Sighting the Mountain

Franklin Reeve  Haystack Mountain from F.D. Reeves' House IMG_1380 Haystack Mountain from F.D. Reeves' House Number Two


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.


0 thoughts on “Sighting the Mountain

  1. It is very well and good to wax poetic about the lyric lives of bodies in a cozy home among friends atop a gentle, rural hill in Vermont towards the end of a long Memorial Day weekend at the beginning of a golden Summer, to reflect on a freshly published work whose sheer elegance belies the effort of the writing act, to extol on the “Greek idea that suffering is
    a metaphorical road to greater wisdom”.
    Call me blasphemous; I just can’t get into this whole suffering business. At age 13, I saw two ways to go. The neighbor child with the cornsilk blond hair and blue eyes could live his fifth and final year in progressively greater, unfathomable misery from an untreatable brain tumor and terrifying trips to medical specialists, or, tuck him into bed one lovely evening, read him his favorite bedtime story as he sipped a bubbly glass of chocolate milk, and kiss him sweetly on the temple as he passed peacefully into eternal rest. Of course, OF COURSE, the former choice was absolutely the only way imaginable. And were we all the wiser for it? I think not. The word that springs to my mind is the one that I just picked up at the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade website: Stupidiotic.


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