Thursday, January 15, 2015

This Duck Thing; a Journey


This photo lacks something in classic beauty, 
but I have so rarely been able to catch them clearly in flight!  
Here we have Ms. Mallard in front and Mr. Wood Duck behind her wing. 
The beautiful blue patches on the mallard's wing, 
which were hidden when she is on the ground 
are now completely revealed. I will have to investigate 
whether anyone has made an educated guess 
as to the evolutionary purpose of these feathers, 
which are similar in several other kinds of duck.
Note also how the wood ducks line up atop the retaining wall
which separates the lawn from the banks of the canal,
while the mallards come closer to the house.


A journey continues until it stops
A journey that stops is no longer a journey
A journey loses things on its way
A journey passes through things, things pass through it
When a journey is over, it loses itself to a place
When a journey remembers, it begins a journal
Which is a new journey about an old journey
A journey over time is different from a journey into time
An actual journey is into the future
A reflective journey is into the past
A journey to Rome is both
A journey to Pittsburgh is probably neither
A man on a journey keeps waving goodbye
A crystalline journey is frozen in time
A journey tests its own limits
A celestial journey ends in heartache
The arm is a journey within the sleeve
An empty journey forms a circle
A journey without an umbrella is incomplete
A journey always begins in a place called Here
Pack your bags and imagine your journey
Unpack your bags and imagine your journey is done
A journey is one step too many
A journey with fog must be a pastel
If you're afraid of a journey, don't buy shoes

Mark Strand

Chicken, Shadow, Moon and more, by Mark Strand.
Turtle Point Press, 2000. Pages 65-67

This is a wonderful little almost-square, illustrated book that would make a great gift!

It should also inspire you to make use of this idea of traveling through a poem of your own in which each line is a single idea on one ordinary word. So here is your task: pick two or three common nouns and begin lists or make beginnings with each one. It will often become obvious which word you prefer to enlarge upon. I think having each thought on its own line is a good idea, although some of the lines may ring changes on each other as in Journey. Some of your lines may require commas, but you will notice that the lines in the poem above require very few. It is almost certain that this exercise, once some time is spent on it, will give you ideas for some other, completely different poems! Imagine your journey!

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