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Remembering at Toft Point

Look! They are flocking back
to the tip of your tongue—
perspicacious, punctilious,
phantasmagorical, the words
that escaped you just months ago—
and even sousaphone’s big notes,
saxophone’s bray crowd the space—
vernal breath mists the branches
and like a migrating cloud of birds
those gone missing last winter
have returned—the calls
reverberate around the woods.
Even that phoenix goose calling
excoriate, excoriate and the warbler
exfoliating her song and the oldest
white pines rejoice, dark needles
sweeping the sky where gull,
egret, pelican constellate
the light and the crows’
conspicuous cacophony
splinters old growth.


Toft Point

Here’s the crux:  let the tessellating
mosses and lichens green your trunk,
luxuriate in shade as you climb
into sun, let the pileated woodpecker’s
drumming reverberate, celebrate
the coruscations of consecrated crossings
of wings under the consternation of clouds,
the reaching fingers of light,
the concatenating creak of the Latinate
laddering the language; elevate
the ruined history of old Anglo-Saxon
to new heights—woad for the sky’s blue dye,
the chunks of stone left when the Tofts burned
their house to the ground to preserve
this relic old-growth of balsam and spruce,
this chance to hear the old syllables
spoken still on the wind’s tongue. 


Robin Chapman’s most recent books are One Hundred White Pelicans (Tebot Bach), poems of climate change, and Dappled Things (Paris: Revue K), pairing 23 of her poems with Peter Miller’s photogravures. Recipient of Appalachia’s 2010 Poetry Prize, she has recent work in Alaska Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.