Thursday, June 04, 2015

Chicken Shack, or The Coop

bookmark: murre, from basho's road

photo: sharon auberle

Some of you will remember Norbert Blei.  My friend, my mentor, my publisher.  One of the people most influential in my writing life.  Wrote a bunch of books, published a lot of other people's books, stayed in touch with the wide world of literature and literati,and raised as much hell as he could to save the environment and a disappearing way of life; all from a not-too-reconstructed chicken coop in the Wisconsin woods.
Since Norb's death, his property has been sold, but thanks to his children, The Coop has been donated to Write On! Door County, and relocated to those grounds where it will serve as sanctuary and inspiration to other writers, young and old.
I attended a fine dedication ceremony last Saturday along with about 150 other folks, many of whom paid tribute with their words, their art, their music, and at least one original dance, choreographed just for the day.  Here's the poem I wrote for the occasion:

The Cock o’ the Coop
(On the studio of Norbert Blei)

Beyond Ellison Bay, in may-apple May
and blue-sky July gone by,
or in the gray of dim December,
south windows searching for sun,
there would have been Leghorns
I suppose, utilitarian,
clucking and cackling
in this chicken house.
Good layers, Leghorns.
Might have been White Rocks and Barred Rocks,
brooding.  Rhode Island Reds.  Perhaps even
Sunday-dinner Wyandotte, Orpington, or Jersey Giant.

For certain --

one Bantam rooster, crowing
doing his damnedest
to wake the neighbors

~ Ralph Murre


Steve said...

Thanks for sharing! That makes two Wisconsin writers that I know of who wrote from (somewhat) converted chicken coops. Maybe we should all get one! Excellent poem, too, Ralph. A perfect elegy! --Steve Tomasko

Albert DeGenova said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Albert DeGenova said...

Love the poem. Ralph, you have a way with "occasion" writing. So glad that I was there to witness that important event. I'm sure the Coop will become an important place of meditation for generations of writers to come. -- Al

Jukota said...

I love the poem. Takes me back. I missed the 'real' dedication but found myself there in spirit as I read your words. Thanks for allowing me to participate spiritually if not physically. You have a way of being very good at that. :-)

Mark Schwarzbauer said...

Ralph I thoroughly enjoyed your three readings at the Door County Auditorium last night. The dedication of Ram's incredible mural and the Children's Art Gallery was enhanced by your sharing. Thanks for painting such wonderful pictures in our minds. I appreciate your gift.
Pastor Mark Schwarzbauer R.N. PhD, Family Worship Center

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