Spring Notes

The Canada Geese are back on the river. We heard a pair go honking by a couple of mornings ago on the dog walk, then yesterday & today they have been landing on the river in increasing numbers. As I sit looking out the south window over the water, I can see four crows lumbering around in the maples along the riverbank, a bluejay on the deck railing, two mourning doves scratching for seeds in the crusty snow, & about seventy-five redwing blackbirds in the still-bare trees over by the little creek. I've put out more sunflower seed this year than ever before & have put it out more consistently, along with suet and thistle. My reward has been all this bird life to see me throuh a long, cold, gray spring. We still have high snow banks along the road, but we were able to take the longer dog walk this morning because enough snow has melted off the bridge that the sidewalk was clear enough to walk on, though still icy in patches.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

4 thoughts on “Spring Notes”

  1. funny i should read this and the piece on readysteadybook.com (mark thwaite’s manchester GUARDIAN literary blog in london)abt wordsworth’s intimations. edward mycue

  2. another wordsworth reference i just read over on http://www.readysteadybook.com in the writer profile for the day on james dickey with a quote from a 1993 new yorker piece “camping”. here is one quote”
    from that article by james dickey i’m transferring from the readysteadybook.com site:

    What happened then was wonderful. Every cocktail bar in the world blew away like chaff. We came around a bend, and to the left was a kind of cliff that opened on a huge, far-down field of conifers. Among the trees, spaced in a lovely, random arrangement, were deer. Dozens of them, all browsing, and then pausing to look around, with their incredibly delicate, dreaming alertness. . . . I turned and saw my youngest boy’s hand over his mouth in wonderment, and I myself, in the manner of the young Wordsworth, felt that I had better hang onto a tree or I would take off straight up. This is the wilderness, I said to myself. This is what we came for, though we don’t know what it is.

    the wordsworth is the wonder, joseph, and i feel it in your unadorned reports. ed

  3. I love the Immortality Ode, Ed, and teach it every fall to freshmen. I love it in part because Wordsworth is trying so hard — whistling past the graveyard — to convince himself that in growing up he has not lost the “visionary gleam” of the child’s way of seeing. “Shades of the prison house begin to close about the growing Boy,” he writes, consoling himself with the notion of the “philosophic mind.” That would be the mind that knows death. It’s such a gorgeous & conflicted piece of poetry!


    It doesn’t matter if today it’s the Iraqis
    soon they’ll be replaced by some other people
    the way a child reminds you of someone
    you knew once and then later of someone else

    as if she had to recapitulate
    all the ancestors before turning
    into someone new a stranger
    you don’t recognize

    or like the photographs
    of your own younger selves
    before you knew

    beauty had no future
    that all she leaves is
    something inside or not.

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