Monday, January 30, 2017



Perfect World

I could sit here

All day trying to

Draw a circle

Perfectly round

But a bird

Made one


A tree

Pal Goose

On that sunny day

I opened your pen door

And let you out —

You loved the sun

Sun on snow

Making tracks to the pond —

Because it got too busy

But I have no excuse how

I forgot to close your

Pen door and left home

Sometime in the evening

Faraway, thoughts to you and

The open door but I would get back

The moon was out, and you

Loved the moon —

The raccoon was out, and he

Hunts by the moon

The next morning you were

Found dead with eyes open

Suddenly flat and huge on the snow

Too big for raccoon to even bother with

Whose blood-tracks tricky designed away

And then as if he noticed how obvious

Seemed to wash his murderous paws

Off in the snow and vanished

You were our third gander

In twenty years, flocks of

Geese once upon a time mixed

With ducks and chickens and when

Our rooster died you were the new

Rooster for the chickens —

It looked funny, it looked

Practical, you fit

I miss you now when I split

Wood and wait to hear your call

Loud and sudden and part of me


I stopped thinking

About my name today

When in the truck

Returning home with

My son after working

Together at a farm

Splitting wood,

Picking kindling

Around the chopping

Stump, slinging manure

Onto the winter garden

And later hiking

High into the heather

Pasture, now in the

Truck with his gloves

Still on he sized it

Up by saying he didn’t

Like the name Bob — it

Was too short, only three

Letters — and it sounded

Like a name half-city



in the garden

along the rows

on her long hair

down her arms


Bob Arnold
Once In Vermont 

This concludes Once In Vermont, poems by Bob Arnold
 published by Gnomon Books from Frankfort, Kentucky

Another book of poems by Bob will be
coming soon

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Greenpeace at work


O C E A N     V U O N G


In the body, where everything has a price,
               I was a beggar. On my knees,

I watched, through the keyhole, not
               the man showering, but the rain

falling through him:guitar strings snapping
               over his globed shoulders.

He was singing, which is why
               I remember it. His voice —

it filled me to the core
               like a skeleton. Even my name

knelt down inside me, asking
               to be spared.

He was signing. It is all I remember.
               For in the body, where everything has a price,

I was alive. I didn't know
               there was a better reason.

That one morning, my father would stop
               —a dark colt paused in downpour —

& listen for my clutched breath
               behind the door. I didn't know the cost

of entering a song — was to love
               your way back.

So I entered. So I lost.
               I lost it all with my eyes

wide open.


Night Sky With Exit Wounds
Copper Canyon 2016

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


O R      B O O K S

Rosset was a wonderful storyteller as it shows
in this memoir, never mind one of the heralded
mavericks in the US Publishing: Grove Press
when it was really Grove Press; Evergreen Review,
Evergreen Films. Thank heavens for Barney Rosset
and the books by Samuel Becket, Jean Genet,
William Burroughs, Marguerite Duras
Hubert Selby and Henry Miller he and 
some of his excellent editors like 
Richard Seaver and Fred Jordan 
brought forth.

Monday, January 23, 2017


Cup (remembering the old man)

We watched the thunderstorm

Blow over from the west,

Darken the upper hill of

Pasture, brush away

Daylight in barn

Windows, make it awful

Dark for two-in-the-afternoon

You said, now listen

And because you usually

Only spoke when you had

Something to say, I did

Listen, nearly held my breath

Waiting — looking up into

Your eyes and tiny white

Hairs in your nose and ears

And when the shower began

We heard it first in the

Wave of trees far off —

You looked and

Smiled at me

Hoping I had heard it —

Those few seconds in life

When earth, trees and even man

Turn their cup up to the rain

The Man Who Spoke To Animals

Today I heard Mason Weathers was put
Into the hospital a month ago after
A stroke, and I thought he was
Missing this fall when geese
Passed over his hill-farm’s steel roofs
Heading south with the river

Mason is always up and around those days
Even though he is two years retired from
Farming and is said to sit in a chair
Smoking cigarettes by his roadside window,
Wondering like a few of the old timers left —
What in the world has happened
To all this land and town he loves

Many years ago he gave up attending
Town meeting — was busy sawing logs for taxes —
But of course it was the new people
Now in the chairs of his dead friends
That drove him away, into deeper snow
Clutching a chain saw

One time I borrowed from Mason
His heavy snag of tractor rope
To do tree work for people he knew
In the village, and in my rush limbing
Sawed off a six-foot tail of that rope —
When I brought it back Mason met me
On his porch — with its pose over the
Valley — a smile on his muscular face,
Nodded and said, “It was all right, just
Six-feet shorter,” then walked back inside

They say today he has no memory for
That sort of thing. Sits up in a hospital
Bed with daily visits from his wife Ruth
Who tells friends back home Mason has
Been struck with sugar, and the stroke has
Left one side of his body blank as
A dead elm tree — imagine a man who once
Spoke to animals ending up this way

The Reason I Love to Build Stone Walls

and have for so long

is that I need few

tools to do the job

I could walk to work

free at hand

nearly whistling

until I arrive

(not wanting to

look too happy)

and the stones

are there lopsided

appearing miserably

out of place to

someone else

as I kneel

maybe with a 3 lb.

hammer I’ve brought

                                          along for company


Bob Arnold
Once In Vermont