Friday, February 23, 2007

Poetry Friday 38

The Mind is a Hawk

The mind is like a hawk, trying to survive
on hardscrabble. Hunting, you wheel
sometimes for hours on thermals

rising from sand so dry no trees
grow native. Some days, you circle
only bones and snakeskin, the same old

cactus and mesquite. The secret
is not to give up on shadows, but glide
until nothing expects it, staring

to make a desert give up dead-still
ideas like rabbits with round eyes
and rapidly beating hearts.

by Walter McDonald

From Night Landing © Harper and Row.

I posted this poem once before on my Blog, back when I was still new to Blogging and long before I took it into my head to begin perpetrating fiction on an unsuspecting world. The poem captured my imagination then, and I put a copy of it up on my wall, above my computer desk. I've found myself re-reading it now and again in the past month since I started writing fiction. And it's a fantastic poem - but it's not true to my experience of writing - at least not so far. My mind is like a tiny raft on a raging river that's in full flood. My mind is shooting the rapids and all I have with which to steer myself off the rocks is a broken oar. And I'm desperately worried I'm going to get washed overboard and drowned because this raft isn't under my control. I've written one story - it's about 22000 words long, so a novella really. And up until the weekend, I thought that would be it - that I could steer my tiny raft into a quiet backwater and walk away from it. But it turned out that I missed my aim and shot past the backwater so now I'm in the throes of researching and writing a second story. I've given up saying I won't write any more fiction after this - my head's bursting with ideas desperate to free themselves from the river's grip, and I've no idea how long it'll be before they come racing down the river after me ! This means there will continue to be fewer book reviews from me as I'm taking an average of three days to read one novel - and it doesn't help that I'm also doing reading research for the stories, of course ! I promise not to bore you silly with my ramblings about my writing experience, however - this is by way of being a public service announcement as much as the sharing of a poem that I find fascinating if currently alien to my writing experience.

And for the curious, I've now opened up to all readers the private Blog where I've been posting my fiction. Comments are moderated, as on this Blog and the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone, so don't expect to immediately see any comment you choose to leave me.


Elaine Magliaro said...


Great poem! We who also feel inspired to write salute you.

Michele said...

Thanks Elaine !