how poems move

          more than can be held in my mouth at once
perhaps an outreaching finger
from an outstretched arm.
perhaps, more cordial, both arms
waving into the sky.

sky moves too.   like kin.

maybe poem takes a first breath,
chest taking wind like a sail, then
breathing out, mixing its taste into
where we breathe ourselves.

how does a poem arrive?   notice how
it walks into the room.   does it stride
right up to, or sit quietly waiting you
to notice the space it occupies?

does it drop stones or pebbles at your feet?
does it swerve around obstacles or sit right on top?

do they bite?   or patiently nibble toes?
does it scratch its head wondering, or wait you
to catch your stride?

does it crawl on all fours, gauging your willingness
to look down?   look down into its face.

do wings sprout or does it stride on four feet?

see the rocks pile into ocean waves.
see legs dance between stances too
fragile to keep.   they arch like
horizon does.


I think I’m calling this done. It’s bigger than I can hold in my mouth all at once. Poem looks at one of my obsessions, how close to real can a poem be and how would it appear? How would you know? Far more question than rigid answer here. But ask often enough and some fog might go to ground. As it is, so be it. And maybe blatantly anthropomorphic, but then what isn’t if you just shift the center right some measure or so.

2 thoughts on “how poems move

  1. Personally, I love it. All the questions about how a poem arrives. In my thirty plus years of writing them, I believe you’ve covered most of them. Except the one about those that need to be coaxed to come forward. Perhaps with promises of at least one individual who will understand, or the oath to slap that silly idiot in the last row who laughs because it is impossible for him to hear or see the beauty in her structure, let alone understand her message. I find that I like most of all the wildness I find in each and every one. Their willingness to show both teeth and the beauty of a feather dancing in a breeze. The beauty to be found in silken fur or the plume of tail. I really really like your poem and found it more than satisfying. My only comment is to say, “YES, YES, YES!”



    1. If I’m allowed to say, like wow, how kind. I still never know, that distance between the idea inside and what lands on the page. I try to be worthy of the ideas on the table. And the concept, yes, me too, that I adore. About being coaxed – next poem perhaps. This more about the poem (physically, stand-alone), the next more about the readers participation. Coax is not the word I’ll use!

      And someday we’ll talk about teeth. I have a rather positive attitude with that image. Thanks, Neil


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