All in all it was a good read. His content comes from poetic reflections from his time spent in the woods of Tioga and Potter Counties of Pennaylvania, The tropics of Brazil, and the town of Wellsboro, PA.
My personal reflection is that his poems about wild spaces resonate strongly with my own experiences, but I wish he wouldn't have spent so much time on women, politics, and death in other sections of his book. I also disliked his descriptions of small town drama and his negative depictions of church, clergy, and religion in general. But, as human beings we are all unique, and my least favorite parts of Nessmuk's book may be someone else's favorites.
There are several poems that resonate with me more than the others, and at least one that begs a question. The poem I speak of is on page 17, and it's called Sunrise in the Forest.
Sunrise in the Forest
The zephyrs of morning are stirring the larches,
And, lazily lifting, the mist rolls away.
A paean of praise thro' the dim forest arches
Is ringing, to welcome the advent of day.
Is loftily ringing,
From the height where a little brown songster is clinging,
The top of a hemlock, the uttermost spray.
The question, as I read that poem is, who is the "little brown songster"?
What little brown bird can be found in the woods of Pennsylvania in the Springtime singing atop a hemlock tree?
|Winter wren Nessmuk Lake 10/19/2017|
Other little songsters to consider who can regularly be found singing near the treetops are indigo bunting, scarlet tanager, American goldfinch, black-throated-green warbler and black-throated-blue warbler. The problem is, none of them fit the bill of "brown."
|Indigo bunting Pine Creek Gorge 5/17/2019|
|Black-throated-blue warbler Pine Creek Gorge 5/17/2019|
As I read through Nessmuk's other poems, the question of the identity of the little brown songster remained; that is, until I came across Nessmuk's poem titled A Summer Night, on page 64.
This particular poem contains the line, "The hermit thrush sings from the topmost spray of fir or hemlock..."
And so, there it is! The likely identity of Nessmuk's "little brown songster" in his poem Sunrise in the Forest is the hermit thrush. The notes of the hermit thrush make for what is arguably one of the most beautiful songs to fill the forest in the Spring and Summer.
|Hermit thrush, Ives Run Recreation Area 11/10/2019|