I have long sought an opportunity to use
higgledy-piggledy in a poem. My motivation
is unclear, even to me, but perhaps it has
something to do with the sound quality
of the word, a dactylic roller-coaster ride.
Nothing of this has much to do with denotation,
whatever the word’s original sense and usage
might have been, so much as it does with
the exquisite feel of the word in the mouth.
Or perhaps it’s the unexpected comic element
the word injects into any consideration --
the way it counter-balances the ponderous
seriousness over-afflicting most poetry. After all,
it would be hard to be convinced by any
declaration of love which somehow moved
towards a higgledy-piggledy climax.
Come to think of it, not many other poets
I’ve read employ higgledy-piggledy much.
Jiggery-pokery, maybe. Perhaps we poets
all tend to take ourselves far too seriously.
So I’m resolving, here and now, to make
higgledy-piggledy a poetic priority.
I may have to slip it into the piece
in some unexpected and ingenious way,
the word clearly having its limitations.
But isn’t that what poetry is all about?
Just Before Dark
I am the camp’s only occupant—
an unfamiliar scenario for me,
but not disquieting—all the cabins
around me, dark and silent as a night
graveyard. The staff who work here
have done their day’s tasks and left.
The sun has dropped and darkness
creeps four-footed through the woods,
as I step from my cabin for a brief walk
before the last light is gone.
A white-tail doe watches me stride
the well worn route and as I near her,
she steps silently from the path to fade
behind an arras of yellow hazel nut foliage;
a smaller deer, perhaps her offspring,
comes from behind a cabin and bounces
after the doe. A third deer appears,
then there are no more. None of the trio
are deterred at all from their browsing.
I am merely a temporary curiosity,
a brief interruption in their evening.
Night wraps its cover over all of us.
It’s all so obvious, really. The rational part of me
recognizes and knows as November wanes
the light of day too shrinks, dawn arriving later
like a hard-won promise and darkness
pressing its advantage earlier every afternoon.
It’s all so familiar, this annual cycle the mind
accepts, though seldom with willingness.
Yet somehow one morning in November
every year, I look out the eastern window
and there is a sudden surge of wonder
that gives the heart a quick lurch
when I realize the sun is rising
far to the south of where I think it ought.
Say what you will, the mind may accept,
but the heart has its own measure.
Author’s Bio: Glen Sorestad is a well known Canadian poet who has published more than twenty volumes of his poetry till date. His poems have appeared in over 50 anthologies and textbooks, as well as having been translated into French, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Slovenian and Afrikaans. His latest book of poems, A Thief of Impeccable Taste (Sand Crab Books, 2011) is published as a bilingual (English/Spanish) edition. Sorestad is a Life Member of the League of Canadian Poets and is a Member of the Order of Canada. He lives in Saskatoon on the Canadian plains.
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