Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Unfooted Dusk

This afternoon I liked the way the two squirrel nests
on the same branch show against the sky;
I ran the photo through the Prisma app on my iPhone for the neat effect.

It was Sally Stebbins of the Petoskey Regional Audubon Society
who showed me how squirrels' nests are covered with leaves.
Since then, whenever I spot a nest, 
I remember Sally, who died too young.
I haven't seen any squirrel babies yet, but 
I do have plenty of squirrels scrounging 
for sunflower seeds in my seed feeder
and bird seen mix.  jhh

In a Small Town on the West Coast

The seagulls' tapestry of fish gut and last light,
the ripe blackberries splotching the unfooted dusk,
the ogre's sacks of human shadows heavy with hearts
and dragged over dykes, that low-tide-in-the-mouth taste:
rivertowns are always nostalgic for the days they've lost.

See how the current and the falling night flow together
on the same tracks, the ones walked on by dogs and girls
and old men wedding their dusks in the briney air.
A garter snake twists into a question-mark on the rails.
A girls body pauses long enough for her blood to answer.

The sun is always going home; with people, who can tell?
There's something harsh and honest in a screaming gull
that makes us wince, something lovely, direct and awful.
Perhaps the girl, hearing it, can cause the snake to fall.
Every myth begins where the ogre's sack is full.

Tim Bowling

The Thin Smoke of the Heart
McGill-Queen's University Press, 2000, page 19

Tim Bowling is another of the fine Canadian poets I have discovered recently. Here are 15 long lines 
divided into 3 stanzas. 
There is some end-rhyme and close-to-rhyme, 
especially in the third stanza.  
There are some nice surprises:
tivertowns, unfooted,
And there is a nice fairytale flavor.
So the task might be to write a poem in 
three long-line stanzas--
paying special attention to the natural world--
with some allusions to folklore,
and if you can, some fresh compound words. jhh

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