Self and reality. Symbol and language. Myth and image. Memory and consciousness.
Dream and unreality: locus communis.

Friday, December 9, 2011

115/365 - 119/365 || Five Grackle Tanka

— with fractured language
falling from a blueblack beak.
Stuttering vowels,
split phrases. Cacophonous.
Raw words costumed in plumage.

The moment fractured—
an acorn splintered, broken
segments all representing
past, present, future motions,
the day hunched and fragmented—

The moment hovers,
circling with iridescent
wings, suspended close—
an unfolding overhead
as a dark epiphany—

The night once fractured
into fractions of the flock—
jab and clutter, full.
One voice echoed the many—
now there is only silence.

We were a gesture,
a completeness undefined;
yet we shaped the wind,
the patterns of elm branches
crossing over the sky.


  1. I will spend more time reading this as it will reward closer reading - but my immediate response is just so physical. The bird imagery - fantastic.
    So good. But strangely menacing - to me.

  2. Yvonne-- this is the building draft of the long poem series for Brendan. As the European faery tale tradition expects, he will be visited by three animal guides: a grackle, a fox, and a she-bear. At this stage the grackle represents music, the fox represents schooling, and the she-bear represents spirituality.

    It should be stressed that the grackle is separated from his flock-family so his logic is hampered. And of course Brendan will set everything into proper order since he is the protagonist.

    This particular poem cycle has been building up inside me for many years... most likely due to the fact I begin my lectures with folktales to show development of storytelling over time and cultures.

    You used the word menacing -- the bird himself? I realize this is still disorganized, but I want to be able to pull out possible misleading concepts early.

  3. It is maybe a very personal response - but the bird and the word choice - "cacophanous" and "raw", "fractured" "dark epiphany" - bring to mind dissolution or a breaking down of things - they also bring to mind the crow. These are the birds I most associate with death and probably menace or threat.
    But folktales are ambiguous? No? Not really childrens innocent stories...

  4. Oh of course. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed them so much as a child... I saw the violence as cartoon-ish. And as a reader I knew the predictable ending by the signals.

    At least with my poem the formula will be twisted somewhat.