Twigs And Leaves

Twigs and Leaves
Songs of the Solitary Sentinel

The living word of storytelling, and the sharing of humor and wisdom are captured in this collection of poetry by e.o.bryce. Presented in windows on phases of a life journey in lifting rhythms, e.o.bryce explores the condition of life and the passing of our lives from one experiential phase of congruency to another.


Poetry is hard to pin down.We think we know it when we see it, but struggle when we try to define it.

"Songs" are obviously not prose.  For one thing, they are musically rhythmical, Mountain Sailor,is a song in 2/4 time.  Think of the first two syllables ("On . . . A")as the "pickup" to a "downbeat" -- ("greygloom").  The last line is in triple time.

The pieces in this section celebrate the outlier, the solitary individual coping patiently, proudly, unapologetically with its environment.  They were written during stressful times in my life when I felt abandoned and alone, trying to deal bravely in the face of adversity. Today, I see a younger version of myself marshalling my powers of detachment (the sentinel), to fill my soul with optimistic songs of survival.


Mountain Sailor

On . . .
A greygloom day in Autumn,

Draped . .
In drippy, drizzly rain,
I see a crowd of greengrey pine trees
Glooming round a lone gold maple.

Just . . .
A sailor, gold in oilskins,
Adrift on a greengloom sea,

Patiently . . .

Awaiting . . .

The Northerly bluster of Winter.

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A nostalgic snapshot of 1950's white Montana, horses and all, from the eyes of innocent 20's-somethings, unaware of the upheavals just under surface of the country-side they are traveling through.  Socrates explores how we contend with adversity; how we depend on the generous natures of the people around us. It's a theme that runs through my life.  It's a true story of a very special time.  And it teaches us that naiveté and bad decision making need not be fatal. We have within us the imagination to solve and surmount our problems.

Just don't forget the bicycle pump!


Introducing Socrates

Socrates was a truck, a 1954 1/2-ton Dodge pick-up with a short squished nose.  He looked to me like a picture of "the bust of Plato" in the family copy of Bulfinche's "Age of Mythology", by my new husband, Bryce, didn't want a truck named "Plato", so we named him "Socrates".

Like many other inappropriate names for inanimate objects, it worked. For years when we and our friends talked about him we referred to Socrates, only occasionally, "the truck".  And he was always "him", never "her".  One glance convinced you immediately that he was a "he", not a "her".

Bryce bought him in 1958, the year after we got married.  We had been tootling around in his family's Willys Jeep (the "Jeep") or in his sister's Henry J (the "Henry J").  But since we planned to go to college in Bozeman, Montana, we needed a vehicle of our own to  a) get us there, and  b) travel in Montana where distances were DISTANCES and there was scanty little in the way of public transportation.  Indeed, to Bozemanites, public transportation was something encountered only in exotic major cities like Billings.  In Bozeman, you walked, drove a car, or rode a horse.  We didn't know much about Bozeman, but we accurately guessed that much!

Getting there was our first priority.  Well, getting there with two large dogs, several boxes of books, assorted tools, a bed, kitchen utensils, bedding and towels, clothes, etc — you get the idea.  That's why we needed a truck. And although you wouldn't think so at first, Socrates was ideal. But he needed some modification.

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