One More Mountain by Kenneth Kaplan 1990
Kenneth Kaplan was a caring physician, a lover of the natural world, a child of New England, and a fisherman. At the age of 50, as told by his wife in the foreward to this volume, he indicated that he ‘had climbed all his mountains except for one. He wanted to learn how to write poetry.” This volume, collecting more than 60 of his poems and published posthumously indicate how successfully he climbed that ‘One More Mountain’.
With close observation of nature, especially his trout fishing and his beloved Maine woods, Kaplan wrote some beautiful lines. Clever word play and vivid images characterize his work. Here’s one of my favorites entitled ‘The Heisenberg Principle”: The broken spruces littering the trail/Have blocked my ready access through the wood./Dry tapered trunks and spiky limbs that should/have pillared an arcade now only veil/My path and force me into untracked brush/Where I am tripped and scratched and turned about./ I can no longer make my way without/The crunch of leaves and snap of limbs. The hush/That should belong is gone./ This passage through/The windfalls frightens into flight/The skittish animals I’ve come to view,/So all they leave for me to see is scat./My noisy entrance proves the thesis right;/To be there alters what you’re looking at.”
Kaplan died at 54 in a tragic accident while fishing on his beloved Connecticut River. This volume is a worthy reminder of his life, talent, and love for his native New England.