It wasn’t Miro’s colourful coq
Nor Chaucer’s Chanticleer
Nor the one that crowed three times when Peter
It was just a garden variety rooster
That waddled onto the page
When my back was turned
& scrabbled between the lines
Before I sent him on his way
feathers all ruffled
Into a sunset red
as a coxcomb.
the haiku lunges
out of the dark ocean of text
its flanks be-jeweled
by sun, the way
a whale lunges out of the water
in Oban Bay
I wrote a poem once about a bath.
How you emerge from one
‘rosy-skinned and luminous as if
Fresh from a voyage’.
I had a sleep like that last night and wrote this poem.
You’re a writer.
You wake up with something to say.
Already you feel the wind beneath your wings.
You hop into your little plane
And putter up into the sky
Where you write your happy haiku
Before the breeze blows it away.
The challenge was to write a short poem about a domestic chore in a positive, uplifting way. I chose doing the washing:
The sheets on the line
The warmth of the sun.
You can almost
Hear them purr.
I wish I could pop it in a bottle
This morning’s high clear chortle
And unstopper it when I’m low.
Such unhindered melodies
Hint of secret ecstasies
That we barely come to know.
I tried writing a poem once about a running joke. It was just ahead of me as the best poems are. I sprang off my writer’s block and ran after it with my butterfly net and my blue bucket of hope; but I was out of condition and this one really had legs. It waved back to me as it disappeared in a cloud of dust over a nearby hill.
[written in 1986, the day before]
I will hold your hand
The comet passes over
And I will guide your young, young eyes
And show you its starry path
Across these Southern skies
“Look, that is the comet”
And you will stare in wonder with me
And perhaps we will never be
This close again.
And I will say,
“Look closely. One day when you
Are very, very old
You will tell your children what it was like
On this day”
And they will hold your hand
That day in 2061
And ask you,
“Did grandma and grandma see it with you?”
And you will shake
Your tired old eyes
Though we will long be dust
Like a comet’s tail.
I was out among the fields, here one more time
Vigorously out hunting the butterflies of my mind
All the poems, the stories that had given me the slip
And would it seem once more; I had to be quick.
All the bright, beautiful things just beyond my net
Any moment now I’ll snare one; damn! Not just yet
to sow my thoughts into
the furrows of my mind
Time again to let them lie
Gathering the clothing
Of language and plot
Growing richer and stronger
Till pushing upwards
They blossom and flower
Upon the page.
To harvest and share.
On my early walk
I passed a group of musicians
Under the bridge
It sounded like
They were tuning their instruments
For a concert
Perhaps a twilight one on the bank
each other —Boing boing — like hollow
amongst the rocks and reeds already
drawing a crowd