Sunday, December 20, 2015

Still Life with Doormat

Sometimes, a little bit of color in a corner shines forth, especially when I am very happy.
In this case, it made me even happier. Sometimes it doesn't take much.


A log shifts, sending a few sparks higher.
Outside, through the larches, an owl calls.
The dog's asleep. On the hearth near the fire,

carefully stacked, in a basket of woven wire,
wood for the night. A stick of kindling falls,
a log shifts, sending a few sparks higher,

changing the shadows in the room. A spire
of light glints on the clock's face in the hall.
The dog's asleep. On the hearth, near the fire,

he begins to whine, to become a far crier
among the hills, twitching his feathered paws.
A log shifts, sending a few sparks higher;

his ears prick: ahead some stark desire
steps forth, waiting to hold him in thrall.
The dog's asleep on the hearth, near the fire;

he is farther away now, part of a choir
of lost voices, He falls back, sprawls.
A log shifts, sending a few sparks higher;
the dogs asleep on the hearth near the fire.

Jared Carter         (born 1939)

The Laurel Review, Summer, 1995, Greentower Press, Page 18.

Yes, it's that same issue of Laurel Review that I was going to throw out. Four of the poems therein will wind up on this blog within the next little while. I just looked it up and the periodical is still going strong, with a website, electronic or paper submissions, and a very reasonable subscription price. I'm in! And I am thinking of sending them some poems again, for old times sake!

It's that interesting form the villanelle, again. The repeated parts give it a sonic richness, I think. Notice, in this case, how the punctuation of the repeated line--about the dog--shifts, and how the meaning gets a little nudge from that alone.
And you can tell what your task is now. Start working on your villanelle. I think it might be good to work on two of them at the same time, so you can move back and forth and they can fertilize each other. Sort of...

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