Friday, April 10, 2009

Poetry Friday

Formal Application
(in which a poet attempts to become Modern Man)

I shall begin by learning to throw
the knife, first at trees, until it sticks
in the trunk and quivers every time;

next from a chair, using only wrist
and fingers, at a thing on the ground,
a fresh ant hill or a fallen leaf,

then at a moving object, perhaps
a pieplate swinging on twine, until
I pot it at least twice in three tries.

Meanwhile, I shall be teaching the birds
that the skinny fellow in sneakers
is a source of suet and bread crumbs,

first putting them on a shingle nailed
to a pine tree, next scattering them
on the needles, closer and closer

to my seat, until the proper bird,
a towhee, I think, in black and rust
and gray, takes tossed crumbs six feet away.

Finally, I shall coordinate
conditioned reflex and functional
form and qualify as Modern Man.

You see the splash of blood and feathers
and the blade pinning it to the tree?
It’s called an “Audubon Crucifix.”

The phrase has pleasing (even pious)
connotations, like Arbeit Macht Frei,
“Molotov Cocktail,” and Enola Gay.

Donald W. Baker
This weeks Poetry Roundup is being hosted by Carol's Corner


Anonymous said...

I love this....that skinny fellow in sneakers, indeed!

Sara said...

Jet, saw your question about how to leave a live link in the comments for PF. You have to use HTML code.

Here's an easy explanation of how to link with code.

When you try it for the first time, click Preview to make sure the link shows up as you want it to.

That's an intense poem you've shared today. I'm kind of afraid of it. But it certainly made me SEE every detail, whether I wanted to or not.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to read more by this poet. Thanks for sharing, Barb!

Diane said...

Barbara, you are one sick puppy! ;-)

Barbara said...

Hey, you can only read so much poetry about clouds and rainbows and crashing waves. And the guy does make a point.