Poems by Betsy Snider

Solo Fall

I walk around the lake

with no dogs to accompany me,

only red and yellow leaves

that blow across dirt roads.

I catch the sun as it angles

further south casting diamonds

across deep blue water

ruffled by the wind.


I am alone in a vast wilderness

of dying trees; water thickening

with the cold; brown ferns

curled over thatched grass;

and everywhere silence drops

as heavy as dew at dawn.





Democrats United in Unity, New Hampshire, June, 2008

Five neighbors walk along the side
of the Second New Hampshire Turnpike
as rows of yellow school buses roll past,
leaving dust trails in the heavy June morning.

We arrive at the field just as the first bus
unloads its forty-some passengers who look
around as if alighting on the far side of Mars,
unsure whether the natives are friendly.

The one-story brick school looks smaller
than usual, surrounded by security gates
and throngs of serious men in black suits
whose mirrored sunglasses reflect a dark sun.

Generators the size of woodsheds rumble
next to satellite dishes that dwarf the school.
Reporters stand in front of cameras
while we are herded on freshly mowed grass.

We crowd in front of an open stage,
festooned with flags and an empty dais.
Off to the side, large bleachers are slowly
filling with old folks and local dignitaries.

For two hours, we stand beneath a sky
where clouds play hide and seek
with the sun, while thousands of people
push into the low, flat field around us.

A buzz erupts from behind the bleachers,
shouts and chants, applause surround
a lanky man and compact woman as they stride
past crowds controlled by a thin rope.

Later, after the two are whisked away
in black SUVs with tinted windows,
ropes are untied, the crowds disperse
and we walk back home under stormy skies.

In late November, frost covers the field
like a thin cotton blanket worn at the edges.

[This poem has been published in the 2010 Poets Guide to New Hampshire]