Saturday, December 18, 2010

Big Tent Poetry: Dead Woman Poems

This week Big Tent Poetry introduced us to Marvin Bell and his Dead Man Poems. Such a specific prompt seemed quite challenging at first, however it was interesting to attempt, although I doubt that my efforts resemble Marvin Bell's too closely. It occurred to me somewhere along the way that there was no reason why my Dead Man shouldn't be a Dead Woman. So she is. I seem to have been writing about birds quite a lot in the last year or two.

1. About the Dead Woman and Birds

The dead woman can hear the birds above her head.
They are scritch scratching in the dirt looking for worms.
The dead woman contemplates the worms, the birds, and the nature of transformation.
Unlike the birds she has no wishbone.
It is too late to wish for anything.
The pole of a scarecrow is embedded in the earth in a neighbouring field.
The birds perch on the scarecrow’s shoulders.
The birds make their nests from the straw that pokes out from the scarecrow’s hat, and from the moss that the dead woman nestles in.
The birds are not afraid of the scarecrow, nor are they afraid of the dead woman.
She is learning the art of lying very still, so as not to frighten the birds.

2. More About the Dead Woman and Birds

See, it’s magic says the dead woman, as she pulls silk handkerchiefs from her pockets, from her sleeves, from under her hat.
The silk handkerchiefs turn into white birds and flutter away.
The dead woman is becoming lighter.
She feels a lifting under the soles of her feet.
She feels a prickling between her shoulder blades where her wings might be.
The dead woman has no boundaries.
She makes small exhalations of air.
She leaves behind her white bones and feels herself rising into the sky like a drift of grey smoke, like the skeins of migrating birds straggling northwards.


More Dead Man poems here
And come back tomorrow for the results of my poetry book draw (if you are quick, you can still ask to be included in the draw for a copy of Flap in which a quarter of the poems come from me)


Radio Nowhere said...

I really enjoyed what you did with this. Such a gentle feel to it all...

Tumblewords: said...

I'm impressed with this piece - it has a lovely flow and the imagery is truly vivid.

Anonymous said...

Very nicely done. I like how the
2nd part complemented the first.

Anonymous said...

This is my favourite of all the poems to this prompt.

BTW did you mean scritch-scratching? Otherwise, maybe you're writing in Czech or Polish!

Cynthia Short said...

this was beautiful to read and to experience the emotion within...

Elizabeth said...

Very well thought out and written. As a lover of wings and feathers, I was drawn immediately into your imagery. And loved the fulfillment found in the second poem. Beautifully accomplished,


Anonymous said...

"The dead woman contemplates the worms" -- what a great contrast from how the birds are after the worms!! wonderful!

Wayne Pitchko said...

nicely done.....would be great to hear you read it.....thanks for sharing

nan said...

I love how the second section is so airy and light. What excellent work this is. I really enjoyed this and am about to go back for seconds.

Joseph Harker said...

You created an enchanting world in the first poem, and then completely turned it on its head in the second. That two-ways-of-looking is an essential part of the form, I think, and you nailed it. Love the way your enjambments turned out too!

gautami tripathy said...

This feels so magical to me. Wonderful write!

dead man and his shoe painting

dead man and his bottle of wine