W.E.R. La Farge

W.E.R. LaFarge, poet, playwright, and environmentalist, was born in New York City on June 24, 1930. In 1978, he began to live year round at the River Farm, owned by his family since 1908.

W.E.R. was a founding and active member of the Narrow River Preservation Association that, over the years has preserved so much of the river we all enjoy. W.E.R. believed in preserving watersheds, farmland and public access to recreational and scenic areas. He believed that we are all stewards of the land, inextricably bound to it and to each other.

LaFarge Point Park and the U.R.I. Rowing Center were once part of the River Farm. W.E.R. donated these parcels and permanently restricted development on his land through conservation easements. The value of the gift was used as matching funds, allowing the Narrow River Land Trust with the assistance of the The Champlin Foundations and the Nature Conservancy, to preserve additional land on the upper pond.

Each year, NRPA honors someone who has made a large, positive impact on the Narrow River Watershed by awarding them the W.E.R. La Farge Friend of the River Award in W.E.R.’s honor.

Through the efforts of Senator John Chafee, the lower end of the estuary has been designated as the Pettaquamscutt Cove National Wildlife Refuge.

W.E.R. died at home in October 27, 1994 and is buried at the River Farm. His poem reprinted here was inspired by the glacial estuary we call “Narrow River”.

Earth’s Song

by W.E.R. LaFarge (1974)

 

I lie alone

remembering changes

how sudden crystals grew

from water falling

in a cup in a rock

surprising forms

acids in a cup in a rock

receiving lightning

a cup in a rock receiving

lightning

I am here

I lie alone

no one completes me

after lightning

I bide my time

I hold my forms beyond

surprising islands

I lie alone

remembering changes

how grinding ice came down

the slide of earth

rub of rivers

knuckles of trees cracking rocks

receiving ice surprising

cracking rocks receiving ice

a tree of rivers sprang inside

me

I am here

I lie alone

no one completes me

after water

I bide my time

I hold my face beyond

surprising rains