From "Inside Gene Stratton-Porter's Cabin": A Poetry Workshop, July 22 2017
Given by Shari Wagner, Indiana Poet Laureate
This workshop was part of the Arts in the Parks and Historic Sites program.
It was sponsored by the Indiana Arts Commission and Limberlost State Historic Site.
After Ted Kooser's "Abandoned Farmhouse"
In Memory of Gene Stratton-Porter
She loved every flying thing,
says the casement of moths.
The moon-white wings, now still,
stare out at us. A woman of light,
says the square window looking toward town,
the guest window into the Limberlost,
and the west-facing conservatory--
mosaic of small panes to catch
the afternoon sun. She used her strength
to look outside, says the kitchen window,
oak and heavy and open, a size
she could walk through and return.
She crossed tracks of raccoon and skunk,
toes numbed by snowy drifts,
to rescue a bird in mittened hand,
says the iron heat register
that warmed her feet. She gathered
'round my warmth with stories to share,
says the fireplace holding photographs.
Gene was a loved woman,
says the onyx and pearl pendant
given her on her first anniversary.
She stood patiently in the dark
for nature photos to process,
says the rusty old rose lamp.
We knew her purposeful steps,
say the doorways and portals.
She welcomed every creature,
says the stone fence built
with apertures for squirrels and honeybees.
Nature became the mother
she searched for, says the flash,
of a cardinal in the trees.
Headless, it smells of dust
with eyes like peacock feathers
or the eye of the Magic Eight Ball.
It's imprinted with the Mystic Eye.
It's a wooden pin hand-carved
by a master carpenter.
To me, it's the gossamer cape
of autumn and tattered
like wind-shredded leaves.
Though dead, there's a passive
fluttering, an earthbound spirit,
when once we remember
the glory of spring.
We thank all the talented poets for these two beautiful poems from their day at Limberlost and to Shari Wagner for your guiding hand and the photographs.