Landscape, with Incipient Questions

This entry is part 32 of 93 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2011


Question-mark Butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis)

The underside of every moment is a shimmer you
might hear, but not see: curved and silvering
as an echo of bells at sundown, mottled

or muffled from mallet-blows. When the last
of the herd is driven into the barn, the man
latches the gate and washes up at the pump.

Shadows streak the linen on the supper table.
Shadows soften the winged bodies in love
with the dangerous heat from the lamp: listen,

they frame most of the questions at this hour.
In the corner of the room, a woman dozes off
in an armchair. The knitting has slipped

from her hands. The child by the window
has brushed her long, black hair and gazes
at a wilderness of stars in the dark.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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5 Replies to “Landscape, with Incipient Questions”

  1. I’m not a consistent reader of poetry — prose is my preference, but I have to say that the metrical contributions to Via Negativa from poet Luisa A. Igloria are simply wonderful. I try not to miss a one. How did you, Dave, and Luisa connect, just out of curiosity?

    1. Thanks for saying that, Larry! Via Negativa is indeed fortunate to have these amazing daily contributions from Luisa. We first got to know each other when she submitted work to qarrtsiluni back in 2008. It was the editors of that issue who made the selection, but Beth Adams and I as managing editors liked Luisa’s poem so much, we nominated it for a Pushcart Prize (which it didn’t get, but such is the fate of 99% of nominations from little magazines like ours). So after that we friended each other on Facebook, and it was there, I think, where Luisa began to take notice of my Morning Porch posts, which are of course short enough to fit entirely within the excerpt allotted for a link at Facebook. (I auto-post from The Morning Porch blog via the RSS Grafitti app.) So one day last November she used one of them as a writing prompt, and I liked the result and posted it here. Thus encouraged, she began to write more poems in reponse to TMP posts — and I published those too. It seems that with her increasingly busy lifestyle, as college administrator, teacher, mother of young children, etc., she had been running out of time to write, and having a daily writing prompt was just what she needed to stay in the poetry habit. As you know, often the hardest part of writing is getting started, having that first germ of an idea. TMP posts supply that, I guess. When I went to the U.K. in May, as I’m sure you remember, Luisa simply mined the archives for other Morning Porch posts from the same calendar date, and helped me out as well by keeping an eye on the site. So now that she has full posting privileges I no longer have to post her poems for her, which means she can write them as late in the evening as she needs to (being a night-owl) and still get them on the blog before midnight.

    2. Thanks very much, Larry. I see that Dave has supplied most of the answers to your queries. :) For my part, I’m very much enjoying the combined aspect of the daily devotional/discipline of writing in response to Morning Porch “triggers”. With that starting point and some of the “rules” I’ve set for myself, I’ve found that there is incredible room to play despite the seeming brevity of the window I might open to writing each day. Marly Youmans very generously featured me on her blog in this installment where I get to talk a bit about process:

  2. The child gazing at the wilderness of stars brought tears to my eyes, I think because of another aspect of this collaborative journey which is the way it’s become family. Thank you both, again.

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