Springside Park

Springside Park is located in the mountain town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, my brother Donnie and I’s hometown. We grew up with park as our backyard. Here’s our collaboration project on the Park: A poem by Donnie Welch ( originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Stone Walls II ) and photographs by Jonathan Welch.

 

Springside Park by Donnie Welch

 

Winter

Two old men ice fishing on the pond

not expecting to catch anything.

They nurse cans of Genesee

and talk about friends in Vietnam.

They could go to Onota Lake,

actually catch pike, but this pond

is closer to home. They agree

pike is too gamey to eat anyway.

The cold makes their joints stiff,

the rods sit in holders on their chairs.

Spring

Three children search the melted brook

for crayfish and frogs, filling a bucket

with the unfortunate creatures they catch,

amphibian gelatin greasing their hands.

Back home, standing on a second story porch,

they begin dropping frogs, one at time,

onto a concrete patio below. Two giggle,

while the third, helpless accomplice, stares

at the off-white stomachs of the frog corpses

with limbs spread out on their smashed backs.

Summer

A couple retreats from a rock out cropping,

a party fort, that keeps light out of sight

and noise stifled from the road.

They stumble, nervous and drunk

(or just drunk from the nerves)

towards the back of her mom’s car.

Meanwhile, a cop continues breaking up the party,

but he knew exactly where to go

for that reason he’s lenient

and doesn’t write any of the kids a ticket.

Once all the teenagers are gone, he sits

remembering when, back in high school,

he kissed his first wife for the first time.

Autumn

An old man with a limping dog

Makes his way up the old zoo trail

past the two huge cement blocks

where the archway and lion cage used to be.

He has a bag full of littered beer bottles

and cans he finds along the way,

he’ll redeem them later at Price Shopper.

The ground is smooth with wet leaves

so both man and dog walk carefully,

swinging their legs wide and to the side

in silly half-waddles for extra stability

as if pantomiming mirth or dancing.


Scattered Seasons of Springside Park

Photographs by Jonathan Welch