Appetites for Destruction

He didn’t make a sound,
at least not one I could hear,
but the ruckus this pest raises
was like a crack of thunder in my ear.
You’d see him ramble from the kitchen
to dining, and then living room,
looking for a crunchy snack,
without even a hiccup of doom.
I tried not to wince when
I saw his nonchalant mien,
but he’d come not only for dinner, but for
every other meal, even those in-between.
See, it isn’t the taste of sugar
luring this intruder into my house,
he relishes the wood it’s made from,
chewing holes into it like a mouse.
So a hit man I called,
my whole joint to festoon
with a taste-free spray, which
put my fears of collapse to rest soon.
I’m relieved my guest no longer will dine
all around me, my home to lay waste. He
also won’t provoke the dawn wall-hammering
woodpecker, who finds carpenter ants so tasty.
The moral here, friends, if a moral’s your trick,
is don’t be so naive as I, a city boy so thick
I bought a home made of what builders term “stick,”
instead of like my old place, constructed of brick.

For Day 27 of NaPoWriMo, I combined NaPoWriMo.net’s prompt calling for a poem exploring the sense of taste with Robert Lew Brewer’s word bank prompt. In the latter I was to use at least three of the following six words in my poem: pest, crack, ramble, hiccup, wince and festoon. Only three, Robert? You know me better than that.

Also, I’d like to extend my thanks to NaPoWriMo.net, who named yours truly as its featured participant today.

The Homeowner and the Crow ~ A Georgic Fable

The Man stood ready, his lawn to spray
In order to kill off or at least chase away
Those bugs and such turning his green grass to hay
“I’d reconsider that, if I was you,” he heard a voice say.

And, looking up, in the maple he spied a crow
Staring down at him and speaking, for a crow, quite low.
“Why should a bird of the air care what I sow?”
The Man said, knowing t’was poison, not seed, he’d throw.

“I see on that bag the sign of the skull and bones,”
Crow squawked down disapprovingly to Homeowner Jones
“And that won’t work on all the bugs in certain zones.”
The Man did pause, wondered what else he could use to end his lawn’s moans.

“What other remedy is there that will rid us of the bugs
Turning our lawns into naught but scratchy yellow rugs?”
He asked crow. “You leave this to me and not those jugs
Of drugs or whatever. Go back inside for more coffee mugs.”

Crow said, and Man for once listened and decided to agree
With crow, not knowing if this junk might even kill friendly bee.
“Okay, Crow, you go ahead. I’ll accede to your plea.
I’ll be back tomorrow,” he said, as Crow alit from the tree.

And when he returned, Man found Crow was gone
As well as great patches of what once was his lawn.
From above he heard a cackling black bird laugh on and on,
And he knew he’d been bamboozled from yesterday to dawn.

The moral of our Georgic fable, one you might find on Pinterest,
Is if you’re looking for a natural remedy to bugs big, bigger or biggerest,
Check with a human expert in agricultural entomology, I insist
And never some clever bug or grub-eating bird with a vested interest.

For Day 22 of NaPoWriMo, I once again combined prompts, one calling for a Virgilian Georgic and the other for a poetic fable. Considering I cranked this out in about twenty minutes, I’ll take what I got, though as an agriculturally instructional Georgic poem, as well as providing a moral, old Virgil and Aesop are no doubt spinning like tops in their final rests somewhere above or sub rosa. (Photo copyright 2016 Joseph Hesch.)

An Afternoon in No-Man’s Land

The wild bramble bush has defeated me for years,
defending itself with twisted wire vines and thorns
like wildcat claws. It’s stalks and branches
laughed off mere garden shears and sorely tested
the metal mettle of long-handled pruners.

It tries disguising its natural malevolence
with dainty pink blossoms come spring and summer,
as well as musical accompaniment from humming
honey bee acolytes.

This year the gloves came off when I pulled
my leather gloves on, fighting claws with
the teeth of a chainsaw. With chain whining and
motor roaring winnowed the suburban Maginot Line
down by its flanks, nearly to its side-hill foundation.

I then called an immediate cease-fire.

There, deep within the once-impregnable, are
two entrance holes into the den of an animal
who felt the need for the jagged protection
of my bushy bête noire for its newborn own.

That’s when this ruthless flora-felling homeowner
was himself hewn down by my own nature as
pater familias. I’ve gone soft in my old age.
Even semi-merciless backyard generals have families.
I can always wait to finish after Father’s Day.

An extra poem for Day 19 of NaPoWriMo. The true story of how this suburban Genghis was conned by some varmints (along with his own soft heart and cowardice — those holes are BIG) to show quarter to the foe that’s blooded me for seven years.

Dulling Our Black Edges

For years, the river and I,
its surface like chipped obsidian,
would ramble side by side
along its banks, carrying on
the kind of harbor-deep and
meaningful conversation
I, with my carbon-black hair
and moods, wished I could enjoy
with a human companion.
But when a fellow Homo sapiens
would join me (and river)
on one of our midday sojourns,
they’d seem as shallow as
the Hudson’s shoreline
tidal pools whenever
the Atlantic would steal
from me its fluvial profundity.

It drained me, as well,
sending me away from
the river and it from me,
Instead, I’d limp round
and round a small pond,
which, while framed in
arboreal beauty, sat like
a vapid coquette, basking
in any compliments sun
and sky would shower upon
her jejune mien. Its placid,
flaccid demeanor, bereft
of any downstream gravity,
not only reflected how life
dulled since sharing black edges
with the Hudson, but how much
I’d turned pond-like, round,
soft-sided and silver on top.

For Day 5 of what I’ve discovered is now GLOBAL Poetry Writing Month (GloPoWriMo) my poem-a-day offering melds prompts from Robert Lee Brewer and NaPoWriMo.net. The former, to use an element, and the latter to convey a personal connection with the natural world, including its landscape. Mission, (too quickly) accomplished.

Same As They Always Have

Spring Shoreline

On the creeks and rivers,
most of the ice has broken up
and moved idly downstream
like a weekend sailor floating
without care as it appears
the homes along the banks
are the moving ones. Sometimes,
the broken pieces will collect
in the narrows. But the waters
never stop, and will push against
the ice dams and bulge backward
over the banks, flooding the same
as they always have.
The pulsing Saranac or Mohawk,
the Black or Schoharie will
hemorrhage their riparian blood
over farm and field until the dams
break and the waters recede to
their courses. I’d walk the banks
then, observing how upriver
shore flotsam have run aground
and woven baskets of natural hand work.
That’s the rivers’ art, never stopping
to admire or regret what they’ve
crafted for good or ill. They’ll
slap their waves upon the shore
and move on, same as they always have.

Portrait of an Artist Named Stella

From inside the little house
within the suburban snow globe,
someone’s given us a good shaking.
Our paper weight neighborhood’s
been plopped onto a potter’s wheel
and is riding a most vigorous spin.
Outside, the landscape’s molding
into plaster life masks of houses,
the road. Cars and trucks
idly shiver beneath the skeletal
fine-limned trees that stand and sway
as if stroked in India ink upon
this immaculate gesso. Or at least
that’s what my bleary eyes see
of our homes enclosed within
this seasonal table top tchotchke.
I’m told there’s an escape-hatch
equinox whose surname connotes Green
over the horizon. But the horizon
lies way past anything I can see
through the snow-smoky white winds
spinning around me while I sit
staring out the window in
the little house within the snow globe
on the desk, where the dizzy poet
pens a blizzard named Stella’s biography.

Like a Lion

March Winds, by Graham Clilverd FRSA - 1949

March Winds, by Graham Clilverd FRSA – 1949

March’s winds bend back
the trees, only to fling
them away to swing back for more
bullying shoves, while whistles
and cracks fly like birds
from maple to spruce and back.
Aloft, freezing winds plait
cloud strata into ropes
of black and white, then
knot them into gray snarls
to toss across the blue
like cat toys. Below,
I sway like the trees,
my old joints cracking,
while I whistle and ponder if
this will be the March I’ll
finally untangle myself
from the snarling, the knotty
thoughts of you that roar
in chilling leonine echo
across my ever-blue memory.

Just because…