Saturday, March 25, 2017

Meet MARGARET PETTIS, At Large Poet

Born near Sacramento and earning B.A.s in English and Art at U.C. Davis, Margaret Pettis worked as a wilderness ranger, packing mules for the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness. She taught English in Utah for 40 years, was named Utah’s English Teacher of the Year, and won the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education. A wildlife and wilderness activist, Margaret has backpacked extensively in and published articles about Utah’s wildlands. Trekking solo for months at a time, she has sketched from Sweden to Sicily and sought places haunted by Odysseus.

Margaret has written five mystery novels and is at work on a book celebrating Utah’s remote places. UTSPS published her book, Chokecherry Rain, when she was named 1993 Poet of the Year.  She is currently in the process of forming a UTSPS Chapter of At Large members called Hinterland Poets that will do critiques, discussions and encourage each other by emails. If you’re interested in joining, leave a message on this blog in a comment or email Lin Floyd-UTSPS Chapters Coordinator lin at sunrivertoday dot com.
RELEASING THE PEACHES

They lined the sills
and splintered planks
of the cellar-- golden
freestone peaches,
summer’s bright trove,
amber amulets
suspended in syrup.

Thirteen summers
glazed the window
into that narrow keep.
No one sensed
the subtle glow,
the treasure below.

It took the cat's escape
into the spiders' lair
for me to follow there,
armed with headscarf
and flashlight, swatting
webs and fear aside.

An errant ray
sparked the dusky glass:
rosy Elberta
and Elegant Ladies
trapped within
dust and paraffin.

In a  wicker basket
I hauled the heavy fruit
in solo ceremony,
up the creaking stairs,
into the snowy orchard.

To the solstice sun,
I raised a Mason jar--
halves of slippery moons,
a lantern in the light.
Diamonds on my cheeks,
I freed my mother’s peaches,
fireflies in ice.

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