The Pole and I
A Prose Poem and Some Haiku
I began this first piece as free verse, then had to set it aside for a few weeks. When I came back to it, it was suddenly clear that, with a little alteration and some development, it would be much more effective as a prose poem… indeed, that it actually was a prose poem, just not completed or fleshed out yet.
So I made the alterations and continued to work on it until it reached its current form. Here is my prose poem about an electric pole…
Of Pole and Place
There is an old-fashioned electric pole just beyond the house. Its height is great, its girth is wide, and its skin is rough with time.
It has been here for many years now, and it has weathered along with those years until it seems almost one more element of nature. In a world of cacti like trees and of trees that are bushes, of rocks that grow and of growing things that look like rocks, it’s easy to see the pole as just one more natural denizen of the place. It is a structure, perhaps, for propping clouds up
off the ground, or at night for dancing the moon across to moonset.
But I suppose these things are mere personal fantasies on the part of the pole. Its real purpose in the ecosystem is otherwise. Day by day it carries woodpeckers, sometimes a dove, and occasionally a great, dark hawk.
But it is above all a trysting place for lovers among the woodpeckers. They leap round and round its sides, chasing each other in exuberant January courtships, carrying nesting materials up its persistent perpendiculars. (Do they have a young brood there near the top?)
And I am hard put to it to convince them that I have as much right here as themselves, or as their very own electric pole, which has been trapped in its cobweb of black wires so long that it has become a part of the hill-life. They see me as something transient and alien, as something to be watched warily and warned. Unlike their giant, homely, wooden pole, I am not the stuff of the hills, of the earth and air.
Give me time, my checker-backed friends, give me time.
And now here are two haiku.. or rather the same haiku written in two different ways. (The bird was too far away for me to be certain whether it was crow or raven: we have both here.)
under cerulean skies
where one black crow soars
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