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Julie Cadwallader-Staub

Julie Staub was born in Minneapolis MN. She grew up with her five sisters, her parents and a dog beside one of Minnesota’s small lakes. Her favorite words to hear growing up were, “Now you girls go outside and play.”

Julie graduated from Earlham College, a Quaker college in Richmond, Indiana, in 1979 with a degree in Religious Studies. At Earlham, she had the good fortune of rooming with a Jane Cadwallader from Iowa, who introduced Julie to her big brother, Warren. They were married in a Quaker ceremony in 1979, had three children, and moved to Vermont in 1992, where they joined the Burlington Friends Meeting (Quaker) and then College Street Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) in 1995. They were married for 23 years, until Warren’s death from multiple myeloma at the age of 49.

Julie earned a Masters of Social Work degree at Rutgers University in 1984, and made her career in nonprofit organizations and public sector positions, seeking to improve the wellbeing of women and children, and others disadvantaged by our society. Her poems have been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, published in journals, and included in anthologies.  She was awarded a Vermont Council on the Arts grant for poetry in 2001 and the Ruth Stone Prize for poetry in 2015 by the Hunger Mountain Review.

Her first collection of poems, Face to Face, was published by Cascadia Publishing House in Telford PA in June 2010.  (http://www.juliecspoetry.com/about/) (‘Scuse the repeat bio. Couldn’t find anything new about her.)

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I love this poem for the simple reason it’s my own childhood, though I grew up in mid-Ohio. “I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced that same utter certainty of the goodness of life…” Childhood is a time to be treasured (for most of us — though I realize that’s not true for all), and yet now our children — even our very YOUNG children — are growing up entirely too fast without ever experiencing that magic, carefree time in their life. I think that’s very tragic.

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Reverence

The air vibrated
with the sound of cicadas
on those hot Missouri nights after sundown
when the grown-ups gathered on the wide back lawn,
sank into their slung-back canvas chairs
tall glasses of iced tea beading in the heat

and we sisters chased fireflies
reaching for them in the dark
admiring their compact black bodies
their orange stripes and seeking antennas
as they crawled to our fingertips
and clicked open into the night air.

In all the days and years that have followed,
I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced
that same utter certainty of the goodness of life
that was as palpable
as the sound of the cicadas on those nights:

my sisters running around with me in the dark,
the murmur of the grown-ups’ voices,
the way reverence mixes with amazement
to see such a small body
emit so much light.

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Picture Source: YouTube