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28 April, 2021: Knowing

Read a Poem


By Robert Farmer

Late snows pass.
Winter drifts to a May retreat.
Ducks wake to last ice,
aim surely north,
and leave before breakfast.
The spring creek roars
with certainty of its mission.
In the terrible isolation
of our knowing,
we are forever separated
from such direction;
no seasonal imperative,
no true fit with the world.
Yet my mind still rises with
the morning’s arrow of loon,
crying through the sky
to first open water.
“Knowing” by Robert Farmer from The Aurorean. Encircle Publications. 2004. Used by permission of the author.
Robert Farmer is a retired forester (Professor Emeritus, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario) who lives on Arcadia Lane in Bratenahl. His published poems appear in fourteen refereed print and online journals. The author of one book (Woodstoves and Ravens, Birch Brook Press) and three self-published chapbooks, Farmer has participated in several Cleveland area poetry workshops. He enjoys his Walker fox hound and sippin’ whisky.

Write a Poem

Look up online a photo of one of these birds and write a poem about it: a blue-footed booby, potoo, shoebill, long-wattled umbrella bird, or featherless rooster. Can’t look them up just now? Write a poem on all of them, based on their names.
Sierra Polsinelli
Blue Footed Booby
You live by the sea
in subtropical paradise.

The blue ocean stands
behind you
blending in with your
blue feet.

You strut proudly on land.
Raising and lowering
your blue feet.
Does she see you now?
When will you meet?

Is she attracted to
the color of your feet,
or to the style of your gait?
Who knows,
female boobies can be

Blue Footed Booby
we have to wonder
why your feet are blue.
Maybe God got tired of
and took it out on you!
4/28/2021 7:13:38 PM

Tim Richards
Nice movement from one thought to another. Great imagery. I felt life evolving as I read your "Knowing."
4/28/2021 2:23:33 PM

Tammy L Currier
Chicken scratch

in my throat
your words
and twang
like harpsichords
a harmony
they they
begin to peck at me
like birds
no, not quite
hitchcockian birds
more precisely
let loose
in an Iowan
corn silo
with all that
one cock.

Photo: Chickens scrabbling in their yard for feed.
4/28/2021 12:46:47 PM

Tammy L Currier
The Dance: Nod to an institution

To blue-footed boobies
matrimony is
one erotic moment

A moment bereft
of approval garnered from the social set
whether blue-footed or black-tied, yet

Breast to Breast
toe to toe
sinuous necks erect as flagpoles

Sky to sky
throat to throat
sinuous jaws infinitely smote...

A tower, a single structure
two boobies
and four blue feet.

Photo: still of blue-footed boobies coupling.
4/28/2021 12:40:50 PM

RE: Knowing
By Robert Farmer such a beautiful use of imagery...made me think Ansel Adams was photographing in words! Very nice!
4/28/2021 10:55:34 AM

POEM DAY 28: Look up online a photo of one of these birds and write a poem about it... featherless rooster.


honoring the featherless roosters

pin feathers
at least,
one seed,
hiding on top of flesh
but…only a piece.
one little breath,
word, letter;
a wing made into a poem
eaten slowly.

write down
every soul that mourns,
suffers dispersal;
a moon
bare and cold.

it belongs to
deserts, a
wandering culture
with talon-like fingers,
no hidden pockets
nothing remembered,
written down.
the true introvert,
space genetically cleared
for millennial tattoos,
ownership, slavery
then purpose.

i have no poem,
just constellations
walking through the courtyard;
no cousins,
a dead-birth-right,
no cage;
a poem somewhere
just walking—cold
sunlight bending down
to kiss laughter.

strange little poem…
…it removes its clothing,
finds abundance,
and a face?

Isn’t that enough?

©Tovli 2021
4/28/2021 10:52:20 AM

Mary M Chadbourne
What a beautiful poem, Robert. You remind me of the great biologist/essayist, Lewis Thomas, who--after watching otters and beavers at the Tucson Zoo (see the essay in "The Medusa and the Snail")-- concludes he is "coded" for the waterplay of otters and beavers, that he exhibits an "instinctive behavior" in their presence, that they possess a "releaser" in him. Your piece touches on what I believe is in all of us an atavistic urge toward some ancient migratory call, what you so poignantly describe here as "the morning’s arrow of loon,/
crying through the sky/
to first open water."
4/28/2021 10:06:38 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.