Friday, November 9, 2012

Bonedancer



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Bonedancer



Bonedancer, hear me.
I sing the song
that burns the candle
here beside the flume of dark
where Styx meets bright Tiger
where Persephone falters
eating one sweet seed after another
too long too dry to stop.

Bonedancer, fly
in the dream I dream
of the totem wolf talking
of skinshifters walking
where the waking's hard
but the sleeping is harder
on memory's cold stones,
loser's bloat and bones.

Bonedancer, pivot
above the look
that shakes a threshing
from a sowing
that calls to its own
on strings of wild
violin eyes, hiss
your mother bird's chorus, chuffling
your chicks towards a white sun
candle that burns in the grass.



~November 2012







Posted for   real toads
Challenge: Transforming Friday
 This did not start out to be a poem about turkey buzzards, and perhaps still isn't, but Hannah's prompt gave it shape. There are many of them here where I live, and their intricate wheeling and sailing on the rise and fall of thermals is a joy to watch.









Process notes: In Greek(and later Roman) myth, Persephone was a chthonic goddess , daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and Zeus. Kidnapped by Hades, she became a goddess of the dead, but also of the land's rebirth. After her kidnapping devastated the croplands due to her mother's grief, Hades was persuaded to return her from the nether regions, but first he offered her a pomegranate, of which she ate four seeds,  dooming her to spend four months of every year below the earth.

 From wikipedia: "The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura), also known in some North American regions as the turkey buzzard (or just buzzard)… is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It finds its food using its keen eyes and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gases produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals. In flight, it uses thermals to move through the air, flapping its wings infrequently. It roosts in large community groups. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It nests in caves, hollow trees, or thickets. Each year it generally raises two chicks."

Image:  by dw_ross, on flick'r
Shared under a creative commons license



29 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Hedge. Brilliantly written. It takes me right there. I remember watching the eagles drifting on the air thermals in Tofino. Sigh.

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  2. Bonedancer ... dancing to a primal beat ... awesome.

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  3. You are SO the real thing, Hedge. This is flawless.

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    1. Thanks, MZ--means a lot coming from you.

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  4. Fly in the dream i dream of the totem wolf talking
    ~what comment could be enough?
    You make magic real enough for me to believe

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading, rick. Since you have disabled comments, just want to take the opportunity to mention I think you are writing well, and have enjoyed your last two poems.

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  5. Turkey vultures circle here, too, Hedge, and captivate me as well. The moniker, Bonedancer, is ideal. I love the way you play out the concept of original sin, retelling Persephone's story of indulgence and consequence within the context of your setting.

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  6. Bonedancer is the perfect name for your protagonist. It contains something of the oxymoron a carrion bird inherits at birth: the grace of flight on huge wings, the grisly fight over bones. Your imagery relating to death in the first stanza is very apt, as is the references to totem animals. I thought the final stanza was just brilliant in tying all the threads together, and for the lines:
    that calls to its own
    on strings of wild
    violin eyes.

    I'm glad you ended with the nest, and rebirth in the chicks and the white sun.

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  7. i def love all the refs in this hedge...the styx meeting the tiger and persephone....the skin walkers in the second...the sowing and threshing harvest refs...violin eyes, very cool....lots of goodness in this...smiles.

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  8. Persephone. A goddess with a beautiful name, but plagued with so many responsibilities. I think about flight and the candles. Scrolling around your thoughtful page. Listening to Paul Simon, pondering Stevens."...ohohohohoh....I'm going to up for a while..."

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  9. You always educate me!! We have them here in NC... I drove by one as it pulled its head out of a bloated carcass of a dear.

    on memory's cold stones,
    loser's bloat and bones.

    Just love the sound of that!

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  10. Wonderful work, Joy. Large birds, perhaps ungainly on the ground, are a wonder to watch as they float on the thermals.
    I love "your mother bird's chorus, chuffling your chicks" — it almost makes the carrion bird seem cuddly in its maternal duties. "Chuffling" is a delightful word.
    K

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  11. Wonderful take Joy! The eagles have been misunderstood. More of their prowess in flight against others and their sharp talons are given prominence all these while. You've done well to partly dispel this.

    Hank

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  12. Dayum, GET OUT. You did that thing again. Don't blink at me like you don't know what I mean. You start out good, I'm digging the cool title, and the language and rhymes of the opening two stanzas...then you unfurl that final stanza and it's like, "Try THIS, Bo Peep", and I'm yanking out hair by the handful. I had one strand left, but the "violin eyes" did for that.

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  13. the image you chose is striking, Hedge...I love the angle and the light coming through the feathers!!

    The tone you've created here is unique...I love how you've woven threads of Greek mythology with Native American and the distinct hedgewitch strands to create this magical folklore-y feeling piece.

    I enjoyed this a lot!!

    These lines stood out to my ears:

    "the look
    that shakes a threshing
    from a sowing
    that calls to its own
    on strings of wild
    violin eyes,"

    Love that!!

    :)'s and thanks a bunch for transforming this Friday!

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  14. Yes, a very beautiful poem. I love that you start and return to the candle - first in the dark and wet (I guess) with the flume and Styx- which is such a good word with its sound both of flame and plume - and then with the white sun and grass. Styx is especially good here I think too because of the underworld but also because it sounds like sticks - and you have all these elements of water, grass, stone, bone - And so interesting that when Persephone is in that Styx/flumey place she is so dry--

    So I really liked the Persphone stuff - and the sense of the mother at the end = urging her chicks into the sun, but nonetheless the most striking lines had to do with the memory - the sleeping/waking -

    where the waking's hard
    but the sleeping is harder
    on memory's cold stones,
    loser's bloat and bones.

    This is pretty brutal1 But the music and the chicks and the candles somehow save the day - light in a dark place. k.

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    1. Thank you, karin. I liked flume there, too--it was a bit of a fluke. ;_) i think it rather heartening that buzzards like each other so much they congregate morning and night together, and often seem to me to be having flying contests. They serve a very unglamorous but needed purpose, too. This was one of those poems where you start in one place and end in another, so I thought the candle of survival needed to burn at both ends, as it were.

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  15. WOW! Believe it or not, we were in No. California last week and saw a bunch of turkey buzzards, along with various other birds. The vultures and such, so important to the ecology.... your phrase "violin eyes" struck me.

    There was so much magic, mythology, and mystery in this work. Really, one of your best, Hedge. Peace, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/11/09/the-sweetest-presence/

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  16. I enjoyed reading what others had to say about this stunning poem. As Hannah says, it has a magical folklore, native american feel with "distinct hedgewitch strands" You delve into older, below the bone territory with: of skin shifters walking/ where the waking's hard/but the sleeping is harder... which begs incarnation. wonderful.

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  17. Beautifully put together, it was a treat to read. I loved your use of anaphora.

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  18. How do you write like this without becoming famous? I just don't get it. This poem is so powerful, Joy, and my mind flashed to a giant tree at Frenchglen, Oregon, in the Steens Mountain Wilderness. It is the only place I've seen Turkey Vultures and I saw them at dusk by the hundreds on that huge tree. I guess they roosted there for the night, then hunted the fields come dawn. They were unforgettable.

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  19. Wonderful lines and beautifully written, Joy. Hope you have a great weekend.

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  20. hey hedge,

    i get such a strong sense of place: the one you create (poetic) , but physical also . . . i find your work comforting and never more so than here

    Bonedancer, fly

    in the dream I dream
    of the totem wolf talking
    of skinshifters walking
    where the waking's hard
    but the sleeping is harder
    on memory's cold stones,
    loser's bloat and bones

    this stanza is so good for so many reasons,
    but if i were to eye glide over the target words
    i could be fooled into thinking it is an overfamiliar
    prospect . . .

    but you make those words fresh in context
    and take ownership of them, making them yeild to
    your plan and they DO sing of something living
    alive and active!

    THIS!

    chuffling

    your chicks towards a white sun

    candle that burns in the grass.


    i inhale the power of words, measured . . .

    the subject is so rich and you tap it,
    channel it and make it solid enough to experience
    at THE level of PO metaphysics! (a place i like to hang out
    and, y'know - chillax (in an intense fashion:)





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    1. Yeah--I struggled with the two rhyme lines--they have a kind of auto-written sentimentality in them--using the vulture image helped there,maybe. You do this yourself I think--and far more ambitiously than I--denude sentimentality from basic emotion by using stark and sometimes ugly, sometimes just crazy context. I learn at your feet, grasshopper.

      I really appreciate your insights, Arron--thanks for casting your beady vulture eye upon the verbal bloat.

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  21. Such beauty in this...spiritual connection to the totem. I have watched the buzzards fly and swoop wondering what death they will pillage.

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  22. Clever fusion of different myths to capture what is observed

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  23. ah persephone, how she struggles and we struggle to capture her. oy that was a horrible comment, but you know, she intoxicates. and even while drunk you manage to write this:
    "the look
    that shakes a threshing
    from a sowing"
    wow.

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    1. Thanks, Marian. That was actually my favorite line in this one--but drunk? Do you know something I don't? I thought I was as usual stone cold sober, gnashing my teeth while writing this. ;-)

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