I would like to give you a brief description about the poems here and the project from which they emerged. They are from a one-year-long project called POND — The poems are acrostics. Here is my process. Everyday, at different times during the day, I would visit our pond with notebook and camera in hand. I’d jot down some notes, and take a picture or two, if a good photo op. presented itself. Then I’d head home and write a four line acrostic using the letters P, O, N, and D. To elevate the challenge, I added the caveat that I could use any of my first words more than once. I needed a different P, O, N, or D word every day for one entire year; I began the book on November 9, 2018 and completed it on November 8, 2019, without ever missing a single day.
Pictures dated – Nov 7 2019, Oct 3, 4, 5 2019
November 6, 2019 7.57 a.m. 35 degrees Pigwidgeons of chickadees drink from the stream, outrage at my slowness to fill the feeders. Naggy about the cold, missing my frogs and swallows, the pond, dedicated partner in this journey, holds nice and still for a photo. November 7, 2019 7.48 a.m. 32 degrees Pastorate of all the birds this little stream. But this morning it’s official; the cold is here to stay. The juncos have returned. Nearness of the last day has me thinking of trying to take the year in all at once, descriptive and clear and all of it passing before me like an old film of something I did once. 10.3.19 2.17 p.m. 53 degrees Prosperous overcast and rain so gentle you cannot feel it. Ostracism of the sun after yesterday’s mid-summer impersonation. Navigable enough for the tiny creatures here, the shrinking detriment of water has rendered the banks desert, the reed grass orphaned in the sand. 10.4.19 7.01 a.m. 50 degrees Poults – five of them and their parents perusing the gravel path for anything offcast that might be edible, and a bunny scurries across my vision nonplussed by my presence, the presence of the turkeys, the despair over the lack of tomatoes in the garden. Each day this journey toughens. 10.5.19 8.11 a.m. 35 degrees Phrasemonger, a Canada goose honks over pulling loneliness behind it, objections surface in my heart – the birds no longer here, the cold’s arrival, the asters the last naifs along the wood-line, and fall, the leaving season in full un-bloom; desiccated pond silky this biting morning, a blue shawl to keep us from the chill. 10.6.19 7.45 a.m. 40 degrees Projecting out, and usually under water, this small outcropping of land has become of great interest to the robins, narrating with their whinny, the chill, the need to congregate and then to depart or stay. Either way, a round has gathered and crowded the small promontory.
John L. Stanizzi is author of the collections – Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, Four Bits, and Chants. His newest collection, Sundowning, will be out this year with Main Street Rag. John’s poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, Blue Mountain Review, The Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, Rust & Moth, Connecticut River Review, Hawk & Handsaw, and many others. His work has been translated into Italian and appeared in many journals in Italy. His translator is Angela D’Ambra. John has read and venues all over New England, including the Mystic Arts Café, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, Hartford Stage, and many others. For many years, John coordinated the Fresh Voices Poetry Competition for Young Poets at Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT. He is also a teaching artist for the national recitation contest, Poetry Out Loud. A former New England Poet of the Year, John teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT and he lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry.