Still thinking about the passing of Russell Libby, I noticed that the Poetry Foundation recognized his work, which is wonderful. Here is the poem they have of his on their site, which was featured in the American Life in Poetry project, #194.
measuring the height
of a pine from
Rosa’s shadow stretches
seven paces in
low-slanting light of
late Christmas afternoon.
One hundred thirty nine steps
up the hill until the sun is
finally caught at the top of the tree,
twenty to one,
one hundred feet plus a few to adjust
for climbing uphill,
and her hands barely reach mine
as we encircle the trunk,
almost eleven feet around.
Back to the lumber tables.
That one tree might make
three thousand feet of boards
if our hearts could stand
the sound of its fall.
For those of you who have expressed interest in his work, here's a few more poems from around the web:
@ Off the Coast - page down for a review, with poems, of Balance: a Late Pastoral
@ The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
@ Poems from Gulf of Maine - another review of Balance, with poems
@ Issa's Untidy Hut - a review of Russell's chapbook, Each Day
Russell was at the forefront of the Maine organic farming movement. Here on this TED video, he puts it all in perspective, capping it with an excerpt of a poem from Lew Welch:
Finally, an obituary for Russell from the Bangor Daily News, as well as an editorial from the same paper. Truly, Russell was a man whose work and life, both literal and writerly, not only reflected who he was but also who we should be.
Which is probably as close a definition of Bodhisattva as we get here in the good old US of A.
To balance out the geometry that opens this post, here is another poem dealing with 'math' by Russell Libby:
Sun just over the trees.
My shadow, forty-three paces long,
precedes me down the hill.
Plenty of space to think
between here and there.
Photo by Russell Lee
With a turnip,
the turnip farmer points
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