Church of the Robin's Ha-Ha!: John Burroughs'

Church of the Robin's Ha-Ha!: John Burroughs' "Natural Religion" and Other Poems

by Anne Richey
Church of the Robin's Ha-Ha!: John Burroughs'

Church of the Robin's Ha-Ha!: John Burroughs' "Natural Religion" and Other Poems

by Anne Richey


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Church of the Robin’s Ha-Ha!, the title poem of this collection, underscores John Burroughs’ essentially religious connection to nature. For the famed Catskill naturalist and writer, “heaven on earth” was no mere cliché, but a reality. His parents’ Calvinist preoccupation with the heaven to come, seemed to him tragically misguided and counter-productive. Still, as Anne Richey reminds us, Burroughs’ love for the earth was tempered by eyes determinedly wide open: yes, bird song enchants us, but somewhere a snake is devouring a baby bird. In other poems, all set in the Catskills, Richey keeps faith with Burroughs’ devotion to the near-at-hand – the sunlit and the dark: a doting mother photographs her two boys, a dog cowers in fear, a man appears to walk on water . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781944037789
Publisher: Epigraph Publishing
Publication date: 09/07/2017
Pages: 92
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.22(d)

About the Author

Anne Richey lives and teaches in New York's Hudson Valley. She was introduced to John Burroughs through the Slabsides Poets, a writers' group which met periodically at Slabsides, Burroughs' cabin in West Park, NY. She has been reading, studying, and teaching him ever since. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, among them Barrow Street, Poetry Midwest, Primavera, Long Island Quarterly, The Sow's Ear, and JAMA. They have been anthologized in the collections Prima Materia, Vanguard Voices of the Hudson Valley, WaterWrites, A Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley, and Boomer Girls: Poems from the Baby Boom Generation. She is a docent at Woodchuck Lodge, Burroughs' summer retreat in Roxbury, NY.

Table of Contents

C o n t e n t s

I. Church of the Robin’s Ha-Ha!

3 • Wake–Robin

4 • At the Old School Baptist Church, Roxbury NY: Annual Service

5 • God?

6 • Bait

7 • Eggs

8 • Hardshell

9 • Whittle Stick

11 • Rock

13 • Sap Bucket

14 • Rooster

16 • Chill

17 • Chunk Stove

18 • Nestlings

19 • Snake, According to John

20 • Hymns

22 • Catechism of the Grasses

24 • Fledglings

25 • Hard Gospels

27 • Chance

28 • Speckled Trout

29 • Snake, According to John

30 • John O’Birds

31 • Ha! Ha!

32 • Green

II. Through a Woman’s Eye

35 • Three in One

37 • Coop

39 • Timing

III. Drinking Alone on the Moon

45 • Lost Eden

47 • Blue-Purple

49 • Ashokan Spillway Walk

51 • April Smiles

52 • Hat-Tipping

56 • Drinking Alone on the Moon

57 • Tiger Moth

59 • On Overlook Mountain with the Rock Reader

61 • Walk with Me

62 • The Catskills in Winter

IV. Blue Crows

65 • The Blasts

67 • Infantry

68 • Sunset

69 • Blue Crows

70 • Wild Limb

72 • The Falls

74 • Whoosh

76 • Foolish Child

78 • Gossamer

80 • Notes

81 • Acknowledgments

83 • About the Author

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