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  • Letter to an English Teacher, and: Letter to Wendell Berry, and: The Time My Uncle Took Me Fishing, and: Grandfather and His Simultaneous Eyes, and: Self-Portrait with Twine
  • Jeanne Lutz (bio)
  • Letter to an English Teacher
  • Jeanne Lutz (bio)

because today the fieldsare too wet to work inI take a walk to eagle lakeand see not an eagle

but a heronstanding on a soggy logjust off the wooded shore

you would knowexactly what kind of heron it isthe latin gray this or the latin gray thatbut to me

this heron is simplythe color-of-rain heron

and it does not seem to takemuch interest in meor what's going on in the water

it is so stillthat the fishermen walking bydo not point it out

the heron is a faulkner-looking birduntidylike a half-folded umbrella [End Page 115]

and meI guess I'm just another evewho will never get it right

I left his heartbroke my own

and even though I still think the appleis the best thingthat ever happened to women

that there is no paradise lostonly paradise turned down

it doesn't mean I don't miss it

I remember all those years agositting in your classroomlooking out the windowwhile you read thoreau to usin your low devoted voiceI watched the nunshang their laundry on the linethose long black stockingslifting in the wind

and even nowwhen I am no longerthat young girlin the fluttering dressyou'd think I'd have learneda thing or two since thenbut no

I get too closeas I always do [End Page 116]

and the heron takes of


sailing languidly east

never quite knowingwhat to dowith its legs [End Page 117]

Jeanne Lutz

Meet the Author
"I am so very appreciative of the strong women who raised me. I mean literally strong, the kind of strong women who could carry a tree stump under each arm while walking across the yard and chew out the milkman for parking his truck in their way. But if I am a poet, it is because of the men who raised me. The kind of men brought to their knees by the beautiful, supple world around them. My father often read Wendell Berry's poetry, stories, and essays to me. Ha!—I remember when I was eleven and my parents wouldn't let me get a horse. I actually wrote to Mr. Berry asking him to adopt me. To this day, his wisdom, all his barbaric yawping, and the peace he finds in wild things keeps me brave. And strong. My poems, then, chronicle the childhood I had on our dairy farm, explore the concerns I have now about being a smalltime, organic farmer surrounded by conventional global farmers who have given up their commitment to living soulfully in their place on the land, and they reveal the susceptible landscapes of the heart everyone traverses no matter where they live."

Jeanne Lutz is the author of the chapbook Hearts and Harrows. Her work has appeared in Conduit; NonBinary Review; Tinderbox Poetry Journal; Poetry City, USA; and on KAXE radio. She divides her time between the farm and working at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

  • Letter to Wendell Berry
  • Jeanne Lutz (bio)

it is still winternot winter again but still winterso maybe the dark mouths of the right vowelsthe hips and shoulders of the best consonantsor even one sensual rune won't appear on this pagebut I wanted you to know I'm tryingI've gone organic non-GMOthe fencerows bang and jangle with rose haw and blue jaysmy sheep and pigs and cowslike my fields are not numberedbut given names based on character and potentialand everywhere chickens run freeI worry thoughabout it not being enoughabout the privilege of feeding othersthe fate of nature everywhereall the weeds I know I will not have...


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pp. 115-125
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