Monday, October 28, 2019

October Songs by Robert Demaree

Part One: 2009

A change of seasons
Shifts cloud and light about October skies;
Against a luminous gray, it casts
Albescent brightness
On those gingerbread cottages
Across the pond
Or on the red gold stripe of sugar maple
Up a ridge on Gunstock,
Dramaturgy on a crisp day.

At the restaurant the owner smiled
As though he might remember us.
I see him twenty years ago,
Holding the door for my mother,
A kind touch, softly, on the elbow,
Her gnarled hands gripping the walker,
Slowly up the ramp.
That was the summer my father died;
Time accrues before you feel
The mnemonic pull of a place.

Part Two: 2019

We filled the birdfeeders three weeks ago.
Against the yellow wood
We can see they have not gone down
At all.
We may wind up spreading the seed
On the ground
For the chipmunks and squirrels,
Who will consider it their due.
Forty degrees on the porch this morning.
In town orange lights set out for Halloween,
Evidence of lives that go on
When we are not here.
The somber beauty of leaves turning
In the rain.
Along the shore
The water pipe lies atop the ground.
The town will turn it off next week.
The birdfeeders are still full.
The birds have headed out
And so will we.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders, published in June 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club, and have appeared in over 150 periodicals. A retired educator, he resides in Wolfeboro, N.H. and Burlington, N.C.


  1. Love this poem. It's perfect in every way. I specifically like how the poet juxtaposes the natural beauty and festivities of October with the smile of the owner at the restaurant that jogs his memory of the kind owner holding the door for his mother 20 years ago, and I can see his mother so clearly from his poetic description - Her gnarled hands gripping the walker / Slowly up the ramp. Then soon after, we get hit with Time accrues before you feel / The mnemonic pull of a place, what October Song is really about.

    Brilliant! I look forward to reading more of Robert Demaree's poetry.

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words, which Corey called to my attention. Red Eft a great place to be!