Archives for posts with tag: New Hampshire

Breaking News (The Great Stone Face has Collapsed!)
after Frank O’Hara
by Kelley White

The Old Man of the Mountains has collapsed!
I was driving along and suddenly
the radio started squawking and staticking
and you said it was the oldies station
but the oldies don’t hit you on the head
hard so it was really alternative rock and
static and I was in such a hurry
to get you to McDonald’s but the traffic
was acting just like the radio
and suddenly I hear the DJ
there is no radio in the White Mountains
there is no static in New Hampshire
I have seen a lot of mountains and a lot of men
and some of them acted perfectly disgraceful
but they never actually collapsed
oh Great Stone Face we love you get up

Previously published in The Cape Rock

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 NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What could be better to remember as a Landmark we can’t visit this summer than a Landmark that has itself disappeared? Growing up in New Hampshire, the Old Man was a steady presence. I spent one summer in college working with the Forest Service in the White Mountains with the Great Stone Face as a constant backdrop. Then, after millennia, it crumbled away one foggy night. We were supposed to gather on July 10 (on what would have been my mother’s ninety-fifth birthday) to bring her ashes back to New Hampshire, but our trips all had to be cancelled. Perhaps by her hundredth birthday things will be “normal” again.

PHOTO: The author in the 1970s, when the Old Man was still standing. The beloved landmark collapsed on May 3, 2003.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

house-lawn copy
To Do List
by Midge Goldberg

The mud room door latch doesn’t always work.
Old and bronze,
sometimes it sticks,
and you fiddle with it
on your way out.

When the back door opens,
the air pressure
changes, makes the mud room door
open on its own—it floats ajar
till someone comes along
to shut it.
I’ve seen you push it gently closed
with your fingertips.

Other times
it seems to lock itself
and no amount of key-jiggling or curses
unlocks it.
I know that thud on wood, the sigh,
when you finally give up,
go around through the kitchen.

Though you always carry
a Swiss Army knife,
I tell people, you’re ornery,
you like the door like that—
unpredictable as the weather
that broke it,
wore it down,
then slips it open with a breeze.
You’ll never fix it.
I know you.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Living in an old house gave me many opportunities to imagine all the people that had lived in it before, and what it was like to live there in 1880. Was there a road, neighbors? How isolated was it, and how did they live day-to-day? What did they eat? Did they grow all their own food? Where had they come from? There was always a special feeling in that house, and the doors seemed like the magic wardrobe by which I could enter back into those early times.

midge-goldberg red dress summer

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Midge Goldberg received the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award for her book Snowman’s Code, and the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Measure, Light, Appalachia, and Poetry Speaks: Who I Am. Her other books include Flume Ride and the children’s book My Best Ever Grandpa. She is a longtime member of the Powow River Poets and has an M.F.A. from the University of New Hampshire. She lives in Chester, New Hampshire, with her family, two cats, and an ever-changing number of chickens. Visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @midgegoldberg.

Round Pond
by Kelley Jean White

Always twilight. I pull the heavy oars
through dark water until we balance,
cool air and water, night stilling, silent,
but for the living web of insect song spun
to our skin. We could hear a fly
settle on the face of the pond, hear the fish
rise to meet it, the still circles of each rise
ringing out until each fish’s hunger met
our wooden boat and quavered back.

Night birds dipped, smooth swallows,
flickering bats; no human sound
but the shipped oars dripping and
the shirr, shirr, shirr as my father gathered
the line in his palm for the cast,
the quick run-out as the trout pulled taut,
the moonlit silver dulling in the dark creel.

My father knew each hatch, which mayflies
lived for only one night’s flight, or two,
or three, or five. He knew the larva
and the nymphs, each swimming, clinging,
crawling stage. He’d catch a chrysalis
on the net’s edge to watch the rough husk split
then dry and enter air. So many white wings.

He’d lean a moment, the lit match quick
against his young face, the cigarette cupped,
match shaken, his hands brisk to tie a leader
or untangle a knot. I wet a finger. No wind.
Moon. I lay on the bottom of the drifting
boat, rocking, palms open to stars, so many
risings, light, sound, circles, whispers of fish,
my father dim in the bow, casting and reeling in,
my whispering breath, the water gentling,
lapping, and he rowed us swiftly home.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Round Pond” is a real place in my little hometown, Gilford, New Hampshire. I wanted to capture the twilight moments with my father whose fishing hat still hangs on a hook by the door though he died in 1999. I hoped to include all the senses and sounds of those evenings. The poem was included in an on-line chapbook Every poem I write for my father is called twilight, published by Tamaphyr Mountain Poetry, and in a featured poet section of Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts Spring, 2009. I hope my father would have liked it, but I didn’t send poems out for consideration for publication until shortly after his death.

IMAGE: “Gilford, New Hampshire, pond in winter” by Mim White. Prints available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her most recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame  (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.