Thursday, December 2, 2010


Robert Francis

Born in Upland, Pennsylvania on August 12, 1901

Robert Francis moved to Amherst, Massachusetts in 1926

after graduating from Harvard. His first book of poems

Stand Here With Me appeared in 1936.

By 1940 he began building

his home Fort Juniper on the outskirts of town, which since

the poet's passing in 1987 has become a legendary spot

and home or studio for many other poets.

Collected Poems 1936-1976 makes a fine companion.

The poem below is drawn from that collection.

I have worked with this poem with every age group,

including with strangers when reading out on the street.

It chimes.



backroad----leafmold---- stonewall---- chipmunk
underbrush---- grapevine---- woodchuck---- shadblow

woodsmoke---- cowbarn ----honeysuckle---- woodpile
sawhorse---- bucksaw---- outhouse---- wellsweep

backdoor ----flagstone----bulkhead---- buttermilk
candlestick---- ragrug---- firedog---- brownbread

hilltop ----outcrop---- cowbell---- buttercup
whetstone---- thunderstorm---- pitchfork----steeplebush

gristmill---- millstone ----cornmeal ----waterwheel
watercress---- buckwheat---- firefly---- jewelweed

gravestone---- groundpine ----windbreak---- bedrock
weathercock ----snowfall---- starlight---- cockrow