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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Stow Away

Down at the mouth
Of the creek just now
I ran into a neighbor
And her dog Farrell
A border collie
Docile and sweet

I was with my own
Dog Bayleigh
Who eyed Farrell
While I admired
The tranquil waters
Of Shinnecock Bay
A few ducks paddled
About 5 yards offshore

What a beautiful day
Better store it away in memory
My neighbor said to me

Where else am I going to put it
I thought to myself
But this was no time
For such a quip
I was transfixed
By the clarity of
The November horizon 
That seemed within reach
Even as it extended out
Towards the utter certainty 
Of seasonal death

Well why not write it down
And save it as a poem
A little acorn to stow away
I thought to myself
As I walked home
And of course that
Is exactly what I did
By stowing it away
As a poem


A number of years ago I became familiar with the idea of moment work, as developed by the playwright and director Mois├ęs Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Company, which has brought to life much of his better work.  A moment is integral to way they construct each scene in their dramatic works (the best know of which, perhaps, is The Laramie Project), built moment to moment as it were.

While writing this poem, it occurred to me that poems no less than dramas may be constructed by a similar means. There's no reason to confine yourself to a single moment, as the great Li Bai might have done, as opposed to creating a succession of moments like pearls on a string. The string is easy enough but the pearl - that of course is the hard part.

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