Written by Wilbert Snow, this lovely three-page poem is the first found in Maine Coast. The first few stanzas are provided for readers who may wish to read his elegant poetry in its entirety.
Our pathway led through birches shoulder-high;
It was autumn, and the little yellow leaves,
So slender were their stems, seemed poised in air,
And gaily did hey flutter in the wind.
The huckleberry leaves shone brilliant red,
And bayberry scattered incense on our way,
As now we walked through plots of velvet moss,
And now on granite ledges gray and hard.
Our journey came abruptly to a stop,
And there in ragged grayness lay the quarry.
“This pavin’ motion,” my companion said,
“Was goin’ to make me rich, and made me poor.
‘Twas in the eighties I began work here,
When all great cities paved their streets with blocks.
A nickel apiece they were, and I could reel
Too hundred blocks or more each blessed day.
The reelin’ wa’n’t much like the reelin’ now:
‘Most anything would do. Along this hump
Were fifty motions clickin’ every day.
Beside that barrel there filled with chips
I reeled, the happiest hours of my life,
I wouldn’t say how many thousand blocks,
While Fred, my butty, plug-drilled and broke stone.
I somehow liked the music of the sound,
The click-click-clickin’ of a hundred drills
From all these motions in among the trees.
How differnet now, when all you ever hear
Is chickadees, or crickets, or the frogs!
I sometimes think they like the noises, too,
Of hammers clickin’, and the rattlin’ wheels
Of wagons, or the creakin’ of the hames
In horses’ collars on these rocky roads.
An aspect of Mr. Snow’s poetry that I admire is that he wrote about topics he knew and experienced. With spare yet adequate visual detail, he led the reader through a Maine birch woods to an abandoned paving-stone quarry, perhaps a metaphor for a lost way of life. FH