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Poetry Page

We love to receive readers' poems! In this issue we feature the poetry of Kathy Butterworth, an active member of the Moors Poetry Collective.

If you would like to submit your poems for possible publication in CWO please email mailto:

In The Red Cedar Savanna

by Kathy Butterworth

In the red cedar savanna
I would start easy,
maybe bent down
to examine toad flax
or the torn pad of a cactus,
making way by bayberry or
hummock of reindeer moss
full of that complex scent, one thing
leading to the next
to a small graveyard
of whited shells dropped by gulls.
In this way I would lose my trail
stop suddenly
look in each direction to see
the same rolling cedars
shrubs and flowers, shells and sand
and know to sharpen my ear.
Without sound I was meant to roam
in circles these hundreds
of acres of maritime cedars
no one tree much taller than me,
to follow deer paths hoping
they'd be of use, or the trace
of an old road from the days
when trucks crossed over everything.
With sound I would clear free before dark.
Sea would sound for me.
Sometimes I would strain under silence
then do my best to retrace steps,
often passing twice or more
the same bearberry patch,
all the while minding my ear
until that roar would sound as it does
for those lost off a highway.
I had to trust, then travel
to the sound no matter
how my eye and mind schemed
to redirect, trust
through thickening dusk, and the noise
of night herons and mosquitoes
and the shadows of tree swallows
falling, and the idea
that I too might fall and lose the sound.

My Child is Sick

by Kathy Butterworth

Sleep is a ferry boat
leaving shore
a crossing
over easy waves

a gentle deliverance
to waking
where the first trickle of consciousness
might be sweet

or not.
It is hard to catch.
Burdens fall so soon
on mind and body.

My child is sick.
The doctors are trying.
My child is sick.
I cannot cure her.

Swinging like a pendulum
between hospital
and housekeeping unit
encased in anxious repetition,

I change course finally
one afternoon,
drive to a beach
where a pair of dolphins pass.

They are life itself
undaunted force
raw infusion
of full-out sweetness.

Like sleep
nature is refuge
a leave from shore
a ride over easy waves.

My Grandmother Teaches Me
to Make Raisin Rolls

by Kathy Butterworth

I watch her test
the warm milk with her wrist
then sprinkle yeast on it.
While you're waiting for that,
she says, get out your flour,
salt and sugar-
I have my notebook open
to a clean page, my pen ready
On the top line I've written
     Grandma's Rolls

How much milk?
About a cup for each batch.
1 Cup Milk (per batch) I write.
After that it's down hill
sugar to taste, salt to taste
Flour until the dough feels right
in your hands-

I watch her loosen raisins
from the box into the sieve,
pour scalding water over them.
I lift the pen to my notebook
let it fall loose

    Not knowing the grip
and strength of my child mind
     Not knowing I will
write it down some day
    make the rolls again
and again, tell the recipe
     just like Grandma

Moors Poetry Collective

The Moors Poetry Collective came together on Nantucket somewhere in 2011. Participants are poets writing regularly who are open to sharing their work and honing it. While some members have been around from the start, there is generally room for a new-comer or two at any given time.

The poets meet weekly at the Nantucket Field Station. The rules are pretty simple. Come with a poem and enough copies to share around. Be open to comments and questions.

The Moors Poets have put out two chapbooks. Poems So Far is a collection of Nantucket poems written and assembled for distribution by nine local poets in 2012. Lemon Hummus and Other Stories came out in 2013.

Nantucket is home to many artists. While they work alone much of the time, it is the coming together that strengthens both craft and purpose. The Moors Poetry Collective brings poets to the island for readings and conversation and gives their own readings from time to time.

For upcoming poetry readings click HERE

Kathy Butterworth lives and writes on Nantucket.

She is a member of the Moors Poetry Collective on the island and publishes from time to time both locally and in small off-island journals.

She is a health care advocate who has also been a ranger on a wildlife refuge and a reading teacher. She is currently writing about the artist who paints skies.