Walking through the city, I heard
a rooster, crowing from the gatepost
of a house hidden from the road;
waves slipping down from dark rocks;
the crunch of gravel
under booted feet behind me,
even though I was alone, and unshod;
an auctioneer’s patter from a magpie;
a mother calling to a lost pet,
here kitty kitty kitty-cat,
silly kitty, home kitty,
kitty kitty kitty-cat;
a shout of surprise, choked off, and lost
in a rumble of thunder, rolling
across the empty sky. Then no birdsong.
No traffic noise. The silence left
after an echo, after I’m sorry. After goodbye.
This was based on the ReadWritePoem prompt for day 24, with an added dash of List Poem, using Robin Robertson’s “At Dusk” (from A Painted Field) and “At Dawn” (from Swithering) as models, and the album Tales of Mystery and Imagination by The Alan Parsons Project as mood-mother.
I know it’s no more than a five-finger exercise, but that’s one of the inescapable attributes of NaPoWriMo. And it felt like it might be wanting to go somewhere interesting. And yes, I also know that the title sucks. But it’ll help me remember which NaPoWriMo poem I’m referring to in the future.
I wanted to make a genuine attempt to not become narrative. (Ok, the ending is a bit of a cop-out in that case.) The two Robertson poems definitely have a feel of some sort of narrative behind them, but they stay firmly glued to very straight reportage. So not a bad exercise for me to try – an opportunity to think and write a little differently. And although I may well come back to this to turn it into a Joanna poem, I’ll also try it again some day just as an exercise in phrasing.