Showing posts from August, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

A kind reader of Poetry Magazine has written a generous review of my six-line tetrameter, Hawk:

Rose Kelleher

How Ticklishness Evolved

What danger does he shrink from, when my nail
skitters across the boundary of his tan —
a tiger’s whisker-tip, a scorpion’s tail?
What wriggler wrecked a cave bear’s dinner plan
by waking up the world’s first ticklish man?

Maybe it was a spider’s needle feet
that triggered that first trembling retreat;
perhaps the flicking of a serpent’s tongue,
or something more insidious and sweet,
whose touch was feather-soft before it stung.


Verse Daily

With thanks to those who alerted me to this: Verse Daily, which makes its selections from review copies of various magazines and books, has featured one of my tet sonnets on its homepage:

Rachel Pollack

Any society automatically teaches its people, just by the language it uses, to make certain assumptions about the world. Examples in Western culture would include the uniqueness of the individual, the reality and overwhelming importance of love, the necessity of freedom and social justice, and more complex, but just as strong, the basic separateness of each person. "We are born alone and we die alone." Our society, built upon the materialist eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, does not merely reject the notion of 'superconsciousness' or 'universal forces', we do not really know what they mean. - Rachel Pollack
One day as I woke up
from a cicada's courting
unbearably sexier than a human's
I threw away the blanket of winter,
and shed the skin of spring.

- wu- shan-qian

Perhaps we do think in language, but even a thought begins as sensation. Whether this is good or bad or of no consequence I do not know.

I do know it has been a week of rain and harvest and sudden evening chill , which some say is not just a clue to the perennial queries, but a nuanced answer.

Nemerov speaks of how human development might have fared, had music been the express evolutionary mode of communication. Oh, those heady speculators.

They took everything from you --
the gowns, the wings,
even your name,
but I still believe in you,

So cheat your landlord if you must, but do not try to shortchange
the Muse. It cannot be done. You can't fake quality any more
than you can fake a good meal. - Burroughs
Poetry often enters through the window of irrelevance. - Mary Richards

AE Stallings


This is not necessary. This is neither
Crucial nor salvation. It is no hymn
To harmonize the choirs of seraphim,
Nor any generation's bold bellwether
Leading the flock, no iridescent feather
Dropped from the Muse's wing. It does not limn,
Or speak in tongues, or voice the mute, or dim
Outmoded theories with its fireworks. Rather

This is flawed and mortal, and its stains
Bear the evidence of taking pains.
It did not have to happen, won't illumine
The smirch of history, the future's omen.
Necessity is merely what sustains —
It's what we do not need that makes us human.
Beauty, more than bitterness, makes the heart break. - Sara Teasdale

Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is go where they can find you.

-- Winnie the Pooh

The Mosaic Prosaic

Be he a king or a peasant, he is happiest who finds peace at home.

- Goethe

Driving round a bend and skidding on a mat of dead toads is very unpleasant for all concerned.
- Amanda Hillier



The Moving Wall, 2002

The Native people came.
They walked the grass and found
where sky agreed to name
this land a sacred ground.

A golden eagle flew
and mountain mares were fed
as afternoon withdrew
and name by name the dead

were resurrected here.
No shaman could destroy
the reverence and fear
that filled my little boy.

Kent Tompkins