Off Theme: Response to Poetry and Social Media

I’ll cut away from the April A to Z theme for a hmmer I’ve just had. Join me?

I read Fox Chase Review’s entry Poetry and Social Media:

“How does a well-crafted poem fit into social media? …poets write poetry because it is who they are and no matter what changes there are…the poet will always write.”

You don’t have to be a hermit to know how the social habit of publishing is seemingly counter to the cocoon of writing. I’ve asked myself similar questions and considered how reclusive the writing/publishing process was a hundred years ago compared with today. If your feet aren’t pounding it out to the public, it won’t fly.

Okay. I dragged my heels on creating a blog. What is one more web page out of millions? Who hasn’t said what there is to say in one format or another? (I am adept at talking myself out of just about any form of “public,” aren’t I?)

Got to be pebbles here…A few of my favorite poets plopped their poems right to the public online, in their blogs. My jaw hit the floor. I questioned existence as I knew it and wondered if we as a species could ever go back to non-instantaneous pleasure. The “I want it for free!” decades. Give it to them once and they don’t want to pay for it, which means seiving an ocean of practiced communication to gather pebbles of poetry.

More than a few conversations with writers and readers. All the same considerations of “will physical books disappear?” We’re still wringing our hands and trying things both ways.

You decide. No, really, you will decide with your dollars and participation.

I have switched from clicking private or friends-only on everything I post or email. If I have something to say, I must want to make sound.

Our words are finite. Our lives are finite. The days of capability dwindle. It is difficult to find your calling, which I haven’t, only after the primary skill it requires no longer functions well. Model making and needlework, those fine motor skills evaporate with arthritis and macular degeneration.

Three good friends routinely remind me: Whatever you have to give, you give it.

Writing anything well is serious work though the treatment of a subject and the intended response needn’t be bleached-bone still.

I hope not. If so, I’ve bored someone to death. Not much could be worse.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson (<<I always forget this part. Is it even necessary??)

The Switching Station

SMy grandparents lived near an overpass beneath which a half dozen pairs of railroad tracks form a train yard, a switching station. This is where cars hitch up from one route to another, one engine to another.

It is a relatively quiet dance given the massive amounts of metal being shoved around. When the small town traffic and the highway noise reach a low, the steel wheels and rails sing. This became a lullaby of my childhood to which I fought sleep.

I returned at a point in my life when insomnia and had taken over my nights while confusion and sadness were starving me, literally. In three and a half weeks I had lost 32 pounds and could no longer keep water in my stomach. I didn’t feel and I didn’t care.

The first night, sleep wouldn’t come. I sat on the cement steps my grandfather had poured years before I was born; I fretted. I felt hollow of body and spirit. I felt a calm come on. It took some time to recognize the haunting lullaby still sings.

I slept.

The morning brought familiar smells and tastes at the table in my grandparents’ one-person kitchen. I ate some. During the day I ate the morning’s refrigerated ham between a room temperature biscuit. I sipped Southern sweet iced tea my grandmother kept refrigerated in what was once a one-gallon, glass pickle jar.

By the time I boarded the flight to Portland, Oregon, I felt physical relief. I was unsure what might have happened while I was in California. Sleep and time away helped me hold to the calming lullaby of the switching station.

Three children, my father lost to cancer left the two siblings. Eight grandchildren, one memorialized, and then great grandchildren. After 50 years of Grandma and Grandpa’s, we all mourned the day their home sold and they moved to another house.

Gone the scent of an old King James Bible read aloud in my grandmother’s cadence; the bounty of the garden my grandfather kept watered and weeded; the sight of their neat rows of multicolored canning jars on shelves beside his steel coffee cans filled with nuts, bolts and the aroma of WD-40.

The two-lane highway we used to cross to get to church three times a week is now two in each direction with the center turning lane bringing the count to five. Traffic never reaches a low.

I’m certain the wheels and rails still sing in the din.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Faithless Reverence

RThe fawn’s hide hangs a quarter of a mile away, atop a young oak with leaves just pushing to the surface of flexible branches. The sap had become restless since the winter temperatures warmed above freezing during the day. Open to the elements and winged scavengers, the hide will be ready to cure in a week—provided larger scavengers didn’t find it. Prowlers were the reason for the distance between the hide and ourselves.

To use every scrap of a kill is to live in reverence for life. The fawn’s life, the life it transfers to our bodies is immutable energy. There will come a day when I hunt smaller and again smaller game. I realize my life, flavored of reverence, will nurture something else’s life. My wife turns to stoke the smoker and smiles at my steady gaze.

My quiver is full before I swallow the first mouthful of venison. It is a moment of presence encompassing survival of all things. My wife feels the reverence as I do, though we haven’t a shared faith.

I am faithless. The laws of nature and science, such as I remember science, are sufficient to explain success or failure, rich health or poor health.

To raise her hands and voice in ritual, to speak to an entity greater than herself, it keeps her hopeful. The habits of her belief structure her living. And so her reverence is divided or shared among what she sees as a purposeful existence.

Gratitude for the strength of my body and the wit of my mind, those are where I place my faith. And in her skill. I observe her reverence and she mine without the need to explain its source on a personal level.

I suppose my reverence isn’t entirely without faith.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Quiver

QSquint to be certain. Yes, and finally. I am three miles from home. The drought has scattered prey from their usual feeding grounds into lower valleys and higher catch basins. For me, dragging a kill downhill seems more logical than huffing it uphill from the valley.

A bow and full quiver of arrows had become life saving about twelve years ago. My wife and I abandoned to the desperate city folk our little home with its central creek. Property or our lives, or both if we made our presence known. I think we made the right swap. Though we were prepared, it hasn’t been easy becoming nomads.

Does and fawns; no buck in sight. Logic dictates I take a fawn to leave the mature females to breed again. Never bucks. I need to hunt again and bucks were scarce due to the long standing sport of collecting a crown of antlers for someone’s wall, the equivalent of a silverback ape drumming his chest. Besides, a fawn would demand far less energy to transport.

The quiver lay close on the ground, one arrow lighter. To move downhill would be upwind from the group. An uphill shot isn’t my first choice. I have been getting better.

Slow, deep breaths. I exhale and let loose the arrow that is promptly followed by rifle report, which startles the group and me. Firearms were rarely used to hunt. Too valuable and drew too much attention to a person who had something for which most would kill.

The fawn had fallen in the chaos; a clean kill. Another arrow from the quiver as my guts shrivel at the thought of killing a human. A woman rises from the forest brush and turns toward the disappearing herd for another shot—at a moving target.

I will have to wait her out to tow the fawn, if she doesn’t scour the area for a chance kill from the rifle. I am unsure if I can kill a human after so many years of avoidance. I have no love for common humans. She’s stomping about a bit and hissing her Ss, perhaps cursing.

The fawn is now loaded onto the transport board without altercation. It is also nearly dark as I couldn’t risk changing position until dusk.

Click.

“I was hoping for venison stew.” Her voice is young but past childhood. “How about you leave that right here and I’ll let you leave.”

“You have the advantage, miss.” My bow and quiver are down the slope where they have been all day. I can’t decide if their location is a good thing. I hear the hammer ease.

I noisily make my way down the hill in a haphazard fashion, flailing at limbs and anything else in range. I finally drop beside the bow and quiver to look back. Struggling uphill, she had slung the rifle cross-body and it rested on her back. She now has my pack and assorted gear; everything I have for hunting is on that transport board, save the items in my hand.

She looks back several times though the darkness conceals me as I nearly walk beside her. She can’t hear past her own ragged breathing and stomping to maintain traction uphill. I aim and release.

Her screams are harrowing; I’ve disabled her arm at the bicep. The board is waiting for me. She cries, growls and kicks while I bandage her arm and set her on her feet. The rifle I take. I know she’ll not make this mistake again. Nor will I.

Now, to make it a fair distance without the scent of the fawn’s blood attracting a different sort of scavenger.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Periphery

PShe was forgettable in a handy way. Quiet, she wore unremarkable clothing in analogous colors. Neutral hair of medium length, neutral skin, no beauty marks or tattoos. Her posture wasn’t open or closed, just demure, accepting. Her eyes were on the path or whatever was just below another person’s clear view of her face.

She was the new kid in high school—a sophomore—in a town of fewer than 500 people. The males were sharks, circling for a couple of weeks before deciding she wasn’t much of a thang. The females seemed not to notice her.

Heaven, though, don’t let her smile. I mean, she had a closed-lip smile that failed to reach open eyes and left her head in the down-nod position. In that sense, she smiled constantly.

The first snowy day of school, everyone took off their shoes at the wide entry hall. What a picture that made! She followed the lead of the more experienced and added her shoes. By this time, the hallway to the classrooms was a riot of bodies run-sliding in their socks. More hilarity than injury.

She picked up her backpack and stepped away from the door onto the heated floor. Her chin lifted to share surprised green eyes, and her smile bloomed. Transformed, transfixed, she hadn’t even noticed I was watching. I was always watching, curious.

Her toes wriggled inside her socks. The building was heated from below. Her brightness spontaneously spilled at random times during that first snow day.

As much as she wished, she couldn’t return fully to the periphery of attention. What is seen cannot be unseen, much to my delight.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Author’s note: This is my fourth attempt at the letter P for the April A to Z writing prompt. Certainly not because I was displeased with the writing of the first three; however, each of the three became too intense to post.

 

One Art

OI have been haunted for many years by Elizabeth Bishop’s villanelle ‘One Art’.  Elizabeth Bishop chose a confining poem structure, the villanelle, to approach such a life-consuming event.

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master;” begins the poem.

I can’t find my glasses. I misplace keys then a wallet. I loan a book never returned. One starts early in life losing things. Some are of lesser value. Some seem devastating.

Read it. Find it in yourself and read it once more.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Nautilus

NLiving fossils.

I love to view these in bisect. I have never considered their appearance when live. A bit like shrimp in a shell. Extinct varieties; evolving varieties.

The image here represents to me a steady progression, an intricate infinity. It is the power of life created then discarded to become part of another sort of creation, whatever that may be.

What are your images of infinity?
©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Nautilus Cutaway