I climbed the steep gully,
A cathedral of blue
Winter sky above me,
The sound of the hidden
Stream rilling and gurgling in my ears.
My footsteps criss-crossed
The busy pathways
Of mink and weasel—
Soft divets scooped
Where they belly slid
Down the banks,
Tracks suddenly disappearing
Into a perfect O of snow.
I paused to catch my breath
And listen to the sparse oak leaves,
At the wonderful clear silence.
How gratifying to be
In such a pure and simple landscape.
I could feel the earth slumbering
Under her coverlet of snow,
And see her graceful, full curved hip
Thrown carelessly across the valley.
Her languid, dimpled arm
Draped over the ridge,
Head resting, forehead kissing
The bank of the stream
As though peering through
Marbled ice at the
Rivulet of bubbles
Slipping along below.
And there before me
Her wide smooth rump
Thrust skyward For…
The first lines and opening must avoid cliché
and even better still intrigue and invite me
into the poem’s world.
It really mustn’t tell me how much love is like a rose.
If there is metaphor it needs to flow and extend naturally
and there are so many metaphors that have been overused
it might take some experiments to find something original
but too original than perhaps I won’t relate.
The poem could profound
I don’t mind having to do some work to understand
but if it totally confuses, leaves me lost,
then I am unlikely to read until the end.
Please don’t let it have an artifice of depth
but actually be a shallow pool.
It might leave me with a question, an impression, a mood, a challenge,
a pertinent observation and
a constant musing on its end.
I might want to read it again and again.
It might be the poem I’ll forever carry in my head.
It might enchant and seduce with its
delicate impressions that capture
the natural world I love.
It might introduce me to words
I have never heard before but instead of shutting me
out make me curious and willing to go and look them up.
It might touch a nerve
crawl into my poetry sense
with its metre and cadence
burrow into my head
to create comfort or discomfort
to unnerve me
with its truth.
Perhaps it is clever beyond belief
an artful crafting of sonnet, haiku, prose poem
but if it’s clever just for clever’s sake
I might not give it a second reading
even though I admire the technical skill.
Or maybe it’s just what I needed to read that very minute and
it just came into my life
in the feed, in the poetry book someone gifted to me
in a random search online.
Maybe it says what I am feeling
trying to do
trying to understand
trying to remember
trying to encourage in the world
trying to forget.
Now I’ve told you my reasons
I wonder dear reader
Why do you read a poem ?