Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Verdure along the Little Union Canal

Another funny slight rain-with-windstorm this afternoon. Just beforehand, a redwing sat on the porch rail nearby, and raised his head and opened his beak to make that shrill cry. Again and again. I hadn't been so close to that before. Then I watched three mallard drakes chase one duck all over the sky. They never even got close.

Here is a prose poem by a master of the form, William Heyen. It is the first thing in his book, Pig Notes and Dumb Music. (1998) I like it partly because it is so goofy, like dreams are and many other parts of life, too!

The Bear
     I was standing near a corral of barbed wire attached to a barn out in the country along a dirt road. A white bear was wearing a path inside the fence. It was winter, night. Somehow, I was responsible for the bear, but wanted to go to town, but had to stay with him. But I decided to let him out, and if he killed some people, he killed them, and I'd be free of him.
     We headed along the snowblown dirt road to an intersection in the distance where winter swirled in the dark cone of a streetlight. The bear padded six feet in front of me. Would he turn on me?
     How stupid I was to let him out, to think of showing him where there were people. I wondered if I could get him back into the corral. Never mind, To hell with all the people.
     But halfway to the intersection I turned back. The bear followed, began to play, suspected nothing of towns or populations. He rolled in the road, charged into snowdrifts, knelt on floppy front paws and jumped away, turned a somersault in the air, his fur outlined in starlight.
     For now, there on that snowroad in the wild glitter of trees, in huffs of breathsteam against the blackness, in the icicle gleam of teeth, the white bear ran toward me and away, then toward me, his fur flying and swaying in slow motion as he followed me--so far, so good--back to the corral.
(page 13)

Things for me to think about in my own writing:
Varied sentence length. Sentence fragments.
Freshly compounded words: snowroad, breathsteam.
Metaphor: dark cone of a streetlight.
His use of commas, which keeps things moving right along and adds to a sort of dreamlike breathlessness.  Good Night!

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