Vacation’s End

We’ve spent this week in central Vermont, enjoying early August days in a rustic cabin near a mountain edged lake. Days are spent reading and hiking, and swimming and reading. My husband and son both set upon reading Donald Hall’s intriguing collection of memoirs and essays called String Too Short to be Saved. Watching them enjoy the book reminded me of some of Hall’s other works, notably his poem “White Apples.”
(Listen to Donald Hall read his poem, below)

White Apples
by Donald Hall

when my father had been dead a week
I woke
with his voice in my ear
I sat up in bed

and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door

white apples and the taste of stone

if he called again
I would put on my coat and galoshes

White Apples

I remember listening to the radio a few years back, when Donald Hall was named that year’s Poet Laureate. He spoke specifically about this poem, and talked about his decisions on words he chose, taking into consideration the long and short vowel sounds and paying close attention to the sounds of the words. It was powerful stuff, and made a great impression.

I am teaching third grade this year, and while I don’t think we will take on “White Apples” I am certainly going to introduce my students to Donald Hall through his wonderful children’s book, Oxcart Man. Donald Hall is a national treasure, and I want my students to know who he is.

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Sitting on my porch on a summer’s eve ….

Long summer days turn into late evening dinners and we sit on our back porch until it gets dark. We enjoy listening to the rustling in the bushes as the occasional possum makes its way through our yard. I was leafing through Knock at a Star and came across this poem by Deborah Chandra. It made me think about us, sitting on our back porch….

Porch Light

At night
the porch light
catches moths
and holds them,
trapped
and
flapping,
in a tight
yellow fist.
Only when I
turn the switch
will it loosen
its hot
grip.

Deborah Chandra

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