Advice for prospective troglodytes

Living under
a rock, you learn
to listen.
It’s not all thuds
& rustles & the odd
shriek. Things
grind, other
things grow,
& the difference
can be subtler
than you imagine.
A slow wheel
can sound
a lot like a snake.
You learn to tell
a clock from
a bomb, if only
for analog. Living
under a rock, you
won’t have heard
anything from
the digital revolution.
But voices sound
so much better
for traveling down
through the body
& coming out
the delicate
bones in
the feet.
sound like
the thoughts
that bore them,
grave & resonant.
Living under a rock,
the news
may seem
one-sided, with
an over-emphasis
on body counts,
but the ground
can only catch
whatever falls.
You hear little from
the affairs
of distant stars,
& from the wind’s public
whipping of the trees,
you pick up
nothing but
the applause.
But at least
with the proper
sort of rock, rolling
will never be an issue.
The neighbors
won’t complain.
Moss gathers
like a second,
softer head.

17 Replies to “Advice for prospective troglodytes”

  1. “But voices sound
    so much better
    for traveling down
    through the body
    & coming out
    the delicate
    bones in
    the feet.”

    Man, you are going interesting places recently! I think maybe that virus did do something! ;-)

  2. This is why I read you, Dave. It’s all good, and the ending is stunning. Especially liked the part MB picked out, and “You hear little from the affairs of distant stars.” Come to think of it, your rock sounds like a pretty good place to be, actually – got any extra room?

  3. I like this a lot. To me, the hearing imagery holds it together so nicely from to start to where I would — if I might — suggest you finish it: after “the applause.” The material that follows it doesn’t seem to be of the same temperament as the subtle listening that goes on before then.

  4. marja-leena – Thanks. Glad you’re getting a bit of a workout – I’d hate to think people were able to just skim my stuff!

    Brett – I still do prefer analog clocks. I like the idea of hands going in a circle.

    MB – I don’t know if it’s the virus, but it’s a fact I was in a slump for much of October.

    beth – There’s room, but you might not enjoy sharing it with the porcupines.

    Peter – That’s a very interesting suggestion. The two penultimate sentences do seem to shift the tone a bit. I’ll ponder this. Thanks.

  5. More cool dreamerie…. The troglodytes could have nice chats with elephants… those are known to communicate through subsonics in the ground, (despite un-delicate foot bones ;-) ).

    Prairie-dogs might be interesting too… their songs are known to be quite complex, and who knows what they save for underground discussion….

    Poems arranged around the roots of trees, and the tangled clouds of mycelia…. receiving fractal commentary from anthills and penetrating insight from passing worms….

  6. q.r.r. – Thanks.

    David – You’re right, I must’ve been thinking subconsciously of elephants when I wrote this! I didn’t know about prairie dog songs.

    You’re beginning to wax fairly poetic yourself. If you ever need help setting up a blog, let me know. (Then again, if you had your own blog, you might not take the time to leave these great comments here!)

  7. apologize for mispellings… I go for the instant uneditted comment and leave the words to fend for themselves … but a part of me longs for integrated spell check

  8. mikaelah – Thanks. I’m glad you had so much fun reading this! It was certainly a blast to write.

    Sorry I haven’t installed some sort of plug-in so people can preview their comments. Actually, I was just debating whether that would be worthwhile. But frankly, the sort of people who are going to judge you based on typos and misspellings in blog comments probably don’t come around here too much. At least, I hope not!

    twitches – That’s good. As it happens, I blogged about whether or not to use ampersands in poetry a while back, and it generated a great message string: &.

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