Tuesday, December 29, 2015


image from the Pejepscot Historical Society, Brunswick, Maine
citation credit Fred Koerber
Feldspar Quarry Topsham, L A Lee, 1892

The Human Cost of Stone

where the stone came out of the ground
where the holes are found
Italian tent city the
dust in their lungs -
the feldspar, reduced to particles,
in Brunswick the Klan marches
down the street -
what were their names -
the workers, the marchers, the stones all
down the river,
down the river and
gone, dust to dust,
the human cost of stone.

Gary Lawless

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December walks

photo by James McCarthy

I am tree
roots and branches
my route
is in the top
the root is light.

Let us walk lightly
let us speak light


The river was amazing.
There was so much of a difference
in its water level from now and
when I saw it in the summer.


I see the furry face
warm nose ...
memories of the cold winter past
walking on the same path
we have different journeys.

Cathance River Runs
Rich Nourishing Watershed
Community Life

Walking in Maine
Dreaming of Spain
(Camino Bound)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

december's here

Jim McCarthy photo

nov 28
trekking upways & sideways
long ways and winding ways
back ways and upside-down ways
the white vest bobs
the braid flicks back and forth
the mighty Hutch
where is she taking me?
A trip down memory lane perhaps?
there is more to say
more to tell
Let the leaves change with time
Let's take the long way home


Dream of Ferns

I heard myself muttering thinking aloud
"Only the clouds are as old as the ferns
and only the ferns are immortal"
I heard the ferns whispering singing aloud

We've burst up in your path and you're hip-deep
in our tossing arms arrows and wings
when you walk out of the woods to the road.
On a dry day we have the scent of
bruised fruit and wet hair - in the rain
we smell like frozen blood or boiled rice.
Toward evening we become grave in our celebrations.
Doesn't that sound like something you'd say?
You've been repeating your labors,
creating us over and over again.

"And on the Moon, the Sea of Tranquility
is made of a blotch of split fern-stipes."
Hasn't your mind told you that?

You think we have names - we have no names.
and if we have names, you could never know
how they sound when we say them.
As many of us as there are, we have no names.

We're the ferns
we have no pity and we can never be cruel
and we never love in the way you know love.
We're the ferns and we're never sorry.

If you want to hear as we hear:
Tonight take us down with you when you go
down beneath underfoot to your sleep in that soil,
in death, to that palace
that place that you think is a dream.
Take us down with you into the dream.

You think we have eyes - we have no eyes
but we saw whole years pass by while you flinched
at this beauty of ours. You have eyes
and you see that we know we're alive.
We're the ferns.

We hold the shade underfoot and we say no prayers
and when you are sad we are not sad.
We're dying, as always,
but would you be sorry to die as we die?

You've seen the time when a hot day turns cold
when the clouds and treetops are stopped
and the wind burgeons out of a hole in the earth.
Where at first the ferns seemed to be sulking
the spokes of the ferns are set spinning,
every fern wheel in the woods
has got spinning,
and it seems that green whirlpools
come closer to you, quietly pulling
you into a dream. You'd be
welcome there if you would go.

We're the ferns and we die there
a death without pain.
And then still dreaming
we come again
And we're never too deep
never too wide and we're never too many
never too silent never too dark.
We're the ferns and we;re never sorry.

Stephen Petroff

Jeff Nelson - left as a page in the CREA Walks journal at the map kiosk

photo by Jim McCarthy

Sunday, November 15, 2015

from the CREA kiosk log - mid November

chickadee chickadee dee dee
ah there, high in a tree
staring back at me


the orange leaves blaze on the
trees and the clouds block out
the sun, i walk along the path
until my time is done

(Lydia MM)


kinglets in the crowns of trees,
here, where the lightning touched,
beaver stumps the
rapids, water,


woods in November
a palette of brown and green
wind whispers gently

woods in November
leaves laugh loudly underfoot
bare limbs sigh above

Barbara Snapp, Nov. 15


Photo by James McCarthy

working on the image map

Here are the beginnings of an image-map of the Preserve -
please add your own special places, sightings, experiences -

Here is where I saw the mink.
Here is where the muskrats were.
Here is where you stop hearing cars.
Here is where you start to hear the river.
Here is where the ice-pancakes were.
Here is where the lightning touched.
Here is the rock that
looks like a whale.
Here is the place where,
in the same tree,
an indigo bunting and a magnolia warbler.
Rattlesnake trail.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Taking Walks

As a part of the offerings of the Cathance River Education Alliance (in Topsham, Maine) poet Gary Lawless and photographer/writer Jim McCarthy will be artists-in-residence for the next year at the Cathance River Nature Preserve. They will be walking the trails, coordinating walks, and encouraging everyone to collaborate, through the sharing of writing, photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, music, dance - in whatever ways the Preserve stimulates a response. There will be monthly group "creative" walks, an ongoing public "journal" available to anyone walking the trails, to share images, ideas, thoughts and responses. There will be "poetry walks", an "image-map" project, and much more. We are just beginning to birth the idea, so please feel welcome to share your ideas, and to take part.
Our next walks are:
Sunday Nov. 15, 9 AM
Sunday, Dec. 20, 9 AM
For more information on CREA click here
and for a trail map click here
Text for this blog will come from the ongoing journal at the CREA Preserve - so please add your writing to it there( the journal is in the trail map box, at the kiosk in front of the ecology center) or you can also email it to Gary at chimfarm@gwi.net

To see Gary's essay on "Poetry Walks" go here
Please join us!

Here's a poem by Kristen Lindquist, from an April 24 posting on her blog:
Cathance River

High water.On the banks:
tight buds of mayflowers,
single kinglet singing.

check out her blog here

Photo by James McCarthy

and here's a poem by Jim McCarthy:
water wears down rock
the overflowing
swish and swirl of it
finding the openings
making them wider
slow moving
fast flowing
falling to the sea