The white clapboard cottage my parents rented for the summer
looked tiny in its eighty acres of tall grass,
Queen Anne’s lace and birch.
Fifteen, I’d lie in the field on my back in the sun,
nostrils tickled by scents of soil and dandelion.
I’d hold a novel above my head,
occasionally putting it to the side
to gaze at the vast dome of sky.
But though clouds serenely scudded through the blue
suddenly a wind would whip the hammock out back
and in minutes a melodramatic thunderstorm
would be throwing bolts fifty feet from the cottage,
from which we’d watch sheets of water smash against the windows.
After, I’d traipse with my fox terrier up the dirt road
picking glistening raspberries, footballing stones and watching hawks glide.
Once my dog caught a fat gopher but I kicked it free.
Sometimes I’d run into the old farmer-neighbor
who’d give me a crusty “Hey ’ya!”
Other times I’d climb the hill
to gaze at the rounded, ancient Green Mountains all around.
What could I have wanted that Vermont did not provide?
I knew it couldn’t last, summers end,
childhood fades and joy flies,
so I tried to drink it in and hold it inside myself.
Here it is.
—from Rattle #17, Summer 2002
Marc Elihu Hofstadter: “Poetry is a way for me to make a little sense of a world of consumption and materialism, speed and noise. Each day I write I lose myself in a place exciting and fanciful, and I then try to carry some of this back with me into the daily swirl of things. Without it I’d be lost.”