Reading in the Barn

It was a great experience attending The Frost Place Poetry Seminar in Franconia, New Hampshire in early August. This was my second time at the seminar, and second time reading poems in the barn behind Robert Frost’s house. See one of the poems I read, “Right of Way,” which first appeared in The Timberline Review.

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In addition to writing, learning, and reading, I worked in a morning of trout fishing on the Ammonoosuc River in White Mountain National Forest. Not a bad way to spend a week in late summer.

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Another Essay on Gun Control

Do we need another essay on gun control? I don’t know, but none of the ones so far have done much good. Here’s my contribution to the subject: Risk Management, Tyranny, and Guns.

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Another Eulogy

The first eulogy I had the honor to deliver was for my uncle. It was hard. On the way out of the church sanctuary, my father told me I had done a good job. I thanked him and said, “Just wait ’til you hear yours.” He got a good laugh out of that.

Dad passed away in December, 2015. Over a beautiful April weekend we held a memorial service to bury his ashes next to his parents’ graves in Atlanta. Twenty or so family and friends got to hear the eulogy I wrote for Dad. He never heard it, but I did tell him how I felt about him before he passed away. He and I had a very good understanding of each other’s opinions, and strong mutual respect. I’m sure he knew how I felt, yet I am thankful to have told him. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love how you feel about them.

Dad’s eulogy was even harder to deliver than the first one I presented, but it was a pleasure to write. I share it here for those who were not able to attend the service, or those who just want to read it and think of Charles Marsh. He was a good man. Maybe someday I will find out he got to hear his eulogy after all.

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Poem from the ICU

A rejection slip from an online poetry journal disappointed me a little today. The main poem in the small set came from a nursing story Debbie brought home from work. There are certainly other journals that might take it, however I’d like to share it here. Enjoy.

 

Home

The nurse approached the bed,
laid a hand on slackened skin.
She made her touch feather-light
so as not to bruise.
“I came to say goodbye,”
she told her sweet patient
who wanted to be no trouble,
whose ailment was not
a self-inflicted wound,
nor her body
a basket of poor decisions,
rather a common gift from God.
“But I thought you
were taking me home,”
the patient told the nurse’s heart.
Home is where the heart is.
Where, we say. As if
location were all that mattered.

Devon Marsh
December 11, 2015

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A Poem from Vacation

A weekend trip to a favorite cabin on the New River resulted in some nice photographs and at least one poem. A Day on the Oldest River is a snapshot of sorts. It captures a day when the kids are at an age that allows us to engage in activities together and make plans to do things like this again and again, even though we know life carries us past any particular moment as relentlessly as a river.

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Thoughts on Controversy

We’ve had an awful lot of controversy over a variety of topics for quite a while. A few of the subjects transformed almost overnight in light of recent events. An essay I wrote this week, Stand in the Light, tells what I think about all the controversy. No one subject in particular, just controversy in general, why we get drawn into supporting some things against our better judgment, and encouragement to think about how we think about things. Maybe it can help us deal with other subjects better than we have dealt with those that have dominated the news in recent weeks.

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A Quantum of Poetry

The fourteenth of February is, of course, Valentine’s Day. The fourteenth of next month is Pi Day (3.14). It is also Albert Einstein’s birthday. Einstein developed his general and special theories of relativity before the advent of quantum physics. That set of ideas jostled some of his own, and he never quite bought into certain aspects of quantum theory. The idea of entanglement, for example, seems to defy the speed of light as the absolute speed limit of the universe. Einstein dismissed entanglement, but he could neither deny it nor explain it. In some ways, entanglement is like the emotion we celebrate on February 14th. I can’t explain love, but I feel it acting instantly at a distance, no matter where my wife might be as she and I move about our universe of work and errands and kids’ activities. Here’s a Valentine’s Day poem that acknowledges how fundamental love is, and how inexplicable.

 
Entanglement

The man we think
should know
called it spooky.
And he called it
action, acting
at a distance.
But it’s not
acting. It is being
at a distance,
and right here.
It has no need
to travel
at any speed.
Not faster than
light. Breaking
no laws, it just
is. As love is,
existing here
and on the far side
of the universe,
in both places
at once. Where
I am, and certainly
where you are.

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