Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Walt Whitman

"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw

Welcome to Day 5 of FEET IN THE CREEK. 

For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.

Today's poet is Walt Whitman. The lines below are from Song of Myself. 

Section 15

The pure contralto sings in the organ loft,
The carpenter dresses his plank, the tongue of his foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp,
The married and unmarried children ride home to their Thanks- giving dinner,
The pilot seizes the king-pin, he heaves down with a strong arm,
The mate stands braced in the whale-boat, lance and harpoon are ready,
The duck-shooter walks by silent and cautious stretches,
The deacons are ordain'd with cross'd hands at the altar,
The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big wheel,
The farmer stops by the bars as he walks on a First-day loafe and looks at the oats and rye,
The lunatic is carried at last to the asylum a confirm'd case,
(He will never sleep any more as he did in the cot in his mother's bed-room;)
The jour printer with gray head and gaunt jaws works at his case,
He turns his quid of tobacco while his eyes blurr with the manu- script;
The malform'd limbs are tied to the surgeon's table,
What is removed drops horribly in a pail;
The quadroon girl is sold at the auction-stand, the drunkard nods by the bar-room stove,
The machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his beat, the gate-keeper marks who pass,
The city sleeps and the country sleeps,
The living sleep for their time, the dead sleep for their time,
The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife;
And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them,
And such as it is to be of these more or less I am,
And of these one and all I weave the song of myself.

Read the rest of Section 15 here.

My Intention: Write a catalogue of creatures in or near the creek. Use strong verbs and describe their action. Pay attention to sounds and color. 

Creek Song

The red-tailed hawk soars on a current of air high above the creek,
The wren hides in the treetops and sings twiddle, twiddle, twiddle.
The pileated woodpecker rat-tat-tats on a pine tree,
The tree frog sinks its sticky feet onto a leaf and licks drips of dew
Two squirrels jump across the creek, racing from limb to limb,
The white-tailed deer in the patch of woods on the other side lifts her tail and listens,
The red fox slips through the trees and sips at the creek's edge, then returns to her den,
The chipmunk peeks from its hole and scuttles through the underbrush,
The roly-poly pillbug balls itself shut and waits,
The brown thrasher sweeps his bill through the leaves and startled, darts for cover,
The green moss creeps over gray rocks,
Purple petals fall from wisteria vines and ride in ripples down the creek,
The beaver glides under and over water, eyes the thick stems of mother's sweet shrub,
The bull frog drones his deep call, advertising for a mate,
The turtle suns on a rock until a movement startles him and he plops into the creek,
The spider spins a silky bridge from a low branch to a stick at the water's edge,
The dragonfly flits to the surface of the water, then up, then down, then away,
The great blue heron steps in slow motion knee deep in the creek,
Two wood ducks swim upstream searching for a perfect home,
The brown water snake with dark squares down its back pretends to be dangerous,
The tadpoles dart around the rock puddle impatient to be frogs,
The small fish slip in and out of the shadows away from sharp heron beaks,
The freshwater snails scrape algae from the surface of granite rocks,
The mollusks burrow in the bottom sand,
The creek bubbles and churns, gurgles and gushes, ripples and trickles.
The creek is in me. I know its song.

© Doraine Bennett, 2016. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. That you do! (Know its song, I mean) Well done on this symphony of creek life, Dori.