With a heightened awareness nagging, I find poetry everywhere. For the last couple of weeks, verse has been assaulting me in everything I do, everything I hear and everything I see. It’s gotten to where I can’t go to the grocery store without a poem distracting me as I drive back home. While this isn’t all bad, I’m ending up with four and five pages of Word open at the same time containing poems in various stages of confusion. Last night, I sat down and worked on just one.
by Mike Patrick
In a gaudy vest of reflective stripes
he surveys his wide domain.
It does no good to bitch or gripe
on his task he must remain.
In blazing heat, or snow or rain
the urban wrangler toils.
He is king within his range,
with his rope so neatly coiled.
First he scouts for wayward strays
and herds them to corrals.
His rope, which always seems so frayed,
he gently then unfurls.
No cowboy’s loop will e’er be found
upon his lasso’s weighted end.
Instead a metal snap is bound,
his reach to thus extend.
Without a single shouted word
he binds them nose to tail,
From each corral, he drives his herd,
the shopping carts of his travail.
With push and shove throughout the day
until at last, the grocery door;
into the ranks where they shall wait
until they fill their need once more.
As a sidelight, I went to Flickr hoping to find a photograph of a grocery cart—I mean, who takes pictures of a grocery carts? Everybody! It is possible that the simple grocery cart is the most photographed object in the word. With so much to pick from, I decided to use a photo of one of my urban wranglers . . . . Not. I went through 65 pages of photos, 25 photos to the page, and quit, there were many more. I found only three wranglers and none with permission to use the photo; so I just used the photo of the happiest corral I could find.