On Emily Dickinson’s Birthday

In Memorial – Barb Cranford, Poet

Snowstorm, December 10

on the highway

sirens groan

deep in the woods

the house is still

sirens moans

woodstove hums

my house is still

on Emily’s birthday

woodstove purrs

and snowplow drones

on Dickinson’s birthday

while I share this poem

snowplows fade

on the highway

as I write my poems

deep in the woods

           —Barb Cranford

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d

Covering the earth and filling the spread of the heaven, 

As that powerful psalm in the night I heard from recesses, 

Passing, I leave thee lilac with heart-shaped leaves, 

I leave thee there in the door-yard, blooming, returning with spring.   

—Walt Whitman

An excerpt from Walt Whitman’s elegy to President Abraham Lincoln. It was  in the summer of 1865 during a period of national mourning of the president’s assassination on April 14, 1865.

TIME TRAVELER (Please support The Arts)

I followed the trail

that led into the shadows

of the dark woods.

Once in, I waited near a rope,

was handed spray for my limbs,

then a flashlight beamed where to sit.

I was transported—

back to the turn of the century,

no longer a tourist.

A sailing rig became a working voyage,

as I tried to retrieve a piano,

and developed a love affair.

In a previous summer visit, 

alongside German prisoners of war, 

I harvested our bountiful orchards.

The next year, I rolled up my sleeves

and tackled shipbuilding,

because our men were overseas.

Time, place, culture, history,

it is all there under the stars—

journey with the Northern Sky Theater.

                        —Deb Johnston