Three short poems to inaugurate a new pocket notebook

ravens
climbing into
each other’s sky
circling crying
out

*

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above the road bank where
the hepatica has just come into bloom,
the corpse of a porcupine

carrion beetles clamber
through the quills

butterflies cluster on what’s left of its mouth
a hole spanned by the long, curved
railings of its teeth

& down below, the pale blue blossoms
swaying on their stems

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*

On Easter morning, I took a plastic
envelope of ale yeast from the refrigerator,
placed it on the floor, & brought all
my weight down on it
to break open the enclosed packet of nutrients.
Within hours, the envelope had swollen up
like a sheep’s stomach
with afflatus from the resurrected yeast.

Now I will feed it malt & honey
& bitter herbs. It will pass
this brew through its multitudinous body
& turn it into beer.
The empty tombs of its spent cells
will drift to the bottom of the bottle’s
brown sea.

12 Comments


  1. Hepatica: probably my favorite flower of all.

    Nice poems, Dave. I think I like the beer/yeastt one the best.

    Reply

  2. Thanks, Beth. I’m not sure I could say which of the spring ephemerals I like the best. Maybe wild ginger: I love the way its earth-colored flower is half-buried in the leaf litter. And I love the taste of the roots – in fact, I’m putting some in this morning’s batch of homebrew. Hepatica’s certainly one of the most attractive, though, that’s for sure. I like how variable in color the petals are. (Leaves, too – apparently the round-lobed and sharp-lobed variants were recently lumped into one species.)

    Reply

  3. i have seen the rough little palm prints that porcupines leave behind. in your image, now i can see why.
    love the beer poem.

    Reply

  4. Thanks, Anne. Nice to know there was actually some useful natural history information here, amid the grand themes of love, death and beer.

    Reply

  5. Loved the ravens; this evoked such an intense sense of being there. I’d probably have put the 2nd and 3rd lines at the end, maybe a little other tinkering… (just exploring possibilities); the poem stands as it is — a beautiful and evocative expression of a moment. Take a bow, Dave.

    Reply

  6. Pete – Thanks for that detailed response! That’s an interesting suggestion about changing the order of the lines. It would work either way, I guess, though the way I have it, readers might be more likely to think of certain analogies I had in mind. But mostly I just follow the rhythm with this kind of thing, go with whatever sounds best to my ear.

    Reply

  7. Dave: actually, I think it’s one of the ‘extra’ things I enjoyed about it: that it seemed to encourage exploration. Almost as if the words were circling around themselves, calling out for active interaction.

    The best poems do have a rhythm that can’t be forced; only heard. Clearly, you listened well.

    Reply

  8. The ravens — I see Escher again!

    I love how you cropped the long picture! Really stunning, and wonderful how the eye is pulled.

    Reply

  9. Thanks, Peter.

    I see Escher again!
    Oh, you mean the famous drawing hands? I wasn’t thinking of it, but it certainly does look like a parallel.

    Reply

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