Happy New Year!
Thursday, February 4, 2016, at 7:00 pm, poets Abbot Cutler and Penelope Scambly Schott will continue the ninth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)
Abbot Cutler has published three collections of poems: 1843 Rebecca 1847, published by Rowan Tree Press of Boston, MA in 1982, The Dog Isn’t Going Anywhere by Mad River Press of Richmond, MA in 2000, and Say Dance, Say Night, with Slate Roof Press in 2013. His poems have appeared in numerous publications including Orion Magazine, Ploughshares, and Blue Sofa Review, and in several anthologies, among them What Have You Lost, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye. He lives in Ashfield with his wife, the photographer, Sarah Holbrook.
Penelope Scambly Schott is the author of a novel, ten full-length poetry books, and six chapbooks. Her verse biography A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth won an Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Recent books include Lovesong for Dufur and Lillie Was a Goddess, Lillie Was a Whore. Published in 2014 was How I Became an Historian. Penelope lives in Portland and Dufur, Oregon where she teaches a notorious poetry workshop.
THE ISLAND / Abbot Cutler
All week the hard-skulled woodpecker of have to
hammered at my last chance, the saloon
of the swinging doors had closed and the debts
of childhood come due. I longed for that bright moment
Yeats was blessed, an ordinary afternoon
that opened his chest, but I’m still looking
for the perfect table by the window of, finally,
clarity. Just to sit there for twenty minutes
more or less would be a blessing. The old days
are so far gone even the one-eyed parrot
has stopped talking about that war. Remember?
there was an island with narrow stone
streets and the donkey with his wide load
of sticks. We were feeling our way towards
something larger. It was the island of Naxos,
the temple of Apollo. drinking retsina at sunset.
We didn’t know anything about Ariadne being
abandoned, about Theseus and the dark
sails of grief. Now, a June morning in the hills
of New England, you, my old friend, gone
these many years, me carried back to the time
we had it all in front of us, a maze with its own
monster, but always a thread to follow
into a world that kept on giving… all that sky
and stars above the steel deck, the ferry threading
its way through the islands, the kingdom
of the possible rising on the clear horizon.
HIS EYE / Penelope Scambly Schott
Somewhere where terrible things happen–
not here, though terrible things do happen–
but somewhere they happen more frequently
(and I read about this, I didn’t see it first hand),
a boy was beaten so fiercely that one eyeball
fell out of his head, and he carried his own eye
safe in the palm of his hand over many miles
to the nearest doctor and begged the doctor
please to sew his eye back in its raw socket
but of course the doctor couldn’t sew it back
(I suppose the optic nerve was severed and
who knows what all else) so that loose eye
was thrown out or buried, who knows which,
because that detail wasn’t in the story I read,
but here’s what I do know: forever afterward
the boy’s hand, the hand that carried the eye,
was gifted with vision. If he touched a stone,
he knew the hidden inside color of that stone,
and when he grew up and touched a woman,
he knew, more fully than anyone else could,
all the untold dread that made her beautiful.