Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Dark Wood






The Dark Wood




Beware the wary. Be warier--
be wariest whom you woo
in the dark wood where
the horn of the goat
will cut your throat,
the kiss of the bear
will take your tongue
while ravens wish.

Be wary where you walk
in the dark wood;
the black barked tree
won’t berry for you, just serve up
a pot of brownskin earth,
clamping the foot to the bitter root, you
the bone spoon in a stew
of leaves gone bad.

Be wary when you whisper
in the dark wood.
The ears that hear prick quick,
the teeth bring their hunger
on stomachs that crawl, on mouths
with legs running so much faster
than sidewalk scorpions.
Beware the wary.

Be wariest which is your war
in the dark wood.

~ rev February 2013





posted for   real toads
Challenge: A-listed
Fireblossom provides a voluminous word list, authored once again by her anonymous associate who wishes to remain unnamed, from which to pick and choose inspiration for a poem. While normally I don't do word list poems, I've made an exception here, using the words 'served,' 'clamp,' 'sidewalks,' and 'scorpions.' 



Photo: The Dark Wood, © joyannjones



28 comments:

  1. First, thanks for trying the challenge, even though it isn't really your style. I think you did well with it.

    Throughout this, you use words, and combine them, in unexpected ways that make the piece crackle. "Teeth bring their hunger", "while ravens wish" and "won't berry for you" all are fine examples. That entire middle section just blows me away with its originality of expression.

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  2. Wow - that creeps the snot out of me! Oof!

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  3. Line 14 is wonderfully enjambed (god i hope i'm finally using that word correctly) and is my favorite. You put the readers in the woods, which can be any sort of the unknown imo, and let us feel around for ourselves. Most compelling is the bird-like call of your first two lines returning in the last lines. It's as if the crier is in the branches warning from above. A very satisfying read!

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  4. I feel like a letter bug exploring your wordscape . . . i definitley feel like a scuttler, or a softbacked critter about to be squished by the weight of the woods . . . but this is just how i feel daytoday, now lets take a look at your poem! :D

    Good to see you are still keeping your nib wet hedge.

    I agree with Jane regarding the first section, the style and the echo . . . i'm really liking sidewalk scorpion . . . although its reducing my sting to a probable squishing, i'm getting used to that!

    all the best hedge,
    hope you are well



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    1. I'll keep my nib wet, and you keep your powder dry, and we'll both make it through without getting squished, perhaps. Thanks for reading,my small, many-legged friend--never underestimate your tail.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks for forgiving me about the goats, Teresa. They are not your sort of lovely goats, of course.

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  6. Shay said it all with originality of expression, at which you both excel. This is creepy in the very best possible way.

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    1. Thank you Sherry. Always good to see you come by.

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  7. I'm not afraid of the dark ... I work nights ... on psych ... demons do like sleeping pills ...

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    1. Ha! Good point.Be wary what you swallow? Or maybe when you don't.

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  8. be wary, but beware the wary....ha...interesting contradiction in that last bit...and def be wary the war...i grew up in the woods though so i am pretty comfortable there...it does make some intersting noises once the lights go out...smiles.

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  9. An axe and a lantern should be all you need to relieve your Sylvan anxieties Moonbat...:-)

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  10. Whoa, or should I say, Woe! This has a lot of swamp in it! (Not the right word, but very murky indeed), and I love the idea that it is those who are most wary - the wariest--who are most likely to be pre-emptive here in their strike. This is very apt on the plain old walking in the woods level, though neither plain or old - but I like to think of it on the political level a bit given the last line. I feel like a forager in some kind of occupied country here - and I am the occupier, but should not be there.

    There are many great lines and descriptions--the bone spoon in a stew of leaves gone bad, the legged mouths picking up the whispers - sidewalk scorpions. Free us from crazy shapeless (or too-multi-shaped) entanglements. (Maybe I'm just thinking of those issues today.) Of course, this works on many levels, but I can't help but feel like a warrior is stuck here, definitely in the wrong place/wrong time.

    Great sound too. k.

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    1. Yes, swamp and mud, or sturm und drang, maybe? ;_) The war was a late thought, and you read it spot on, the occupied country, the wandering through entanglements and the ever-hungry mouths and listening drones, er...ears. There's a personal level too, but really it's a more general poem than what I usually write. Every war is a war of choice. As always, k, thanks for reading, and for your input.

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  11. terrifying,I'm going to be very careful now

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  12. Another excellent piece, Hedge. Love these:

    "be wariest whom you woo
    in the dark wood where
    the horn of the goat
    will cut your throat"

    "the black barked tree
    won’t berry for you"

    "clamping the foot to the bitter root, you" Great line break, making the "you" the bitter root.

    "The ears that hear prick quick" The whole section that follows unfolds so spectacularly. Each line works extremely well as its own thought, as well as with both the lines prior and following. And as a whole, of course:
    "The ears that hear prick quick,
    the teeth bring their hunger
    on stomachs that crawl, on mouths
    with legs running so much faster
    than sidewalk scorpions."
    For example, I love "the teeth bring their hunger" on its own. But I'm just as excited about "the teeth bring their hunger on stomachs" and then "the teeth bring their hunger on stomachs that crawl" and then "the teeth bring their hunger on stomachs that crawl on mouths" ... and so on. :) My point is that a phrase works so well on its own but then only grows in magnificence and eeriness when the next two or three words are added, until the section is complete. Each new word/phrase amps it all up to imagery that not only moves across the screen of my brain but crawls right out of my eye sockets (i.e., that creepy crawly girl in The Ring who climbs out of the TV set).

    "the teeth bring their hunger
    on stomachs that crawl, on mouths
    with legs running"
    Seriously, this is just so "shabang" for me. Teeth on stomachs on mouths (with legs). Pretty hardcore sexual imagery, if you ask me.

    "Be wariest which is your war
    in the dark wood." Fantastic ending; that "which" could go in a couple of directions:
    "Be [the] wariest [one of all], which is your war in the dark wood." (Being wary is the war.)
    "Be wariest which [one] is [actually] your war in the dark wood." (In other words, make sure the war you are fighting is really your own.)
    Also, the word "which" always makes my brain go homophone; so I'm inserting some witchcraft here as well. (There are other signs throughout your poem that you have done the same.) You really can't have a dark wood without witchcraft, can you? I suppose that's a good reason to be careful whom you woo when your surroundings are dark, unknown, and dangerous. Your animal imagery makes me think of the Chinese Zodiac.

    I think this whisperer is casting a love spell, and the ears that prick quick are the spirits who are only too eager to get involved in this sort of unnatural manipulation.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed response, Jasmine. The end lines are meant to go in your second direction.

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  13. There is definitely something dark in those woods. Loved your poem of warnings.

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  14. A warning that send a chill down the spine. I'll stick to the path or not go in at all :).

    The illiteration, as always, is wonderfully done.

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  15. i want to hear it! this is just sooooo clever. yay.

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  16. So dark and eerie. I love the way you put words together in unexpected ways. This poem reads like a chant or spell to me. I will be wary.

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  17. Bone spoon in a stew made me shiver. I love this and the sound of it out loud. Yes, choose your wars wisely.

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  18. A bit of old time warning and a bit of a poetic song in grand Stephen King style - creepy, good and chilling. YEAH! I like it.

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  19. I always leave your blog feeling enlightened, improved, satisfied.

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  20. This is shiveringly frightening, and I only found two of the words, so involved was I with your lesson.

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