Section 2 [ Section 3 ] Section 4 [Section 5 ]
5 - Dedication -Click Here
7 Sue Holloway- A Cygnet’s Requiem
9 Kevin Carey- Drawn to Your Light
11 Claire Zoghb- By Numbers
12 Carol Leavitt Alteri- Selectman Casting Out Roots
13 June Frankland Baker- Variations on a Theme
14 Barry Ballard- The Perishing Weight
15 Frederick Bassett- Accidents
16 Jack Bedell- My Son Discovers the Draw of Water
17 Sherri Bedingfield- Devotion
18 Polly Brody -The Good Daughters
19 Bradley Buchanan- The Breakfast Dishes
20 Michael Carrino- Autumns Return to Maple Pavillion
20 Robin S. Chapman -Cougar Stories
22 Lois Lake Church- Did You Give Up Your Body
24 Robert Collins- Tree of Life
Connecticut River Review
is dedicated in loving memory to
Sue Ann Holloway
December 24, 1944 - April 10, 2007.
"I believe there's hope for the future, but we have to acknowledge the place of wonder and beauty that is our connection with the world."-Sue Holloway
Sue. A. Holloway, PhD, age 62, of Guilford, CT, died April 10, 2007 at the CT Hospice in Branford. She was born in South Bend, IN, December 24, 1944 to Donald and Ruth Ann Holloway.
She was the beloved mother of William Eron Gerard of Arlington, VA, Monica (Gifford) Manning of Muskegon, MI, and Noah (Dianah) Gerad of Rockford, MI. She was the cherished grandmother of Savannah and Sierrah Manning of Muskegon, MI. Her mother Ruth Holloway; brothers, Jack, Donald, Michael, and Patrick Holloway; and a host of nieces and nephews also survive her.
She received a Doctorate of Education from Michigan State University. She loved to teach, and most recently held a position at Xavier High School of Middletown, CT.
She was the former editor of the Connecticut River Review, the author of Swan in the Grail, and Artemis's Arrow (audiotape). Her many passions included: writing, photography, bird rescues, and nature advocacy. Sue touched many hearts with her sunny smile, and her encouraging words, and all who knew her will miss her.
A Cygnet's Requiem
on grass lush from rain
five cygnets paraded in a queue
beside the pond.
they balanced on tiny webbed feet
and walked tall, heads up,
stretching imaginary necks.
Only days old,
they skittered, playful, as if
tomorrow were theirs in a waggle
of a downy tail, a wave of a wisp-of-wing.
At mama's sweeping tail
they clustered; her long neck a guide.
High cheerful peeps sang, we're coming.
But a kayak
crossed their world, bringing chaos
and trumpeting alarm, scattering youngsters
in five directions, diving and disappearing.
Four found safety;
one remains only a painful memory in
elusive watery vortex of lurking snapper, dragging
delight from this bright world.
Saturniidae Lepidoptera Actias Luna:
Drawn to your light
For Sue Holloway
Yo pronuncio tu nombre / En las noches oscuras
Cuando vienen los astros / A beber en la luna…
- Si Mis Manos Pudieran Deshojar- Garcia Lorca
The gentle flutter-thump across his heart
had startled him with opposing globes of light:
Full moon and sinking sun, he stood between
two wings of day, when blood and nature’s breath
were even, moving through the hues of leaves
and limbs. One hand against the small of back,
the other on the elbow of a hoe,
he drew deep, felt his sweat run.
Perhaps it was these pheromones which called
her to his chest, perhaps the silver tag
he wore around his neck engraved, “Because
you are afraid to love, I am alone.”
This sudden slap-flap made him jump;
became a bug that beat above his shirt.
He screeched and swat. She fell beside his feet,
her limb-wings spread—landing flat, inert.
A butterfly he thought. But no…a moth!
(whose stillness stretched four inches ‘cross the ground.)
Her limbs were pale green with yellow stripes
which ran along the sides, a line maroon
across the front defined her silent span.
Each wing-limb held a spot, transparent eye,
encircled by concentric rings of gold
then blue. She stared at him and he at her.
Each bottom tip of wing seemed to dip
forever into long and narrow tails.
She was so stunning stunned, so beautiful!
He bent to get a closer look, afraid
to touch her fragile frame, he begged, “Oh God,
please don’t let her die.” Perhaps his breath,
perhaps his plea had made her stir then fly,
a gentle flutter-thump along the air.
He never knew her name until he sat
one night beside the crescent light of Sue.
After your second surgery
I didn't trust my memory,
programmed your numbers
into my cell phone
while you bounced
from ER to SICU
to “regular” room
to skilled nursing facility
to rehab —
even a disastrous 10-day stay at home —
then back to the ER.
As soon as I pressed ENTER
it was time to EDIT.
Here are your last numbers —
MOBILE: rehab number
WORK: nursing home
HOME became hospice.
I will not DELETE them —
now that numbers no longer
reach you —
still want only to SAVE you.
Selectmen Casting Out Roots
Along our sanctuary where Hammonasset runs,
Leyland Limited Liability Corporation invades,
and bears false testimony for mansion city,
Madison Landing, crowding out tidal river zone
that connects marshlands and roots.
Selectmen and associates bury
letters of protest and separate us from the shoreline
by a corridor of diesel 18 wheelers, hummers,
and triple trailer trucks.
One selectman says, birds
must accommodate to our life style.
Condos and urban apartments five stories high
block views, so we can not hear or see seaside
and sharp-tailed sparrows, piping plovers, blue
herons, bitterns, golden sandpipers, or king rails.
At Hammonasset, stars of wild flowers animate
wooded glen with trilliums in roundelay
bulldozers devour mulleins, milkweeds, thistles,
clover, Indian paintbrush, asters, wild carrots,
lady slippers, mayflowers, marsh marigolds, roots
struggling underground to grow unseen.
No haven for oak tree, beach plum, fluttering marsh
wren, moss weaver, cord grass, and cattail.
Hermit crabs in secluded homes
with pairs of startled eyes stick out of mud.
Painted turtles are helpless before backhoes.
I am the bloodroot bleeding where the oaks fall.
Variations on a Theme
What comes through the carpeted,
draped air of my room: rhapsody
played by Rachmaninoff,
recorded before I was born.
I lift the spruce cone I gathered
on the first walk after illness.
Arrangement of scales overlapping-
each curved open—suddenly
dropping a seed, with its papery
wing, into my hand.
Yesterday, on my walk, the red
setter, old and calm, rose
as my host when I approached
his yard. Tail pushing
through the air, slow current,
he padded to me, reached out
with his nose, his soft ears,
to learn what I had brought him.
The Perishing Weight
Sometimes the mind spreads a geometric
web over our windows, dividing the sky,
the battered earth, and our arriving life
into shapes we can manage. And when each
fear is tapped and vibrates, we race to snare
the sacred, wrapping it in a cocoon
suspended like a pendulum weight. Our wounds
hem the edge of its promise, seal its sphere.
And when the sky escapes and the moon
outlines our worry in neon, we paint
prayers into the arrangement of stacked scenes,
scurry from the disproportions, and groom
our sensors for the perishing weight
of what the wind fills, of what we can believe.
Grace is the way out, you want to say
but don’t, knowing how it sounds
when you’re not the one who backed
the car over your two-year old,
or killed your best friend on a hunting trip.
But I’m always empathic
and thankful too for the soft patch
of luck beneath my trembling feet.
Things were very good for a neighbor.
A second place in the country
with pastures for horses,
forests for beauty and firewood.
The chainsaw revved its sharp teeth
until the oak began to fall.
Timber, the father cried. The oak,
with a mind of its own, twisted
and lodged against a smaller hickory,
bending it like a giant bow
drawn to its limits. One whack
from his ax, and the hickory snaps
with a sharp backward thrust —
a missile locked on the daughter’s head.
The living could not believe their eyes.
Only a lumberjack could have known.
That, we assured him often.
But would facts ease the sorrow?
Or even the drag of years?
Then the answer came with one loud report.
My Son Discovers the Draw of Water
—Samuel, Gulf Shores, 2005
He was still getting used to the sand between his toes
when the cool Gulf water crashed around his thighs,
knocking him back, then drawing him closer to home.
It took barely a second for his face
to go from complaint to laughter, for him to feel
the rhythm of the tide, to taste the salt
splashing his smile. Three steps forward, two steps
back. Again and again. All light and love.
It wasn’t until the water reached his chest
he realized this was more than a game of chase,
more than simple joy, and that all pleasures
come with a price. He turned to shore and cried
for us to bring him back to the heavy sand.
Mother places a glass bowl on her counter.
Clear and bright, reflective,
it captures the gold morning light, spins it to spots,
scatters them across her walls, a net of rainbows.
She fills the bowl with liquid.
Outside a concave stone collects water
beside her blue pansies.
Mother, one leg almost an inch shorter than the other,
carries her thick soup, in the bowl, on a plastic tray, very slowly,
through the sun wedges in the hallway,
to the back room for my father.
She will fill him again, in her way,
he smiles at a lifetime of her devotion.
The Good Daughters
never come empty-handed:
plastic bags swollen with laundry,
brought washed and ironed
though they haven't bothered
to iron their own for years;
peeking from coat pocket--
perhaps this will coax a smile
to vacant features;
apple, shiny and vitamin-rich
antidote to the steam kitchen menu,
carefully peeled and handed in crescents
to a parent who pushes away
the tray's mounded, pale broccoli.
They sigh and wait, in elevators
making lethargic ascents,
opening on corridors lined with cells--
units in which now live
passive or ranting,
those who raised them.
They water, from a Dixie cup, plants
drying in pots too near vents
pouring heat day and night--
"do not touch" posted above the thermostat.
They recognize themselves in each other's eyes,
the mix of tenderness, anxiety, impatience, rue.
Some go from geriatric visit to parental home,
there to rummage and sort and order.
They will discover private truths:
the scholarship given up for marriage,
a younger woman's letters in an office safe.
Yet these daughters will return
again to push a wheelchair
or sit by an institutional bed.
These daughters lie awake each night,
aging no more a distant fable,
envisioned in their own flesh
real, terrible and sad.
The Breakfast Dishes
Strawberries leave their kisses on
the cutting board; there is marmalade
on the uneaten crusts.
The past is a luxury
that we can't stomach, and that no amount
of romance can rescue, although it had
a bold, fresh taste so recently.
the zesty rinds are swept to one side,
leftover blueberries keep their flawed shape;
the brightest flesh of delight is gone,
and the rest is wasted, however sweet.
Autumn’s Return To The Maple Pavilion
-ink and colors on paper/hanging scroll
Huang Junbi, 1898-1991
You returned since your essence never left.
In callow youth, fevered and in flux,
lusting for meaning, you cast off family, home.
Now there are white streaks in your thin hair.
All expectations altered – birds in flight,
ambivalent amid the old strumming life.
Bare, crooked tree branches wait for winter.
Now you recall in sharp hunger
your youth in shades of haunting reverie,
all you hold lightly as regret, heavy as assurance.
In Maple Pavilion, autumn has again prevailed.
Summer’s haze only a hollow memory.
Everyone is certain what you will discover –
cold shadows of the past, curled in autumn mist.Robin Chapman
The first time a cougar entered my thought
Gary Snyder extolled the delight
of the cougars’ return to California mountains,
the art of the wild, and I repeated the story
in Petrarch’s village, northern Italy, dinner
at the villa, where my seatmate’s face
clouded with anger– his sister
a runner, killed by a cougar
on those California roads.
The second was our honeymoon, canoeing
Utah’s canyonland, where kayakers
found tracks as big as dinnerplates
circling the waterhole and a cougar screamed
as they filled their canteens.
And now, learning the difficult art
of keeping distinct
the shy mountain lion of myth
and the creature criss-crossing my path:
this cougar, who’s ranged Tunnel Mountain
for years, who sits outside town doors
watching for cats and dogs,
who walked off only grudgingly
as the men in green opened noisy fire:
local knowledge what’s required
to live in the actual world.
I rehearse the wilderness virtue of wariness:
look around. If cougar, make noise,
appear large, move slowly away. Do not run.
Do not play dead.
And fear, that cougar of metaphor
that will always range the woods:
learn to recognize its haunts, read
its tracks, grant its place
in our world.
Did you give up your body parts freely
In the ward I'll take your arm, sister, hold you
if you stumble. Once my rival, one step ahead, now
at last you need me. I’ve moved past envy
like the rows of empty beds, their taut sheets
white as new bandages, and remember
your call in deep darkness. I struggled up from sleep.
and dreamed: infant Jimmy, sleep-slack
in my arms, pale skin flawless,
till on his leg a gash
opened like a red shriek.
Midmorning, tea in your kitchen. An officer detailed
the attack, Jim's presence of mind: he called for help, calmed
a hysterical private, talked a soldier through a tourniquet. Phoned home.
But more. In transport, the rest of Jim’s right leg was amputated.
Brave efforts to save the left: severed femoral artery, blood loss,
shock. Airlift to Germany. Critical condition.
Impossible. He phoned you today. Just a small mishap.
But the officer recited AC16826061.
You gasped for air, doubled over, moaned: a cornered animal.
Now in Walter Reed's amputee ward, you'll face your broken
son. When you falter, I’ll hold you, sister. I’ll avert my eyes
and shroud questions I ache to ask: Was our freedom
worth both legs? A hand? The right side of the skull?
Tree of Life
“What if he now reaches out his
hand and takes fruit from the tree
of life also, eats it and lives forever?”
—Genesis 3: 22
Whatever happened to that other tree
growing wild in the rear of the garden—
the deepest reaches—as far from the gates
of Eden as almighty God could plant it,
dazzling, deep-rooted, lofty, having
the hardest and darkest wood by far?
What if Adam and Eve had found it,
plucked and bitten the bitter fruit
depending from its swollen branches,
the very staff of life though starchy
and dry, and swallowed its pulp
without any urging from the serpent?
How might their fate and the fate of all
their descendants differed? Might that single
trunk have spread into an enormous orchard
and they and we empowered to live forever,
eating that fruit today as eagerly as apples
and finding the meaty flesh just as sweet?
Yet God so coveted that tree and its power
he dared not warn them not to eat its fruit
nor let them know that it even existed,
preferring that our first parents should fall,
suffer the pain of knowing good from evil,
but not share the glory of being divine.