Thursday, April 14, 2011



So few times
I haven’t had to pretend.
Under the scrub oaks once
one time
when the spider had barely begun
to spin the hex 
of change and decay
when above us there was blue
around us there was smoke
and beneath us there was earth
earth that was enough
but even then
there was a buzzing
like a bluebottle
singing his carrion tune
a tiny smut in the sky
a rent in the web
a jet blowing
grey airdirt from its tail
where there should have been
only a noiseless hawk.

Dead people write better poems;
lessons, like all the spoils, are easiest
from the dead.

April 2011

Photo: Blackjack Oak at Sunset, joy ann jones 2011


  1. dead men tell no tales, thus why they bury them outside the public eye...ask too many questions and you might be asked to join them...there is nothing wrong with the environment, there is nothing wrong with our families, silence buys them time...i have no idea what i am saying, i am still alive, for now.

  2. Your labels for this say it all.

    Write it out, Witch Friend. Clarity may come, and even if it proves elusive, the poems are bittersweet morsels for the rest of us.

    On another subject entirely, your pansies are beautiful. :-)

  3. ..where there should have been...and there wasn't and we try so hard to ignore..and we try so hard to pretend...deep one..loved it...

  4. Beautiful and hints at a much bigger story. I love the "where there should have been only a noiseless hawk."

  5. Perhaps it is true, dead people change lives, but the living have no effect at all on the dead. I also was drawn to the noiseless hawk.

  6. Agree with Sherry on favorite line...and with Annell on how the dead change the world...our reference to purpose we hold to our own life....the gifts maybe centered on a target of a future time...but then that is only a maybe...bkm

  7. Oh, how I love that carrion tune-- perfect. The dead and the poets are always pointing out the things we try so hard to ignore.

  8. This gave me was intense and bittersweet, hedgewitch.

  9. Wow, your poem cast a spell on me. I especially like the image of "to spin the hex of change and decay"... I'm glad I followed you over. Thanks for playing. If you want to check my 55 out:

    Click here to check my 55 out

  10. I remember a line from "Calvin and Hobbes" where the father admits to the reader, staring out at us from the pane, "I guess it's ad lib all the way." Confessing what it means to be a parent: something we can only do in preparation for the next challenge. So too the poem, the making: it's always performative, an ad lib, a jazzman's solo, riffing one the truth we know but will never quite be able to say. Improvisation always means a certain larceny, faking the moment of clouds and rain in the name of the larger game. Like Rilke said, poetry's a "starry fraud" -- albeit a happy one. I wonder if witchery's like alchemy, imagination's kitchen, trying a new recipe for wonder every day. Still, the angle of your spider's dangle is not necessarily a road one has to take to write -- I often use my history verbatim, trusting that the veracity of it is not in its having been lived or even written, but subjected to the runes resting in the water at the bottom of the tree. Hanging with the dead helps the perspective, the view, the bone clarities of the moon ... - Brendan

  11. I love this, Hedgewitch! I was so caught up in the poem's initial descriptions--how we pretend in our lives, seeking that elusive, imaginary perfection from life, nature even--that I was suddenly pitched into a whole other realm with the last stanza. I love that because it made me go back and rethink the whole beginning.

    As a poet, I get the pretense. And yes, when we're dead, the truth splays out around us. I agree with Patricia that the dead and poets are always teaching us new truths, even if those truths "happen" in different ways.

    Finally, I love the title and the different meanings it suggests.

    You're burning up this challenge, Hedge! Excellent poenm!


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats