Friday, March 29, 2013

Two chickens missing


With spring’s at last
comes this sudden moving
in to out, limb to stalk,
thawing patch to puddle,

chicken footprint crosses
here and there bleeding
into the last spongy rags
of snow. The sun writes

an invitation on blue
sky vellum to all of us
creatures — large, small,
chased, chasing — the surfacing

grub, the jerky hen, the hawk
patient in everlasting promise.
Even these white feathers
blossoming in the grass.


16 comments:

  1. Very nice, Ruth, a poem about spring that resonates beyond spring. Notwithstanding the rather ominous warning of "two chickens missing," the poem is an anthem to the hope that unfolds with spring. The chaser has been rewarded, and the chased has simply been transformed into a white blossom that meets the eye as beauty.

    If you will permit me to digress, the title of this poem reminded me of a humorous bumper sticker I observed and related to yesterday: "All I want from life is to be a missing person."

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    1. :-)

      I think your comments in both paragraphs are not unrelated. You observe in the first that the cycle of life means that some will go missing, and it is all right. In the second, our longing to be a missing person (yes, it's mine too, though I don't go walking like you and Robert for weeks at a time) could be viewed by some as negative. However there are sweet silences in being missing, although most of us don't look forward to remaining that way forever. Happy Easter, George!

      (And did you notice the crosses in this one? A little more intentional this time, though knowing it was written on Good Friday is not essential to the poem.)

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  2. I really like this!

    "All I want from life is to be a missing person." That's quite an attractive thought, George.

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    1. Thank you, Robert. Please note what I wrote to George about walking. This also reminds me of the beautiful words and thought of the psalmist: "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest." (55:6)

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  3. Spring is coming and there is hope for new life. Will you get more chicks?

    The title reminded me of something – not poetic though. When we bought the house there was a barn in the yard with chickens. We bought some bantams chicken for the girls and they named them. One morning Jessica came and said “Goldilocks and Ginger have lost their heads!” I could not understand how these chickens had lost their heads. I went to check the barn and what had happened is that those two chickens had placed their heads through the fence and some animal had come and cut their head off… only the body remained - we were missing two chickens or we had two chickens with their heads cut off…. I did say this was not a poetic comment…

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    1. That is a wild story, Vagabonde! Really incredible. I love it, even though it is not "poetic." It is such a powerful story and image!

      Don has 35 meat birds (these are still chicks) and 26 different varieties for eggs. He had gotten rid of them for a couple of years, but we missed having our own fresh eggs, and having chicken meat that was raised in a manner we knew intimately.

      Happy Easter!

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  4. Your words are so perfectly Perfect.

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    1. Oh thank you, Gwen. Happy Easter to you.

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  5. this poem is exquisite. i don't know how people aren't jumping and wringing their hands. your language and your imagery, your doing and undoing, forgiving and unforgiving, title included. you are much like rilke in this one, ruth.

    i read it again, "bleeding into the last spongy rags of snow" and i feel as i would feel had i come upon the difficult perfection of nature itself; i feel urged to open a small vault in my chest and keep this, somehow own it, and in the very least cherish it.

    xo
    erin

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    1. Erin, your close attention to this means so much to me. And the comparison to Rilke, well thank you for that, abundantly, though any comparison must be in spirit more than form perhaps. What a class it was with him in 2011, a daily lesson that drove too fast at times, because I wanted to absorb it all, every word. But now I see that it really was absorption into this very spongey heart of mine (and yours). xoxo

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  6. i'm following the rhythm of your words.....there is a bleeding out and a pushing in - and that blue sky vellum? i am looking at it. right. now.

    surfacing, yes. you have captured the thrust of the season in this handful of rich, juicy stanzas.

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    1. Amanda, I used to love autumn more than spring, more than summer, more than winter. Since moving to the farm in 2003, the seasons all arrive like dear friends that I want to stay and stay. It's a privilege to get to know them better, how the light changes, the angles, the smells, sounds, the very openings and closings. I know very little, so there is continual revelation.

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    2. i have written those very words.......i used to love fall more than spring.....

      and i am loving spring, now, with the magnolia pushing its lifeforce out, explosively.

      but in a few months, when the earth tips on its axis and the light dims, i will love that, too.

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  7. This sings of our oneness with all creatures. I especially love the sun writing an invitation on blue sky vellum. It's like that, isn't it? And we're a part of it all. Aren't we so fortunate for life?

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    1. Mary, it is good to be alive, oh it is very good!

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  8. I bookmarked this. I just love it! I so hope you are working on a poetry book... I'd buy five or more :)

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All responses are welcome.