Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Stirrings in the Water

—Poems by JD DeHart, Chattanooga, TN
—Anonymous Photos


They tire of the too small,
too big conversations, the constant
comparisons; at least Snow White
had the courtesy to sleep a while
and Cinderella disappeared in her pumpkin
for a carriage ride into the night.
This girl just sits on the couch, whining,
threatening teenage pregnancy,
smearing on acne medicine,
then takes the car out late without permission,
eats all the porridge—cold, hot, she does not care
“Eating for two,” she teases, and they roll
their eyes, thinking:  Where did we go wrong,
Was it the late bed-time, too many video games?
When is she going to get a job?



We should all be saying Oh no
because he was the one who kept us sane,
giving us jokes, even about ourselves.
Somehow we still laughed.
But now he has taken a tumble, perhaps
drinking a bit too much, climbing a bit
too high—or, worse yet, has taken flight
on purpose, leaving us with no consolation
of cheer or diversion.


It could turn into a walk down the lane,
a chance meeting with fate.
I picture a man driving by, offering millions,
but it is as likely as Charon swimming to the curb
offering a ride to the Underworld.
So the trash gets taken out, the decaf gets made,
lesson plans are done (they are never really done),
and I wonder if Odysseus took out the garbage
when he made it back to Ithaca.



A boat is docked
but has never been anywhere
to speak of.

The inside of the restaurant
is decorated with animal skins,
a giant bee’s nest.

A muskrat threatens to go fishing
by the door.
He’s even got his pole out.

There are stirrings in the water,
Invisible life sucking at lighting
insects, moving in tiny circles
beneath the swirling murk.

There is a hidden life in the marsh
as we eat broiled fish and sip
sour mixes in mason jars.


Sitting by the cresting waves,
he noticed first one swordfish and then
another finding their flapping way
onto the shore.
     Should he wake her?  Probably not.
Then the first one stood up, followed
by his companion, and a duel ensued.
     He really should wake her, he thought,
     but did not.
Then both silver-blue fishes bowed,
leaped back into the ocean.
     First he thought, she’s going to be pissed,
     and then he thought, she wouldn’t believe
     it anyway if I told her.



Next to us, a grandmother uses
her magnificent net (Did she used to
wear it on her head?) to capture a fish,
needle nose opening and closing.
We are not used to defensive fish,
just the flopping kind who quickly
try to escape back into the river.
They are otherwise docile.
But even the fish here have teeth.


I considered putting a saddle
on a seahorse, but the creature
is too small and strange.
     One day we will learn to control
     the ocean and who knows what
     will happen?
How many tsunamis will we cause
just because of oops?
     Not all life is meant to be bridled,
     or even can be.
     Or even should be.



Sometimes we put on the leopard’s
skin and pretend to be faster, becoming—
always becoming
Sometimes we look with awe, with unspoken
jealousy at the ape in its cage, preening,
listless in the sun, slow-moving
We do not talk about the adoration
we have for the zoo, the unchained sensation
that comes even from chaining nature,
all too quick to chew and grind the tender meats
we order for lunchtime,
territorial for our shrieking young.

(prev. pub. at Verse Virtual


Maybe we are only cogs, scraps,
and gears pumping in a giant motor
which we cannot see from this vantage
Maybe we are moving forward, progressing,
or de-evolving slowly, one day destined
to choke on our own dust
But I know there is a fact called Mother’s
Love, and I know there are other brands
of affection, which seem above the animal
I know that there is a flow to being human,
which seems to course more gently,
even while we fight, shop, and scramble.



Remember, I ask, the dolphins
or porpoises, their beautiful shadows
cavorting in the waves?
We felt so lucky to see them then.

When, you ask, when was that?
It was just a few years ago when we
went walking one morning, getting
our toes in the lukewarm water.

But the memory is gone, a photo that
has been destroyed, an event that
may as well have never happened.

Such is reality, I suppose.


Today’s LittleNip:

Summer night—
even the stars are
whispering to each other.

—Kobayashi Issa


—Medusa, with thanks to JD DeHart for today’s fine poetry, and Joyce Odam reminds us that her LittleNip yesterday was just the middle piece of a haibun, not a whole one.

 Celebrate poetry!

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then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.