Three poems by Kelley Jean White
Seat and back each a single 2” thick board,
curved armrests at ends and mid-bench, Enfield, NH,
c. 1830, 40″ at back, 33″ seat width, 18’ l. $16,800
I remember the tree. As a child I played
beneath it with acorns I fashioned into cups
and saucers on a mossy root. I might have been ten
the year it fell, lightning stuck, into the small pond
beneath it. Nine men came with oxen
and long saws. We children watched. And clapped
as the great trunk was pulled to the sawmill.
Flat boards nearly as wide as I was tall.
A year to make the bench. And seven men
to carry it. Now I have lived long enough to see it
worn with age, curved as our souls shape it
with the weight of our doubts and unbelief.
I am the last to remember sunlight
through the shadows of this once living thing.
Cherry, original natural finish, steel hoop handle
with applied carved wood interior, dovetailed construction,
9 3/4″ h, 14 3/4″ h (to top of handle), 21″ l, 12″ d. $1500
What shall I bring when Mother calls me
to live forever by her side?
Shall I bring her wreaths I’ve woven
from blooms about her mountainside?
Shall I bring fruits I’ve gathered in a basket
of branches from Her tree of life?
Beauteous balms of eternal healing
emblems to the end of strife
Dearest Mother, what can I give you?
who hadst given all to me.
I must take your world and from its gifts
fashion goods, use hands in harmony
A cheerful heart and pleasant visage
kindness to our People here
These are things our Mother treasures
when she calls to hold us near
Mother dearest, you have given
all that I need use to make
A life of use to live in giving
from your gifts more than I take
Fireplace Tools, matching wrought steel
tongs and long handled shovel, small ball tops, flattened petal shaped
log holders, 21″ l; made by a master Shaker craftsman. Provenance: Shovel purchased from the Antique Shop at Canterbury in 1951 for $3.00; Illustrated: Religion in Wood, Andrews, Edward Deming and Faith,
Exhibited:Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, 1964 $2,950.00
Our hard will yet can be shaped by the fire of Faith in our
dance. We are held above the flames by Mother’s hands,
refined, hammered against the anvil of Truth, turned
again and again, stretched, plunged into the cool waters
of Communion. Mother’s eyes shine fire and ice. Her breath
is like a cool wind in summer, her heart opens into a furnace
of refining fierce Delight. Who shall doubt her wisdom?
Who, if she asks us for all, shall keep anything back?
Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner-city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.