My name is Victor Densmore and I am old. I live in Hardwick, Vermont with my son’s family in the house where I grew up and where my wife passed away. I was born in eastern Vermont in a small farmhouse beside a small brook. I have been a geologist with the U S Air Force and the Vermont Highway Department, a carpenter, a building contractor, and a stone mason. I began writing poems thirty years ago ( I leave it to readers to name them `poetry’). Two collections of my poems have been self-published, Out of the Hermit’s Meadow and Wood and Dust of the Road. I have a chap book’s worth yet to be published. I include the following lines from my first book to informally introduce my efforts.
“Victor Densmore’s poetry …is finely wrought and sweet and reminds me a bit of the poetry of the late William Mundell who also celebrated the passing of life on the farm.” Tom Slayton, Editor Vermont Life Magazine
That which winds the butterfly
Has hung the cosmos in a gimbal frame
And having touched the stars with lambent flame
Then made in counterpoise the firefly.
EAST OF SUNDOWN
She had spoken of those things,
the rough bare wood at the sun corner
where dawn first touched her house and where
the morning glory climbed and bloomed in Summer.
And there among the shed’s loose foundation stones
chipmunks scampered in and out except in Winter
when perhaps they slept dreaming of warmer days.
Dogs would play on the back streets
of the small town where he used to live
and his would chase the morning train
for a donut the brakeman might sometimes throw.
How he loved that gangling dog they first brought home
and remembered him frail and dying near the stove
as the night train went clattering past the house.
Their lake lay in the dawn mist
soundless if not for the lisping piers
speaking to ripples as they came
and the two quiet as the world around them.
They dared not intrude into that close silence
for fear of losing those short moments that were theirs
and must cling to them before they fled away.
We will live east of sundown,
dawn to dusk and ‘til the end of dreams,
seeking the deep springs of Being
and the hidden harmony beneath the World.
We will know the beauty of all fragile things
that live their moment to flourish and pass away
for this is all there is and will ever be.
Down the years I’ve had oft’ returning thoughts
of short, bleak December days.
Crows cry harshly from hoar-frosted trees,
and drear skies hovering over fen and marsh
are mirrored on dark ice of the slow twisting stream
below the narrow road where pass the old men.
Wraith by wraith they swirl like tendrils of gray mist,
the vague forms of men I knew.
Their faces disappear like chance wisps of smoke,
now return, now slip away once more,
and the memories of them and their sad roads
in the mist-filled hollows weigh heavy in my heart.
Hills their cradle, the lone men I remember,
and their graves, the forlorn hills.
The short, twelfth-month days seem right to think of them,
these days of last times before everything will change,
for we are few now that still remember them,
and the abandoned roads where passed the old men.
NOCTURNE FOR TIN ROOFS
She sits at her open window
above the hundred colored roofs
that sprout antennas
and the soft jangle of her silver bracelets
as she brushes out her long hair
slowly, lovingly welcomes the evening breeze
and the first raindrops on the roof below
Darkness spreads westward from the sea
over the hundred metal roofs
and the night of the barrio comes outdoors
into the streets and the alleys
children come laughing
splashing the evening rain
in the little cobblestone rivers
hesitant, always to the sea.