Elegy for the Tussey Ridge: Fracking Comes to Central Pennsylvania; What I Forgot, What I Could Not Forget; Abbey Road; While You Lay Sleeping

Elegy for the Tussey Ridge: Fracking Comes to Central Pennsylvania

for Julia Spicher Kasdorf

Those hills that bound the valley where I live
And breathe and walk within and have my being
As the old prayer book I grew up with claims
We stand related to the God in whom
The prayer book also chides us to believe . . .

Those hills, just where I gaze across the fields
Thinking how green they look in early fall,
Thinking how soon that fluid braid of red
And gold or violet will climb the slopes
A month from now, discouraging the verdure,
Making it shine, subduing its expanses,
Preparing us for the white cold that follows:
The sum of the whole spectrum is white light.

Those hills, I learn today, conceal two things:
A pipeline up the ridge at Pleasant Gap
Beside my favorite trail along a stream
Jungled by rhododendrons in the spring
That bloom like galaxies; and at its foot
A square compressor station. Who discerns
The stream of black threading the Tussey Ridge,
Ribbons of black entangled in a knot
That mocks the tangle of the human heart
Where all the colors concentrate and burn?