Holmes Road in Pittsfield is named for Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., the physician and poet who owned a vast tract where Canoe Meadows is now, about a mile south of where Herman Melville bought the farm he named Arrowhead, where he wrote Moby-Dick. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., best known for his long tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court …
The Housatonic at West Cornwall
There’s no tonic like the Housatonic.
Shadowed by green humped hills,
anglers cast into riffles
and pocket-water where trout
linger among rocks, rising for flies
with concentric ripple kisses.
Carefully they wade over cobbles
as swallow acrobats dart
and swoop for insects.
Absorbed in the swash and roll
of the river as it seethes beneath
the barn-red covered bridge,
they briefly awaken to the rhythmic
rumble of tires on dry boards.
Occasionally they pull magic
from the water like a dream hauled
from the depths of sleep, glistening
silver, rainbowed or stippled in lucent
pink, orange and yellow.
But every shining, defiant beauty
is returned before drowning in air,
as PCBs secretly poison sediments
where the miracle electric age chemical
bringing “good things to life” lies
layered like fossils, marking a time
when fish were turned to forbidden
fruit contaminated by knowledge.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Photo: By Armstrong & Co. (Boston, Mass.), – https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003654010/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33849886