Reaching, Touching

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Reaching, Touching is a collection of poems by Orcelia Birge Winn. Published by Still Woods Press.

Transcript of Reaching, Touching

  • Reaching,Touching

    Orcelia BirgeWinn


  • 2

  • Reaching,Touching

  • Reaching,Touching

    Orcelia BirgeWinn

    StillWoods Press

    Milton, Connecticut

  • Reaching,TouchingCopyright 2009 by Orcelia BirgeWinnPrinted in the United States of America

    Book Designer:Virginia Anstett

    Library of Congress Control: 2009908678ISBN: 978-1-61623-168-2


  • To my parents,William Cornelius Birge and Mercy Stock Birge,and my children,WilliamWinslowWinn, Jr., James BirgeWinn,Linda JeanneWinn and Peter NashWinn, and to my belovedgranddaughter, JenniferWinn Ferrara, with love and gratitudefor their encouragement and inspiration, and in memory ofmy husband,WilliamWinslowWinn,who showed me what lifewas really all about.

    Orcelia B.Winn


  • vii



    The Pixies 1Thoughts In April 1Inspiration 3Vanity 3Momentary 4Man as Compared to Nature 4Leaf 5Portrait 5RainyWeather, N.Y. 5In the City 6Cloud (Japanese Style) 6Knell 7Spring at Night 8Poetry Maker 9Missing in Action 9Before Rain 11Night of Rain 12MidnightVigil 13Exit April 13SundayWalk; p.m. 14Fragment 15Fate 15

  • Autumn End 16Late AutumnWoods 16Night 17Days End 17On Death and Life 18TheWindy Hill 19There Is No Returning 20My Son, My Son 22Snow 23Autumn in October 23Midnight 24Longing 25Bedtime 25The Question 26Day of Rain 26Precarious Peace 27AndYet Myself 28Linda Jeanne 28Love Poem 29To My Father (on his final illness) 30Grief 31To Maria AugustaTeall Stock 32(my poet grandmother)

    Biography 32Her Majesty 34Little Angel 35My Baby Sleeps 36


  • ix

    Misfit 37Beatitude 37Curriculum 38Pattern 39OneYear 39My Special Flower 40Sonnet to My Sons 40Testament 42Midnight Singing 43Night Dreams 44Shelving Day 44The Benefit of Silence 45OnWriting Poetry 45Midnight Rain 46Rain in the Night 47Patience 47Phantom Night 48Peter Awake 48Lullaby from Outer Space 49Claim to Fame 49Rhythms 50Revelations 51February Moon 51Gemini 8 52October in Fog 53I Am Only I 53Balance 54

  • xAnd SoThey Go 55Peter (When he was 11) 55Musings (of anAstronaut) 56Bick 57Marty 59Fancy 60To Rai (Lorraine Alice MarekWinn) 60Moonrise 62Day-Start 62Summer Day 63With March 64Jim 65A Summer Morning 66A Dream I Dreamed 67Restlessness Caught 68OneYear Later 69But Jim? 70These I Know 71Jennifers Birth Day 72I 72JanuaryThaw 73Granddaughter 74My LoveWindy 74Season of Grief 75San Francisco at Night 75Footsteps 76Your Birthday 77

  • xi

    Lonely Days 78To an Old Dog (Pepper) 78Into Shreds 79Mothers House 79Reaching 81New Day 81My Day 82Humanity 83The Circle 84Perhaps 84A Granddaughter 85Me 86Evening Moment 87April 87Jennifers Gifts 88Children 88Tonight 89Oration 89Summertime 90Jennifer Overnight 91SmallTreasures 91Love 92Life Passing 93OnTop of Mohawk Mountain 94I AmThese 95Jennifer at Nine 96Jennifers Home 97

  • xii

    Where Do the Poems Go? 98Jennifer on the Pond 99The Rainbow 99July 10, 1989 100Enigma 101I Remember 102Haiku 103Morning Moment 103Grandmothers 104Ages of Jennifer 104Forsythia in October 105Around the Square 105To J. BentleyWinn 106Jan 107Once as I Lived 108Even a Cloudy Day 108Insignificance 109Summer Full 109IWonderWhy 110Unsung Poem 111Small Contentment 111Of the Spirit 112Church Service 113Sabbath 113Happy Day 113Neighbors Lights 114Ordinary Day 115

  • xiii

    Today I Am 115Dear Sister 116Third Son 117October Rain 117Definitions 118MorningWind 118A Dingy, Dreary Day 119AVision of Gold 119Aftermath of Terror 120Thunderstorm 120Ruths at 2:00 120Mixed-up Seasons 121Old Grief 121Sons Gift 122Fog 123Good Parents 123Artist 124One 124False Spring 125One Bird at Days End 125Summer Rain 126Quiet Morning 127TheWoodsman 127Rose Haven, Litchfield 128

  • II

    John, the Man 131Woman 137Man 139Why? 141Stranger 145TheVillage of Milton, Connecticut 148I Remember Jim 151


  • I

  • The PixiesMarch 12, 1933 (?)

    They dance and pranceand caper and twistin the light of the glowing moon.

    At dawn they stopto rest a bitin a cool and shady place.

    At eve they startto dance againand they dance and dance all night.

    Thoughts in AprilMarch 10, 1939

    TheApril rain came softly, falling stillAnd silvery on the distant woods and hill;And soon it went.Then I stole forth before the world was outAnd found among the sodden leaves a sproutOf green.A scentOf rain-soaked bark I breathed, so damp, so clean


  • And saw upon the world the pearly sheenOf tears, as on the cheeks of Baby, spent.

    And wrapped around the black roots of the trees,So soft, translucent in the breeze,I saw white fogAs, hovering through the woods it stopped to play(As any child would stop along his way)Around a bog.In pensive silence for a time I stoodAnd gazed with wonder through the depths of woodAnd heard the gruff-voiced comments of a frog.

    The woods dripped steadily. I moved my eyesTo where I heard a bluejays scornful cries.I knelt to seeAgain the sprout and dug from it the leaves

    I wondered whether any man believesNo mysterySurrounds our lives, no miracles exist?And is there yet a man who can resistThe newborn beauty April brought to me?


  • InspirationSeptember 25, 1939

    Once when I cameOf a sudden on a lakeI stood pondering, in thought.A bird, startledBy my presence, flew.It left the wings I sought;I flew, too.

    VanityOctober 4, 1939

    When she looked on the pond So quiet and smooth And exclaimed at the beauty fairI noticed it wasnt the pond she sawBut her visage mirrored there.


  • MomentaryNovember 17, 1939

    Out of the silenceAnd blackness of nightA bit of cloud A milkweed sprite Came;Then left ..So life.

    Man as Compared to NatureMarch 15, 1940

    Man is so complexThe wind blows right through him.Man is so deepThe sea with a wave can drown him.Man is so grandThe pine trees to nothingness dwarf him.Man is so intelligentHe cannot even understand the ways of nature.


  • LeafMarch 16, 1940

    Leaf on the pond,Floating aimlessly,Hovering round the mossy tree O leaf,Drift over here to me.

    PortraitMay 27, 1940

    She leaned against the cool wallAnd smiled Her hand outstretched A lazy kind of smile, slowTo come and slow to disappear.

    RainyWeather, N.Y.September 25, 1940

    Rain and puddlesSplashingWet hands, wet feet,Dripping umbrella


  • Which jostles the crowdHurrying on in the rain.Brief respite in stationIn subway and train;Otherwise dampness, umbrellas and rain.

    In the CitySeptember 25, 1940

    What are your mountains but hillsHouse-investedCloaked in the fog from the factorys breath.I want my mountains, the mountains of homeVirginal forestsWhere fog is but mist of the early mornAnd where Nature alone holds sway.

    Cloud (Japanese Style)January 24, 1941

    O cloud softWhite and floating Let me lie upon your breastAnd sleep.


  • KnellApril 23, 1941

    Rain pattered steadily, slowlyAnd brown leaves floated, soaked,On the dripping brook.Chickens half-heartedlyPecked at the groundAnd the dog whined to come in.

    Her hand lay, white and motionless,On the windowsillAs she sat gazing over the fields She sat staring and sightless.Once she turned and stroked the dogAnd seemed about to speakBut turned again to stare and stareBeyond the rainy day.

    He sat bowed in the corner,Hard hands clenched white,Just sat and stared;And once he raised his headTo look at her,Conscious, perhaps, of the ash-gray hearthAnd the rain.


  • Neither spoke.What could they say?

    Tragedy, grief, agonized tearsWhich would not flowLay between them sharp;And even the rainCould not wash clean their knotted emotionsOr soften their grief.

    Rain pattered steadily on.They sat and stared.Death was in their hearts The death of their laughing child.And the rain pattered steadily on.

    Spring at nightJanuary 18, 1942

    Through the duskThe lilacs pale and starry Catch the moon deep in their handsAnd hold its faceAnd kiss it.


  • Poetry MakerMarch 20, 1942

    I grasp the shadow with both my handsAnd throw it out of the world;ThenThere is no longer mistBetween the worldAnd me.

    Missing in ActionAugust 28, 1943

    He was so youngAnd so gay,So happy, so proud of himself;So eager to be in itAnd at themNot hiding behind a womans skirtsOr a mothers tears.

    He wentBecause his heart was the heart of a fine young man,And because his mother was braveAnd his father was strong.


  • He went because he had a job to do He wanted to do it;And nowHes missing in action.

    SomewhereOver thereHe may be still living.SomedayHe may return.

    Hes missing in action, they said.His plane flew high,And low;His plane strong as himself,But like him vulnerable.

    He may be gone And if he isThe good God above, who judges each man for himself,Will know he went down as he flewYoung and sure and glad and brave.

    My tears are goneFor now;My heart is quiet.I try to think:


  • I must be brave, like him;He would not like to think I cried that whole day longWhen they said he was missing in action.

    Before RainFebruary 17, 1944

    Theres weighted suspenseIn the air All nature waits the rain.SomewhereThe rain is falling There is mist along the hills.

    Leaves move uneasilyHung by a momentIn the moist full wind;

    The gray-clad sky is lostIn its own identity,And over the fieldsIt pushes restlessly Potent and swollen with rain.


  • Down in the woods the brookIs turgid and brown,Following the curve of the landAs it whispers downTo the pool at the meadows end.

    Theres electric waiting Taut with imminence Breathless as summer nightsSilent and sure.

    Night of