Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jar of Summer


Crows falling



Jar of Summer





Summer is dying.
Racketing machines have taken her 
gold ballgown of grain, her cornsilk hair
off to silo for beasts on a plate.
A fall of crows in flying feathers
comes to caw at deathbed rattles,
pecking and pulling at her carcase,
at the caved heatblasted fruit
too small for the musty maw.

Once dropped
feathers and fruit roll in the blow
moving beyond wing and stem
however unready, eversour or incomplete. 
Earth will gather the tumbled leavings
rind and heart, pin and down,
annulling amber, umber
green or black to grey blur in
the soft agreement of her breast.

So I walk 
between the gleaned sere rows
opened by metal and beak,
fight the crows for the small stony fists
seed unformed, bitter bites balled loose
in my basket. Summer's flavor in a jar
is all I have to remember her by; that,
and rattling behind me, the machinery
of your steel betrayal.


~October 2012







Posted for   real toads
Out of Standard with Izy: Whirli-gig the Bounty
The talented Isadora Gruye asks us to "write a poem about the mechanical nature of the modern harvest. The angle and tone is of your choosing, but explore!" I started out in one direction, but then, the crows came.






Header image: Crows falling, by Dino ahmad ali, on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons License
Footer image :Jar of Peaches, by Claude Monet
Public Domain, via wikipaintings.org


28 comments:

  1. Oh wow. I love the golden gown and the cornsilk hair. Personification of natural things is dicey, but I really liked that line. But "a fall of crows in flying feathers" is even better. It suggests a certain darkness or changeability in the crows, or at least it seems that way to me.

    The sense here of things being fed into an unfeeling maw and then consumed or randomly tossed aside is both strong and chilling. After all, whether it is fruit or bird, these things are alive, and soft, and no match for such an implacable force.

    Your ending caught me totally off guard. "Summer's flavor in a jar
    is all I have to remember her by; that,
    and rattling behind me, the machinery
    of your steel betrayal." Just wow @ that. So it's not about the sort of harvest we thought. Or, only partially so.

    I will stfu now, since I know you don't like gush, but I just could not help it. This left me grinning the way I do when you sneak up on me with a twist wrapped in gorgeous writing.

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    1. Shay, you have a Lifetime License to gush as desired. I am always made happy by sincere enjoyment of something I write. (I just hate people quoting a line because the person above them quoted that line and adding nothing....well okay, and I get embarrassed sometimes, too. ;-) )

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  2. whew...the steel betrayal....nice i like how that wraps back as well to the beginning...the rattling machines stripping her of her clothes...and your only reminder the bottled bits....like a perfume bottle of the deceased we remember everytime we take little spritz...knowing one day it too will be empty

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  3. PS--what should I do with these handfulls of hair?

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    1. Ha! I have a basket in the corner. Do red and blondey-grey go together though?

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  4. I'm glad the crows came. Seems they belonged. Halfway through this became to me a harvest of many things, and of course, only winter waits on the horizon.
    The last line really threw me, Hedge. didn't see it coming.
    Steel is such a forceful word in a last line.
    as always, really good stuff.
    I hope some day when I'm old(er), if such a day exists, to have an old raven to keep me company as we look out the window over so many harvests.
    ~rick

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    1. Good choice. Odin had two. They are amazing birds, but I've settled for dogs and a greybearded sodbuster.

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  5. Summer is dying.
    Racketing machines have taken her
    gold ballgown of grain, her cornsilk hair
    off to silo for beasts on a plate.

    I love it. Autumn captured.

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  6. "Summer is dying." The "leavings" in "The soft agreement of [earth's] breast" and the memory in a jar are nurturing--something worth fighting the crows for while the "rattling" continues.

    Your poem makes these four forces vivid, desolate, and exhausted while putting it all to bed for the spring.

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  7. Summer's flavor in a jar
    is all I have to remember her by; that,
    and rattling behind me, the machinery
    of your steel betrayal

    How cruel life can be. One retains some reminders. But it's better not when betrayal gets in the way! Beautiful verse Joy!

    Hank

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  8. There is a bucketload of well-turned phrases and evocative imagery here; it's wonderfully visual, has the right fin-de-siecle tone, and is all-around nicely crafted.

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  9. The same lines struck me that Shay noted. A glorious read, altogether, with an unexpected twist at the end. LOVE the whole idea of summer in jar, for remembering.

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  10. I am so glad the crows came. This poem is certainly a feast of the harvest. Love the rich imagery.

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  11. Many beautiful lines here - the fall of crows and the green or black to grey blur in
    the soft agreement of her breast--probably my favorites - (my children are kind of crazed for composting of late - a little weird, yes.) They've also been crazy for canning - so love that summer's flavor in a jar.

    The steel betrayal. A very good line. Can't help but think of steal. And frankly, steel's pretty great stuff, but it's kind of, you know, cold. Grey. Not too much in agreement with breasts. (Ha.)
    k.

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  12. Lovely lines like "A fall of crows in flying feathers" make this a very special poem. I think many of us are turning away from the over mechanised hyper chemical ways.

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  13. I echo the others for choosing those last lines: "Summer's flavor in a jar
    is all I have to remember her by; that,
    and rattling behind me, the machinery
    of your steel betrayal."
    Words that work so well for me include "rattling" "steel betrayal"--you have used them so well!:)

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  14. One of the things I like about visiting your work is that you have a firm command of tone and pacing. Of course that is greatly aided by your talent in evoking rattling imagery that lives with me well beyond the poem. This poem is no exception. I love the set up of almost a fairy tale funeral for lady summer, the your first stanza is rich in it's lavish sparseness (tension!)....I love the ballgown of hay.

    Here there are echoes of Demeter and the whirl whirl whirl of a dusty golden mechanics. Viva la and thanks for posting, as always

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  15. Summer is dying.
    Racketing machines have taken her
    gold ballgown of grain, her cornsilk hair
    off to silo for beasts on a plate...what a delightful description of the end of summer and harvest. You always work magic with your words.

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  16. It's a oh yes moment in that autumn fruit and mellowness is summer remembered. A topical issue here in the UK as the poor summer has left grass and feed corn with little nutritional goodness

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  17. I loved the personification of the dying season, and the inclusion of crows was perfect for the description of a land stripped by both beak and metal. What really clinched the poem for me was the inclusion, in the final stanza, of the narrator, the shift from an impersonal to a personal viewpoint as the speaker is place among the rows, gleaning.

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  18. "annulling amber, umber
    green or black to grey blur in
    the soft agreement of her breast."

    Damn, that is just exquisite. I love the way it reads aloud.

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  19. I hate to say "me, too; me, too" but I really love the last two lines, and, if others love them, too, why not?
    A masterful write, Joy.
    K

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  20. Holy crap...this is one of the best pieces I have read in a long time. It has texture that just kills the point of the challenge. I can't and wont pick a favorite line because this is bleeding with genius. You have my vote for president.

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    1. I promise a poem in ever pot! Or a chicken in every poem--or something!Thanks, Corey.

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  21. Ooo...that golden gown and cornsilk hair!! LOVE that!!

    The crows too...always drawn to crows...I spent ten minutes, (nearly!), watching two crows each on top of a telephone pole across the street from each other...every time a car came they'd caw and when I'd inch forward they'd caw and then one flew off and I wondered who they were warning and what they were thinking.

    Any way...sorry...this is not great feedback for you... apologies, Hedge!

    I enjoy your work always...stretches me to think. :)

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    1. I thought it was very interesting, Hannah. We have a few really giant crows that must belong to a family group in the area. They seem to always be one step ahead of the other birds--though the mockingbirds put up a pretty fierce fight to keep them out of the yard, they always manage to sneak into the bird feeder at least once a day. Thanks for coming by to read and share your nature notes. ;-)

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  22. gold ballgown of grain, her cornsilk hair

    That is such a beautiful image of summer. Crows. When I was a girl i was a bit afraid of them. "A fall of crows in flying feathers" .... this takes me back in time, as many crows would land in the hay field after it had been cut and I was afraid to walk up our long gravel driveway to get the mail. But I can't imagine a country scene without them. Now, I love them, love hearing their different "cries", love how they have are so bold.


    Earth will gather ... in the soft agreement of her breast.

    Yes, and then a winter blanket will comfort them... Really, a beautiful poem!

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  23. I love the addition of the crows!

    "in the soft agreement of her breast" exquisite!

    beautifully written, as always, Joy!

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg