Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Vermont Passage"

The Green Mountains of Vermont (Photo: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images )

This year, the earliest winter since 1896 will arrive Friday morning, December 21, 2012, with the solstice at 6:12 A.M.

In his recent review of my poetry collection Lines of Flight, Richard Wakefield had this to say about my poem "Vermont Passage":

“Vermont Passage” also transforms a landscape, describing the profuse flowers of summer that linger in memory after summer gives way to cold: “I breathe in honeyed memories of clover, / and winter, for a while at least, is over.” We live in two worlds, or many worlds: the literal “bitter night” of winter, along with our memory of what was, which is also our expectation of what will be. Chandler gives texture to the flat world. If there’s any truth to the cliché that poetry reminds us to stop and smell the roses, Chandler’s poetry reminds us that we can also revel in the smells and sights that linger in our recollection. It is the remembered roses we smell most poignantly.

Richard Wilbur also had a few choice words for the poem when he wrote:

Catherine Chandler's poems — I think particularly of the sonnet "Vermont Passage" — offer the reader a plain eloquence, a keen eye, and a graceful development of thought. (Back cover, Lines of Flight)

Here is "Vermont Passage", which I wrote after a drive through Vermont on my way to Newburyport, Massachusetts in July 2006. The poem was originally published in Mezzo Cammin, Volume 1, Issue 2, Winter 2006.

Vermont Passage

For Deborah Warren

Wildflowers thrive and form, in mid-July,
a buoyant blue and gold receiving line
the length of Interstate Route 89,
as if to welcome friends and passersby.

But high up in the hillside meadow teems
a purple floret whose divine perfume
makes one forget that roses are in bloom--
mellifluous, the stuff of summer dreams.

And when Vermont's Green Mountains turn to white,
when northern folk see little of the sun,
before the sugar maple sap can run,
when better days attend each bitter night,
I breathe in honeyed memories of clover,
and winter, for a while at least, is over.

Source: Wikipedia

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