Spike and First Funk of Summer
(Becoming a Naturalist Part 56)
by Jack Phillips
So boasted Thoreau of milking the sky for metaphors but why drink of grammars and not of the earth herself trade bottle for the udder and bobber for the carp sucking trope and rhyme not nectar and blood?
The forest gives us birdsong the canopy leaks of tanagers a bass parting duckweed in flight grabs a dragonfly a fungus from a stump coyote on a kill a hole in the solstice dribbles out toads.
Write your odes to nature but praise the tick and spike and funk the itch that reminds you that language is made of spit and of tongue every thought has a scent every poem comes with juices.
They say in these woods the poets go naked and above in high meadows but alone on the bank in flannel and barefoot the morning is cool. Does a poem spawn within her or stick with the muck or skitter with turtle as she dips in the pond?