April is National Poetry Month and The Valley Reporter is highlighting the work of local poets.

Ann Day, The Valley Reporter’s nature columnist, is a published author, poet and photographer. A longtime Fayston resident and former owner of the Knoll Farm, she now lives at Rivermeade near Dartmouth in New Hampshire. Here is her poem:

By Ann B. Day

It starts in February 
with great horned owlets in tree hollows,
the black bear sow suckling her cubs in a rocky den,
red osier buds on stems that poke up through snow.

Crusty drifts melt and spread across 
March’s brown fields with ribbons of green, 
creating rivulets that run down into ditches,  
brooks rushing on to the river below.
Purple violets, spring beauties, bell worts, 
Dutchman’s britches, red-dog trillium 
push up through last year’s leaves
on April’s south-facing forest slopes.
In swamps, the tight buds of red maple 
change to orange-red flowers,
bluets appear in wintered-brown grass, 
leaf buds open on backyard lilacs. 
Under a hemlock in woods near the farm
a doe lies waiting for the birth of her fawn.  
The pent, pent, pent mating calls of woodcock
rise above the old cow pasture. 
Now, from the farm below in today’s dawning,
I hear bleating of ewes and their newborn lambs,
I know that the birthing,
the resurrection of life, has truly come.

Harmony Belle Devoe, Warren, wrote, “I am in seventh grade at Harwood. I love writing and poetry; it feels so freeing and satisfying to finish a poem you love and can share with others. Poetry hardly has no rules, which is exhilarating, and it is a more creative and interesting way to share your ideas, thoughts and feelings. I am part Filipino, so I was emotionally affected by the Asian hate crimes that were going on, and still are, so I decided to write and share about it.”

Her poem, “Almond Eyes,” was included in “A Year of Its Own: Pandemic Stories,” a compilation of poetry, artwork and stories by Mad River Valley residents put together by the Warren, Waitsfield and Moretown libraries last year. She read the poem at a reading at Toast and Eggs in November.

Almond Eyes

You are born 
And into this life of
Almond eyes
Caramel skin
Darkest chocolate hair
A trifle of color

You grow
And into this life of
Switching of tongue
Beads of phrases strung
“Where are you really from?”

You hear of gunshots
In the streets
Adzuki bean sweets
The surrenders and defeats
Bow down to the white man’s feet

They gave you your life 
Now you pretend
You don’t feel the cuts of the knife
They capitalize
On their Asian wives
Now we rise
They must do more than just apologize
Their wrongs will never be rights
We realize
We must fight for these rights

We descend 
Like the gods
And we grow
Like the cherry tree
We dissent 
We’re not robots
And we know
We cannot be controlled

We die
And from this life of
Almond eyes
Caramel skin
Darkest chocolate hair
We leave 
Our legacy;
Be proud 
Of your Asian heritage
We will build the bridge
You will tread it
Might have to mend it
But eventually, 
This will be
Our legacy

I stand in my Asian soul
Of the foods and smells of the kitchen
Golden sun medallions
Sesame oil
We toil 
For the Western’s greed
For equity, equality, and peace

I stand in my Asian soul
My head held high
My almond eyes

Find work by Valley poets Susan Bauchner and this writer (Erika Nichols-Frazer), along with many other Vermont poets, posted throughout Montpelier for the month of April as part of a project led by the Kellogg-Hubbard Library called PoemCity.