Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Support your local dog park

I am writing to ask your readers to consider making donations to benefit the Middlebury Dog Park. We enjoy the people and myriad of dogs who come to the park, behind Porter Medical Center, but not as much as our dog, Sophie, enjoys it.
I make this appeal for funds, especially to the travelers of Route 125 over the Middlebury Gap, who may owe the much improved roadway to the poem “Which Path Robert Frost?” I wrote in 2008. The Independent did not choose to publish it at that time, but the poem did appear in the Burlington Free Press, April 11, 2008. I do not know exactly when the road was repaired, but it was subsequent to my poem being published, and I can only humbly deduce my writing was the impetus to fix the road, rather than the failed “frost heaves” signage, which seemed the extant of past efforts to make the road “travel well.”
I am re-submitting my poem for publication in the hopes Time has smoothed the feelings of embarrassment for my observations, and it can be a useful tool to benefit the dog park.
“Which Path Robert Frost?”
Tar-scabbed curves, heaved and cratered,
carve along the mountain gorge-
guiding pilgrims and mere gypsies
to lofty pure Ripton air,
where temples pound with thought profound,
fueled by drafts of Earth’s best fare.
 
Robert Frost Memorial Highway and
its poet-pruned pine grove,
perfect for pensive picnics:
is this a “road less travelled”?
Plaques abound where easily found,
not down some cut, rough graveled.
 
Would Robert Frost “think it queer”:
people spending precious time
marking subtle things with signs?
Or, would he give consenting nod,
to razing ground for sacred mounds
and digging ruts to be well trod?
 
He may have felt the former.
Each spring, it seems the poet
takes time from eternal rest,
to make this road hard travelled:
jolting chumps with thoughtful bumps;
poetic justice, slam gavelled!
 
Maybe the frost-heaved highway
is a jealous, cosmic joke:
concocted by the spirits
who hate rhymed and metered verse.
Broken rides litter waysides and
frost is mechanical curse!
 
Do not depend on poets
to point out your perfect path.
Their words have many meanings
that deny a simple choice.
Paths appear, despite vague fear,
if you follow Wonder’s voice.
 
Please send donations care of Middlebury Recreation Park and make a notation, “Sofa Loafer,” to distinguish the influence of your generosity and the power of literature.
Thank you for publishing my letter and poem.
Peter Szymkowicz
Shoreham
Editor’s note: We have no memory of rejecting this poem nine years ago (1,169 editions have been published since then), and don’t know why we would have. Perhaps Mr. Szymkowicz will turn his poetic talents toward the construction mess we have in downtown Middlebury and magically will it to wrap up sooner than is scheduled.

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