Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Cat's Cradle


Cat's Cradle
All that summer you stalked me
with your tiger-flower eyes 
yellow as saffron,
ochre-flecked with 
an unknown pollen,
blood-bright in
your weathered face,
and those few words you owned,
more rough than real.

Under the windy moon
light was as fickle and brief
as a glimpse of truth,
a falling star. Fish slid by
like lost ideas
dark as omens
beneath the emerald lake
that deepened the closer
I pushed towards shore,
their flat eyes swiveling back,
noodled to piscine
they waited like me
for the hook
to pull them up.
We watched the sun
burn its last amber coal,
and gave back its mirage heat
to the night like the
pave-stones of Babylon,
all that jungle summer
when I closed my eyes to time.

May 2020

 posted for dVerse Poets

"Noodling is fishing for catfish using one's bare hands, and is practiced primarily in the southern United States. The noodler places their hand inside a discovered catfish hole in order to catch the fish...the origin of the term is unknown." ~wikipedia

My compound words for the prompt were moonlight, starfish and sunburn. I also used an abundance of additional ones not carved to order, just for fun.

Images: Night, 1905 © Mikolojus Konstantinus Ciurlionis    Public Domain
Tigridia pavonia 'Aurea" (Tiger flower) photographer unknown, via internet   Fair Use


  1. Oh my yes. You've compouded me so very well here!
    "dark as omens
    beneath the emerald lake
    that deepened the closer
    I pushed towards shore,"
    These words....the movement in them, the conundrum of it deepening yet coming closer to shore. This fascinates me.
    And I especially like the last two stanzas. The separate root words flow so well with the sense of the poem...whether at end and beginning of lines or within a line. Well done!

  2. I thought that most of those compound words would necessarily sound clunky when divided as instructed, but you've proven me wrong, because yours flow seamlessly. I've thankfully never gone noodling for catfish and hope not to from her on in as well, and yet your poem is arresting, subtle, and bears your trademark understated truth.

  3. A stunning write, with the compound words weaved seamlessly to your style of writing. Love your word compounds e.g. tiger-flower eyes, ochre-flecked. The lens is from a world-weary eyes where the light is fickle, brief; one can see that falling star.

  4. My goodness this is incredibly stunning! So much to love here especially; "dark as omens
    beneath the emerald lake that deepened the closer I pushed towards shore."

  5. I love the lazy luxe blossoming here, heavy and indolent and saturated with pent floral surrender. There's a half-lidded rhythm to this, surrendered the "mirage heat" and waiting, yearning, to be fished. Noodling is an apt way to describe the way I write poems these days, half of the time thinking I've gotten hold of something and ending up with a chawed-off arm.

  6. yes, silky smooth such that I wasn't aware until you pointed it out. but for me, it's the last line that closes the loop on the bag, or the noose on the neck ~

  7. Oh, oh, oh! So stunning! The whole thing! But this section, especially:

    "Fish slid by
    like lost ideas

    dark as omens" - bloody exquisite!

    I always feel as if I've taken a trip to your unconscious and back. And this boat ride made me feel as if I were lost on the river Styx. So haunting! There's a feeling of doom impending but I kind of don't mind it, ha ha! And thanks for teaching me what noodling is :-)

    1. Thank you so much, Sunra, and for all your comments. They mean a lot to me and I appreciate the time and thought you put into them.

    2. You are more than welcome, Joy! :-)

  8. Joy, this is stunning writing. I love the image created by that first stanza, as well as:
    "dark as omens
    beneath the emerald lake that deepened the closer I pushed towards shore."

  9. "Fish slid by like lost ideas"!!! I love that you owned the compounding. Heart of the language of poems.

  10. "Fish slid by
    like lost ideas"

    damn it qbit! leave something for me to praise too, would ya! =)

    this poem is just gorgeous, joy. your ending was perfect, i could help but close my eyes with the mere mention of closing your eyes, well done!


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

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