Old Woman by Sandra Kohler ’61


Sandra Kohler’s poetry has been appearing in print for at least 35 years, in publications such as The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, The Gettysburg Review and The Colorado Review. Her most recent book, Improbable Music, was published by Word Tech Communications in 2011. A previous book, The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003) won the AWP Award Series in Poetry. In 1985 and 1990, she was the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry awarded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In between writing poetry and raising her son, she taught literature and writing everywhere from elementary school to college.

i.

Waking, I hear a bird beating at the window
under the mulberry: black bird, black window,
black tree. It’s grey and thick and breathless,
but dry. I’ll walk, my husband will play tennis.
We will do what we do, enact the day our
calendar disposes. A flash of wings: a blue jay
in the mulberry. These days wings moving
through the garden’s green are usually gold –
gold finch, orioles? My husband walks down
to the garage, carrying the chair he rests in
between sets. We rub and fray a little, we rub
and caress. A dove is cooing somewhere close.
The garden waits. Is it dry enough to weed
the cutting bed? It feels as if summer is over.
It feels as if I am testing a new way of being,
some weight I’m learning to carry, restraints
I am learning to wear. The garments of old
women, the thickness around the waist,
deepening folds of the face, loosening skin.
A different grip on the real, the world, new
expectations. Do I believe a word of this?
A cardinal flies out of the mulberry, across
the roof next door. I imagine and don’t
see his red reflection in the roof pond.

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Poetry: The Stimson Room

Adeline Carrie Koscher ’97 writes poetry and fiction mostly in her sleep and while running or kayaking. Sadly, whole novels have been lost this way. Some of the surviving texts are “Shadows,” a short story included in Altered States Sci-Fi and Fantasy Stories About Change, edited by Amy Locklin, published by Main Street Rag; “Reverie at the Big Y,” a short story published in ninepatch: A Creative Journal for Women and Gender Studies; and poems, “The Ludlow Mills” and “Flotsam,” published in Review Americana. She earned a B.A. in English from MHC, M.Ed. in education from UMASS, and Ph.D. in English with a focus on the New Woman novelist from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She visits the Stimson Room at least once a year.

The Stimson Room, Mount Holyoke College

no choice but to grant her space,
crown her with sky,
~ Rita Dove

Give me the Stimson Room, October afternoon –
iron-rimmed window pushed open,
day’s breath between pages,
marigold sunlight around brick corners –
enter the recesses of the room:

here, I fall in love
with H.D. and Mina Loy, Vincent Millay, Rita Dove,
with words and sound and language;
fall in love with the torn photograph
of women, of these pages, of this room;

escape calculus, politics, reason;
slip from consciousness – meet her,
crown her with sky, for she is one of the many,
and she is each of us, seeking not
bowed-head, demur smile, vacant eye –

I wake, I read, I nod, I am born.

 

Three Poems by Heidi St. Jean

Heidi (Holliday) St. Jean  ’88 received a master of fine arts degree in creative writing with a concentration in poetry from Fairfield University in July 2012. Her ekphrastic poem, “Goddess,” first appeared in Inklight, a publication of Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism. Her poetry has also been published or is forthcoming in Theodate, the online poetry journal of the Hill-Stead Museum, and in Long River Run, the journal of the Connecticut Poetry Society. She previously served as poetry editor for Mason’s Road, and as managing editor for Drunken Boat. She has been working professionally as a writer and editor since 1991.

Goddess
(inspired by the Geoff McGann photograph “Goddess I” on Inklight, publication of Afterimage)

Artemis –
born of a million points
of liquid light,
you move your molecules
into meaning, into form.

Guiding guardian,
draped in maiden’s
moonbeams, your
hands are crescent
horns, your swirling
body a note of music, lifted
from brother Apollo’s lyre.

Lilt your way
through mortal
darkness – come, hunt
our woods for your truth.

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