Reading The Maine Woods

It’s an expansive time of year – leaves, light, day’s limits, everything unfurls –  and, when I’m inside, I’m itchy to be elsewhere, as long as “elsewhere” is outside. So, in this season even my reading tends toward travel of a local or farflung nature. Thoreau’s Maine Woods, for all it geographic proximity, seems a right reading; it draws me in the spring. The other day, as Henry and friends pressed deeper into an older, deep-timbered Maine, I came across a character called Kennebec Man; Kennebec Man stuck in my mind, and around this burr of name a small poem formed (It also, despite April’s passing, seems the season of the poem).

What new characters or poems have taken up lodging in your mind?

Reading Lesson – The Maine Woods

“Kennebec Man,” when we meet
you’re in another’s watershed

a seam across the central open
mitt of Maine your river away to

the southeast of this Penobscot that
Henry ascends with friends on his way

to far Ktaadn. What makes you
the moment’s ur-man is the writer’s

habit of surnaming only those
who settle to trade along this route

to an original interior and
perhaps his sympathy for seeing

a fellow elevated by water.
You are gone in the flick

of a page – your life may have
seemed so short too – but all day

you have poled upriver against
the general flow of forgetting

keeping current in my mind
making me wonder who you were.

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