Wondrous Finds

Dear Liza,IMG_1048.jpg

The other day, I was walking home from Auntie Katie’s house. It had just stopped raining and the sun had come out. I was walking up Belmont Street, keeping my eye on the ground since the fallen leaves can make the sidewalk slippery.

And I saw something shiny. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it unless I was looking straight down, because it isn’t very big, only about seven inches by twelve, and set flat into the sidewalk. It is a printing plate, a flat metal plate with raised letters. All the writing is backwards, as it would need to be to print properly.

I took a photo so I could remember it and looked it up when I got home. The poem is by an American writer named Joe Bruchac, who was born in 1942. He has written over 120 books of poetry, stories and history that reflect his Abenaki Indian ancestry. He has won awards, taught in prisons, and volunteered in Africa.

Here is his poem, Birdfoot’s Grampa, quoted from the printing plate on Southeast Belmont.img_10481.jpg

The old man

must have stopped our car

two dozen times to climb out

and gather into his hands

the small toads blinded

by our lights and leaping,

live drops of rain.

The rain was falling,

a mist about his white hair

and I kept saying

you can’t save them all

accept it, get back in

we’ve got places to go.

But, leather hands full

of wet brown life

knee deep in the summer

roadside grass

he just smiled and said

they have places to go too.


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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