Margo Roby, in her Tuesday Tryouts, http://margoroby.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/tuesday-tryouts-picture-to-poem/, wants us to turn a picture into a poem. Then, she explains that we have to snap that picture, one lonely picture, while on a walk. The picture can be of anything we find interesting, but we can take only one picture while on the walk.

As regular readers know, I don’t take instruction well. First, I have one camera, which I carefully maintain with dead batteries. I suppose I’m a one-subject photographer, because the last thousand pictures I took shared a common theme: a blur obscuring any real photographic image.

Sometimes, one just has to wing it.

by Mike Patrick

In early morning light I start
upon my bloodless quest.
The sun was low and in my eyes—
I turned my back and headed west.

With hunter’s skill I move
in starts and stops, with eyes aware.
I melt into the background
with the camouflage I wear.

The gentle breeze upon my face
will not advance my scent.
No sound I make in soft-soled shoes
as fallen trees, I circumvent.

There! Ahead a cedar moves,
a frightening noise I hear.
I step behind a nearby tree
and strive to quell my fear.

I part the leaves with trembling hand
and peer with widened eyes into the din.
In savage splendor, that small tree explodes
as waves of motion thunder from within.

Small sparrows by the hundred fight for air
with wings spread wide; they shadow morning’s light
and fill my world with whirling chaos curls,
until they form a cloud in awesome flight.

In majestic shifting shapes they fly.
Transfixed, I watch them fade away.
I face the sun and trudge my way back home,
my hunt complete until another day.

Flicker image by Ed Yourdon

This entry was posted in animals, Iambic, Mixed Meter, Nature, Poetry, Rhyming, Tuesday Tryouts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to A POET’S QUEST

  1. TheMsLvh says:

    I liked your mixed meter, found it added to the excitment of your poem. Very Nice.

    I miss your comments on my poems Mike. I always appreicate your guidance.

  2. Very nice try Mike. I used to take my camera with me all the time I walked the dog. Sounds like a good prompt to me.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      I need to get a camera, one that isn’t smarter than I am. I find myself looking at those simple digital cameras every time I go into a store.

      • Teri says:

        Hey Mike- Thanks for stopping by my place and seeing how Margo’s prompt worked for me… I must confess (although I am a professional photographer by trade) I used the camera on my phone. AND while I was walking I texted myself about what I wanted to write… I do that a lot. So glad to have found you–and you are right any friend of Margo’s … blessings teri

  3. A smashing poem, Mike – I loved the quasi serious/tongue in cheek way you set the scene for us., but if that photo is sparrows, I’ll eat my hat. Starlings would be more like it! I cheated too – I took several pictures.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      You’re probably right about the starlings, but the guy who posted it on Flickr said they were sparrows. This time of year here in the Midwest, sparrows are starting to congregate in flocks around trees and fields. Every once in a while huge flocks are seen in the air–probably not as many as in that photo.

  4. Oh, Mike, I LOVED the explosion of sparrows! The whole poem was alive – I was holding my breath when you sensed something behind the tree. But then, we’ve had a Chupacabra sighting in Madison, so…!
    Seriously, very nice write. And good for you. Break the rules! Margo rocks, by the way, as do you. Peace, Amy

  5. earlybird says:

    I enjoyed the moment, Mike. I liked the way you kept the suspense up. I thought you were off on a Bear Hunt or something! Nice

  6. I like the way you set the scene and described the emotions. It gave me a bit of insight into hunting 🙂

  7. Laurie Kolp says:

    Mike~ Beautiful images… love the rhythm, suspense.


  8. margo roby says:

    How gorgeous: ‘As regular readers know, I don’t take instruction well’. I don’t know who is worse, you or Neil! But, I laughed right out loud when I read this.
    If you don’t have a camera smarter than you, does that also mean you are a holdout from having a smart phone? One reason I succumbed to the phone was to have a simple camera that would be on me [mostly — I don’t do phones particularly]. I have used it to take more pictures in the past year than in all my life and the pictures are for poems or to share with my kids, which I can do from the phone [magic].
    Now, I have gone up and read the poem — I had to deal with the rebel comment first — I think you did exactly what the prompt asked. Your camera is your mind. Your poem is as clear a description of the scene as if we had the shot in front of us. And, like Amy, I love the explosion of sparrows. I liked the rhythm of the lead up stanzas, which reminded me of the poetry of Walter de la Mare, and set the scene. Then the change in metre for when the speaker stops and the motion is taken by the sparrows.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Now I’m laughing. So far, I don’t have a phone smarter than I am either. My cell allows me to make a phone calls. It’s one step up from a bag phone by being smaller.

      We have flocks of these sparrows everywhere right now. They will land in my back yard and almost cover the ground. My Weimaraner is going crazy trying to sneak up on them. She creeps up as close as she can, then makes a big leap into the middle of them. Not very subtle. So far–this year–she hasn’t brought me a trophy. She did catch one when she was about five months old and brought it to me. I can see were cats would be more successful.

  9. Ella says:

    Great Job Mike; I felt like I was there with you~ I loved the imagery!

  10. jinksy says:

    fill my world with whirling chaos curls

    I think my imagination often does this, too! 🙂

  11. Mike, this is absolutely gorgeous. Reading it was like watching a moving scene unfolding right before my eyes. Beautifully penned.


  12. adeeyoyo says:

    A flock of small birds flying do indeed form ‘shifting shapes’ – lovely way to express it, Mike!

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