Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Old Hat Without a Head

—W. S. Merwin

I have been watching crows and now it is dark
Together they led night into the creaking oaks
Under them I hear the dry leaves walking
That blind man
Gathering their feathers before winter
By the dim road that the wind will take
And the cold
And the note of the trumpet


Midnight tonight! That's your last chance to get poems to the Towe Auto Museum poetry contest. Send $10 and up to 3 poems about some form of personal land transportation to the Towe Auto Museum Poetry Contest, 2200 Front St., Sac. 95818. Info: 916-442-6802.

Rattle-News: The new Snakelets is in The Book Collector (free), or send me $2 and I'll mail you one. Also new at TBC is Allegra Silberstein's rattlechap, In the Folds, which was released last night to a rousing crowd, along with Claudia Trnka's littlesnake broadside, Public Places, Private Spaces. That's 23 chapbooks and 18 broadsides under Medusa's belt, but who's counting... And submissions for the Review are rolling in, including some lovely sketches last night by Rhony Bhopla. Don't be left out—get 'em in by next Tuesday, please (11/15).

My Arts Reporter came yesterday from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Council, featuring a very good article on HQ—Headquarters for the Arts (Sacramento Poetry Center's new home) by Rattlesnake Review Interviewer-in-Residence (and Rattlechapper) JoAnn Anglin. Subscriptions to AR are free: AR also lists local events, grants, workshops—lots of good stuff. In it, I see that the Northern Cal. Publishers and Authors (NCAP) will meet this Saturday (11/12) from 10-Noon at Tower Books on Watt. Candy Taylor Tutt will speak about covers: bring your favorite—or "worst"—book cover. Info: Pat Canterbury,

Hidden Passage Books in Placerville (the bookstore with the skeleton under the floor) is becoming more and more of a friend to local writers and musicians, sponsoring various events there, such as the read-around on fourth Wednesdays which is hosted by Hatch and Taylor Graham (except this month, when it has been moved to the 30th because of Thanksgiving) and frank andrick's traveling poetry show. Now I see in the Arts Reporter that the store will be sponsoring a new monthly publication, for which they want short stories, poetry, haiku, essays, historical pieces, etc.: "whatever your heart desires... you have a voice—use it...!" Up to 4000 words, MS Word preferred. The publication will be free and "cheaply presented" (no contributor compensation). Submit to Hidden Passage Books, 352 Main St., Placerville or

Enough already with the chatter! More about crows from Merwin:

—W.S. Merwin

When the Gentle were dead these inherited their coats
Now they gather in late autumn and quarrel over the air
Demanding something for their shadows that are naked
And silent and learning


—W.S. Merwin

I am strange here and often I am still trying
To finish something as the light is going
Occasionally as just now I think I see
Off to one side something passing at that time
Along the herded walls under the walnut trees
And I look up but it is only
Evening again the old hat without a head
How long will it be till he speaks when he passes


—W.S. Merwin

Hoeing the bean field here are the dragonfly's wings
From this spot the wheat once signalled
With lights It is all here
With these feet on it
My own
And the hoe in my shadow


Thanks, W.S.!


Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their poetry and announcements of Northern California poetry events to for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.)