Books and camera.

Know how thorns

Progress to pine, how

Words and photographs

Revert to sources

Like the leaves

To an upland’s healing.

From the High Hills to the Bay

We’re awakened in a late March dawn

By the phoebe flown in from the South,

Rasping from walnut boughs above the shed.

Phoebes, feathered spirits of the place,

Have nested here even in the empty

Interim years between former inhabitants

And our own arrival years ago.

Already they’ve begun to reconstruct the

Fraying nest still glued beneath the eaves.

They teach us how to live here, how to know

A place as they might know it homing in blood

Through a northward passage in cold night.

Although each autumn’s silence wings them south,

Phoebes hold to knowledge of return.

Later this day, pussy willows bloom

Soft silver on the blue. Coltsfoot blaze

Suddenly from shale banks, roadside rills.

A great blue heron circles high above my

Neighbor’s woods to greet the aging rookery.

A first bluebird sheds its symbol, calling.

All of banked life flowers with new vision.

The familiar rushing creek is sculptor

Of a hollow in the upper nerve-ends

Of the Susquehanna watershed.

Its source is on the ridge dividing it

From another major river system.

We acknowledge it: our house whose rooms are

River valleys and whose walls are hills

Guiding streams into distant Chesapeake Bay.

The struggle: learning how to dwell here wisely.

Will the child who’s born to us develop

Arms for stewardship and love for place?

Our bodies age and drift from us like birds.

The land in all its vastness will absorb us

In its spell and leave us filled with silence.

From the high hills to the bay we’re flowing

On its providence, on dreams like clouds.

From the High Hills to the Bay

is a 72 page hand-stitched paperbook with spine - $16.00

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From the High Hills to the Bay




From the High Hills to the Bay