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TWO POEMS ABOUT THOREAU

"ENCOUNTER" AND "VISIONS OF THOREAU"

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ENCOUNTER

AT WALDEN POND

 

 

BILL CARAWAN

 

WORDS OF WILLIAMTM

 

 

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 INTRODUCTION 

 

Walden Pond is a beautiful little "ice-age" lake just a few miles outside of Concord, Ma.. 

On July 4, 1845 Henry David Thoreau moved into a small ten by fifteen one room cabin on Walden Pond, which he had built for about $28.00. He lived there for two years, two months, and two days. The book Walden or "Life in the Woods" was the result of that experience.

 

For years Walden Pond has been one of our favorite destinations for my wife and I during off-season. We love to get there about an hour before sunset so we can enjoy a walk around the pond, and then settle on a stone wall to watch the beautiful sunset across Walden.

 

Years ago, while my wife and I were returning very late one night from an activity, there was a full-moon shining. So, we purposely detoured by Walden to enjoy viewing that lovely lake by moonlight. That visit was the inspiration for this poem. Gazing on the beautiful sight, I kept wondering, "what if....?"

 

 

QUOTES OF THOREAU ON WHICH MY POEM IS BASED 

  

"Sometimes, after staying in a village parlor until the family had all retired, I have returned to the woods and, partly with a view to the next day's dinner, spent the hours of midnight fishing from a boat by moonlight, serenaded by owls and foxes, and hearing from time to time, the creaking note of some unknown bird, close at hand." 

 

"In the fall the loon came, as usual, to molt and bathe in the pond."

 

 "In warm evenings I frequently sat in the boat playing the flute, and saw the perch, which I seemed to have charmed, hovering around me, and the moon traveling over the ribbed bottom, which was strewed with the wrecks of the forest". 

 

 

"When I was four years old, as I well remember, I was brought from Boston to this my native town, through these very woods and this field, to the pond. It is one of the oldest scenes stamped on my memory... 

                and now tonight my flute has waked

            the echoes over that very water."

                                                   Thoreau

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                      ENCOUNTER                                     

                                       

                    Late night from Boston, dark country road;

                     Following headlights where Paul Revere rode.

                    Skirting round Concord, with moon traveling west;

                     Longing for Wayland, late evenings' rest.

 

                    Driving past dark woods I sense Thoreau near,                                                   As Walden approaches…and full-moon shines clear.

                    Parking off paved road, I walk with the sound                                                    Of loons in swift flight, Walden bound. 

 

                    Enraptured I gaze from the brow of the hill;

                      As pond is reflected with bright moonlights’ fill.

                    Silvery ripples flee soft autumn breeze                                                                   And whisper...a motion of leaves.

 

                    Standing in shadow of sentinels tall,                                                                       listening to a lone owls’ call.

                    Fox steals away across moon-lit sand

                      To his den, hidden deep in the woodland.                                                        

                    Suddenly…from the opposite shore

                           Comes the gentle splash of an oar…

 

             ...then the haunting sweet melody of a flute!            

 

Soft notes cross over on silvery light,

                Traveling a far distant past in their flight.

               What is this mystery? What does it say? 

                 I wonder and listen...as notes drift away.

 

     One sure conclusion, of this I am sure;

      Time…an illusion, it cannot endure.

Beauty will last, it comes to no end.

        Love in the past, with this we are kin.

 

  BILL CARAWAN

    “POETRY GUY”  

 

                       “and now tonight my flute has waked

                the echoes over that very water”

                                                                           Thoreau                                  

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POSTSCRIPT

 

I hope you enjoyed the poem. If you've never been to Walden I hope you will go soon. But remember...If you show up on a late autumn night with full moon shining and a gentle breeze blowing don't be surprised if you suddenly hear,

 

...the gentle splash of an oar. Then the

haunting sweet melody of a flute!

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The Moon

Henry David Thoreau

 

The full-orbed moon with unchanged ray

Mounts up the eastern sky,

Not doomed to these short nights for aye,

But shining steadily.

 

She does not wane, but my fortune,

Which her rays do not bless,

My wayward path declineth soon,

But she shines not the less.

 

And if she faintly glimmers here,

And paled is her light,

Yet alway in her proper sphere

She’s mistress of the night.

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HENRY DAVID THOREAU

 

   THOREAU'S FLUTE, TELESCOPE AND COPY OF WILSON'S ORNITHOLOGY

 

 

"I bought me a spy-glass some weeks since. I buy but few things, and those not till long after I begin to want them, so that when I do get them I am prepared to make a perfect use of them and extract their whole sweetness."

 

FROM THOREAU'S BOOK "WALDEN" PAGE 3 OF CHAPTER "EARLY SPRING"

 

 

   THE FLUTE AND TELESCOPE ARE

        AT THE CONCORD LIBRARY. 

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DEDICATION

 

This poem was written at Thoreau's passing

by his dear friend Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

 

 

THOREAU'S FLUTE

 

                                                              We sighing said, "Our pan is dead;

                                                              His pipe hangs mute beside the river

                                                              Around it wistful sunbeams quiver,

                                                              But music's airy voice is fled.

                                                              Spring mourns as for untimely frost;

                                                              The bluebird chants a requiem;

                                                              the willow-blossom waits for him;

                                                              The Genius of the wood is lost."

 

                                                              Then from the flute, untouched by hands,

                                                              There cane a low, harmonious breath:

                                                            "For such as he there is no death;

                                                              His life the eternal life commands;

                                                              Above man's aims his nature rose.

                                                              The wisdom of a just content

                                                              Made one small spot a continent

                                                              And turned to poetry life's prose.

 

                                                            "Haunting the hills, the stream, the wild,

                                                              Swallow and aster, lake and pine,

                                                              To him grew human or divine,

                                                              Fit mates for this large-hearted child.

                                                              Such homage Nature ne'er forgets,

                                                              And yearly on the coverlid

                                                             'Neath which her darling lieth hid

                                                              Will write his name in violets.

 

                                                             "To him no vain regrets belong

                                                               Whose soul, that finer instrument,

                                                               Gave to the world no poor lament,

                                                               But wood-notes ever sweet and strong.

                                                               O lonely friend! he still will be

                                                               A potent presence, though unseen,

                                                               Steadfast, sagacious, and serene;

                                                               Seek not for him-he is with thee."

 

       LOUISA MAY ALCOTT

      Image result for small picture of Louisa May Alcott

 

   Do you think the last verse of this poem

      explains my "encounter" at Walden? 

     BILL CARAWAN 

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THOREAU'S COVE AT WALDEN POND

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THIS 

    POETRY PAMPHLETTM 

 

ENCOUNTER

 AT WALDEN POND 

 

is published by 

WORDS OF WILLIAM

 

 

©2013

     William F. Carawan 

    "Poetry Guy"

 

 

All rights reserved 

Boston, Massachusetts U.S.A 

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ANOTHER POEM ABOUT THOREAU

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VISIONS OF THOREAU

"WHILE RIDING THE

     FITCHBURG LINE"

 

 

BILL CARAWAN

 

 

WORDS OF WILLIAMTM

 

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My wife and I moved from Melrose to Ayer and I started riding the Commuter Rail to Boston for work. I was thrilled to know that in the morning going in and the evening coming home that I would

get a great view of Walden Pond, which lies between Concord and Lincoln. It has been

one of our favorite places to visit since we moved to Boston over thirty-five years

ago. She recently suggested that I write a poem about this new experience

...and here it is!

 

Thoreau's cabin under full moonlight.

 

 VISIONS OF THOREAU 

"WHILE RIDING THE

    FITCHBURG LINE".

 

I departed North Station, 

On this moon-lit occasion, 

Riding the Fitchburg Line.

 

Anticipating Walden Pond, 

Feeling an ageless bond. 

Full-moon a special sign. 

 

Since 1840’s a Fitchburg train 

Traveled tracks that ran the same

Along pond’s shore.

 

Thoreau cursed each train passing, 

Thru his world…trespassing. 

Billowing smoke, and constant roar! 

 

A move to New England decades ago. 

Discovering Walden, loving Thoreau! 

Knowing the illusion of time.

 

December night, homeward bound 

Past Lincoln Village I soon found 

Words of Thoreau coming to mind. 

 

Moon-lit Walden, I hoped to see... 

If only his little cabin could be. 

With Thoreau warmed by a little hearth.

 

Thru cupped hands, I saw smoke rise 

From tiny chimney to moon-lit skies. 

An amazing vision from the heart. 

 

Thru windowpane a candlelight, 

Glimmering thru enchanted night. 

Revealed his one room cabin.

 

Then…passing brief vision is gone. 

A Concord stop, then I head for home. 

Not surprised...this vision should happen.

                                               

 Bill Carawan 

 "Poetry Guy"

 HENRY DAVID

THOREAU

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THIS 

    POETRY PAMPHLETTM 

 

VISIONS OF THOREAU

 "WHILE RIDING THE

     FITCHBURG LINE"

 

is published by 

WORDS OF WILLIAM

 

 

©2019

     William F. Carawan 

    "Poetry Guy"

 

 

All rights reserved 

Boston, Massachusetts U.S.A 

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