Monday, April 18, 2011

National Poetry Month: 30 New Poems--Poem 18

Long poems can be intimidating on many levels--they take a lot of time, require a lot of thinking, etc. etc. At least that's what some people think. Personally, I don't adore them, but if I find a good one, I'll give it a good read and file it away for sharing or re-reading.

Here's one by Mark Jarman that's broken into parts and that has some vivid imagery. I'm sharing the first and last sections today:

Dispatches from Devereux Slough
by Mark Jarman

Black Phoebe

Highwayman of the air, coal-headed, darting
Plunderer of gnat hordes, lasso with beak –

"Surely, that fellow creature on the wing,"
The phoebe thinks, "should fly like this."

                     And loops
His flight path in a wiry noose, takes wing
Like a cast line and hits the living fly,

Ripping it from the fluid of its life.


When we are reunited after death,
The owls will call among the eucalyptus,
The white tailed kite will arc across the mesa,
And sunset cast orange light from the Pacific
Against the golden bush and eucalyptus
Where flowers and fruit and seeds appear all seasons
And our paired silhouettes are waiting for us.

Read the entire poem at I love how the sections go together, but each one is unique and can stand on its own. I also have a thing for poems and songs with geographic references. Apparently Devereux Slough is an estuary that's a part of the Coal Oil Point Reserve near Santa Barbara, California. (Thank you, Google!)

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