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Charlie Pratt and Marie Harris, the featured readers at February’s Hoot, read their highly crafted poems on life, loss and love to an enthralled crowd.  During the open mike, Pat Parnell added this love poem for her husband of fifty-six years:


                                His shoulders sag
                                with the weight of the wood.
                                Stooped forward more than usual
                                he quicksteps through the living room
                                heading for the woodstove,
                                worn black sneakers scuffing the carpet.

                                Faded green jeans, washed out flannel shirt,
                                dark gray cardigan buttoned against the cold
                                of the woodpile journey.  His gray hair curls
                                around the tonsure of his baldness.
                                He needs a shave.

                                “Deep Peace” plays on the stereo.
                                The logs thump on the hearth.
                                He stacks each one exactly,
                                fitting it in its place in the iron log holder.
                                It’s his third trip.
                                We’ll sleep warm tonight.

                                                                        --Pat Parnell

Love is in the eye of the beholder who follows her beloved through an ancient ritual.
Monk-like he comes, tonsured, quietly laboring under “the weight of the wood,” intent upon the simple human task of lugging and stacking.  The stoop, the scuff, the worn sneakers, faded clothes, and gray hair, tell us this is a journey he’s been on for a long time.   The careful repetition where each log is stacked “exactly…in its place” speaks to the service of love ministered by Bill.  A sacred service he performs for the two lovers who will “sleep warm tonight.”                                                                                                         --JP

“Bill” copyright 2004 by Pat Parnell of Stratham.   Pat is author of two collections of poetry:  Snake Woman and Other Explorations, Finding the Female in Divinity and Talking with Birches, Poems of Family and Everyday Life.  She and artist Brigitte Keller are working together with the Voice and Vision project of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program. 

Note:  Poems from The Poetry Hoot should not exceed nineteen lines.

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