Poetry has always been a part of CFPA. The Association’s quarterly magazine, Connecticut Woodlands, featured it first poem in 1939 – “A Dream of Connecticut” by Trinity Professor, and 1938 Pulitzer Prize winner, Odell Shepard. I recently came across Wallace Steven’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” Wallace, of course, was a Hartford insurance executive and one of the era’s great poets. I thought it would be fun to use his poem as a way of explaining how one might look at your support for CFPA.
"Thirteen Ways of Looking at CFPA"
(apologies to Wallace Stevens)
Among seven counties,
The forests are protected by
donors to CFPA.
They were of diverse minds,
Like the trees conserved
All because of you.
The children played in parks, whirls of pure joy, euphony,
The legacy you protect.
A tree and forest
A tree and a forest and a trail
I do not know which to give thanks,
Or its shade,
The cool comfort
Or you who made it happen.
Snow fills the bare branches.
The beauty you make
By giving when others do not.
A shadow will linger over the land,
An ongoing emptiness for you,
Indecipherable to others
Who seem not to care.
O you nutmeggers of the steady habit
What is the future you wish to create?
Do you not see the blackbird at rest?
All creatures at your feet
Are home because you give?
I know the noble CFPA member
And their lucid, inescapable generosity.
But I also know
They are one of the few, involved
For the benefit of the many.
When the end of year appeal flies out,
It marks plenty … or fasting.
You are the force – unmoved mover.
At the site of children playing outdoors,
One with the grass and leaves,
You who value and give to the future
Cry out sharply in celebration.
We hiked over Connecticut
On a blue blazed trail.
But, a fear pierced us.
What if the trail is lost,
Fallen from the forested ridge onto road,
A shadow of loss will descend.
120 years have run away in CFPA’s past,
You begin the next 120.
The evening of the year descends.
The taxman cometh.
And he can be sated with a gift,
A gift for forests, parks, trails and future generations,
A gift to CFPA is a gift to you.