I am presently at the Vermont home of the poet F.D. Reeve who late last evening sat up and read his poems aloud. I am here with my friend Ralph Savarese who is a poet and nonfiction writer and disability studies scholar. Franklin Reeve’s house sits on a gentle hill and from his front windows one can view Haystack Mountain in the south west. What a thing, to be among poets and writers in a house that overlooks matchless mountains. It is a pleasure to be here for many reasons. Franklin is married to the writer Laura Stevenson whose essay on living and communicating with a cochlear implant is one of the grace notes of the latest issue of Seneca Review. The delicate and lovely pleasures of hearing poems, talking about literature, and yes, discussing the lyric life of our bodies–all these offer the sustained and optimistic correspondences between our lives and our hopes. All today in sight of a mountain.
Here is a poem by F.D. Reeve:
A New House in April
In late afternoon light the hemlocks shine like old silver;
a woodpecker drills its tattoos on a dyng ash;
my father walks ahead in the woods by the river
where the marbled water rolls off the mountain’s back.
A warm wind softens the past, like the snow,
making him lighter, quicker, to every taker the giver
explaining, “ One must possess one’s ignorance
like knowledge.” He sweeps like a hawk along the river.
I shout to him through the speckled air, “Wait!
When you came to the end of your life, did you measure
from failure down or up from success?”
Silence. The wind in the hemlocks. A kingfisher’s cry.