Alan: I read this once at an open-mic poetry event and got a spontaneous round of applause, which I didn’t know quite what to do with, so I read some more. I should have quit while I was ahead.
Poets in Spring
In Spring, when the metaphors run upstream to spawn,
poets camp by the waterside,
hooks sharpened, nets mended, trap weirs set
and prepare to feast.
They come leaping, sliding, singing the music of the Spheres,
their smooth muscular bodies slippery with magic,
rooted in proteinaceous delight.
And the poets move.
The poets wade. They grab them, hook them, net them, trap them, haul them, hoist them, fling them
on the shores of the rippling roaring river
and then they feed.
And they split them, gut them, hang them, stake them, smoke them,
stack them like red resinous shingles
and then they leave the river, swaying,
obese with metaphors,
staggering under their bales of dry metaphors,
ready for the lean times when the hovels creak with the weight of the cold
and the Hunger Moon begs for a metaphor in the dark.
Every year, some survive,
find at last the bars of clean sand,
mate, sink to the bottom of the quickly running waters and die
among their eggs.
Every year, a myriad of tiny metaphors
wriggle into life, look up
at the flowing world through enormous eyes,
Nancy: The world is not romantic, warm and fuzzy, not the real, beautiful, complex world of our coast.
A Dance of Innocents
It is not good to be judgmental.
To hear the Spring song clearly is to hear
hunger; young must be fed,
and fed with young. It does not do
to dwell on the ravaged nest. The sounds of the night
are night sounds, a part of Spring.
The silences are hunger stilled.
I take note of them, and of absences –
but it is best not to brood.
In the Spring, it is enough to be grateful
for mornings, early, those minutes
drawing water at the well,
before the high rumped hares have lost their innocence.
“Poets in Spring” first appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal. “A Dance Of Innocents” first appeared in East of the Light (Stone Man Press & Slow Dancer Press, 1984)