David Budbill, a Vermont poet, left us a legacy of poetry about living in rural Vermont when he died last year. He and his family lived in a small cabin in Wolcott, Vermont, for more than 40 years where he created the fictional town of Judevine, named after a local mountain. He populated Judevine with a colorful assortment of humble local folk in poems that have made him a beloved voice of the Vermont mountains. The New York Times’ obituary of Mr. Budbill said that he had “a gift for expressing the essence of the state and its people in burnished monosyllables”. Wendell Berry called the poet’s work “a delight and a comfort”. Here’s one of David’s poems from his Happy Life (2011) that represents the spirit guiding Cold Hollow to Canada:
Ode to Wood
Too long have I not sung the praises
of our hardwood trees,
felled, cut, stacked, dried, and hauled
to the house and woodshed,
then split and brought inside all winter long
to put inside our woodstove,
to burn, to keep us warm. This wood
that grows less than half a mile
from our house, these trees
that grow faster than I
can cut them down,
always make more
than I can use.
Oh, finally I sing the praises of wood.
Homegrown and handy, abundant,
convenient, cheap, the growth of these hills
right here at home.
Finally now, I sing the praises
of our hardwood trees.