From the archives – Indian Springs by John Savoie

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Indian Springs

Cold sun slips from a ruddy sky.
Like a great hunter I trudge
alone through the snow. I stop
and hear nothing, and then the wind
rises darkly from the pines.

Last night it snowed again.
Gunless, wielding only my eyes,
I follow tracks of a single deer
beneath oaks crowned with last light.
Desiccated leaves, a ghostly flock,

perch on crusted branches.
The trees glower above the snow
and ask,
The question dissolves in chatter
of wingless rattling leaves.

Sapphire sky climbs to violet,
the stars sharp as crystals.
If I were to die, I would
want to die here, trudging
these drifts, so close on the trail.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, January 15, 2016 — by John Savoie

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Fire Watching by John Savoie

Fire Watching

Last night I dozed before the fire
watching the remnants collapse
in spurts of flame, quick blue tongues,
the secret whispered back and forth;

and saw the red tremulous heart
beat within black ribs, then frosting
over to the crystalline sound
of ice etching a window pane;

dimmer still, mere undulance
in the dark, ashes curled, embers
sighed like the hunter who can trudge
no more, leans back in drifted snow,

face to sky, catching pale flakes
(the darkness turning inside out)
so oddly warm upon the brow,
one eye open, as two eyes close.

by John Savoie

Editor’s Note: Anyone who has watched a fire burn down knows how mesmerizing the flames can be. In this poem, the imagery feels exactly like that strange slump into sleep.

First Star by John Savoie

First Star

Beyond the gap
in October clouds
a single star
flickers so blear
it might be the coin
we wished upon,
that tumbling arc,
silver plink,
fluttering fall,
the two faces
twisting to see
eye to eye.
Now, there it lies,
one face buried
in silt and sleep,
the other still
waiting wide-eyed
in the liquid dark,
and on the one night
the light can reach
to the bottom
of that old well,
it winks once more.

by John Savoie, first published in River Oak Review

Editor’s Note: The poet calls this poem “twenty three shades of dimeter.” I call it an imagery rich sonic romp.

Solanum Lycopersicum by John Savoie

Solanum Lycopersicum

I know why the caged tomato sings.
Elbows pressed against the rusting bars,
leafing past the bent soldered rings,
she loads a glowing fruit, warm and plump
as dusky sun, flush with lycopene.
Above zucchini crawling in the dirt,
beneath the hackling crow, she hums
melodies half-heard, synesthesia sweet.
Wiping my chin, dribbling my shirt,
I know what the caged tomato sings.

by John Savoie

Poet’s Note: Many readers, I suspect, will think Maya Angelou first, but the prime influence here is  Dunbar’s “Sympathy,” then Angelou (and a wink from Keats). Oh sad Paul, would you smile on this? Verily, I think you do.

Editor’s Note: I read this after having just come inside from checking on my antique tomatoes. A tiny green fruit promises me the richness of this poem, in due time.

Indian Springs by John Savoie

Indian Springs

Cold sun slips from a ruddy sky.
Like a great hunter I trudge
alone through the snow. I stop
and hear nothing, and then the wind
rises darkly from the pines.

Last night it snowed again.
Gunless, wielding only my eyes,
I follow tracks of a single deer
beneath oaks crowned with last light.
Desiccated leaves, a ghostly flock,

perch on crusted branches.
The trees glower above the snow
and ask, Are you a great hunter?
The question dissolves in chatter
of wingless rattling leaves.

Sapphire sky climbs to violet,
the stars sharp as crystals.
If I were to die, I would
want to die here, trudging
these drifts, so close on the trail.

by John Savoie

Editor’s Note: It isn’t often that the narrator of a poem so perfectly describes his last wishes—most people can’t formulate that singular desire, but this poem’s spare imagery brings a good death to the fore quite simply.

From the archives – Once by John Savoie

Once

“Like gold to aery thinness beat.”
—John Donne, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

Consider the climbing vine, how the tendril
clings to the trellis, knowing just which way
to turn and twine its charm three times around.
The sheerest filament, somehow strung
in black of night, though this no dream, glistens
between two blazing tips of goldenrod,
bellies and sways, then shimmers out of sight.
Wide eyed, sucking wet breath, the newborn curls
his fist around whatever it can clasp—
blanket, finger, nose, lip, ringlet of hair—
and will not let go, more fierce than death.
But once I saw a thing more subtle, more true,
through all the miles and years and wasted hours,
a strand of light that ties my soul to you.

from Autumn Sky Poetry 23 — by John Savoie

Photo by Shannon E. Thomas

Dusk by John Savoie

Dusk

At dusk
the doe
sniffs
the air,
then turns
and bounds
through black
woods, waving
her plume
of white
flame, gone.

by John Savoie

Editor’s Note: Many deer visit my yard, and I can attest that their tails do indeed resemble flames. This is one of those poems that says everything with so few words that writing an editor’s note is somewhat absurd.

Birds by John Savoie

Birds

Birds bead along the wire
rounded as water drops,
or a single note strung
across the sky’s crude stave,
Schumann’s repeating A
only he could hear,
black on black, sagging
in the middle like most
any symphony and this
one scored by Salvador
Dalí, the felt weight
of music or memory,
that one touch of your hand
sounding again and again,
till birds unfold their wings
and scatter to the woods,
droplets shivered from
a lustrous lab whose one
sharp bark sets the mind
free from its obsession.

by John Savoie, earlier version first published in Ellipsis

Editor’s Note: This poem is actually a single, very long sentence. Usually, I would find that daunting, but the skillful line breaks organize the imagery even as the length of the thought underscores the obsession of the narrator’s mind.