Poetry Drawer: October by Robert Demaree


To our cottage on the pond,
I ascribe human attributes,
And why not:
Four generations of
Idiosyncratic postures,
Favourite chairs,
The smiles of grandsons
Around each corner,
In every splash off the dock,
Scent of decades of pine rooms,
My father’s shaving brush,
Memories in other artifacts
We did not buy.

So when we leave,
Packing up board games
Along with Beth’s shy grin,
We ease out onto the lane,
Regret visceral
Until about the Massachusetts line.
The cottage, at first forlorn,
Has figured out what’s going on,
Recognizes the red kayak,
An intruder in the guest room,
But, relaxing under its cover of
Newspaper, moth balls,
Frayed bedspreads,
Like an old bear we know,
Dozes off for the winter.


Cold October rain
Scatters unwilling leaves,
Crimson, orange-gold,
Before the holiday,
Slick paste on asphalt.
I pack my painting tools
Under the house:
The can of grey stain
Will not survive the winter.
In the tight wood
On a hill back from the pond
Green clings to green,
A few leaves fall unturned.


Late October: SUV’s headed out, mostly
Pickup trucks on the lane.
They are the surrogate residents
On the pond in the off season,
The people who shut off the water,
Drain the pipes,
Winch up docks up onto land,
Check in winter for snow on the roof.
We have a common concern
For a tight seal around the chimney,
The grey birch by the Turtle Rock
That needs to come down.
We discuss
The judgment of the selectmen,
The Red Sox’ chances for next year,
The merits of metal roofing.
We entrust them with precious things,
Sacred ground, these folk
With whom we share a love of place
Until we come back again
In June.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders published in 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems have received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club. He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Bob’s poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals including Cold Mountain Review and Louisville Review.

You can find more of Robert’s work here on Ink Pantry.

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