Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Ghost in the Frost Cabin at the Homer Noble Farm, by Gary Margolis


Ghost in the Frost Cabin
at the Homer Noble Farm
It’s all you can do not to
compare the round bales
placed, dropped on the field
to anything other than themselves.
Not to say their silhouettes
are shadows for the deer
to disappear into.
Or they’re giant balls
for giants to play croquet.
An image Frost might
conjure, as he did imagining elves,
almost, rolling stones down a hill
in his poem Mending Wall.
The hill below his cabin
in Ripton, Vermont.
Where Stafford Dragon a real
dragon, his farm’s caretaker,
said things to Frost to make
their way into his poems. Words,
he would say, he stole
from a dragon in Ripton.
As wry as a piece of grass.
The hay, a mix of trefoil and alfalfa
Stafford would mow, rake, flip
over. Then bale in those time-
sensitive square bales.
You rarely see anymore. Given
round ones can be wrapped
in plastic sheaths and stored,
kept outside all winter.
Icebergs, you could say, rising
in the snow. Or sleeping polar
bears curled around themselves.
If you wanted to compare them
to something else. If you felt
compelled to see one thing
in terms of another. Which,
some would say, is the history
of poetry. At least up here
at Frost’s Homer Noble Farm,
his house turned over
to Middlebury College for care-
taking. Although,
there’s nothing much
an institution can do
to keep the elves from bowling
stones, when there’s nothing else
else to do. When his ghost
in the cabin won’t call them in.
Won’t let them speak
for themselves.

~Gary Margolis, September 2201

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