Poetry feature on [adjective][species]

Over on the furry fandom blog [adjective][species], they did their first poetry post last year for National Poetry Month, featuring poems by several poets (including me), all animal- or furry-related.

This year, I’ve been asked to be the guest editor for their second poetry collection (see the call for submissions here), and as part of [a][s]’s poetry posts for April, they’ve featured seven of my animal-themed poems:

“Panthera tigris,” “Grizzly,” and “Lord Tiger’s Answer”
http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2016/04/02/poems-by-renee-carter-hall-day-1/

“Comanche” and “February 1: Groundhog Goes to the FoodMart”
http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2016/04/03/poems-by-renee-carter-hall-day-2/

“The Unicorn at the Zoo” and “Pulse”
http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2016/04/04/poems-by-renee-carter-hall-day-3/

If you enjoy those, there are more poems at my website’s poetry page, and I’ll also be sharing some here in the coming days, in honor of National Poetry Month. Watch this space. 🙂

In honor of the day…

It seems every country has its bizarre nonsensical traditions, but we here in America don’t get to point and laugh, not only because that’s rude, but because we take meteorological reporting from a large rodent hauled out of a hole by some guy in a top hat.

In honor of the utter weirdness of that, here’s a take on what it would be like to be the groundhog in an anthropomorphic world. (If the poem looks familiar, it’s because I posted it here before a few years ago, and it’s also appeared in the now-defunct magazine Allasso, but I figured my newer followers may have missed it, and it’s timely. So here you go.)

 

February 1: Groundhog Goes to the FoodMart

Mrs. Fox, pushing her cart
in her best Sunday dress, string of pearls
at her red throat, reminds him
of the tenderness of spring chickens,
gives him a smile, white and sharp.

The Rabbit family crowds the cereal aisle.
As he chooses a plain cylinder of oatmeal,
Mother Rabbit says hello, steers the small talk
toward the petunias she’s planning
to brighten up the burrow,
the rows of cabbages and carrots
Father’s mapping out for the field.
The kits tug on Groundhog’s overalls, eyes bright,
whispering to him, one more snow,
one more afternoon of sledding, one more fort,
one more snowbunny with mittens for ears.

Sleepy-eyed Bear shuffles in, only nods
when anyone speaks, gets in line
with a quart of milk and a canned ham.
His bleary gaze meets Groundhog’s,
and he adds a can of coffee, economy size.

Groundhog waits in line, stares at the tabloids
while the chattering squirrel cracks gum
and rings up the shoppers ahead.
He feels their eyes on him, all watching as if
he could melt the gray slush outside with a glance,
could give them warmth and new life on a whim.
Even in this harsh fluorescent light,
he will not look at his feet.

 

Poem: “Some Poems”

Some Poems

Some poems are custard,
simple, slipping
down the throat.
Some are a sip of strong tea,
a swallow of rum.
Some are hard bone
to scrape the teeth against,
marrow you can scent but never
break to taste.
Some are gristle and fat,
sit uneasy, questioning.
Some are delicate meals
served in a single bite.
Some look good — a spray
of garnish, a drizzle of sauce —
but taste like air.
Some are stones
to suck on, just to wet
the mouth.
Some are stones to swallow.

 

Poem: “The Unicorn at the Zoo”

The Unicorn at the Zoo

 

They put it among trees and rose bushes,

ringed a dry moat with an iron fence.

They’re still not sure if it’s

male or female; the ultrasound

goes to static and freezes every time.

They tried to test its blood,

but the silver serum in the tube

swirled and shimmered into nothing.

They held a contest to name it anyway,

and a third-grader won with Moonflower.

Tourists gather at its enclosure with

strollers and cameras,

whinny at it like a horse,

hold their children up to see.

In their snapshots, it is only

a vague white blur, a bit

of pearly horn here, a hint

of cloven hoof there.

The gift shop has no postcards of it,

but the plush horned ponies sell out every week.

The keepers aren’t sure what it eats.

Some say the flowers, but they’re untouched.

Some say water, some say air.

Some say love, but they’re laughed at

by people who feel guilty for it afterward.

The keepers hold somber meetings

with scholars and art historians.

Every day they worry it seems a bit thinner,

its coat a touch paler, more translucent.

The words on the sign at its enclosure

are starting to fade.

Sometimes the zoo director stands

before it in his three-piece suit,

slow tears tracing the lines of his face.

Some say he’s only thinking about

the money he might lose.

Others aren’t so sure.

 

 

          -Renee Carter Hall