Thursday, May 18, 2006

Another view of bat-face cuphea and a bat poem

Last week I mentioned the possibility of a "bat" poem. I have two favorites and will use The Bat by Theodore Roethke this week. Bats always fascinate people and can inspire fierce loyalty or gothic fear- partly because, as Roethke says, "... something is amiss or out of place /When mice with wings can wear a human face." Naturalist Diane Ackerman's The Moon by Whale Light (mentioned in an earlier post) contains the most wonderful essay on bats and is certainly worth reading even if naturalist essays are not your thing --because Ackerman can make you feel as if you're reading short stories. A couple of years ago my husband (also a bat afficionato) built a bat house for our yard; unfortunately, squirrels took possession and have fended off any other possible house hunters.

Roethke (winner of numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1954) is one of my favorite poets;I posted his villanelle The Waking last August, and he has so many other poems that appeal to me.

11 comments:

  1. I have to admit bats scare the heck out of me. Although I like this poem, I really do. But it doesn't lessen my fear.

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  2. i am with lynn here...bats scare me too. i know they are supposed to be cute...but the mice with wings thing makes me nervous. i love the way roethke writes though and i know i need to read more of his words.

    and ackerman - she is one of my favorite writers. have you read any of her poetry? it is delicious.

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  3. I did not know this bat poem before. Thank you. I am fond of the bats that live near us - in the summer evenings they swoop past us as we sit outside in the twilight.

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  4. I Love bats...they get such a bad rap!!!! I will have to find the story I wrote about bats...I have always wanted a bat house...maybe I'll make one! Thanks Jen for posting this!

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  5. Lynn and Liz Elayne: Sorry about the fear factor. I promise if you were to read Ackerman's essay, you would have a different perspective, even if you were still a bit uneasy about the actual prescence of bats. And yes, Ackerman is a poet...and it is apparent even in her prose.

    Omega: I can see you in your English garden, embroidery in your lap, relaxing,and watching the bats "swoop...in the twilight."

    Vicci: Prejudice against bats abounds and is mostly the result of myth and legend, but it is a kind of delicious fear, I think. Truly bats are marvelous creatures--go for the bat house!

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  6. Bats are so mysterious. I like the poem.

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  7. I like Roethke but didn't know this poem. we have bats in new Zealand but they aren't so common that I've ever seen one.

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  8. I love to watch bats fly as long as I'm out in the open and we both have plenty of space - I find them fascinating. We have them here and it's fun to watch them swoop an hunt insects. If I'm with them in an enclosed space, that's another story altogether!

    I love the poem. It was new to me.

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  9. Bats scare me, ever since one swooped down near my head late one night in a newspaper office in Texas! But I like the poem; thanks!

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  10. Isn't that a new title bar on your blog? Love it!

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  11. your image of bat-face cuphea is one of the better ones i've seen - it really shows off the 'face'. You might want to check out Tim Flach's bat photos. He only has a few, but they are really amazing, i think.

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Good to hear from you!