Bill's Art Box

"Other Poets ..."




ales Tax

          Abraham Lincoln gazes ahead, toward the future 
              and all that it holds,
              his bow tie the golden color of his beard, his nose.

          Passed through millions of hands, rubbed smooth 
              by fingers more concerned with sales tax
              than the sixteenth president of the United States.

          Slipping, spinning, tumbling down; escaping through
              a rip of fabric in a pair of faded designer jeans,
              landing without a sound in the cool, tall grass.

          Soil smudges the phrase E. PLURIBUS UNUM.

          Dirt begins to cover Abe's features, 
              smearing the well tailored suit, getting in his ears. 

              And yet he remains static,
              trampled into the earth by children with their water  
              balloons and guns, 
              attempting to stay cool on a humid day.

          Later, piles of amber and magenta leaves are 
tossed skyward
              and let fall to the ground, swaying in the wind
              and finally landing gently on his cheek.

          A white sensation descends from the heavens
              and settles onto his hair, the first flakes melting,
              until eventually he is blanketed by sparkling crystals.

          Forts are built of snow, and tiny projectiles thrown 
              through the air at the enemy,
              huddled together, their marshmallow coats 
              insulating them from the frigid air. 

          Abe watches silently, his vision returning 
              as the whiteness dissolves around him, 
              convinced he will lay here until the sun
              rains down upon the earth
              and his once noble copper melts, disfiguring his face.

          The breeze warms, flowers blossom once again.

          Small, active hands grasp his lucky nose,
              clearing away years of grime from the proud face.
          A gleeful squeal proclaims that this treasure 
              has at last been found
              and the proud mother pats her child on the head 
              and walks away, 
              her faded designer jeans swishing in the tall grass.

          The daughter gazes down at the copper disk 
             held dearly in her fingers
             and laughs as age old lips curl into a smile 
             in the palm of her han

         - Daniel Torrington, 16

The Witham Wood
Walking in Witham Woods
Takes one back
Into Fairfield's past.

Near the round lake
Stands a red piece of stone
With a small square plaque glued on

Which states
That Lloyd Witham lived between 1911 and 1983.

He devoted his life to Iowa's native trees
And donated his tree nursery for public use.

So now people can enjoy hiking
In the shade of the oaks
And see the bitter hickory
And the pecan nuts.

So the mighty elms and aspen grow.

On the trail leading down to the creek
I once saw cows grazing in the Woods,
Escaped from a neighboring farm.

Now I find a new fence built on the edge.

Looking down to the near dry stream
I hear some hidden frogs quake loud.

I turn to walk along a narrow deer trail
Which leads me right into the wild undergrowth.

Then on my hike, I reach a fresh cleared path
With high thrown walls and filled up dips.

This must have been an old railway line
Abandoned a hundred years ago.

I follow the line to the other side
Wondering where it must have led.
This was once the best, fastest link.

I find remains of an old bridge over the creek,
A hidden wall built of square rocks,
Precisely constructed
To carry a heavy load.


History is coming alive in Whitham Woods
Where old Lloyd Witham planted his nursery --
Now gigantic trees
revealing a heroic past,
With a small square plaque
Glued to a red piece of stone.

 - Emo Baer, 87