Poems from the Hoot
S. Stephanie and Mark DeCarteret provided the Hoot crowd with jolts of energy and insight
at their December reading at Café Espresso. Former Portsmouth Poet Laureate, Robert Dunn,
contributed these quiet winter words to the evening:
snowstorm hung on all the afternoon
fill the air and empty out the ground.
hushed the walls that all had grief inside
covered sidewalks that were open wounds,
though this world of ours grew old and tired
changed into another world, not ours.
I said to myself, this is despair
walks us into darkness quietly
you have a right to remain silent
I dont think I have. And now the snow
stopped. What falls is never deep enough
cover all our world. Hope is
changes nothing but ourselves. So hope.
Ushering in the snow is a venerable tradition
in American Poetry. Emerson has all the trumpets of the sky welcome his
fierce artificer, while Whittiers farmer shouts to his joyful sons: Boys, a
path! Robert Dunn has a quieter approach. His snow hushes our
griefs and covers our wounds, aging everything, transfiguring the world. But it
proves not the happy event that Whittier describesnot hope but despair is what its silencing
suggests. Yet the poet will notcannotgo silent into that bleak night.
We are reminded that What falls can never cover everythingonly
hope is deep enough for that. But hope is active, not passive. It doesnt
descend like snow but rises out of our hearts. Despite what befalls us. Like
poetry, hope accumulates, deepens as we hearken to it, affords each one of us a way to dig
out of the darkest depths. So hope.
A Snowstorm by
Robert Dunn, Portsmouth Poet Laureate 1999-2001. Robert is the
author of several works, including I Hear America Singing from Oyster River
Press and quo, Musa, tendis? published by Peter Randall. You can read
his Ocean Poem on a plaque above the Piscataqua at the end of Daniel Street. He lives, walks, reads, writes and
reflects in Portsmouth, one of the fine places in the world.
Please note: the Poetry Hoot is on the first
Wednesday of every month at Cafe Espresso in the 800 Plaza, Portsmouth, NH. Note:
Poems submitted to this column should not exceed nineteen lines.