Home > Water > Picnic at the Big Lady, Quabbin Reservoir

Picnic at the Big Lady, Quabbin Reservoir

June 29, 2008

The Quabbin rises as if bound to speak:
the four lost towns, Dana, Enfield,
Greenwich, and Prescott murmuring
of all that was, before the emptied
graves and cellar holes took on
the impersonal and public face of history.
Where now the bass patrol and deer
nose out the fattest berries, old rumors
and a persistent watching from behind.

Were the windows open when water
swept those barns and fields? Perhaps
a table set for tea and cake spun slowly
to the ceiling, flowers spilling
from their vase, family photographs
undeveloping to slicks of sepia
within the darkening, generic pool.

I can still see the steeple
dimpling the surface. Whole towns
caught, like a breath, beneath its
phantom shadow, as in a small
glass dome where no snow falls.

by Robbi Nester

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  1. June 30, 2008 at 4:55 am

    A wonderful depiction of the transformation of a world.

  2. oriana
    June 30, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Fabulous poem. Great language and images, esp the steeple dimpling the water.

  3. July 3, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Beautiful poem! I love the vivid imagery, especially “Whole towns caught like a breath,” and “perhaps a table set for tea spun slowly to the ceiling…” The immediacy of the moment is almost magical, especially since we are looking back in time.

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