A beaver in Albany

Walking down — well, we were running a bit, given the accumulating clouds — to the Albany Riverside Jazz festival, we got caught in a major downpour & sought refuge in the cathedral just 100 feet from the house we lived in for a dozen years. Standing just inside the cathedral porch, we caught sight of a carpet underfoot with an emblem we had never seen or noticed: a beaver with what looks like a bishop’s staff and a sickle moon to his right. I immediately thought of Old Man Beaver, I mean of my old friend Jerome Rothenberg who was made a beaver in 1968 in Salamanca, NY by his Seneca friends. Nicole took the photo:
It struck me as odd that beaver should be there, at the entrance of a 19C cathedral, to be walked over, despite his bishoppy outfit. For I remembered one of Jerry’s poems from A SENECA JOURNAL:


beaver at the beginning of
the world (they said)
he was their father master
builder god who taught his son
to hunt progenitor of tribes


by 1640
was not a beaver left
for furs in all of
New York State

The rain stopped shortly & we made it down to the JazzFest. Great pleasure hearing Mose Allison (wow, 78!) backed by friend Jeff Siegel on drums and Rich Syracuse on bass. Had to rush off to a poetry reading in the middle of Allison’s set, but couldn’t miss Bernadette Mayer & Rebecca Wolf. Excellent reading, dry indoors with rain & thunder & lightning outside.
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