April is Poetry Month

The Sugar Makers Song--learn it, spread it, sing it!
The Sugar Makers Song–learn it, spread it, sing it!

Recently, I had the opportunity to read some of my poetry at The Black Krim in Randolph along with a group of other farmer-poets.  So amazing and humbling to hear how other people see some of the things that I see and write about, and how they choose to express it.  Some of the poets clearly write words to be performed aloud (slam!) and some feel perfect to be part of a tea-and-comfy-chair-on-a-rainy-afternoon experience.  Some of my co-poets are nationally recognized and published (in this week’s New Yorker–gasp!), some are musicians (now we know the Vermont Sugar Makers Song, a nearly-lost archived song from the 1930s, which we all sang together), one was recently feted in Seven Days for being a farmer poet for hire.  Backing up the whole experience was the lovely Krim, which was full to bursting with smiling faces enjoying dinner, a cocktail and the ability to support us.

Because I do my best work at the very last minute (I try not to let it be that way, but there it is), I wrote two poems on the day of the reading.  I rewrote some bits from several earlier poems, too.  I don’t know if other people write and rewrite their poems, but I sure do.  No “one and done” for me.  That said, I also tried working away at a poem I’ve been developing for two weeks about a ewe I had to euthanize and it just wasn’t coming together.  Maybe that will become a prose story for another time.

To finish out Poetry Month, I’m going to share some of the poems written for this year–Enjoy!



"Waiting" was written about 720, who gave birth to twins less than 24 hours later. So timely.
“Waiting” was written about 720, who gave birth to twins less than 24 hours later. So timely.



Thousand-mile stare

She shifts from hoof to hoof,

Audibly creaking,

Eruptively she groans

Settling her bulk

In a shallow trench

Dug by toes and impatience.


Her belly’s mysterious contents feel like

Christmas, Birthday, Halloween, presents

Entwined together with legs and tails

Prepared to suck and leap and doze in piles of

Newborn fur and milk drunkenness.



She stands

She leans

She stares

She ruminates

She waddles

I scratch her chin

Her pregnant pause.


JJC 4/11/16

Updated 4/17/16

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