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The ice on the trail is almost gone.
Grackles and bluejays out in noisy force
and the ducks, embroiled
in the violent mob
which is good mating manners
in March, amongst male mallards.

I prop my bike on a milepost;
hike down to the muddy meadows
Crossing a boardwalk
over grass
that still
resembles concrete.
Not yet spring.

And you, who are not yet here
send word from Munich,
where it is also notyetspring
And where you may
or may not
be deciding
whether or not
you may
or may not
begin to love me.

Now,
of these cold March marshes
stained by snowmelt,
strafed by squads of sex-crazed ducks,
I'm questioning:

Might we be worth
the steamy, too-short months
of too-hot summer
soon to come
before the season wanes on our affair?
Before the human stain I bear
seeps through your giddy duck desires
and twin deflating Icaruses
tumble
from the cooling autumn air?



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Comments

The following comments are for "Massachusetts, not yet spring"
by MobiusSoul

@MobiusSoul
Most excellent poem...I enjoyed reading it. I especially liked the way that you classify and define the in-between weather and temperatures we get here in New England (where I also currently reside) around the equinox as notyetspring. Winter's over, yet this isn't what I really consider spring, either.

Life has a lot of in-between transitional states to it. I liked how the poem parallels the state your (assuming you are the speaker) relationship (or notyetrelationship) with the season. The ducks were a nice touch as well, adding just a little light-heartedness to a very contemplative mood.

Hope I don't sound too much like an English teacher...I just like to point out elements in the poem that I think are particularly good.

( Posted by: Eldros [Member] On: March 18, 2009 )

Eldros: life's notyets
Thank you for the comment: if a good English teacher might take the time to read thoughtfully and make a few insightful comments, then you sound exactly like an English teacher! (I see you were kind enough to refrain from grading...)

This limbo season of notyetspring can be a delicate and frustrating suspended-time; likewise the limbo of notyetrelationship. It was exactly the play of these within each other that prompted the poem. If you live in this part of the world, you'll understand the former, and if you live in the world at all, you'll probably understand the latter.

Ducks, I believe, are one of the few animals that have been recorded killing their mates by drowning them through an excess of hormonal enthusiasm. It's not often a species rivals us humans for uncivilised behaviour...

( Posted by: mobiussoul [Member] On: March 19, 2009 )

mad ducks
I liked this. What struck me as intersting besides the wonderful - should be a word - madeupword 'notyetspring" was the twin story of where the speaker 'is' in the world and where the speaker 'is' in his/her head. Really nice job.

I might also expound a bit more on mallard duck lore. Mallards mate for life and that would leave unattached males that form rape gangs - getting their shabby DNA in the mix. When a female is raped by these gangs the mate/mate - pushed aside or beat up - will wait till the dirty deed is done and then violently rapes his own mate.

One reason,perhaps, I find no problem eating a delicious duck dinner. :-)

Great poem.
Ken

( Posted by: jonpenny [Member] On: March 19, 2009 )

Not Yet Sprung
I had been reading the 1947 novel The Big Sky, by A.B. Guthrie, Jr. (The adult, not the juvenile version.), when I first read your poem a few days ago. The book is set in the time of the mountain men- American fur trappers and adventurers of the first half of the 19th century.

So, I read your poem, then got on BART to go through the tube, under The Bay, to San Francisco. Once on the train, I opened the novel to chapter 43, which begins: "Winter was gone from the valley of the Missouri, but spring hung back. The time was an in-between time of gray rains and angry spells of wind and a muggy chill that kept the clothes damp. ..."

The paragraph goes on to mention mallards.

The second paragraph has an old man saying, "Meanest by-Jesus time of all. She ain't winter or summer or spring or fall or foul or fair but just, by Jesus, nothin'. Savin' a spear or so of grass, everything's dead and bare as a fresh-skinned bull. I can stand cold and hot and snow and dust and all, but this here knots my guts. Makes a man down on his luck, it does. ..."

Many of the trappers of those days liked to go to rendezvous in New Mexico, too (Toas).

I had to wonder if you'd been reading the same book.

Probably not.

The novel ends, as does your poem, with the romance in some question; in the case of this trapper, pretty much certainly ruined already.

So, Caitlin, keep your powder dry and peace with the Indians, as much as possible.

( Posted by: Flonigus [Member] On: March 21, 2009 )

Jonpenny & Flonigus, thanks
Ken - thank you for your attention and enjoyment: it's appreciated. I didn't know the facts that you added about mallards, but that sort of behaviour is apparently not uncommon in the animal kingdom - displacing someone else's DNA in favour of your own is a compelling priority. I wonder if we're projecting a human definition of 'rape' onto animals here? It's a heavily loaded societal concept. Either way, it doesn't especially make me want to eat ducks. I don't eat humans either, despite the comeuppance they possibly deserve for various bad behaviours... :)

John - I've never read The Big Sky (although now I rather want to), so that was pure Baader Meinhof on your part. Thank you for pointing it out! I love Guthrie's descriptive flair... 'everything's dead and bare as a fresh-skinned bull'... marvelous! Far better than my poem. He'd clearly experienced the exact same season with all it's vicissitudes in 1947.

If it's any comfort, I'm peaceable by nature and don't have it in me to live anything near the life of those 19th century fur-trappers! I am also, albeit intermittently, hopelessly hopeful for the prospect of new romance. Today, at the arboretum, there were one or two crocuses up where the snow had melted...

( Posted by: mobiussoul [Member] On: March 22, 2009 )

Caitlin's "Spring"
Caitlin,
Real is best, as here.
Enjoyed.

Ciao,
Robert William

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: July 9, 2009 )





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