Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Leaf in the Gutter

As I rushed out to keep the appointment with the eye doctor today, 
this beautiful moisture-patterned leaf spoke to me from the gutter.
And see how the tiny stones from old concrete seem like gems?

Here is another piece from Maxine Kumin's book.


Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The Old Way

"Night falls quickly.
Soon the sky in the east has turned deep blue.
In the west the crescent moon is showing
and long red streaks of sunset clouds
lie over the darkening horizon. The air
is cooling noticeably. The first stars appear.
We trudge on not speaking. Even
the children are quiet, perfectly quiet.
Then the new baby whimpers, a tiny sound
and her mother hitches her around to nurse
on the move. In the silent veldt I feel
the night wind rising and hear the whisper
of the grass and the footsteps of the women.
A bat flies over us. A little later we hear
a flock of guinea fowl calling intermittently
as they fly one by one up to their roost
in a tree. Later still a jackal calls
and another answers. The first jackal calls again.
The world of the day is closing. the world
of the night is opening. We keep walking.

          lineated with permission of the author

Maxine Kumin
And Short the Season, Norton, 2014, Kindle location 520

I read Elizabeth Marshall Thomas many years ago, and had almost forgotten. She has a fine prose style, and it is very interesting to see how beautifully this reads as a short poem. A thing, or task, to try: when you are struck by the prose and information in something you are reading, write it out as a poem. You wouldn't need the author's permission, unless you were to want to publish it. I am going to look at the books of Bernd Heinrich.
Also, this has made me think again about guinea fowl. I saw them running wild on a friend's farm in Northern California. I completely missed that they were wild fowl in Africa. They are quite a beautiful bird. Dotted.

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