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POEM: Ode to Wood by David Budbill

Posted Friday, September 1, 2017
— Connections 2017 Fall

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.