Thursday, December 13, 2012


Russell Libby ~

Dear Russell,

I had no idea the next time I'd hear from you would be via the New York Times obituary page. You famous wonder-jack, you! Who sent me his books of poems, or just a sheaf of poems at will, as a friend. A friend I never got to meet, and what a shame. You were such a good man, Russell, and the best part of this is every part of that goodness will remain since as a farmer, family man, husband, and neighbor you put it back into the soil. Gave it to Maine. I'm going to miss your short but sweet letters telling me how you chimed into my Birdhouse blog each day, and shared some of your day with me. Heck, that's how we met! You bought my books and took those other books I tucked in as extra. The cancer came and it seemed you had it beat, but I can see in this film below you're doing your ever loving best to stay above the grade, seriously hurt as you were. The grand teacher. The quiet poet. The one animals and birds and the wind already miss. It's very important that those that had never heard of you (impossible in Maine) knew you were with us.

Applied Geometry

Russell Libby

Applied geometry,   
measuring the height   
of a pine from   
like triangles,   
Rosa’s shadow stretches   
seven paces in   
low-slanting light of   
late Christmas afternoon.   
One hundred thirty nine steps   
up the hill until the sun is   
finally caught at the top of the tree,   
let’s see,   
twenty to one,   
one hundred feet plus a few to adjust   
for climbing uphill,   
and her hands barely reach mine   
as we encircle the trunk,   
almost eleven feet around.   
Back to the lumber tables.   
That one tree might make   
three thousand feet of boards   
if our hearts could stand   
the sound of its fall.

see Russell's book
Balance: A Late Pastoral 
 (Blackberry Press, 2007)