Saturday, June 24, 2023

Scavenger Poet

Pan, The Little Goat-God 
—Painting by Svetlana
—Poetry by Kimberly Bolton, Jefferson City, MO



Days like this you can smell and touch and taste
all the liberal pleasures of nature.
You can almost see Pan, the little goat-god,
leaping on his powerful furred legs,
playing his flute as he leads the merry fae astray,
in a giddy frenzy, as they sling joy to and fro,
like ripe, juicy berries,
all of them parading deeper into the green heart-
wood of the forest.

I can hear the faint tock-tock of his hooves
striking stone,
see the flash of sunlight limning those curved horns.
Can just catch a glimpse of diaphanous fairy wings
whirring among the green.

Then, I blink once and the vision is gone,
as if it had never been there at all,
though I can still hear Pan’s music far off
in the forest, before fading away on the breeze,
enticing me to follow.
And I want to! Oh, I how want to!


Oberon and the Mermaid, 1853
 —Painting by Douglas Harvey


Beneath my hand as my pen agitates the page.
Words like dark stars burning.
Each time a poem comes to mind, a verse, a line,
I think: This is it!
There is no more left in me.
I am empty as a night sky is empty of moon and
A dark void.

Then a rush comes like a great wind.
Trees roar to life and I am caught up in it all:
Trees, river, grass, stars.
I am a scavenger poet, looking under leaves,
turning over rocks, digging my fingers deep into
the earth
so that I am marked with dirt under my nails.

I am beguiled by the incredible efforts of nature
and its passions: seeds, roots, mosses and molds,
the scat
of small animals in the woods, their paw prints in
the mud,
the fish belly-up near the river bank, the stars and planets wheeling
out there in the nether-verse. and all the things that
make the earth
spin on its axis—
Then I come up with a few words more.


Spirit of the Night
—John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1879


Without a word being said, the clouds slide by,
as if just passing the time of day, in no particular
hurry to be anywhere.
The trees on the hills stand like stalwart saints
steeped in prayer,
no Holy Ghost of wind to fire them up to
Only the birds pester the air.

In spite of today’s news full of explanations
of the terrible efforts we make on the world,
the terrors, the disasters,
and on each other, the ripping and tearing apart,
right here, right now, all is safe and sound.


Today’s LittleNip:

While the news anchors start the morning off
with all the bad news they’ve accumulated over-
reeling it off scripts like bad poetry,
I hear the birds rising in song, hidden so well
among the summer’s leaves,
it is as if the trees themselves,
their ancient spirits roused anew,
had broken into song, their psalm of the circle
of time.
Round and round she goes!

—Kimberly Bolton


—Medusa, with thanks to Kimberly Bolton for magical poetry today!



Kimberly Bolton












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