I often delight in a phrase or term that takes on a life of its own, apart from a particular content or meaning. The poet Jack Spicer, drawing on his training as a linguist, was a master at this.
Overhearing one conversation recently, my mind’s eye took the Black Joker who met the Red Herrings on a Non-Tour in a much different direction. My choir buddies, Mike and Kate, knew who they were talking about, and where. It was all about Morris dancing. For me, though, it was pure magic on its own.
Words can, after all, exist in their own sound and space. How short can a poem be, anyway? I have a few that weigh in at one word apiece, while two or three words can make for a nice verbal dance.
The title of my newest poetry collection, Noble Blue Liberty, is one of those. Years ago, I warned the mother of three children I’d run with her lofty impression, and I have. Actually, the title could stand as a poem all its own.
I have similar feelings about some of my other recent releases.
fence posts without fencing utility poles, the wires gone green pine, blue sky floating clear from Terrill’s Ridge a blue jay shriek ~*~ maybe some early settlers a few hills over, listened, their naming Scarce a’ Fat Ridge meaning not many steps to either side of the trail you’d fall off or you couldn’t grow […]
Let me confess to struggling with the preposition for the title of this collection.
The initial thought was of being atop a mountain, with its panoramic views. But that runs the danger of suggesting superiority, submission of nature to man’s will, or placing more value on a given result rather than the process of getting there (and back). The climb, I’ll contend, is purification for what lies ahead.
An alternative “on the mountain” allows for the sense of having one’s feet on a trail or even presenting a series somehow “about” the mountain as a set of explanations.
I settled on “under” for its sense of looking upward, in awe or even reverence, as well as the fact that even in mountainous terrain, we live in the valley, with some degree of protection from the elements. Where the streams come down and weave their threaded branches together. Where at times the clouds nestle in. Where the eyes wander from the summit.
Chief Seattle, who appears in the Grilled Salmon section of this poetry collection, is an elusive figure in American history. Whether he pulled a fast one is another question, but he did get a major city named in his honor.
far-off thunderstorms abruptly convulse our roadway unfamiliar birds return to their roost Table Rock Rainbow some find holy ~*~ When the wind pauses upon a pronghorn hour hand, striped faces sniff hesitant half-light ash between sagebrush always this wary, waiting slow turn, bolt and feathery white bouncing. Chase, then, singing ~*~ Gillette a raw burn […]