Sunday, 17 May 2009

To Old Bennington.
















Last week we visited Old Bennington in Vermont - the Green Mountains State. It was a Sunday morning and (to quote a poet) not a breath of wind, not a leaf stirred. The whole village was a living Picture Postcard, no weeds, no cars, no movement - although it was almost eleven o'clock there was no sign of life. So much so that we began to think it was a village of second homes.

As we walked down Monument Avenue towards the church here and there people began to emerge - quietly, unobtrusively - on their way to the eleven o'clock service. Google tells me that in 2000 two hundred and thirty two people lived there in 62 families - 93% white and 4% African American; median age was 48 and the median income eighty five thousand dollars a year. Every house, every garden was immaculate - almost too good to be true.
The church was exquisite both inside and out. The congregation welcomed us for five minutes before the service - there were smiles and handshakes all round.
The church yard was full of surprises. A lot of the Fathers of the Revolution are buried there (among them Ethan Allen) but then, quite by chance, there was the grave of Robert Frost, the poet. He lived hereabouts and was a real New England Man. Violets grew around his grave and it really was the most peaceful scene. The trees were full of clean Spring Green, the flowers were in blooom, everything appeared to be freshly laundered/white washed - it was a haven of peace and tranquility - a fitting spot for the grave of such a Countryman/Poet. But, of course, it has not always been peaceful - it did see action in the past, and - as in all places - there have been sadnesses. Robert Frost himself lost his first child, Eliot, to cholera.
I wrote this little poem on leaving:-
Old Bennington.
There is no chaste land here,
for men have toiled and
tilled the soil,
and died - their children too.
Battles have been fought
and fields strewn with bones.
Blood has settled in the soil,
but violets grow.










14 comments:

Heather said...

What a lovely experience for you both and your poem is very fitting. We have become so used to every day hustle and bustle that an empty street is almost unnerving.

Cathy said...

Thank you so much for this post. It does look beautiful and now I want to go even more so. The photos and poem are beautiful.

Elizabeth said...

Now you make me want to go there immediately!
Imagine! I have have never been to Vermont and this post makes me feel woefully lacking.
I am a great admirer of Frost.

Leenie said...

Thanks for the views of Bennington VT. I traveled through there a few years ago, but did not have time to see much more than the covered bridges. New England is so green with things much closer together than here.

Arija said...

cheigh
Weaver, you bring forth the contrast between past and present so well.
We lived in Vermont for a while and the memories still linger...

acornmoon said...

What a lot I have to catch up on! I am so pleased that your absence from your blog was due to a holiday.

Re your note about water blobs, my husband came across a John Clare poem in which he mentioned mare blobs, it seems that marsh marigolds were sometimes called by that name. I'll be back later when I have cooked dinner.

BT said...

How strange, Weaver. Your poem is lovely, summing up the place so well. What an idyllic place.

jinksy said...

Looks like a film set, too god to be true...

Reader Wil said...

Your poem is a worthy tribute to the poet Robert Frost and his family! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
Thanks for your visit. There has been a lot of advertising about the Hurtigruten, so that I have a great mind to take this tour myself.

Mistlethrush said...

A village with no-one there - how strange and sad. Your poem sums it up very well.

Pam said...

You have set me thinking about violets today Weaver, with your thoughtful post and beautifully simple poem. What an unobtrusive little flower and yet so fitting for what you have described. I found your journey and observations very interesting, thank you!

willow said...

Lovely post. And I enjoyed the poem, too.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to you all for your comments.
Reader Wil - I can thoroughly recommend the Hurtigruten - it was perhaps our best holiday ever - the scenery, the food, the whole experience. We would quite like to go now and spend a few days in the Lofoten Islands, which you can do.
Acornmoon - interesting what you say about Mare blobs - aren't these old colloquial names fascinating?

Woman in a Window said...

It seems like a real peace of living history, doesn't it? Really liking how much your poem encapsulates.