Leap / Revival Season


A salmon sees the bear and leaps,
whether to safety or surcease.
Please don't pretend you know its mind--
You can't know fruit from watching rind.

While fish-brained babies softly sleep,
a salmon sees the bear and leaps.
Say "baby mine and baby sweet"
and kiss its tiny foreign feet.

O world of ease and world of woe
reclining in a gob of roe;
a salmon sees the bear and leaps,
the gateman waves, the gateman greets.

Little bubble on the surface,
rise or sink and think you've cured this
fever's damaged dreamy heat--
a salmon sees the bear and leaps.


A singing skull knows just one song
and sings it, flays it, grinding on;
agreeable to itself it is,
screeching musical sentences.

Nerves nestle hot in fireplace tongs--
a singing skull knows just one song;
the ear can bleed a fine red rose
and trickle crimson from the nose.

Come dressed for evening, gown and hat,
and take the arm that's white and fat;
a singing skull knows just one song
and sings it, brings, it, on and on.

Pose and smile, promenade and grin,
and be damned glad you're not like him;
bat space of eyes where eyes are gone--
a singing skull knows just one song.

2 quaterns for the Real Toads Sunday form challenge. I'm really pleased with the first one, and I include the second one because, hey, today is BOGO day at Shay's.



hedgewitch said…
Goodness, Shay these are just exquisite, both of them. I love the first, but the second has its own chilly and deliciously grim appeal--and of course, it goes without saying, I love it when you rhyme--this is like a sugar rush of form and Fireblossom, and better than a baker's dozen of doughnuts. You know I don't often quote but good grief woman:
'While fish-brained babies softly sleep,
a salmon sees the bear and leaps.
Say "baby mine and baby sweet"
and kiss its tiny foreign feet.'
not to mention the first two stanzas of the second one. *pulls hair out by roots and pours coffee on keyboard*
I love every word.
Kerry O'Connor said…
Wow, Shay! How amazing is this pair of fast-paced fancy-footworked form poems. I know you are not a fan of closely rhyming stanzas, but you have such a skill matching meaningful words - it's a kind of magick to see it done.

Both poems have an unnerving energy, like a step too close might result in one being zapped. I can hardly choose between the recurring lines for a favourite, and you have shown how such a line can take on new meaning and cadence within each new context.

Splendid work!
humbird said…
'You can't know fruit from watching rind.' ~ this line my fave. Feeling of vibrant energy after reading those two pearls. 'A singing skull knows just one song' - another favorite line. Cheers for BOGO day! :)
like Mama Zen and Kerry, I am in awe of not just your talent with words but the fluidity of your creativity. you toy with us with your talent. not in a manipulative way but in the way that children like to play with their toys you gift us with the best toys

gracias always for sharing

have a playfully creative wonderful week
TexWisGirl said…
really like the first one. beautiful! i agree w/ humbird on that perfect line.
Maude Lynn said…
Girl, these are both outstanding!
brudberg said…
The first one just took my breath away.. I loved the melody as well as the tongue in cheek play on the menace of a hungry bear.. (I should know Björn my name, means bear in Swedish).. The second one goes darker, and the picture to accompany make me think of Poe's "the masque of the red death" ... one of the few of his stories that ever kept me awake at night...
Kathryn Dyche said…
Wow, simply wow. You knocked this prompt out of the ball park. I love the line . . . please don't pretend you know its mind and the whole salmon/bear interaction. The second one is definitely darker but you know me, I love dark and the refrain of a singing skull knowing just one song really spoke to me.
Sioux Roslawski said…
A smidgen of Emily Dickinson, a whiff of Mary Oliver...Or maybe it's just because the salmon piece sings.

Anonymous said…
really. two. really. show off. I can't seem to get my skull around the quatern, and you have skull singing one - but really two - pens. pfft.

perfect, by the way. ~
Cloudia said…
How are you SO prolific!!!!!??????

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

=^..^= <3
Marian said…
here it is: "you can't know fruit from watching rind." wow.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
What Marco said - you gift us, daily. Am wowed by these. Just home and no time to check out quaterns yet but they look very intriguing.
Margaret said…
I adore the question raised in the first poem, first stanza. It gets the brain a-thinkin - the salmon always seem so doomed and their chances so slim.

The second is well, hair raising. A skull - one song - NO changing its mind. I think I will not add him to my dance card…
Stacy said…
absolutely loved this post.

your writing is so eloquent, so vivid!

thanks for sharing!

stacy lynn mar