Peggy O’Brien & Dawn Potter

Thursday, July 5, 2012, at 7:00 pm, poets Peggy O’Brien and Dawn Potter will continue the fifth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

Peggy O’Brien

Peggy O’Brien is the author of two collections of poems, Sudden Thaw and Frog Spotting. She is also the editor of the Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry and a book about Seamus Heaney and other Irish poets called Writing Lough Derg. She spent twenty years teaching at Trinity College Dublin and has taught for the same length of time at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Dawn Potter

Dawn Potter is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently How the Crimes Happened (CavanKerry Press, 2010). Her memoir, Tracing Paradise: Two Years in Harmony with John Milton (University of Massachusetts Press, 2009), won the 2010 Maine Literary Award in Nonfiction. New poems and essays appear in the Sewanee Review, the Threepenny Review, Guernica, and many other journals. Dawn co-directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching, held each summer at Robert Frost’s home in Franconia, New Hampshire, and she lives in Harmony, Maine.

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AMERICAN SHAD / Peggy O’Brien

i.m. Julie Pratt Shattuck

We believe in patterns and need to believe it will happen
Again, so we fix the process with the word “spring”.

No matter that the sweet and sour sounding May apple
Shatters April by baring a bone-white knuckle.

A burning bush, forsythia, predicts the miracle of food,
The current braving, dressed for battle, fasting American shad.

I had a friend who, when she remarried in her seventies,
Planted with her husband the wedding gift of a shad tree.

They’ve both since left, but the annual spawn of ghost petals
Still occurs when the magnolia lights its votive candles.

Yes, we believe the flower belongs to the stem, the stem
To the roots, that all things living and dead bear a name.

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ASTROLABE / Dawn Potter

Like a flour smudge on an old blue apron,
A lunchtime moon thumbprints the sun-plowed,
Snow-scrabbled heavens of Harmony, Maine.
Last night three cops shot Danny McDowell
On South Road, down by the shack you and I rented
That hard winter when the northern lights glowed
And the washing machine froze and I got pregnant.
I built a five-inch snowboy for our half-inch embryo.
You took a picture of it cradled in my mittens.
But today, too late, too late, I see I forgot to worry
About this moon, this ominous rock waxing half-bitten
Over our clueless sentimental history.
………….Picture it falling. A white egg, neat and slow.
………….It doubles. Redoubles. Till all we see is shadow.

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