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Bruce S. Post, a former Selectboard member, was chief of staff for 1980 presidential candidate U.S. Congressman John B. Anderson

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The Poisoned Arrow

April 15, 2021

I closed my previous column: “We have conversations. We can continue down this path of having conversations.”

Little did I know that Selectboard members Elaine Haney, Patrick Murray and Vince Franco would soon hold their own secret conversations, engaging in a mendacious and profane texting tryst at the March 25th Selectboard meeting, Haney’s last.

I have struggled with how to respond. Three or four times, I started a commentary but scrapped each draft. I did not want   to emulate the flaming that has occurred on Facebook and Front Porch Forum about this merger; I did not want to mirror Haney’s, Murray’s and Franco’s behavior.

Then, I remembered a favorite poem, The Arrow and the Song by Longfellow:

I shot an arrow into the air, 
It fell to earth, I knew not where; 
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight 
Could not follow it in its flight. 

I breathed a song into the air, 
It fell to earth, I knew not where; 
For who has sight so keen and strong, 
That it can follow the flight of song? 

Long, long afterward, in an oak 
I found the arrow, still unbroke; 
And the song, from beginning to end, 
I found again in the heart of a friend. 

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To me, this poem is about intention. It seems reckless to launch an arrow not knowing where it would land.

The arrow, though, did no harm because it was accompanied by a loving song that would eventually lodge “in the heart of a friend.”

Apprentice herbalists learn that the healing quality of medicinal herbs is affected by the intention of the preparer.

If you are sloppy and unmindful, your preparation will be weak; put care and compassion into your effort, and the result will be healing.


On March 25th, Murray encouraged Haney to “Go out with a bang,” and she did, intentionally shooting an arrow with a poisoned tip. 

It was accompanied not by a loving song but one of derision and spite. 


Both the arrow and the song landed squarely in the heart of our local democracy, and we are all wounded.

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