The Ballad of Betsy Shaw

‘Tis in the dark November, of Seventeen forty four
A crime most foul and evil, passes into Windham lore.
With luck ones able children, can help you with your chores
But life is seldom perfect, and so with Betsy Shaw.
They call her slow and tease her, she cannot tie her shoes
The Shaws are much embarrassed, the work is never through.
Finally Father teaches her to work the barn, I guess,
As she grows into a figure that looks fetching in a dress.
Heaven knows, that’s how it goes.

Continue reading “The Ballad of Betsy Shaw”

Time to Dream

I wish I could fish the Neversink, in 1891
Use silken line and cat-gut, Royal Coachman and Blue Dun
With cane and tweed and pipe smoke, beside a tall elm tree
We’d talk of quills and wood duck wings,
Theodore Gordon and me.

I wish I could fish the Battenkill, in 1942
Learn from Wesley Jordan the art of split bamboo
I’d argue with Jack Atherton, about abstract art and such
And those brookies in the Gunsmith Pool?
–  we’d never get a touch.

I wish I could fish Spring Creek just once, in May of ‘53
Down in that misty valley, where it flows melodiously
The sky is all Green Drakes tonight, as Brown and I go back
To a time before the poison.
Yeah, I wish we had the knack.

I wish I could fish the Hous again, about 1985
With Pete and Jay and all those boys, when they were all alive
Those golden April afternoons pass by in memory
We didn’t know back then it was
as good as it would be.

I get to play the Old Man now, pretend to know it all
I’ve seen the glory that is spring, I’ve watched the last leaf fall.
An old man has to pick and choose the times to go astream
It was always time for fishing, now it’s time to dream.

I wish I could fish in Lobsterville, just one more night in June
Where skunks patrol and stripers roll, under the Vineyard moon
Or Firehole, or Grand Lake Stream, down in the Evening Pool
Do land-locked salmon jump for joy,
or is life just cruel?


©George Jacobi 2013


The Art in Nature and the Nature of Art
George Jacobi 2014

Part of being a trained and observant naturalist is the ability to pick out clues from a complex and busy scene. An expert birder can determine the species from a faraway silhouette just by the body language of the flyer. A great tracker can tell you not only that a white-tailed deer has passed, but whether it was running or walking, male or female, and much more. I only wish I was that skilled. I can, though, pick up the tiny hop of a baby wood frog in the leaf litter as I walk, and I notice the flight of a hummingbird. Many eyes ignore that movement, just categorize it as an uninteresting bug or bee, and move on. Continue reading “Seeing”