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Featured Guest Chris Tusa


Tonight, even the pitchfork
leaning against the house
wants to be something else.

In the barn chickens dream
of pink carnations.
A cockroach clinging

to a light bulb imagines
an egret with wings
smooth as waterlilies.

A mare pacing in her stall
dreams she.s a crepe myrtle.
A cow, a swarm of bees

And I, I imagine a shadow,
dark and empty, drifting
across some dusty field
like the black breath of a god.

August, 2002

Chris Tusa's Questions:

Does the poem seem unfinished?

Your metaphors are lovely; but seem insufficiently related to the title, GRIEF. The desire to be something else, and be somewhere else, may well be a consequence of grief, but in that case, should we not know more? I believe there is more held back than you wish to utter. Minimalism may not be serving you well here. Ben
Ben Copito
USA - Tue Aug 27 19:35:37 2002
Chris, I found your poem to be quite adept at describing grief. It's a beautiful poem- I see it's vibrant imagery; I feel it's lamentful tone. I particularly liked the final stanza in which the "shadow, dark and empty" drifts "like the black breath of a god". It speaks of the deep sensations of powerlessness that can accompany grief and the desire to once again gain back that power.
S Craft
South America - Wed Aug 28 00:33:41 2002
this poem is beautiful just the way it is sometimes brevity is a deeper means of commucicating thought, this is well done soulful poet
diane manning
USA - Wed Aug 28 07:45:18 2002
To answer your question, no poem is ever finished, merely abandoned (can't remember who said that) - but having said that, I think you can't yet abandon this one. Maybe it's just me, but I find it difficult to see chickens in a poem and not immediately think of those other chickens by a certain red wheelbarrow. If this were my poem, I would try and think of some other bird I could employ there or cut it entirely. I'm also very unsure about 'black breath of a god'. I think you could cut it, as the image of a shadow drifting across a field is evocative enough. This last simile does make for a slightly over-egged pudding. I hope that helps.
United Kingdom - Thu Aug 29 13:15:44 2002
It's one of the best poems published on this site. Keep on the good work, Chris. Don't worry about the end. A poem is not a recipe for people to follow in every day life with a particular goal. Intution is important in comprehending a poem.A good literary text has meaning beyond words. I would like to ask the others what's the meaning of "shaddow" here? For BEN: Minimalism is the key to a good poem. Think about Haiku! You can talk like polititians for hours and say nothing or you can say six words to make it.
remus dan
Romania - Thu Aug 29 13:40:39 2002
Chris, i think your poem is great. Personally, i feel, that as long as you feel content with your work than that's all that matters. Your piece hits right at home and i was able to really get empathetic with it. Grief is an everyday thing, and i think alot of us dont realize that were not the only ones that must suffer. Good work!
USA - Sun Sep 8 18:19:54 2002
Hi Chris, The poem seems mor about escape (denial) than grief. The images are wonderful, but I'm not sure you fulfilled your goal by listing responses to undisclosed circumstances, which didn't bring me back to the title. I agree the last line is unnecessary. As to your question...I still edit 'finished' poems. (s) Hope this helps. Mors
USA - Thu Sep 12 07:09:13 2002
Chris, it's interesting that the speaker wishes to be something intangible, like shadow, and in contrast the "chicken," "mare," and "cockroach" want to be something else, something alive. I can see how the title is fitting to the poem because of the final stanza--how the speaker is isolated in a seperate world of grief. It contrasts very sharply with the rest of the poem. But I also agree that the last line presents sort of a distracting idea in "black breath of a god." I really enjoyed reading this! Thanks, Caroline
Caroline Seagle
USA - Tue Sep 17 17:52:57 2002

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