Monday, September 9, 2013

Nature poems -- at Stillwater

     As noted in my 5 August posting, the Stillwater poetry festival (organized by Kevin Clark) was scheduled for last Saturday, September 7 -- and I was (though delayed by the death of a car battery) able to attend.  A time to catch up with old friends -- River Poets Dave Barsky, Carol Ann Heckman, and Janet Locke, and Wilkes-Barre poet Richard AstonPoets and musicians featured at the festival included Lester Hirsh, Pamela Kavanaugh, James Pingry, Doug McMinn, Jack Troy, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, and Sheryl St. Germain. 
     The theme at Stillwater was Nature/Agriculture and my 5 August post included poems from conference organizer Clark and featured reader Kasdorf -- poems that involved both nature and mathematics.  Although found in Kasdorf's opening poem, "Double the Digits," mathematics was scarce.  Sheryl St. Germain, the final reader (currently a Pittsburgher, transplanted from New Orleans) briefly mentions computation and measurement in her "Hurricane Season ."   The full poem is available through St Germain's website; here is one of its stanzas. 

          Those unacquainted with destruction
          ask for wind speeds, amount of rainfall,
          degree of movement. A plotting,
          a computation of the destruction.

Because of my Honda's battery failure (a death that occurred along the scenic Susquehanna, in Bloomsburg's Town Park and was followed by a timely visit from Mausteller's Service Center's rescue van, representing AAA) I did not arrive at the festival in time for the open reading.  Keeping in mind the Nature/Agriculture theme, I had planned to read "Pennsylvania Farm View" and "The Bear Cave" and, if there was time, this "factoring" poem.

December and June      by JoAnne Growney

winds howl
geese go south
nights long     tea steeps
temperatures fall
snowdrifts grow     ponds freeze    
toboggans slide down hillsides
oaks sleep      ice gilds       spring waits
sun afar     wood-fires flame
groundhogs hibernate     winds howl

sun glows     raspberries ripen
catbird sings     iris blooms
days long     streams rush     jays scream
holiday picnics catch flies
crickets chirp     wheat thrives    
tomato plants climb
hay dries     tea’s iced
catbird sings
sun glows

The numbers of syllables in the phrases of this poem follow patterns of factorization of the integers from 1 to 10, then 10 to 1, into prime factors 2, 3, and 5.  For example, line six has phrases of three syllables and two syllables, using factorization  6 = 3 • 2.  Line eight has three phrases with two syllables, using  8 = 2 • 2 • 2.

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