AND ALL THAT’S LEFT

A collier cleared the land,

dug a level platform,

thirty feet across.

Stacked logs,

covered them with dirt,

lit a fire,

heated wood,

kept out oxygen.

And made-

14 days later,

when the dirt was scraped away–

charcoal.

He sold it to the

iron smelters and the tobacco growers.

What’s left?

Bullets, cigars,

and the black spot

on the blue-patch trail

at the nature center.*

PATTY 4/30/13

* “Housatonic State Forest consists of nearly 10,000 acres in 5 towns. It is the only Connecticut state forest containing part of the world-famous Appalachian Trail (AT). This trail runs for over 2,100 miles, from Georgia to Maine.More than 3,000 acres of original purchases for the state forest were from one iron company in 1927. This gives a hint of the region’s land use history. Most of the picturesque hills that make up the topography of Housatonic State Forest were once repeatedly clearcut to feed the charcoal demands of the iron industry. Abundance of charcoal mounds across the landscape (round, flat-top mounds approximately 20 feet across) is evidence of this history. Today, the trees have re-grown, and the rugged hills of the state forest provide a panoramic backdrop for the scenic Housatonic River, producing what is arguably the most beautiful region of Connecticut.”

8 thoughts on “A Last Poem for Poetry Month–this one inspired by the charcoal mound I came upon in the Housatonic State Forest.

  1. Forest floor flowers every spring is one of my favorite childhood memories. So much beauty where almost nobody ever saw it. A sprawling industrial park is on that site now.

    Like

  2. Right this minute, for a few more days only: florest-floor flowers going crazy as fast as they can while the canopy girds its loins to unfurl the shade. Thanks for reminding me of this brief orgy of color every Spring.
    Patty

    Like

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