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Chill It


For this inaugural column, I have reached to the shelf of our first Poet Laureate, Esther Buffler,
and taken down her last collection, It’s All Ahead, published by Phineas Press.
“Chill It” is the last poem in the book. It is the poem Esther was working on at the time of her death
last year. It is a poem with one eye on Death’s shadow and the other on the breathtaking sun
breaking through clouds behind His back.


Chill It

the pill colony
open eyes to the way it is
huge tray
tiny cups of carefully chosen pills
a trough of hope for waiting mouths
caught in emotional load.

the rains stopped
sun breathtaking!
scratched my initials on favorite tree
never ending stories of when and where

life slips away
Grammy – earth woman
she took my hand and died.

    -- by Esther Buffler

“Love in all of its manifestations washes through these poems…” writes Marie Harris, New Hampshire’s poet laureate, in her forward to the book. For Esther, “Poems were like a source of oxygen, her vitamins, her reason to be alive…” adds publisher Susan Kress Hamilton. It is that love, that passion for life, that is confirmed by the flow of Esther’s final poems. From neap tide to flood stage and out again, we hear her calling to us from off shore: “Breathe deep/age disappears.”       --JP

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Note: To be considered for publication in this space, poems read at The Poetry Hoot should not exceed nineteen lines. Line length should be limited to fifteen words.

“Chill It” copyright 2003 by Phineas Press, used by permission.
It’s All Ahead is available at RiverRun Books, Portsmouth.

This column originally appeared in Spotlight Magazine on August, 29, 2003
'Poems from the Hoot' reprinted by permission from the Portsmouth Herald.