Monday, January 2, 2017


Our triple hemlocks
photo by Bob Arnold


Farm Hand

                                                            for Ted Enslin

a tall ladder
with hammer
pocket of
nails two
boards sawn
with a dull
bow saw now
climbs to a
high corner
of the barn
where an old
window lost
long ago of
any glass &
if people
were not
around no
one would
mind this
pigeon that
flies in this
pigeon that
flies out

first 10 years
they told you

second 10 years
they asked you

today scythed the swale
mowed the lawn
lifted the wide barn door
back onto its track
raked bark for kindling
added topsoil turning compost
took on the job to wash all
windows in the big house
looked for grapes under
frosty palm-size leaves
showed the owner how
to hang a birdfeeder

was asked
to build a

but really
it was having
to lug by hand

down the steep
pasture & where
there was to ford

a spring runoff
two heavy planks
settled in

for them
all to
walk over

very good
money is
what pays you

& when the

living away
from home
took her

life very
good money
didn’t help

heard of
the death
while using a
rake & having
to hold it off
as the father
approached un-
expectedly hugged
you in sobs

you finally
know the folks

when you’ve

grown their

everyone is the same —
first week of October
no one talks about anything
but firewood


where a
is used
think of
them walking

in Spring
the axe laid
down on
barn beam
finished at
splitting for
the season is
picked up right
there in Fall

dug the grave
when their
cat died
by his favorite
apple tree

they once
taught you

now you remind
them of their

the large
red barn
has never been
painted since
you’ve been here

many years
now have

they walk
out to
greet you


Bob Arnold


Eero Ruuttila said...

Many, many years ago when I was living in Harvard, MA Ted was part of a motley group who drove to my house to take a sauna in the bath house I'd built below a spillway of my backyard millpond. Gary Snyder had come to Harvard (the university) to read from his latest collection, Turtle Island. Following the reading I invited him to come to Harvard (the town) & bathe in the traditional "savu" [smoke] sauna I'd built from scavenged beams & roof-slate from demo sites in Boston's North End. At 1st he politely declined as he was committed to attend a faculty cocktail party following his reading, but after Jim & Peggy Koller, & Gary Lawless, & Ted & others persisted saying he'd have more fun with the poets... Gary excused himself from his university hosts, & said to us "let's go..."

Love these poems from Ted, Bob. I saw him read a couple of times. I brought him down to read at Stone Soup when Jack Powers was alive & he lived above his bookstore/art gallery at the bottom of Beacon Hill.

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...


Always love your stories of poets & musicians — it goes places.

To continue with your mention of Jack (Powers) and Stone Soup — his bookshop and gallery way back when was where we first met Janine Pommy Vega, after a few years of corresponding, and let it be said
that also went places.

Ted visited here a few times with us in Vermont, and we got up to his nest in Milbridge. One of my favorite memories was Ted and I reading at Melville's home Arrowhead in Pittsfield. A good crowd turned out.

all's well, Bob