Featured Poet: Charles W. Pratt, Brentwood
A former English teacher, mostly at Phillips Exeter Academy, I have been with my wife for the past 27 years owned and operated Apple Annie, a small pick-your own orchard in Brentwood. But I am about to become a former apple-grower also, as we are in the process of selling the orchard to another couple in order to ensure that it continues to provide pleasure and good fruit to the community.
Books include In the Orchard (Tidal Press; an American Library Association notable book for 1986); Still Here (2008, winner of the Finishing Line Press Poetry Prize), and, just out, From the Box Marked Some Are Missing, New and Selected Poems, Volume 1 in the Hobblebush Books Granite State Poets Series.
I have one wife, two children and five grandchildren. "Work" is my most recent poem; what is said above and in the epigraph will explain how it came to be written.
Out of Work
On May 11 of this, our last year in the orchard,
a freeze destroyed the crop.
All summer the apple trees flared bouyant
In the absence of apples. Branches reached up,
Reached out; the mower passed easily under.
Leaves grew broad and abundant. We thought
Of Sundays in well-kept parks, picnics
On the grass, beauty without function,
Unless to be beautiful itself is function,
And felt ourselves vacant – the more so for knowing
That though the branches waved in unison
Like bleachered baseball fans, fat buds
Studded them; they were already at work
Making next year’s harvest, next year
When the great gate shuts us out to wander,
Gardener groundless, poet with no theme.
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