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To Bessie Drennan

by
 Because she could find no one else to paint a picture of the old family place where she and her sisters lived.
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she attended an adult education class in Montpelier.
In one evening Bessie Drennan learned everything she would need to accomplish her goals.
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The Vermont Folklife Center Newsletter Bessie, you've made space dizzy with your perfected technique for snow: white spatters and a dry brush feathering everything in the world seem to make the firmament fly.
Four roads converge on the heart of town, this knot of white and yellow houses angling off kilter, their astigmatic windows almost all in rows.
Lucky the skater threading the yellow tavern's quilt-sized pond, the yellow dogs who punctuate the village where our occupations are chasing and being chaste, sleighing and sledding and snowshoeing from house to house in our conical, flamelike hats.
Even the barns are sliding in snow, though the birches are all golden and one maple blazes without being consumed.
Is it from a hill nearby we're watching, or somewhere in the sky? Could we be flying on slick runners down into the village? Is that mare with the elegant legs truly the size of a house, and is this the store where everyone bought those pointed hats, the snowshoes that angle in contradictory directions? Isn't that Rin Tin Tin, bigtongued and bounding and in two places at once? Down there in the world's corner two children steal away onto the frozen pond, carrying their toboggan.
Even the weathervanes --bounding fish, a sailing stag--look happy.
The houses are swaying, Bessie, and nothing is grounded in shadow, set loose by weather and art from gravity's constraints.
And though I think this man is falling, is it anything but joyous, the arc his red scarf transcribes in the air?

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