Monday, 1 December 2008

Mark Doty's Guardian Poetry Workshop

Mark Doty poses a fascinating poetic task in this week's Guardian Poetry Workshop. The idea is to write a poem taking a close look at a member of the animal kingdom. Most of us would do well to think about animals more deeply and more often than we do.
Poet-in-Residence firmly believes that we should never think or believe that we are too old to learn anything new. And so, at 60, he has joined the Guardian poetry classes. Here, on his way to school as it were, he shows you his second piece of homework. The first homework submitted was an enigmatic imbroglio; and was a flop. Far too many fungibles.
He hopes Mr. Doty will give the following sensible sonnet a big red tick:

Crow's Breakfast

Crow cocks his head in silent morning greeting.
He seems to be in a good mood. No blinking. No open
And shut beak. No sulky stare groundwards. No
Wiping of beak on branch. No stretching of wings.
No shiver of tail. No pacing up and down the branch.
No screeching at passing birds. No stretching of neck.
No cormorant impressions. No ruffle of feathers.
Just one twist of the head. And that was it. And now
Sitting still. Happy, I should say.
"Crow, what is the cause of your strange behaviour?"

Ah ha, another crow lands. Same branch. Shuffles along.
They touch. Sit side by touching side. So that's it.
Fourth affair in as many years; and a breakfast order
for two. I should know better by now. That's Crow.

Gwilym Williams

1 comment:

  1. It certainly has "crowness" in my opinion. I think I would like to write a poem about both my cats and my dog but I fear I can never access what they are really thinking (maybe that would be a good basis for a poem anyway). I am a great admirer of the hare. All my friends know this and often send me hare cards - some have absolute hareness and some have none - and I think it is the same with poetry.
    Do you know "Heron" by Edwin Morgan? I think he captures heronness exactly - I particularly love the repetition of "fish-fish-fish"


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