Literary Hook: Poem captures the enchantment of The Clearing and Door County

June 9, 2010

By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet

The last column was a reflection of teaching writing a week at The Clearing in Ellison Bay, Wis. This poem tries to capture the enchantment of The Clearing and Door County itself. It morphed into a rhymed poem, which I hope magnifies its fairytale quality.

All is a-shimmering at The Clearing,
Where white gulls float under a Nordic blue sky,
Over the waters of Green Bay, ever changing,
And aspens flutter like wind chimes sigh.

Yes, everything shimmers at The Clearing
High upon the cordial crests,
Where pilgrims gather ’round the Council Ring,
And nature in its many vests gives rest.

You can walk unencumbered in a meadow
Filled with golden black-eyed Susans’ sunny glow.
You can tip-toe closer to a pileated woodpecker
Or stop to softly touch a silky, yellow lady slipper.

The enchanted Clearing forest abounds in metaphors:
Dwarf iris, forget-me-nots, trillium, a mysterious feather,
Deer tracks, a fox at twilight, or the scent of conifers.
Per chance the wood nymphs dance at the Circle Theater.

Yes, all is a-shimmering at The Clearing with us,
Where pink dusks and coral suns blaze,
And wispy clouds give way to enshrouded Venus,
The moon, then the Milky Way’s twinkling haze.

Who would not be swept away here
where everything’s a-shimmer?
Even the gentle rain makes the flag stone glisten
And dares the frogs to sing like Pavarotti. We listen

To the furious wings of warrior hummingbirds,
The perfect round vowel echo of oven birds,
The arias of speckled warblers that greet the day,
As the sun rises on white rocks and waves of Ellison Bay.

We become part of this shimmering place.
We learn to breathe, to listen, change our pace.
We spread our wings and learn to trust this freeing
As all wild things must, here at The Clearing.

Christine Swanberg has published about 300 poems in 70 journals and anthologies. An interview with her appears in the 2008 Poet’s Market. She is available for mentoring through Jane’s Stories Foundation. Part of her mentoring is suggesting possible journals. Her books include Who Walks Among the Trees with Charity (Wind Publishing, Kentucky), The Red Lacquer Room (Chiron Publishing, Kansas), The Tenderness of Memory (Plainview Press, Texas), Slow Miracle (Lakeshore Publishing, Illinois), Invisible String (Erie St., Illinois), Bread Upon the Waters (Windfall, Wisconsin) and Tonight on this Late Road (Erie St., Illinois). She teaches writing at The Clearing in Door County, Wisconsin, and gives workshops and readings thoughout the United States.

From the June 9-15, 2010 issue

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