Three short poems to inaugurate a new pocket notebook

climbing into
each other’s sky
circling crying


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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 Replies to “Three short poems to inaugurate a new pocket notebook”

  1. 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.)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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