SHE PEEKS BEYOND THE HILL

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She peeks beyond the hill at me,
And doesn’t think that I can see.
I’ve passed her by while pondering peaks
To find the treasure that I seek.

She peers over the hill at me,
Like lass that yearns to be set free.
I’ve seen her close and seen her far
To comprehend just where we are.

She scans upon the hill at me
With gaze to last eternally.
I look up at her in a trance,
And dream that we could share this dance.

She calls around the hill to me,
Hikes satin dress above her knee.
And, as I turn away to go,
She tries to not let scorn half-show.

She peeks beyond the hill at me,
And doesn’t think that I can see.
That peak stands tall, which I have climbed,
And tries her best to undermine

My fickle fortune with her will,
To lure me up and then to kill.
Here she shall taunt me in her chill;
And, though I turn, I love her still.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

STONE WALLS

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Stone walls were meant for summer’s clime,
To demarcate a subtle line
Between the place we’re meant to be
And where we are for all to see.

Stone walls aren’t meant for winter’s woe,
When snow pulls heels in undertow.
They are not meant when things are chilled,
Not even when our mug is filled.

Stone walls aren’t meant when things are gray,
When fades in full the sun and day.
They are not meant when world is white,
Not even when our fire is high.

Stone walls aren’t meant for when we yearn
To love another and to burn.
They are not meant when youth grows old,
Not even when our story’s told.

Stone walls aren’t meant for you or me,
Who live our lives with passion, free.
They are not meant when times are hard,
Not even if we’re deeply scarred.

Stone walls were meant for summer’s clime,
To demarcate a subtle line
Between the place we’re meant to be
And where we are for all to see.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

ODE TO MOSES ROBBINS

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(A tribute to a distant uncle and pioneer of Milan, New Hampshire)

A flag still stands next to his stone,
A marker that he bears alone.
He traveled far to build these roads,
And carried many wagon loads.

He passed the road through Milan Hill
So many times by force of will.
But then came British and a war,
So he marched North with many scores,

Frontier to guard, and there some died
Of illness, of wounds; many cried
For them, yet still that boy returned,
So full of youth and fires that burned.

He finished cutting out these lanes
Which we now walk, through many pains,
Then survived wife, daughters, sons,
And left for new life swift-begun.

But in old age he would return,
Back to these hills he always yearned,
To rest beside those he beloved,
This place of peace, at last, enough.

A flag still stands to mark his stone,
A marker that he bears alone.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

BEYOND WHAT’S LONE

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Break free from reef and toil and tide,
Discover isles, heart’s churnings ride,
To chart own course where dreams abide,
That Place we call our own.

Horizons holy sift and seek,
Yes, strengthen inner soul made weak,
And courage find to tame what’s meek;
Grasp Life beyond what’s lone.

Eric M. Vogt, Copyright 2019

snow bows

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snow bows the branches
drifts to earth and lifts the soul
measure birch can bear

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

WHEN CHILL DESCENDED ON OUR WORLD

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When chill descended on our world,
I walked on winter’s way.
The pines held snow as drops of pearls,
Ten days from Christmas Day.

My mind was sharp as mist in air,
My hope was just as high
As canvas painted with a care,
As sound of lullaby.

The snow hung loose in gentle curls
From tips and tops of pines,
As weave of hair of little girls
At play with joyful cries.

I voiced a word which held her still,
As still as gray in skies,
The start of northern winds and chill,
And fade of gleam in eyes.

The day dipped into pin-prick cold;
I walked on winter’s way
When I felt all my life unfold
Ten days from Christmas Day.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

JUST JACK AND I

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Mountain stood, last chance of season,
As though men need mere ounce of reason
To chase adventure in the sky,
So we set off, just Jack and I.

It took the greater part of morn
To reach the tree line, rock adorned.
We hadn’t kept in time with plan
Quick-hatched in mind by dog and man.

At King’s Ravine we stopped in awe
And gazed upon its gaping maw.
The path leaned close to death’s sharp edge.
We stared down from its fearsome ledge.

It’s there we were passed by a youth
On way to top of Adams, proof
Within his run, of both our age
And how close we would come to page

That marked the ending of our Books.
He gave us just two glancing looks
And he was gone. Jack said “Follow!”
I said “Not!” and took a swallow

Of warm water; stiffening, I
Stood, young man swiftly gone from eye.
We made peak late (two hours) to find
A couple hiking, of like mind,

In scramble up the other side
Of Adams, where the shadows hide,
To be bathed, as we, by the sun.
Their dog and mine seemed just begun.

But we took time to ponder view
That canines did not share, nor knew.
When photos and brief speech were done,
We said goodbyes, lone trails still long.

I gazed, concerned, on sun’s quick arc
Which threatened us from end with dark.
We took the gentler-angled way
Down Madison and lost the day.

We grazed off trail barely re-found,
And there I laid upon the ground
Littered by boulders, for I knew
We could not make it in blind hue.

Poncho beneath, blanket above
Became our camp, shared with a love
Held between corgi apt-named Jack,
And master, enveloped by black.

He slept; I didn’t, ache from rocks
And climb up Adams, tripped by pocks
That littered both the peak and path,
And–I suspect–of God’s own wrath.

When daylight came I lifted pack
And I and corgi then went back
To place we started, it not same—
Not quite the place from which we came.

We stood a little taller, death
Evaded by the merest breadth.
We conquered Adams by a thread;
Just one week’s chill, and we’d be dead.

Jack London wrote much better story,
Could tell it with a greater glory,
But I shall hold mine till I die,
The day we climbed, just Jack and I.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

SHELTER

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My shelter sits beyond the trees
Between a poem and make-believe,
Encircled by a past I grieve,
And hanging on by grit.

My shelter lays below the hills
Where in the winter all is still,
Less lived than loved, and held by will,
Thin wire and sheer wit.

My shelter stays when I am gone,
It guarded by a gentle fawn
That feeds in peace with wholesome yawn,
And sleeps when it seems fit.

My shelter in the snow I see,
Its path laid to Eternity,
The place where men shall be set free,
In darkness always lit.

When life is sad, I stand right here,
Despite my trembling in my fear,
And long for place where pain and tear
Are wiped, as faith befits.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

WINDOW

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A window opens to the soul
When love resides within,
That takes the heart to far atoll,
Where such things can begin.

The night when I looked in your eyes,
My window parted wide,
Revealing isle and sea and skies,
Yes, all possessed inside.

I stand a man of tempered words,
Whom time and tides pass by,
But I can chime what I have heard
Of whats and hows and whys.

Yet I cannot explain the depth
Of feelings that I knew
When window opened to full breadth
That eve when I loved you.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

DAVID’S FLIGHT

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The pines bear heavy snow on boughs
Like silence weighs on lover’s heart,
As pall on Levites that impart
Some wisdom, or judgment bestow.

They’re solemn as a priestly order,
Prayers rhythmic with the pulse of breeze.
Snow’s fall obscures the form of trees,
Sprinkling white as holy water.

It wets my face as morning dew
And brings to mind a sacred song,
Reminding me of what I long,
A shepherd’s lute, a psalm, and you.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

epitaph

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i do not wish an epitaph
nor marker where i sleep,
just pour my ashes from steep cliff
into a sea so deep

my length shall spread to all the earth,
my breadth bring me to dawn,
my depth so crushed, i cast all worth,
brief seconds till i’m gone.

i’ve lived the life i’m destined for,
so there’s no cause to weep,
i but a timid traveler
who took his grandest leap.

Eric M. Vogt
From LIFE LIES IN LAYERS
Copyright 2013

SHE

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She has worked long and hard and true
To care for young as mothers do.
When not at work, she labors more;
She cleans and carries food from store.

She cooks and fixes things that ail
And sifts through bills received in mail.
She nurses when a child is sick
And burns a scented candlestick.

Her courage lifts and comfort bands,
Listens as one who understands.
Her hope and faith lights way to all
And penetrates a person’s wall.

Her laugh brings pause to toil and pain,
Her sunshine piercing through the rain.
She wears affection as a shawl,
Swiftly responds to friends that call.

She stands as constant as the tide,
Though she has hid and she has cried.
She dreams of more than life has borne;
As regards love, a bit forlorn.

By her beauty she’s a beacon,
Causing hearts of men to weaken.
She is a lady matched by few,
And yes, I wish she only knew.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

FINE FIGHT

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I look to height so far away
And wish to make just one more day;
Yet void resides within my heart
And swallows whole, the darkest star.

Bland contempt–coarsest men can find–
Comes from others closest in kind.
Let go, O bitterness, O hate!
Here no coin counts, so I’ll relate

True tragedy of lofty souls
And trials that have drawn their toll.
No men are lone! It is fine fight
All shoulder, just as rays of light

Struggle to cross the universe
To find one eye. It could be curse.
But beams as we cannot bear scent
Of defeat! Destiny, be bent!

Bare all we are, and will yet be
Beyond the flesh; let all men see.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

December 7th

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December 7, 1941. One tragic date can set the destiny of an entire family and even a nation. For my family, it is the date of the Japanese attack on the United States Naval Fleet and Army installations at Pearl Harbor.

My Dad, Joseph Vogt, was born into a Prussian family in a little town in Texas. His father owned a feed store in town and it seemed that my father was destined to be part of the mercantile business in rural Texas. But then 1941 came around.

My father graduated from high school at 16 years of age and secured an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Going through an accelerated program where he actually met Albert Einstein at Princeton, he graduated in 1945 and was sent to Pearl Harbor for duty with the Fleet. Then the war ended.

But my father did not return to Texas. He had seen the outside world and wanted to explore it. He was recalled to serve in the Korean War. After the war ended, as a nuclear engineer he traveled all over the United States, never returning to Texas to live again. He had broader dreams that inspired his children and their children.

Most people look at December 7th as a tragic day, and it was for the world. But it was also a pivotal day in many men’s lives. They were introduced to a brave new world and went on a lifelong journey to explore it. Such it was with my father and with many other fathers as well. It changed a nation one family at a time. December 7, 1941.

 

Eric M. Vogt, Copyright 2016

PANORAMA

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A panorama plays before us,
Vestige of snow
Above, below,
Our lives laid out like the lightest dust;

Broad horizon we touch as tender
Timepiece, it foe
We fight, yet know
Shall cover our footfalls in the end.

Love, let us walk in its paths as one,
Joined destiny,
The future free;
Through higher adventures let us run!

Wrap me in your comfort, you in mine;
Let us explore
The great outdoors
We’ve only dreamt of, mountains and pine,

Tall cathedrals we shall remember,
And caverns’ cores—
It’s all in store—
And, if God grants, to share Forever

One day at a time.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

BEAM

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The scene was from the sacred roll
Of gentle scribe, a parchment scroll
Which told of city’s rise and fall.
It deigned in truth to tell it all,
A fragment of a prophet’s dream.

The chill bit finely on my face,
Upon the peak, a pictured place
Held close in soul by child’s choice.
I tried, in vain, to find my voice,
A feeble breath within a scream.

Jerusalem shall wake one day,
A poet’s pause to have a say,
In time, through sands, to rise again.
It lays, a weakness in all men
To hope in faintest wisp of beam.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2019

AS PASSIONS SHOULD

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Pressures build with coming storm,
Making clouds of heaven form.
Frosty mist falls ‘pon my face,
Bringing feet to quicker pace.

By the time I reach my home,
The white-out blinds where sun had shone.
And winds swing shut my pause at door
As snowflakes scatter over floor.

I light a fire; it is good
And warms the heart, as passions should.
I give my shelf a wistful look
And palm a happy-ending book.

I light the candle ‘bove my bed,
Pour steamy drink to clear my head.
Familiar words leap up from page,
Love story that will never age.

I swim to sleep, so real the dream
That you are with me, voice so keen
I swear you say you, too, love me;
We join in kiss most tenderly

And touch each other with such care,
More passions pent than any pair;
We share a joy, strike height of chord,
Then I awake of own accord.

Within the fade of firelight,
A pulse of loss takes ‘way all bright
And lays it dormant in my soul,
Like flame in death of last lone coal.

Yes, in this moment, all is clear
In heart and mind, of what’s held dear.
I try to stoke and open flue
Of stove, this fire to renew—-

But dreams as mine are held so much,
They deign, at dusk, to yield to touch,
And loves as mine more often lain,
As ashes are, ‘side other men’s.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

GREAT GULF

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Let us cross great gulf between us!
Let us share a certain madness!
Let us hold to hand in gladness
At new sights so far above!

Let us find our sanctuary
‘Neath the hover of a hedge-tree.
Let us share a vision lovely
Till we both have drawn enough!

Let us dream as night surrounds us!
Let us warm and let us hold fast
In embrace we share until last
Breath, and revel in our love!

Let us cross great gulf between us!
Let us share a certain madness!
Let us hold to hand in gladness
At new sights so far above!

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

WE STAND MORE

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we stand more than the sum
of pressure’s push;
love lets burdens flow
over and around
till spill-waters
lay down.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

COVERED

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You lay covered, bold and reaching,
Spanning stream still swiftly churning,
Paused, intent, while listening, learning,
Poised and perfect in your preaching.

Upon you soldiers marched to war,
Children strode to the bell of school.
None can know all the souls you knew,
In hills now buried score by score.

I yearn to cross and be with you;
Eternity lies in your mist
And heavens wait for those you wish,
To cover them as morning dew.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

MY LOT

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The fire is raised, the stove is hot
As I lay writing on my cot;
How I have made my love my lot,
Perched high above the hills!

I shall not rue a toil or tear,
The rapid flow of year to year,
The many times I ran from fear
Or failed in wars of will.

It matters not the trail less took,
Whether a king or simple rook,
What we have writ down in our book
Will hold us rapt, then still.

I do not know what lies beyond,
The rush of stream or peace of pond,
Yet know the trail of which we’re fond
Is end we must fulfill.

Eric M. Vogt
from NORTH COUNTRY CALLS
Copyright 2014

THERE CAN BE BEAUTY

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There can be beauty
In a land laid
To waste,

If we but stand,
Focused as far
As far can see,

Sweet taste
Of newborn star
In heavens, free,
To paste
Where our hearts will—
And, if we shall,
To find things lost
To haste.

There can be beauty
In a life laid
To waste,

If we but stand,
Focused as far
As far can see.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

SUCH ARE US

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Two ships that shelter
From the storm sit together
So close that neither touch.

Such are us.

Two ships yearn for sea,
Slightest change to set sail–free–
So close that neither touch.

Such are us.

Two hearts halved, hindered
By hurts and watching, wintered,
So close that neither touch.

Such are us.

Two ships that shelter
From the storm sit together
So close that neither touch.

Such are us.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

WINTER OVERTAKES

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Winter overtakes all life,
As strife can, cold and bitter,
As contract binds by letter,
Drawn empty, and n’er enough.

Winter wills we wane with dusk,
Live a little less each day,
Till our solstice takes away
Cause of sorrow, as light must.

We look to Sun, only hope
Of rising; happiness rests
Within us, love through this test
Rays of care to help us cope.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

FROSTING

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The snow casts glaze of frosting over trees
As creamy cup of coffee warms the hand.
Its curve is cradled, hot, between my knees;
I mull on life as darkness flees the land.

Pines rest ‘neath snow white sheets in their wonder,
And wait for wisp of winter wind to sway,
Like man who lays, wishing for his lover
To stir him with her breath and rise with day.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

WINTER’S WAY

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Come, walk with me through winter’s way,
This is the time, this is the day
Our troubles swiftly melt away
Within the morning sun.

Come, hear the songbird sing, content
With all that came and all that went;
A pine with its peculiar bent
Says all our sorrow’s done.

Come, pace with me through forest path,
Let go of all your fears and wrath;
In warmth of other we shall wrap,
Like love that’s just begun.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

THE PATH

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Coldness creeps across Kilkennys,
Crispness coils to strike the face,
And glides o’er land with given grace,
To run ’round mountain, snap at me.

I’ve paced the path for centuries.
The hills are calling out my name.
Yes, I am he they cannot tame.
I stand steadfastly under trees

Made solely for me. Destiny
Is held in hand. The things men plan!
I formed the crust of earth with hand.
Yes, come, friend. Forever, you see,

Is but a grain of shifting sand.
Come, climb with me. Mortals must live
In moment. They must strive, give
Last strength! Let them take their stand

On my peaks! Let them love with love
Unending! Stride on cathedral,
‘Pon edge of cliff, and gaze below.
Death cannot contain! When it comes,

Let it be upon these steeples, carved
By power, tall souls there interred.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

THANKFULNESS

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I look out over all below,
Yet how I got here do not know.
Mere man does not account for much—
And I suspect I am more such.

I have no treasures, loft of soul,
And when full-measured, have no goal
Of rank attained (although I should),
In few respects considered good.

I scan the heavens, unrevealed,
And ponder mysteries long sealed.
I search for loves and find but one
Reserved for daughter and for son.

I look to wisdom learned through years,
Sift through the sorrows and the tears.
I speak to God I have not found,
And listen for the slightest sound.

I search through toil, time and test
And ponder journals of the best.
I seek through all that I have learned,
To know at last why I have earned

A place upon this perfect peak.
And suddenly I feel so weak
That angels catch me as I fall
And douse these deeper flames of hell.

They show me carriage, let me board;
I follow of my own accord.
They set me high, to God bring near,
My thankfulness to him more dear

Than all the other gifts man owns,
That make him walk through life alone.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

THANKSGIVING

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The War weighed on his swift-aged brow.
Defeats unsaid undid his life,
Despite what wisdom would allow
To be revealed in midst of strife
Of Civil War, Captain at prow
Of ship distressed, while he watched wife
Descend to depths wrought by sorrow.

In the midst of such loss of hope,
Lincoln set sure on this same day
Time nation, in struggle to cope
With sons in grave, to sorrows stay
In search of thanks of higher scope.
So we observe this holiday
In sober way he wept, yet hoped.

Eric M. Vogt
from NORTH COUNTRY CALLS
“The Coldest War”
Copyright 2014

MARKER

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Upon the peaks resides a frost,
Pale marker of those loved and lost.

The wind obscures their paths and slopes,
Left swept and bare, bereft of hopes.

Some come to cling to hardy course,
And others still to find some force.

Some aren’t that steady, nor belong
Within its grip, while others long

For age of giants pit ‘gainst winds.
Still others climb to hide their sins.

And some resolve one headstrong day
To push ahead, so make their way

To perish, wage that all men pay.
A few give up, and there still lay.

But as for me, I step along
To cadence of a simpler song,

And as I gaze from world below,
The march once fast becomes one slow,

Determined, listless, loved and scorned,
As every peak should be adorned.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

HELD DEAR

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Nature paints with flurried hands;
As a brush, the storm forms hills.
Paleness wraps us in its chills,
Blankets heights and homes and lands.

Heed the winter’s warnings, friend,
‘Fore the heavens bathe in white.
Darkness draws and comes the night.
That held dear shall hold our end.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

THANKSGIVING’S THROES

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A warmth has come; rich breeze has brought its breath,
God’s blaze upon the mountains lighting true
That lamp within which leads men till their last,

Each step so sure that surely leads to death.
But brave endure, as those with purpose new,
To rise beyond a mortal’s certain path.

All woes shall fade as winter’s trembles do,
Earth’s pause to praise the warmth beyond the wrath.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

SOUTH

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I look to south, where all my dreams reside.
But swift comes winter’s blow; the mountainside
Reminds me visions so distant, silent,
Can be as lone. And lovers, latent
As pent up fire, meld
In undertone
With winds that whip
And tug at surest root.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

WALK IN THE WILDERNESS (A SONG OF DAVID’S SECOND EXILE)

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The sun bathed eyes, November day,
Not wintry, but as month of May.
I paced lost path beside a brook
Which gave to me more than I took.

Life’s stresses, bound with losses felt,
Had taken me so much, I knelt
Beside the stream that flowed on by
Beneath the bluest, barest sky

I’d seen in weeks. The peace that filled
My heart like wine swiftly instilled,
Under pine, the courage to stand.
Still, I stayed to ponder this land.

The water willed away all thought,
And what my life’s up-endings wrought.
Yes, somehow, there, within the sun
I felt my life newly begun.

If there’s a path to heaven’s way,
My foot had found such on that day.
Yes, any life as mine, reborn,
Is worth these words to God adorn.

And whispered words of weak, in hate,
Cannot deflect a man from fate,
Even if God seems absent, late.
Even if God seems absent, late.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

COURSE

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The winter was upon the land before I knew,
That frost within the sparkle left by falling dew,
The yearning for a sip of tea, a cup of stew,
That led to snowflakes falling from a cloud.

There’s higher force which takes the earth upon its course,
Which leads it farther from our life and from the source
Of suns and leads us through the chill of universe,
And leaves a sheet of white to be our shroud.

The roads some humans take are better lanes than most,
And mine I’ve searched without a map, without a post,
Yes, mine has brought me joys, yet joys must come with cost,
But though some men seem bending, they’re not bowed.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

SAN MARCOS MORN

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San Marcos morn, beam your glory!
Greet us, your silence soft as songs
And silken sheets; tell our story.
Two lovers stroll upon your stones.

San Marcos morn, share your beacon!
Bathe us with flush, full on our flesh.
Our souls sigh, our senses weaken,
Embrace desire; your sun nears crest.

San Marcos morn, cast off regrets!
Set sails and send our sloop to sea!
For all shall cease as your flame sets:
Hold moment, my sweet memories.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

A Pioneer

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Moses Robbins, a distant cousin and one of the first settlers in this part of the North Country. His grave sits on a nearby hill bordered by the fields he first cleared by hand with his family. I struggle to understand the privations that he and other distant relatives buried here had to endure to make this home. One example is chronicled below.

From DRAMA ON THE CONNECTICUT by Robert E. Pike, speaking of the year 1816 and the tough mettle of those early pioneers of this region:

“The Vermont climate was so severe that a man had frozen to death in the month of June. Beech leaves were boiled and used for food…

“Conditions were the same in New Hampshire, perhaps worse, for snowfalls of ten inches were recorded. July was accompanied by frost and ice, crops that had been planted a second time were destroyed. August came, but it did not bring an end to the cold weather. Ice formed even thicker than in July, and almost every green plant was frozen…

“The cause of that frigid year (of no summer) in the northern hemisphere was the end of the frightful volcanic explosion of Mount Timboro, near Bali, in the East Indies. That eruption killed fifty-six thousand people and sent millions of tons of dust into the heavens, dust that blanketed the northern skies, dimming the sun and depriving 1816 of its summer.

“My own great-grandfather, born in 1803, used to tell how the men would take a leather belt and punch a series of holes in it, and put it around their waists. Each day they had to go without eating they would pull the belt up one hole. They knew how far they could go before they would fall down dead. But they did not complain, they did not say that the government owed them a living or that society was to blame for their plight. They kept pulling in their belts. My great-grandfather lived to be eighty-five years old.”

MORNING’S THOUGHT

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I love the things that matter most,
the scent of pine, the bite of frost,
the morning’s thought of love that’s lost,
those things which measure true a man.

I bear the branch which winter bears,
that lively dance with death, the cares
for child I love to fawn that fares
for good or ill, unplanned or planned.

I bow my soul with prayerless prayer
to churchless steeple where I dare
to wander, wonder in my stare
‘pon gentle rise and jagged land:

Lay me in pine-filled, porous box
and place my bones beneath these rocks
to tack its sails to distant docks
and hold forever in my hand.

Eric M. Vogt
From NORTH COUNTRY CALLS
Copyright 2014

HOME TO ME

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Home to me is not plot of land,
For such is sea of drifting sand.
Home’s not a building, large or small,
Nor place enclosed by wail or wall.

Home to me resides in eyes
Of closest friend, in unseen ties.
It’s found in sound of winter’s wind,
In falling back in love again

When darker thoughts have ruled till dusk.
Home’s taking chance upon a risk
And standing firm with principle;
Home’s letting go of bitter pill

That’s soiled our step and robbed our peace.
Home’s in the sound of soaring geese
That know their true direction, borne
By heart for place they wish more warm.

Home’s in the thought of you and me
Tomorrow where we ought to be,
Upon our couch. We sip our tea,
Engrossed in books, our minds as free.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

REVOLUTION 1776

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A revelation came to me as daylight dawned,
A revolution in my mind that rose and spawned,
Of restitution to those stripped with sharpened prong,
For list of lives affected by our age.

A time must come when citizens must call the bluff,
A time when we must sling our arms and roll the cuff,
A time to say to those who press, enough’s enough,
To break our bonds and cave the door of cage.

A rebel’s born from vain attempt to heed a law
That’s carved by crazed and corrupt men with opened maw
That swallows to enrich itself while others crawl:
Men, hear! It’s time for us to turn the page.

A people must wrest out that rule which crumples poor,
Which stands like castle on a mound behind barred door,
That reeks injustice from its walls to very core,
So choose to live as free or live as slaves!

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

(Photo: Lexington Green, the site of “The shot heard ‘round the world” on April 19, 1775.)

VIEW

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I lift my eyes to peaks I’ve climbed,
Not tallest held, but they are mine;
I love each minute, jagged line
And scar upon my bone.

Perhaps with age we gain a view
Unique to us and ever true,
Yet through it all, I think of you,
Your whispers and your tone.

Time teaches things of true import,
A hope in heart, held like a fort,
And I must speak the truth, in short:
No man should walk alone.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

CATHEDRALS CLOSEST

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He carves cathedrals out of land
And weighs them as mere grains of sand.
His churches do not need a roof,
Nor words on page bear single proof

Of finger forming life from dust.
The universe stands as his trust,
Its complex order wears like crown,
From stars in sync to ants in mound.

Man cannot fathom his true height,
Yet I perceive just hint of might
When staring out to valley floor
From top of crag where waters pour.

We live in symbols; he lives true,
Sees motives more than what men do.
In every way he stands more tall,
In stars, in crags, in waterfalls,

In forests made for beast and man,
And brains with which we think and plan,
In warmth reflected by the heart,
In love and good it can impart.

I cannot say I’ve ever seen
God through a shadow or a beam;
Yet I see him on mountains high,
Cathedrals closest to the sky.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

MY LOT

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The fire is raised, the stove is hot
As I lay writing on my cot;
How I have made my love my lot
Perched high above the hills!

I shall not rue a toil or tear,
The rapid flow of year to year,
The many times I ran from fear
Or failed in wars of will.

It matters not the trail less took,
Whether a king or simple rook,
What we have writ down in our book
Will hold us rapt, then still.

I do not know what lies beyond,
The rush of stream or peace of pond,
Yet know the trail of which we’re fond
Is end we must fulfill.

Eric M. Vogt
From NORTH COUNTRY CALLS
Copyright 2014

COURAGE COMES

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True courage comes in many masks,
From mountains climbed to simplest tasks,
From soldier’s stand to face that basks
Within the sun, though shadows reign.

I see it in a run’s last mile,
Hobble of age possessed by smile,
The losses taken with such style,
Surmounting inner pulse of pain.

Life stands, a tremble and a tear,
A banner waved, a voice held dear,
The facing of each hope and fear,
A love held close, dance drenched by rain.

Our mountains change, I don’t know why,
We must keep reaching for the sky,
Hold fast to courage, fight our fight,
Wave flags, spirits unfurled, untamed.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

RANGER

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Oh, Ranger, you have roamed these woods
And slept beneath the stars,
You’ve fought in struggles for what’s good,
Now fallen midst your wars.

You’ve tread these trails once laid by men
Who bowed in toil and pain;
Like them you’ll dwell in lands again
When sights and sounds have waned.

So rest my friend, as flags are furled
And horns fade fast to time;
Within these mountains, men interred
Lay too, their lives aligned.

And death is not a foe to fear
For stories true and fine.
Yes, death is not a foe to fear
For stories true and fine.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2019

JEFFERSON’S FLAG

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It stands on Cap along a ridge
Forever’s length in steep ascent,
The halfway point that stands on bridge
To test a climber’s staunch intent.

It bends with forces of the winds
That buffet it with constant change
And threaten–tandem–to unpin
All hope from stones of steadfast range.

It’s symbol higher than the deed
Of perching flag as if on moon.
But moon it seems, and it has freed
Stark rock face from its dirge of doom.

The winds change, yet flag flies on still.
We must trust in democracy
To, with time and with force of will,
Align a bit more perfectly

With our freedoms fought and bled for.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

(Photo: MT Jefferson, Caps Ridge Trail)

WE ARE MOUNTAINS

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I stand on edge of peak,
Where time, in truth, is lost;
Hearts quicken as we–weak–
Stare at air between us.

We are mountains, our roots
Where wings should be! My Love,
Lay forehead close and stoop
To whisper words above

The heavens; lean closer.
Let your scent seduce me.
Let desire draw near.
Time! Time uproots and frees

Mountains from their mantles.
Our faith is less than hope,
Hope less than love, candles
That burn yet cannot cope

With distance; still I stare
At peak I long to touch.
O Love, let us dare!
And let us live as such.

We are mountains,
Our roots where wings
Should be.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

STRUCK

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I overlook the dawn of world,
And hold in sway the rays of sun,
My re-creation just begun,
The decades—days, ages hurled
Deep within abyss below.

Love struck me! bright as angel’s touch;
And, unrestrained by fear of pain,
I threw myself to earth again,
Heaven having asked too much,
Death a potent, fateful foe.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

SOLDIERS PAST

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My best of friends are soldiers past,
The ones whose hair has grayed with age,
Meshed ‘tween today and memories;
I never quite grew up, for part
Of each remains within my heart
Meshed ‘tween today and memories,
The ones whose hair has grayed with age;
My best of friends are soldiers past.

Eric M. Vogt
from NORTH COUNTRY CALLS,
“The Coldest War”
Copyright 2014

A SOLDIER’S SKIN

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Some things trees don’t grow over.
They grow around.
The bark-sealed wire.
Swift burst of wind.
A cracked-off limb.

Some things a man’s never over.
The grave’s slight mound.
Love’s sharp desire.
A soldier’s skin.
Tall mountain’s climb.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017