Poem of The Morning, August 7, 2014

Here it is, the second installment in this three-part prose poem about a creek behind my boyhood home.  I’ve reprinted part one here, too, so you won’t have to refer back to yesterday’s post.  I hope you enjoy this.  Comments are welcome.


The Creek


Our creek was not like the ones in the books

There was no waterfall, no deep, blue hole, no long placid runs

like those in the calendar pictures.

Ours was just behind the back yard

and through a thicket of sumac and brambles,

vines and nettles

and poison ivy

I had to crawl through.

This was the snaking strip of land

That defied development

A steep drop into that narrow ravine

Beyond the power of any man’s mower.

Why did I ever think it worthwhile to skinny through all of that, just to see that measly trickle

except that when I entered that vale I vanished from the world.

There were no fish, not even a minnow, though I searched every puddle and suspected that the older boys might have known something I didn’t; might have gone farther and found a secret place.

We younger boys gave names to the biggest rocks.  I found this under the skillet rock.  Me and Rex turned over the grand-dad rock.  Didn’t find nothin’.

When I remembered, I brought a coffee can with me. Red Folgers with a   dangerously sharp rim.  I put in moss, leaves and sticks and half an inch of water and there I kept my prizes: crawfish, the salamanders we called lizards and now and then some strange, eyeless creature that no one could name.



Once it rained very hard for a long time and I waited, wondering.

Alright, you can go out now, but you take those boots off on the porch.  I don’t want you dragging mud into this house.

I ran across the soggy lawn to my tunnel through the brush and weeds.  Halfway down the ravine, I heard the laughter of the rising water.

Across the way

the fat, brown milk

pulled at the trunks of the ragweed

pulling one stem down

then releasing it

pulse after pulse

like the arm of a metronome.

I stood there and surveyed the wonder, satisfied.  I thought,

like the once starved and now accepted lover,

I always knew it could be this way.


I forgot my boundaries and pushed down the stream

over logs and stones and,

doing the forbidden,

wading the torrent where necessary

until I was out of that hollow an onto a broad back lawn

that I had never seen before

now a brown lake

big enough for a canoe.

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5 Responses to Poem of The Morning, August 7, 2014

  1. I like the idea of prose and poetry living together under the same roof. I don’t know if that’s a new thing or if I just haven’t come across it before. I’d like to incorporate that concept in my stories. Not sure if I can do finger-popping poetry, though.

  2. labeak52 says:

    I got the idea from Czeslaw Milosz, a poet who escaped from one of the Baltic States during some purge or another. Died just a year or two ago. He won the Nobel Prize, I think and I somehow got onto his book Facing The River. It’s an acquired taste, I guess, but some of the stuff there has grown on me or haunted me or something. Anyhow, he does the whole prose/poem thing several times in that book. I don’t see why not. People are getting away with anything these days.
    I had that book on the table in our last session. I meant to talk about it some and maybe read from it, but I never got around to it.

  3. labeak52 says:

    You know, I don’t think I would ever recognize great modern poetry unless somebody made a lot of noise about how great it was. People make a lot of noise about Milosz and Seamus Heaney.

  4. Damyanti says:

    I like the voice of this, but was wondering why the poetic format is necessary. If all of it was written in prose, keeping the poetic word-usage but losing the poetic format, what would be lost?

    • labeak52 says:

      It’s a fair question. I am reading Czeslaw Milosz and he does something like this. I’m not at all sure of my format. Maybe it is not necessary. But I do think the line breaks help some. Thanks for your input. The last section will be posted in a few hours. I hope you’ll keep reading.

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