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November Poetry


Four centuries now since they first came here

Pilgrim foot upon our shore,

Leather shorn with metal buckle

seeking refuge from the storm.

Hungry eyes that sought advantage

migrants from an unknown realm,

Looking first to find their shelter

looking then to claim our own.

We first saw them cold and hungry

helpless wanting outstretched hands,

Needing help for their existence

seeking food from bounteous lands.

That first winter we did feed them

taught them how to plant and fish,

Showed them how to build their lodgings

all they needed, all they wished.

When disease they bore befell us

We withstood it, many cried,

Our Great Spirit told us “help them”

though it cost us, many died.

When first harvest came upon them

their great leaders summoned us,

Sit and visit, share our plenty

came we did to show them trust.

When their people kept on landing

numbers growing with the years,

Looking for their own ascendance

looking past us unawares.

Soon we struggled with our neighbors

just to keep our native land,

But their numbers kept arriving

took our nation from our hands.

David Balford, New London, NH


On this rural college campus in New England,

an hour of my writer-in-residence time

disappears watching students pet

a wild turkey. This bird causes controversy.

Some students exclaim, make her the new school

mascot, others chant, kill the beast, it’s lost its flock

and sounds so lonely. On this they all agree.

Her haunting warble pleads for the company

of peers as she sits for students and professors,

who form a line of pilgrimage to kneel beside

her and stroke her sable down. Something

holy is developing in front of the dorms today.

She loves the attention, trusting everyone,

even those who want to put her out of some

purported misery; an insignificant battle

of universal proportions, a turkey war

escalating quickly. Who can a turkey trust?

I must leave tomorrow, this crusade

between good and evil continuing while

I mull over my conundrum, wondering

if they will feed her turkey food and keep

her as a pet or will she fall to the contingent

of hunters who seek her demise. Oh, it’s only

a turkey you say, but I knelt before her in homage.

I saw the sadness haunting her eyes, as if she knows

she will be sacrificed, gobbling up our love

and affection like a saint. I hope she finds a warm

bed in which to sleep, eventually reunites

with her flock and overcomes her adversities.

She is the soul of the young student looking

for a place to sleep at one in the morning.

She is the soul of the gay Mormon student

who has left his assembly. She is the soul

of the student recovering from near fatal

injuries against all promise. She is my soul.

Maybe I should transport her to a new

flock near my home. Maybe she has just

fled, an overpowering Tom. Her

feathers do look a bit ruffled, you see.

These issues scatter like grain in my brain,

overwhelming this poet. I need to cook this

through with a colleague, whose door

I knock on after extending my benedictions

before the turkey. Excuse me, I whisper,

can we talk turkey for a few minutes.

But, I am stopped cold turkey realizing

I am interrupting her holy lunch hour

as I am asked, “have you eaten lunch,

if not, would you like to share my

turkey sandwich?” I stutter and utter,

“thank you, I think I’ll pass,” as the first

flickering thought of becoming

a vegetarian flashes through my mind.

Dianalee Velie, Newbury NH


I could be a bird, I’m up so high

the lake from here is just a distant

snake of blue stretched

at the feet of mountains rising

from earth’s depths like sculpted waves.

First snow marks distant ski paths,

up above, the sky is strung

with clouds of vaporous pearl.

This distance, and this perfect peace

clears vision for the truth of human scale:

We humans are not lesser gods, that

in our wish to order everything

we should make the world a battleground

inflicting devastation on our own—

Beyond far ruins, Eden is still here—

We are not gods, but fleeting humans,

members of each other.

Through the truth of things

that we can see when we rise high enough,

we can be thankful for the good that is—

and we can forgive each other for not being gods.

Joan T. Doran, New London NH


Nothing compares to a forced apology,

be it from your own tongue

or the lurking spite from another’s.

It is similar to the blessing of food

that you know tastes horrible

or know well, its inevitable outcome.

We are grateful creatures, more or less.

If not in honesty, then radically on

this Rubic’s-Cube of a crowded planet.

All the while, there exists a thank you

unsaid somewhere…could this be in you?

Amber Rose Crowtree, Grafton NH


We start


As bits of


Bursts of








A world

Our world


Inside out

Outside in







Where do I belong?

I walk slowly

Toward setting sun

My skin

No longer fits

Kathleen Skinner Shulman, New London, NH


After my Mammogram I said thank you, I think to the technician. We both laughed. 

Thank you for all of our wonderful rain, I think. Thank you for the exercise doing autumn chores,

I think. Thank you for opportunities to learn from my mistakes, I think. Thank you for keeping

me humble, for deflating my ego, for bringing me back to reality when my head is far far away,

and for teaching me so many lessons, I think.       

I think I want one thing when someone knows I really don’t, really shouldn’t, really couldn’t. 

Am I thankful? Yes! Thank you for all I have, for all I am, for keeping me out of my own way. I

will think about all of my blessings.

Jennie Pollard, Windsor VT

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