Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

Category: Poetry (Page 1 of 9)

In Response to Wharton Esherick’s Woodcut For Walt Whitman’s “Watched the Plowman Plowing.”

I saw the sower sowing

Horse team and plow

Kicking up tan dust

That furls and curls

Behind them

 

A daylong task

Of sweat and furrow

While dark clouds

Gather in the west

The pace quickens

Rigging jingles and rubs

On dark horse hair

The farmers’ wrists ache

As plow handles twist and turn

 

When the work is done

Farmer detaches plow

Drags himself with the team

Back to the barn

And the rains come

And the seeds rest in their damp soil

To begin their germination

I saw all this close and afar

Rhythms and textures of the land.

 

 

Tom Stock

Says Walt, 1859 – the poem

I greet you stranger

Do you loaf along as I do?

Do you know your whereabouts?

Scrub trees surround us

It is easy to lose your way.

Do you thirst as much as I?

Why not follow me. I invite you

I know these parts well

We are blessed with this Isle of sweet brooks

Creeks that run clean, cold

And flow swiftly free down to the bay

Come, let’s walk together

In conversation and good will

To wet our tongues

At Sampawams Creek

Not far from here

Where we can rest and slake our thirst

 

May I tell you a story

To bide our time as we walk?

 

My mother told me that when she was a young girl

An Indian squaw knocked on her cottage door

Asking if we needed any chairs caned.

Mother invited her in, greatly admiring

The this young girls beauty

Her shiny black hair, her skin, her composure, and grace

The girl carried a basket of rushes

Mother said that no chairs needed repair

Mother wanted her to stay a while

She offered her milk and bread with jam

Mother was transfixed with her, enjoying her company

Though she spoke not a word

After a long time, the girl quietly rose to leave

With a nod of her head and brief eye contact

She left, never to be seen again

Mother waited and hoped for her return

She spoke of this occasion for many years.

first published on line at eratio24.com

tom stock, 2017

Montauket Walker – the poem

Descendent of Chief Wyandanch

Stephen Pharaoh Talkhouse, last of the Montauk Sachems

Often took fifty mile round-trip walks

To carry and deliver letters for .25 cents

From Montauk Village to East Hampton and back

 

A tall man who used a long walking stick

A whaler, Civil War Soldier, chair caner

Buried on Montauk Mountain

The only native with a memorial marker

 

In the most familiar photograph

He sat in a chair, long black hair, long face

Holding his long walking stick

 

A remnant of his small cottage in the woods.

Is a stone foundation on the Paumanok Path

A historic marker near the pit

Marks where he stored his food supply

Tom Stock  – May,  2017

 

 

Is This Real Time?

A mushroom in my hand

Cool to the touch

White and fresh

From the forest floor with

Dead leaves and wood pieces

I can photograph it

Collect it

Identify it

Sketch it

It’s right here in front of me

I walked a mile before I found it.

I hold it up to look at the gills

Very delicate

This is real time

 

Tom Stock

Small Craft Warning

The weather report
In the New York Times
Says it’s not a good sailing day
Wind too strong – she’ll remain
Tied the dock
She is a little wood vintage boat
This is my third year
I’m still learning
Haven’t figured how to furl the sail
With no outboard

Read More

Let’s Take a Big Gulp of America

Sandwiched between Mexico and Canada
America, our country in the heartland of North America
Take a big swig, gulp it down
Keep on drinking
Swallow and do it again
There’s plenty big to choose from
Corn fields in Iowa stretch to the horizon
Soybeans, cotton reaching infinity
Huge chunks of open land in the southwest
Sod farms for instant lawns and chemicals
Homeowners can look like the most wealthy people in the neighborhood
Farms with big ass tractors that take bites that are county-sized chunks
Trucks with tires 12 feet high

Read More

Combustion Chamber – the poem

It is hot and it’s dark
I huddle inside a piston chamber
Of an 8 cylinder Cadillac engine
The piston rises, my space diminishes
Just when I think I’ll be crushed
The piston drops
A spark plug explodes gas vapor
A chamber with crushing pressure
Give it gas, step on it
Pedal to the metal
Anger builds
Ready to explode
Into carbon dioxide
Then it starts again

Read More

Fire – the poem

A frozen stream from
A magnesium rim
Meandered on the ground
From the scorched hulk of a car
In Santa Rosa, California.
Abandoned when a wall of flame
Rushed in and past
They ran to safety
Just in time

Read More

Notice o All 8 Digits – a poem

Both hands and their fingers

And thumbs

Can drum on a hollow surface

When boredom wants something to do

Those vice grip thumbs

Ready to help their partners

Eight fidgety fingers

Each with their own little brain

So many things they can do

How about make a basket?

Train your fingers to make something useful

Keep up the good work

Keep those nails clean and trimmed

Don’t forget your fingers

Where would you be with even one missing digit?

You are incredible

You do a thousand things

Without us even thinking

They are so automatic

Good job fingers

Good job

 

Tom Stock – basket and mat maker

Making Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Big, round red tomatoes

Sit beside a cutting board

With the sharpest, serrated knife I own

I cut hem in half, then half these

Gut the pulp

Lay the juicy, red strips on a screen

Set it in full sunshine

Cover with netting

No insects permitted

 

Hot days are best for evaporation

It may take three or four days

The day star will do its work

No electric dehydrator for me.

 

These leathery almost sightless strips

Shrunken and dry

Are ready for February

When you bring the sunlight back.

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