Thursday, May 11, 2006

skunks, poems, and paper work

After reading Granny Fran's post this morning, I searched for this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye. I love everything about this poem from the opening lines to the closing lines. Although I've had one unpleasant experience with skunks (getting rid of the odor on a sprayed dog is a matter of time and great effort), my affinity for skunks is a result of a childhood experience in which Laddie was entranced by the pet skunk of someone he knew. He wanted to get us one, but Mother said that although they were beautiful creatures, they were not pets and it would be like having a pet racoon or flying squirrel. We knew people who had tried to keep these as pets with unsatisfactory results. So the "poems that
[have] been hiding in the eyes of skunks for centuries" will remain in the images from Nye's poem.

I used to have a collection of pig poems (a favorite unlovely one was by Sylvia Plath). Another one was by Plath's husband, Ted Hughes, and others by Wendell Berry and Elizabeth Bishop and Louise Gluck. All were copies I made from various anthologies, and I don't know where they are now. Except for children's poems, pig poems are usually unlovely, but with vivid imagery.

And then there are the bat poems. Next week, a bat poem...

I've made progress at the office. To say they were behind in their filing is an understatement; each pile has to be separated by company, then by well name, then by date. THEN they can be filed...if they can be squeezed in.

The floor is a useful sorting place, but my knees were a wreck after sitting cross-legged amid the piles reciting: BPPJ 18, Brooks 18-1, Jeter 23 -1, Jeter 23-5, Dance 1, Kincaid 1, Dance 2, Tomkins 3, Garret 3-B and on and on.


  1. Thanks for sharing the "Red Suitcase" poem!

  2. That's the first time I'd read the Nye poem and I thought it was wonderful. This part: "Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite. And let me know." gave me shivers.

    Thanks, Jen.

  3. DebR and Paris Parfait: "Valentine for Ernest Mann" is probably the best valentine I could ever imagine. The fact that "poems hide" in the most mundane and ordinary places thrills me, too. So glad you both enjoyed it!

  4. Oh, Jen, this was wonderful...>>What we have to do
    is live in a way that lets us find them.... Nothing was ugly
    just because the world said so....he re-invented them
    as valentines and they became beautiful.<< This is the very thing that draws me to working with pre-schoolers: they see the world in such a pure and open way, they are not jaded, nothing is ugly because the world says it is, they love whatever they do because it calls to them in sometimes inexplicable (to us) way...those lovingly crafted clay bowls and painted rocks we rec'd from our own kids all those years ago on Valentine's or Mother's Day, and that now still reside in the dining room sideboard 20 years later ~g~, are testament to their seeing us as people who appreciate their vision, as well... Thanks for sharing these poems, they are always so meaningful...

  5. I am so glad that my skunks made you think to share this poem. I'd love to make quilts like that poem. I guess that's why I like to do the collages with found and collected objects. You ought to see my collection of old rusted iron things. Haven't figured how to get them attached to quilts. Maybe if I made some jean quilts the fabric would be strong enough to hold some small pieces.


Good to hear from you!