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beth feldman brandt


beth feldman brandt

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greenleaf poetry press


Copyright Š 2014 by Beth Feldman Brandt All rights reserved

Design by Deidra Greenleaf Allan Set in AT Sackers Heavy Gothic and Hoeffler Text Greenleaf Poetry Press Flourtown, Pennsylvania


contents preface............................................................... v caretakers.......................................................... 1 Caretaking.................................................................................................2 Bartram’s Boxes........................................................................................3 Correspondence...................................................................................... 4 Helpmeet..................................................................................................5 journeys............................................................. 7 Papers........................................................................................................8 Tulips........................................................................................................ 9 Osage-Orange.........................................................................................10 Transplanting.......................................................................................... 12 storms............................................................... 13 Storms.....................................................................................................14 Without Apology (1758)........................................................................ 15 Revolution (1777)....................................................................................16 Treatise/Hurricane (1785)....................................................................... 17 Solace (2012)............................................................................................ 18 acknowledgments............................................. 19

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preface In 2010, a storm blows through a Philadelphia garden by a river — a garden that was the home and living legacy of the Bartrams, America’s first botanists. Thirteen historic trees are lost in moments. These poems were created in response to a call to artists to make work with or inspired by these trees and by the story of the Bartram family. Each of these poems pays homage to one of the thirteen trees that were lost. The Bartrams were farmers and explorers, people of commerce and creativity. They were steadfast and complex, driven by curiosity and a search for knowledge. The Bartrams’ faith was essential to their inquiry. A faith that seeks to find meaning in even the most devastating loss. Solace. — BFB 2013

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caretakers

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caretaking we inherit trees meadow .a river hewn stone home .raised up floorboards worn smooth .with lullabies magnolia .more ancient than bees dear — .please send forgive remember me generations .of singular days awakened .laid to rest passed .hand .to hand

cucumber magnolia

this is is not .history

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bartram’s boxes We travel at risk of health and untold loneliness to uncover what has been seen only by Creek or crocodile among the brambles. How we love each fruit or flower for its singularity, the way we love a wife’s touch, a son’s quick mind, a daughter’s attentiveness. Ours is the commerce of curiosity, seeds gathered, sifted, tenderly nestled in moss, until with sunlight and breath, each will spark like tinder, reveal its secret — beauty, fragrance, usefulness — brilliant as sunset, dark as coffee, a balm — sent to bloom across oceans like the children who blossom in our absence.

kentucky coffeetree

We are men of science. Men of faith. This is our praise.

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correspondence Dear — We will plant a wilderness as if we can tame our restless wanderings within these small acres as if we can tame nature as if nature doesn’t every day challenge our faith with deluge or drought or Februaries as if nature doesn’t turn reason upside down with silverbell flurries in spring or blankets of snow that warm the earth. We will plant a wilderness

silverbell

as if we, ourselves, have made this new world that was here all along unnamed —

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helpmeet

boxwood

The names repeat­— Mary, Ann, Elizabeth — shared with a grandmother or a sister, lost. Call them the one who died, the one who bore nine children, William’s twin. The ones who stayed, who defined the lines of home like hedgerow, functional and unremarked. Their scant artifacts — wedding shawl, broken teacup, one precise drawing of a small woodland bird. Their lives clipped like topiary — rooted, smaller than they could have been had there been the room to roam. Call them — dear spouse, dear love, thy good wife — lay sprigs of boxwood on their graves, remembrance sown, evergreen.

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Profile for Greenleaf Poetry Press

Solace  

Poems by Beth Feldman Brandt created in response to a call to artists to make work inspired by the Bartram family and the 13 historic trees...

Solace  

Poems by Beth Feldman Brandt created in response to a call to artists to make work inspired by the Bartram family and the 13 historic trees...

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