Dawn: in absolute silence,
a pileated woodpecker
hitches its way up
a locust trunk, silhouette
pivoting like a pawl
on an invisible ratchet—
consider this early
summons, this parking
before the hubbub
* * *
I auto-post links to new blog entries from all my sites on Facebook, to the annoyance of some of my contacts there, I’m sure. The Morning Porch, with its entries designed to fit into a single tweet or Identica notice, also fits handily in a Facebook update, so is probably read by almost as many people there as it is on Twitter. This morning, one of those Facebook readers was Luisa A. Igloria, who was moved to reorganize my words into lyric verse and add a second stanza of her own.
One sometimes hesitates to use a mechanical image to describe a wild creature, but I was quite pleased with the ratchet image this morning when I finally came up with it, after a couple hours of off-and-on mulling, because I think it accurately conveys both the shape and motion of a pileated climbing a tree to someone who has never seen one — the vast majority of my readership, I imagine. Also, how often to you get to use a cool word like “pawl”? How wonderful then to see my lines remixed into a poem! And I was impressed by how much multivalence Luisa was able to pack in with her deft word-choices.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- “Findings”: the missing Morning Porch poems
- Two more Morning Porch poems from Luisa Igloria and a comment on free culture
- What Leaf
- With winter’s gift of unimpeded sight,
- Aubade, with Feathers
- Heart and Shadow
- “The sudden spasm of wings”
- “Before sight, sound—“
- Four Morning Porch poems
- “Up and down the street, the neighbors…”
- Memento Mori
- “The streets are lined with garbage bins…”
- “Soon the old year must join…”
- Speaking of __
- “For the sun’s approximate blaze…”
- Despedida de Soltera
- “Paired or unpaired, all in the world…”
- Private: Quicksilver
- Private: Preludium
- [poem temporarily hidden by author]
- Landscape, With Darkness and Hare
- Ghazal of the Dark Water
- Landscape, with Cardinal and Earring
- One Day, That Room
- Landscape, with Small Flakes and Far-off Bandoneón
- Private: Matins
- Landscape, with an End and a Beginning
- Dim Sun, Dim Sum
- Vanishing Point
- Ghazal of the Open Water
- Monday Landscape, with Clocks Borrowed from Dali
- “Last night’s wet snow…”
- Landscape, with Water Fountain, Small Clouds and Endless Lyric
- What She Wants
- Landscape, with Mockingbird and Ripe Figs
- Letter to Arrythmia
- Love Poem with Skull and Candy Valentines
- Private: To Flower
- Landscape, with Fake Butterflies and Sick Child
- Letter to Affliction
- Letter to Levity
- Private: Little Girding Song
- Letter to Rubbermaid and Tupperware
- Letter to Spam
- Little Waking Song
- Private: Ghazal of Wild Things
22 Replies to “Stay”
Oh, I like this expansion a great deal.
Luisa is an amazing poet. I feel ridiculously privileged.
Me, too. AND I love that the fermenting and expansion was fostered via Facebook.
Well, it’s known as whatever works. And today, let me tell you, Facebook was barely working, emailing notices hours late. To paraphrase Churchill, it’s the worst social network in the world, but it’s better than all the others.
Love both the process and the result!
Dave, thank you so much for the inspiring trigger… I love what came out of it, and am ridiculously happy that I got to use such a cool word — “pawl” — in our poem!
Just right, Dave and Luisa. A delightful extended metaphor, which works perfectly – and you can’t see the join!
Glad you liked it, Dick!
Pileated and pawl – two words I’ve never heard before. Off to the dictionary now but not before savouring them on my tongue.
“Pileated” is a word I’ve never used outside of the specific name for the second-largest woodpecker in the U.S. And I think this is the first I’ve ever used “pawl” — in most contexts the less exact “ratchet” would suffice.
When the tree by my door was dying, a pileated woodpecker practically lived there for a while. Unfortunatly, I never got a picture. Such a dramatic look!
They are endless fun to watch! Such supremely strange birds.
Yes! I was riveted! But they moved around enough, none of my camera attempts came out. This was before I had digital. “Supremely strange” is a very good way to describe them. :)
Maybe that’s why I couldn’t find ‘pileated’ in the Oxford dictionary or any other dictionary I have. Did find ‘pawl’ though. Thanks for the enjoyable lesson-via-poetry.
I always just use Google — and click on the Free Dictionary, which compiles (steals?) info from all the online dictionaries. For pileated, it has this from the American Heritage Dictionary:
More to the point, Googling “pileated woodpecker” will give you a picture and life history of the bird. Always use the Google.
Presumptive of me, I suppose, but I suspect most of your readers are too young to have grown up with the fusion of mechanical and natural that was the ubiquitous pileated woodpecker that bobbed back and forth above the toothpick container, plucking them out one by one…
The movement of the dinner table toy perfectly captured the repetitive “hitching” of the bird.
I remember the drinking bird toy — a similar concept?
One well-known character based on the pileated is Woody Woodpecker, the Warner Bros. cartoon.