Poetry Friday: “Wall in the Woods”

This post was originally published back in November of 2013…wow, hard to believe it’s been nearly 4 years! Why am I sharing it again? Well, I was looking through some of my past posts and for some reason, this one spoke to me, asking to be given new life. So I was happy to oblige! By the way, Jone MacCulloch has the complete Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, so please be sure to Check It Out!


“Poetry in Windows”

I just like the way that sounds.  “Poetry in Windows.”  It conjures up all sorts of images, from actual poems in actual windows, to more abstract definitions of “poetry” and perhaps some transcendental interpretations of ‘windows.’

In this case, however, we’re talking about the former.  Specifically, The New Hampshire Writers Project’s annual Poetry in Windows event.

First, a little background:  The New Hampshire Writers’ Project (NHWP) will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.  The 650 member-strong organization hosts several writing workshops throughout the year, two literary festivals, and Writers’ Day, a day of workshops, literary flash competitions, and book sales involving 250 writers from across New England. Their keynoter on April 6, 2013 will be author Andre Dubus III.  Last year, NHWP hosted 13 state poets laureate for a festival.  In addition to a formal program, they had readings across the state with New Hampshire poets.
NHWP offers workshops, publishing advice, a quarterly New Hampshire Writer magazine, and several free events across the state, like Writers’ Night Out, a free social held the first Monday of the month.  (Membership is open to writers of all genres as well as readers and patrons who want to support the local writing community…so please click HERE and find out more!)
Now then, getting back to “Poetry in Windows”…
This is one of the many events NHWP hosts each year.  Writers and non-writers alike were asked to submit poems that somehow reflected the Granite State, and the best were selected to be displayed in the windows of downtown merchants of several NH communities, including the state capital, Concord.
I was honoured to have one of my poems chosen!
I didn’t write this poem with NH necessarily in mind; however, I did write it based on my life here, growing up in a rural town (my folks’ house is still on a dirt road!), being close to nature, and raising my kids in the country as well.  Hmmm…sounds like I wrote it with NH in mind, after all!  I based it on something I used to tell my daughters when we’d see stone walls meandering across our property or even through the woods:  that we’ll never really know why they were put there.
Other poets selected for the downtown Concord event included my good friend Sylvia Beaupre, Brandon Amico, Dianalee Velie, Midge Goldberg, Nancy Stewart, Barbara Hobbie, Linda Dyer, Marjorie Matthews, Jacqueline Garnett, Janet Barry, Becky Sakellariou, and Jennifer Militello.
So if you happen to be in Concord, stop by Centrix Bank at 11 South Main St. and you’ll see this on display, along with all these other fine folks’ works throughout downtown.  I hope you enjoy it!
Wall in the Woods

There’s a wall in the woods, hidden under the trees,
Made of mossy old stones piled high;
Where the soft fiddleheads grow and slowly unfurl,
And a thin little brook bubbles by.

There’s a wall in the woods neither level nor straight,
Sinking into the dirt and the clay.
It is strong but unsteady; deep cracks show its age,
For its builders have long passed away.

There’s a wall in the woods.  Years ago, in its youth,
This was farmland, a pasture, a field –
Now, meandering through the damp ruins of time
With its history gently concealed.

There’s a wall in the woods – yet there’s no way to tell
If it suffered through flood, fire or drought,
And we never will know what was being kept in…
Or, perhaps…what was being kept out.

– © 2012 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved


“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

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“Balladic verse” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Books-a-Million, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Thank you for your support – and stay tuned for details about the big September Blog Tour and book signings that are coming up!


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38 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Wall in the Woods”

  1. I think I should look to see what Colorado has in their writing project. It seems New Hampshire does so many wonderful things, Matt. Your poem is so sweetly nostalgic, quiet. I love the rhythm & the way it questions. I’ve read numerous back to the land books, including those by Helen & Scott Nearing (of Vermont) & always wanted to build a stone wall, using stones from my land. Maybe someday? Thanks for telling about this & congratulations on your poem selection, too.


  2. Loved hearing about the NHWP — and congrats on having your poem selected for the exhibit! How long will the poems be up?

    Your mention of stone walls reminded me of the Yorkshire dales. Amazing to see miles and miles of walls meandering through the hills.

    The quiet, reflective tone of your poem made me think of Frost — something about New Hampshire + woods, and I’m stopping by on a snowy evening every time . . . 🙂


    1. The poems will be up at least through the end of this month, but some businesses keep them up longer – a few, I’ve been told, keep them up all year! And I appreciate the Frost reference…NH’s natural scenery is very inspirational.


  3. Really beautiful, Matt. Great form and tone and repetition and and and …. nostalgia and mystery and possibility and wonder and and and…. I think this is one of my favorites or yours so far. Just love it.

    I grew up in rural upstate New York with a mountain across the street. We used to climb up to our pine tree fort and had to hop over one of those old stone walls along the way. It looked just as you described it. Congrats on your inclusion in this event – but no surprise there!


  4. The back story here was nice. I enjoyed hearing the bits about you and your daughters and a place that is obviously close to your heart. The poem is intriguing. One that gets you noticing and thinking about things like old forgotten walls left to stand by themselves. I loved it!


  5. Barbara Hobbie

    “Forrest,” woods, meandering, mysterious, sunken history. Great images, gentle structure (in the image and the poem itself) and glad to learn it’s been posted in Concord. Your site was kindly forwarded to me by a mutual friend and writer via NHWP. I now live abroad, but New Hampshire is never far from my core.


    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the poem, Barbara! I think it’s difficult for anyone from NH to ever leave the state too far behind…no matter how far away we actually roam. Thanks for stopping by, and please keep in touch!


  6. lindabaie

    One of my favorite memories is seeing the stone walls of the northeast for the first time, probably because of Frost. Your poem is beautiful, Matt, that “meandering through the damp ruins of time” gives me goosebumps. I’ve often said I’d like to build a wall. It’s so intriguing to me to puzzle all those rocks into something. Thanks for re-posting!


  7. Pingback: Poetry Friday: Embracing the roughness of rough drafts – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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