Winter 2012 • Vol. XXXIV No. 1 Poetry |

To a Young Father

This riverbend must have always been lovely. Take the one-lane iron bridge shortcut across the town's west end and look downstream to where the water backs up by the falls. Boys once fished there with butterball bait because the creamery churned by hydro and the trout were so rich, says my ancient neighbor, they tasted like heaven, but better. Try to stop on the bridge if no one's coming to see the back of the furniture mill in upside-down detail on the river, assuming the day is clear and still. I've lived here and driven this road forever. Strange therefore that I've never taken the same advice I'm offering you. I've lived here, but I've too often been racing to get to work or else back home to my wife and our younger school-age children, the fifth and last of whom will be headed away to college starting this autumn. I hope I paid enough attention to her and the others, in spite of the lawn, the plowing, the bills, the urgent concerns of career and upkeep.

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Sydney Lea , founder and longtime editor of New England Review, was Vermont poet laureate from 2011-2015. A former Pulitzer finalist, he has published twelve volumes of poetry, most recently No Doubt the Nameless. Lea is also author of the novel A Place in Mind and four nonfiction titles, most recently What's the Story? Reflections on a Life Grown Long. He recently chaired a successful campaign to conserve 400,000 acres of land in Maine.

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By Sydney Lea

This riverbend must have always been lovely. Take the one-lane iron bridge shortcut across the town's west end and look downstream to where the water backs up by the falls. […]

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