Friday, December 14, 2012

Russell Libby 2: Small Press Friday

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. 

Applied Geometry

Applied geometry,  
measuring the height  
of a pine from  
like triangles,  
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,  
let’s see,  
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:

Early Morning
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
the way 


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1 comment:

Andrea said...

Thanks for this Don. He came to do what was needed and did it so wonderfully well. A beautiful energy that we all get to share. I wish Russell and his loved ones peace and gratitude.