Poems by Robert Ronnow

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Dendrology

by Robert Ronnow

From Canary Fall 2017

Bob lives in the Hoosic River watershed, a tributary of the Hudson River. He observes streams hurrying or hesitating toward the Hoosic, and an occasional black bear, porcupine, barred owl or pileated woodpecker, during his morning rambles in the Taconic Mountains.

Surveying
northern autumn afternoon
Pitcherelli, ex-marine, body-builder,
Lussier, long-haired father of three dark-skinned children
and myself, sharp-edged loner, ex-lover of a fair share of
            women
are belly-laughing in the dying sun. Clouds.
The crew, among trees.

Laughing
over recent visits to marvelous cities where
we could not keep ourselves from touching the terminal
            buds
of numerous exotic trees
and attracting ridicule of stylish girls and tame boyfriends.
Pitcherelli before the Albany bus station
shaking hands with a red pine planted thirty years ago.
Lussier, one hand in a child's hand and the other
feeling scabrous bark of urban woody plants.
Myself among partially shaved heads and leathery aromatic jackets
getting close to the hairy bud of an unidentified poplar or sycamore.

People
laughed, but we laughed best
back on our mountain
under the blackening weather.




Snake Creek

by Robert Ronnow

From Canary Winter 2017-18

Tired body aches. Long walk on starry night–
ears attuned for bear at creek, or cougar.
Nothing, not a doe.
                                    But that afternoon
came upon a healthy young buck in a meadow.
High up. And a hawk left a feather for me.
Old, old stands of lodgepole pine, grey bark
like wrinkled hides of elephants. Thick carpet
of dead needles.
                               Thirst. Sit at snowbank
for an hour eating snow. Burn tongue.
To soon after stumble upon a pond and the place
that a creek springs from the mountain. Water
indescribable. Eat ravenously and drink deep
gulps.

Climb highest rocky peak at dusk. Razor-back
ridge. Mother hawk scream nearby. Must
backtrack and then go straight down near dark
feet fall through layers of scrub pine, hands
grab for the live stalks only support against
broken bone.
                          Choose steep narrow bed of loose rocks,
surely waterfall in some other season and descend
on ass and all fours, feet first always fearful
it will end in an uncontrollable hundred foot drop.
Trickles of water nearing bottom.
                                                              Cracked hands, raw
behind, cross final snowbank and attain road
along Snake Creek.




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