Thursday, June 18, 2009

Readwritepoem #79

Winter Landscape

Farmer in a field digging onions,
their skins the colour of old vellum.
dried stalks in convoluted curlicues
like capitals on an illuminated manuscript.
He stamps his feet on the frosty ground,
blows on his hands to warm them.
Pan the scene outwards, the plains
stretch and stretch, the last tendrils
of morning mist lifting, the row of distant poplars
which his grandfather planted
to tether the sky lest he go mad
from so much blue.


I had hoped to use all the words from the readwriteword prompt in one poem, but they were so disparate that the goal eluded me. I managed to use six of them: onions, vellum, convoluted,hand, mist, tether.

For more readwriteword poems, go here

For more of my poetry on line (see my previous post), go to Blackmail Press here


Paul Oakley said...

Very nice, Catherine!

I love the way you intertwine the onions and manuscript imagery: onion skins and old vellum; dried stalks and illuminated capitals. I was not surprised but the first pairing. It seems almost a given without being cliched. But the second pair was a very nice surprise.

And the image of an earlier generation planting trees to control the sky. Very nice. And so real. I grew up on the flatlands of east-central Illinois and know just how out-of-control the sky can grow when the fencerows planted by earlier generations are bulldozed to make modern agriculture easier.

Beautiful imagery.

Dana said...

Oh wow. What a fine poem. I love how it moves out and out, like panning in film, and in that movement reveals a larger relationship, between the father and son and how they both relate to the natural world. This is fantastic.

Marinela said...

Lovely poem. Thank you for sharing :)

Raven's Wing Poetry said...

There isn't much I can say that the other commentors haven't said, but I love this. I love how you illuminate and describe an ordinary moment. Good write.

Lawrence Gladeview said...

i am going to echo paul's sentiments on this piece, that last sentence on planting trees to tether the sky is what resonates for me. what precedes is wonderful writing as well, but those last few lines really stick. placed this reader right in that field with corresponding horizon, enjoyed.

James said...

I also really like the cinematic quality of this. Image and the motion of the camera moving out. The illuminated manuscript simile is nice too.

Anonymous said...

Really wonderful. I love the depth and detail of the imagery here. Particularly enjoying "like capitals on an illuminated manuscript." Love the "panning outwards," and the final lines, the grandfather struggling not to go mad from so much blue. Beautiful poem!

Erin Davis said...

This is beautiful, and the last two lines are a knockout.

gautami tripathy said...

Wonderful last lines! They clinch it!

x-y-z: all three axes

Joanne Merriam said...

"which his grandfather planted/to tether the sky lest he go mad" - nicely observed! I've often felt that way about those wide open skies.

rallentanda said...

You write very well Catherine.Some are born just might be one of them