Saturday, September 11, 2021

Poem: Breathe


Author’s Note:  Greetings. I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone. Your reads, RETWEETS, FACEBOOK shares, compliments & comments have all been so all greatly appreciated. I especially want to thank Editor Melissa Hart & all the great folks at Adirondack Explorer & here at The Adirondack Almanack. I have truly enjoyed the opportunity they have given me to share some of my adventures & stories with all of you.

     I don’t consider myself a poet. I don’t seek poems out. Sometimes, however, they still seem to find me. This one came in pieces, like fall’s falling leaves, on my last duck hunting trip of the 2020 season, up on Middle Saranac Lake, rowing in solo through the quiet pre-dawn mist darkness in my “Zen Boat” canoe, via South Creek.

     I pulled it together from scrambled notes jotted on scraps of paper I scrounged, while sitting in my canoe, soaking in the high peaks horizon. I had the lake to myself.

     It was a chilly, overcast, mid-November day. Mist hovered over Ampersand Mountain., whose slopes I had hiked as a boy, hunting & camping with my father. Off in the distance, I glimpsed snow high on Whiteface, framed by other cloud shrouded peaks. Some familiar old friends. Some not.

     I sat there, in my canoe, on the lake, taking it all in. I had made on last trip to the lake to hunt ducks. As I sat there, thinking, remembering, alone in my canoe with my worries & thoughts, in that moment, I realized one truth. I go afield not seeking game, but in search of myself.

     On the journey, this poem found me. I hope you enjoy it.   

   P.S.  Oh, and yes. So did a duck.



Alone The Forest

Frozen Mist Dew

Fall’s Fallen Carpet

Kaleidoscope View

Awaken The Sunrise

Call Of the Crow

Winter’s First Flakes

Horizons Peak Snow

Briskly My Pace

Trail’s Rocky Ascent

Conifer Canopy

Sweet Balsam Scent

Squirrels, Chipmunks, Blue Jays

Thoughts, Worries, Dreams

Meandering Hopscotch

 Chick-A-Dee Streams

Each Breath Inhales

Life’s Gurgling Flow

What Lies Ahead?

Only God Knows

Maples Seek Slumber

Beyond Harvest Moon

Mountain Lake, Silent Swamp

Call Of the Loon

Wind Sweeps the Trees

Whispers The Willow

“Live This Day”



Editor’s Note:  This poem recently appeared in The Adirondack Center for Writing’s 2021 “Poem Village” in an edited format.

Photo courtesy of Richard Monroe

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A veteran north country writer & story teller raised in Saranac Lake, Dick enjoys “Living in the Day I Am In”, and then writing about it. A severely speech impaired 3x cancer survivor, his pen is his voice. He shares many of his Adirondack Outlaw adventures & tales here. Read the rest on his blog @

6 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    Thank you, Richard!


  2. JB says:

    Reminiscent of Charles Fenno Hoffman, who wrote about the same general region back when it was still inhibited by Mohawk, Onondaga and Algonquin. The milieu of the area is unmistakable, even two centuries later. But it is interesting how much each of us brings from within ourselves. Hoffman ultimately ended up living out his last decades in an asylum (why did so many of the early Adirondack settlers end up going insane?), and it shows in his work:

    Midst dripping crags where foaming soon,
    Through soaking mosses steals the SCROON,
    To where PESEKA’s waters have
    Its silvery strand and sloping hills;
    From hoarse AUSABLE’s caverned wave
    To SARANAC’s most northern rills;
    Mid REUNA’s hundred isles of green;
    By TUNESA-SAH’s pebbly pools;
    And where through many a dark ravine
    The triple crown of crags is seen,
    By which grim TOWARLOONDAH rules,
    Each rocky glen and swampy lair
    Has heard his howlings of despair.

    [ … … ]

    Where upon the bay of glass
    That mirrors him on either hand,
    His shadow SANDANONA throws :
    By GWIENDAUQUA’s bristling fall
    Through TWEN-UNGASKO’s echoing glen,
    To wild OULUSKA’s inmost den
    Alone–alone with that poor thrall
    I wrestled life away in all !

    • Richard Monroe says:

      Thank you JB, what a wonderful compliment to be included in the same milieu reminiscence with such beautiful poetry. My simple verse cannot compete with the likes of Charles Fenno Hoffman. I’m just an Adirondack Outlaw, one falling fall leaf, quietly rowing my Zen boat. One man’s life journey on mountain lake waters. Hoping, praying, to someday be granted sanctuary within the asylum.

  3. Vanessa B says:

    Very zen, Richard 🙂 – as a Buddhist, I admire what a Buddhist would call your spiritual practice. Taken a long time and I don’t have much of one yet. But it really seems like you do, which is stellar for yourself and those around you. If you believe in reincarnation, then in the next life you’re gonna be lots closer to enlightenment and a lot happier/effective for it.

    My goal for this life is to try to make a spiritual peace with our complicated world (and especially the people in it) while I can. Seems like you’ve achieved it. I hope I make it too, hopefully someday in the beautiful Adirondacks.

    In the meantime, sometimes stuff can be very tough. It’s good to know there’s a path out the other side – gives us hope that we can get there.

  4. Corky Hatch says:

    Dick. Great poem. I read and enjoy all of your publications. I wish I had met you but maybe someday. I knew and respected your Grandfather, after who you are named. I grew up with your father and I only skipped school once. Guess who with? I believe that was the only time he skipped school too. I’m sure both your Father and Grandfather are looking down with much love and pride. Keep up your great work.

    • Richard Monroe says:

      Thank you Sir! I am often neither my father nor grandfather. At the same time, I am always both of them. If you grew up with and knew the two men who were the greatest influences on my life, then you know me. I have met quite a number of my father’s high school classmates and friends through the years. I would be honored to someday meet you. Until then, thank you for reading, and your kind thoughts.

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