From Away

Apr 13, 2018

Today’s poem is “From Away” by Sylvester Pollet. who died in 2007. He taught writing at the University of Maine. 

He was also the editor of the Backwoods Broadsides Poetry series—publishing 100 issues over 12 years. In his writing he said that he was influenced by the nature poetry of Japanese and Chinese writers. His wife, artist Majo Kaleshian writes, “Sylvester wrote "From Away" in the early days (late 70s) when like so many back-to-the-landers, we were learning how to be here, how to stay here….”

From Away
by Sylvester Pollet

I'm beginning to see
how many years it takes–
not to learn the skills,
any fool can crosshatch his knuckles
on a radiator
changing yet another
rebuilt waterpump–
but it takes awhile
to learn to cut wood
as the neighbors do,
not to see yourself;
to plant the garden
not for philosophy
but because the soil is ready and it's time.

Poem copyright ©1982 Sylvester Pollet.
Reprinted from entering the walking stick business
Blackberry Press, 1982
by permission of MaJo Keleshian.