Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Woodpecker Alley

Today's woodpecker brought a friend, but pictures of the two of them aren't good..
In this through-the-screen picture, you can see that his eye is yellow and
he has the red mustache that shows he is male. 
You can also see a little suet on his beak and his long sharp claws. 
Just a bit later we had a hairy woodpecker, 
so the word is out; suet is the word.
And today has been Tuesday, all day.


It is Tuesday, once called Tyr's Day,
god of war, not too surprising
gods of war are everywhere
they like their names
in public places.

It is Tuesday, a day I would rather
think without unique personality,
day for ordinary things---
saying "hello" for its own sake,
or "see you later."

Simple Tuesday, a day the weeds grow
in as well as their nobler cousins,
those great gaudy roses,
just Tuesday, time to dwell in,
maybe to think of a mountain pool or stream---

though I remember now, my mother
in her small white cot died on a Tuesday.

Robert Burlingame (1922-2011) 

from Some Recognition of the Joshua Lizard; 
new and selected poems by Robert Burlingame, 
Mutabilis Press, Houston TX, 2009, page 37. 

Just recently I read an essay in which someone mentioned he liked this poet, Robert Burlingame. So I checked it out and I like him, too. I was sorry to learn that this poet was already dead before I found out about him.

I think it would be interesting to try writing a poem on a particular day of the week. I might start off with the day it was when I began to write and see how the poem began to develop. It might be a mistake to find the surprise (if there is one) like the one at the end of this poem too early in your process. What makes this poem interesting is how matter-of-fact and ordinary it is after the opening definitions. You follow the word Tuesday pleasantly through the poem until the poem ends on the same word, after the unexpected shocking information. Three five line stanzas and a closing couplet, an economical, pleasing form. Something else to try. It doesn't need to end with a death, you know. You are the writer.

No comments:

Post a Comment