A Ten-Year-Old's Wisconsin Summer
From the dark of the woods where damp bark rots,
Dave the handyman lugged by its spiky tail
The biggest turtle I had ever seen.
That night with prehistoric ease it nudged
Its bushel basket prison noiselessly
Right-side-up again, left a crescent flaw
in the screen door, and scratched its way back home.
Mary the cook said they were good for soup
And under tough wrinkles their blood was not red
But black like oil. I didn't believe her.
Seasonings, p. 7
The fish bending incuriously away from the hook
Is last to become aware of his element.
His father on the wooden pier flop-gasping
Understands water as never before.
Seasonings, p. 55
Wafer flat snowflakes
Drop with more sound on browned lawns
Than your just removed stockings
On our waiting bed.
Dr. Nicholas Barker was a professor at Covenant College. During my four years there he worked in administration, and rarely taught a course. But I was fortunate enough to take a poetry class from him during my last semester with a handful of other girls. We met in his elegant, quiet office. At the end of the class, as I recall, he gave us copies of his book of poetry, Seasonings. How I admired him for giving his precious writings away, sharing such personal thoughts of family and experience! Shuffling through a box of old photos and documents today, I found the unbound, unpublished (I think) volume. I chose three of my favorites to share with you.