by Barbara Bald

They tower above me—northern red oak,
American beech, eastern hemlock
and snow-laden birch that dip to the ground.
Some offer a light kiss;
others remain snugly imprisoned.

Below in the valley, civilization rushes by.
Here it cannot touch me.
Here, in this wild place,
I am safe.
Standing among giants, I grow taller.

I am the pioneer woman carrying water
from a nearly frozen well.

I am the farmer sheltering my cows
under massive white pines.

I am the emancipated slave clearing
boulder-strewn fields for my first year’s crops.

I am the mother, gasping in labor, determined
to birth my second son.

I am that crawling baby facing a tower
of carpeted stairs.

Turning my cheek to winter’s wind,
like a tree white-coated on its northern side,
I willingly feel the bite of wet snow.
Snow-shoes solid beneath me,
sensing my place, my strength,
I humbly begin the trek home.

IMAGE: “The Lady Clare” by John William Waterhouse (1900).

Barbara Bald and goat

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Bald is a retired teacher, educational consultant and freelance writer. Her poems have been published in a variety of anthologies: The Other Side of Sorrow, The 2008 and 2010 Poets’ Guide to New Hampshire, For Loving Precious Beast, Piscataqua Poems, The Widow’s Handbook, Sun and Sand, In Gilded Frame and other anthologies published by Kind of Hurricane Press. They have appeared in The Northern New England Review, Avocet, Off the Coast and in multiple issues of The Poetry Society of New Hampshire’s publication: The Poets’ Touchstone. Her work has been recognized in both national and local contests. Her recent full-length book is called Drive-Through Window and her new chapbook is entitled Running on Empty. Barb lives in Alton, NH with her cat Catcher and two Siamese Fighting fish.

PHOTO: Barbara Bald and new friend at the Remick Farm Museum, New Hampshire (2015).