Juggler Traditions – The Poet’s House

Every year we show up faithfully at the Poet’s House in North Amherst. The origins of this tradition go back before the beginnings of Juggler Meadow. The Poet’s House was the home of Robert Francis (The Poet). Francis was a friend and more or less contemporary of Robert Frost and a bunch of other well known people. He was a fine poet in his own right. Cammy Kaynor, one of the founders of the team, lived nearby and spent a lot of time hanging out there in his youth.

As a poet, Bob Francis was probably best known for his nature poetry. He called his home Fort Juniper and was a keen observer of the seasonal changes and the plant and animal life around him. Some of us who have been with the team since the early days remember Bob Francis when he was alive. We would show up at his house, do a dance or two for him in exchange for which he would give us a poem or two. Then it was on to the cider and doughnuts and whiskey. He died in 1987 at the age of 86. Learn more about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Francis_(poet) or here: http://www.poemhunter.com/robert-francis/biography/

After Francis died, his house was set up as a place for a variety of artists, mostly poets, to live in and pursue their work in freedom. We still dance there to honor his memory and to help inspire the resident artists. Some we inspire more than others. Henry Lyman, the trustee of Fort Juniper and a very fine poet in his own right, usually provides cider and doughnuts and warns the poet in residence about what to expect from us.