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Noon Edition

Fences

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Wendell Berry writes of sacred and desecrated places, something I’ve been interested in exploring thematically in my work.  That, and the ache of erasure.  Holding on and letting go.  BLR

Beth Lodge-Rigal is the Creative Director of Women Writing for (a) Change/The Writing for a Change Foundation of Bloomington. For 16 years, she’s been dedicated to building safe and courageous spaces for women, girls, and all individuals to create and connect through the art of writing and deep listening.

She’s an award- winning songwriter, a life-long writer, learner, social entrepreneur, Mother, Partner, and Leader.

Welcome to The Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Beth, what poems have you brought for us today?

 

Elegy for the Gregerson Barn

 

Water took the rafters

drop by drop, the wind

pressed from the west

curved the poplar beams

inch by  inch.

Swallows dipped and flew

in and out of broken

windows, foxes burrowed along

the breezeway, pounced

on the shadow ghosts

of Percy’s hogs, stirred

up dung dust, mouldering

grains, slanted loft light.

 

Braced to last, chisel

and broadaxe-built, post

by long summer beam

the day they ripped away her

faded white- dressed wood

she stood strong in skeletal

glory, backlit by a sunset

to rival any Victor Fleming

Technicolor masterpiece.

Defying field and sky, defying

men and their newfangled

machines she stood her proud

ground til under the stress of

crane and crowbar,

she stood no more.

 

Night falls on the empty

space that once held

her rustlings,

the breathing of boys

in the bays.  Night falls

on the song of the old

wagon driver, the lowing

cow, the settling quiet.

Come morning, we’ll

find a rusted hinge on

the scraped earth, walk

what’s left of the perimeter

scar, pour tea in corners

and  pray forgiveness for

our abandonments,

sanctify this ground

with remembrance

and awe.

 

Fences

 

We aren’t native to this land.
 It’s time to plant what is. It’s time to go home.

from “Poem for a Daughter” by Lynn Melnick

 

They weren’t native to this land.

Their footsteps trod unfamiliar ground,

 

disappeared behind them into

the flat nowhere way back when.

 

Time came to plant, they planted what was,

built poor man’s fences horse high,

 

bull strong, hog tight

Osage orange.  Strange shrubbery,

 

it prickled their sleeves splintered hooves

no machete could cut

 

no match would burn -so

there you have it:

 

miles and miles of hedge apple

fences left to us - squirrel mash

 

prairie fruit be-dashed.

 

Come October I feel a pull to ancestral fields, 

thorny edge along

 

the 20 acre woods, and remember

my grandmother’s 1928 Botony thesis:

 

Maclura Pomifera.

Those wrinkled balls

 

brain-like but dumb-

and picture her young again,

 

seated on a felled log

a ray of sunlight warming

 

the inedible fruit in her hand

releasing its citrus scent, as she sketches

 

what she sees until the light fades.

 

A supper bell rings,

 

calls her back

over the new split rail

 

where, tossing a mystery

to the ground,

 

the autumn fencerow

ornament rolls.

 

It parts the

yellow grass. 

 

You've beem listening to the poetry of Beth Lodge-Rigal on The Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey.

Osage orange (hedge apple).

Osage orange (hedge apple). (Steven Severinghaus, Flickr)

Wendell Berry writes of sacred and desecrated places, something I’ve been interested in exploring thematically in my work.  That, and the ache of erasure.  Holding on and letting go.
- Beth Lodge-Rigal

Beth Lodge-Rigal is the Creative Director of Women Writing for (a) Change/The Writing for a Change Foundation of Bloomington. For 16 years, she’s been dedicated to building safe and courageous spaces for women, girls, and all individuals to create and connect through the art of writing and deep listening.

She’s an award- winning songwriter, a life-long writer, learner, social entrepreneur, Mother, Partner, and Leader.

Beth reads "Elegy for the Gregerson Barn" and "Fences" on the is edition of The Poets Weave.

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