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inspired by wes' valiant assaults on the flanks of sbn/s, and the excellent stein-
tr... i thought i'd check it out up there on sat... given all of the rain in the 
forecast, &c. &c.  

it was nice.  good capper (re-capper to the season).  20-30 turns swatches 
followed by stidestepper-grassshooters to the next patch.  what snow there 
wuz wuz nice.  interesting to note: the ghost skiing was most entertaining.  
not wanting to carry the planks the rest of the way down the slope, i decided 
to see how the old jaks would do by themselves... oddly, they seek the 
straightest line, and they seem to stay righted for most of the journey... there 
were also some exciting drops and jumps.  no damage of significance was 
incurred.

the last pome is not so great, but i needed to create some sort of assignment 
to get my kids outside for some nature hikes.  what follows is the activity--
feel free to try it yourself without worry of copyright infringement (all rights 
left (tm)), and the pome follows it, as an example.



Weird Nature Poem Formula

Yes, you too can learn the secret of nature poetry by following the easy-to-
use, step-by-step, line-by-line guide, guaranteed or your money back:

1.  Select a natural object (plant, tree, bird, fern, mushroom, flower,   cloud). 
Write it into a metaphor comparing the natural thing to some abstract idea 
(natural thing = adj. + abstract noun), as in “The Blackburnian Warbler is a 
firey burst of memory.”

2.  Insert a descriptive nature fact from a guide-book.  Take it word for word, 
if it’s interesting—if not, put it in your own words.  (“Voice: very thin and 
wiry.”)

3.  Write 3-5 lines using sensory details, either directly related to your object 
or not.

4.  Try using synesthesia in one or more of those lines—mix senses that 
wouldn’t/shouldn’t go together.  (“I glimpsed the smell of apple pie rising from 
the plate” or “I heard the colors’ trilling.”)

5.  Insert a habitat description from your guide.

6.  Switch locations to something in your memory—and put the natural object 
there—also add some action; have the object doing something.

7.  Have the object say something to you.

8.  Address the natural object directly, using a nickname.  

9.  Use some personification or anthropomorphism or the pathetic fallacy (all 
essentially the same thing)—have the object do something you wouldn’t 
ordinarily associate with it.

10.  Insert some love—take one reproductive fact from your guide book.

11.  Return to description/metaphor—compare the object’s visual nature to 
something man-made.

12.  Use the object’s Latin name in a statement.

13.  Return to your original metaphor, but extend it further or twist it.


My example:

Warbler Mind

1.     Blackburnian Warbler, firey burst of memory,
2.     with voice thin and wiry—
3/4.  his songs taste like a squeaky wheelbarrow,
        hot to the touch, like a sunburn in spring—
        he flits through the hemlock against the sky,
5.     and he ranges so high in the trees 
        that I’ve forgotten what was on the grocery list
6.     as I range down the produce aisle
        inspecting pears and oranges.  Then, out of nowhere,
        he trills from a perch in the cooler section…
       “Don’t forget the milk, the milk, the milk...”
7.     O Audubon’s imagination, I catch you
8.     playing stride piano in the tops of trees
        like Fats Waller in Ain’t Misbehavin’—
9.      Breeding male, black and white,
        displaying his vivid orange throat
10.    like the Slow sign at a construction site,
11.    but, Dendroica fusca, it’s only the perception
        of time that slows in the spaces around you,
12.    these fleeting memories flickering into view.		

  

see you on the bike trails (anyone riding today?)
--justin

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