Anne Britting Oleson – three poems

The Downside

Too cool to drive with the windows open, really,
though today—perhaps the first fine day this spring—
the sky is ablaze with the endless blue
of summer promises, and the radio plays
Roy Orbison too loudly to be contained.
In the rolling Exeter hills, you come around
a curve and see, first, the spreader truck,
grime caked over green; then next you notice
the stubbly fields, stretching away
from the road on either side, painted black
with the sludge which makes them look oiled,
which will, in a few months, cause
the corn to grow straight and tall
with a rattle like sabers in the wind,
and which now makes you grateful,
so grateful that you left the glass rolled up.

Garden of Stars

Sundown, and the western sky
wears a momentary bloom
of yellow. Across the firmament,
the evening star crops up,
hangs low over the mountain.
You turn your eyes skyward,
your brow furrowed,
fingers unfurling, and
more stars leaf out, scattering
like seeds across the deepening dark,
fluttering to rest in constellations.
You sow hunters and bears,
kings and princesses,
lions and dragons and twins,
and last, the sickle moon,
the curve ripening like your smile.


Dusk, and you hear,
coming slowly up behind,
the steady hollow beats
of a horse’s hooves
in the lane where the trees
knit themselves overhead.
The air is still,
awaiting a rain,
heavy with honeysuckle,
leaves holding their breath.
Only you, walking,
listening to a horse
which draws closer
but never appears,
and you don’t pause
in your amble,
don’t look over your shoulder,
because you know well,
from years’ experience,
that you and the rider—a man
in long coat and high boots—
share this road,
but not this time,
and while you are together
in this sweet evening of summer,
you have never met,
and you will never meet.

Anne Britting Oleson has been published widely on four continents. She earned her MFA at the Stonecoast program of USM. She has published two chapbooks, The Church of St. Materiana (Moon Pie Press, 2007) and The Beauty of It (Sheltering Pines Press, 2010). A third chapbook, Planes and Trains and Automobiles, has just been published by Portent Press, and a novel, The Book of the Mandolin Player, is forthcoming from B Ink Publishing (April 2016).

Anne’s blog can be found at


One thought on “Anne Britting Oleson – three poems

  1. Robert Nisbet December 14, 2015 / 6:41 pm

    There’s a lovely sense here of the countryside. I particularly enjoyed ‘Garden of Stars’.


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