Friday, March 12, 2010

Like A Shattered Glass

I shall let this poem be without much comment. It is very close to a true story. I know it belongs to someone if not quite to me. I added to it for posting, replacing the last original line with four other lines. I found I had not finished it. I wish I could have a special place to put such things, don’t you? - like storing nuclear waste. Instead, my stuff tends to leak out of any container I devise and cause deflections. Windage is required in my aim. I can still strike the target but I must constantly check how the sightlines are skewed today. This is tedious and since I don’t always check, there are lost opportunities for better precision in my life. I guess I might do better if I tackle things more straight away. This is good advice. I am terrible at taking advice, even my own.

Like A Shattered Glass

Like a shattered glass
I reflect indecision
found at my crossroads,
the spot where I keep
such questions unasked as this,
Will you marry me?
Shall we emigrate?
Will I die before, after?

I keep these questions
in holes in the dust
left by the plague of rabbits
who once came this way.

April 20, 2009 12:59 PM

Last 4 lines added
March 12, 2010 5:15 PM


  1. :) i love it, all of it.
    question unasked... i promise here to myself, that when a major line like the once you mention bubbles up in my mind, i will tackle it, accepting all consequences...
    i hope i'll take my won advice.

  2. A day after my birthday last year. A day of horrible world tragedies which I now share in my birth, for many days I see it so. At the crossroads yes, many many questions. Beautiful Christopher, as always.

  3. I love it too, the relentless tide of our personal history, of decisions taken and decisions avoided. Your words haunt me. They're delightfully cryptic.

  4. Hmmm. I shattered a glass today.

    I remember a rabbit plague some 30, maybe 40 years ago now. We could drive out to the desert and literally shovel rabbits with pitchforks into trucks. Even poets could do it.

    All those rabbit warrens certainly make for a lot of questions. A fine place to keep them if you ask me.

  5. Thanks, people. The other day I saw a show on the dust bowl, saw a jack rabbit plague caught on film. Today, my friend Rachel wrote of her rabbit who passed behind the guinea pig cage. Somehow rabbits hopped into this poem.

    Now Jozien intends to take her own won advice. And Annie identifies her own crossroads, Elisabeth declares my words cryptic and delightful and Robin shattered a glass. Damn.

    Shoveling rabbits with pitchforks seems distasteful to me but that is not different from herding them into corrals and clubbing them like in the thirties.

    I agree that I can handle a pitchfork if I must. Do I have to? Another question for a rabbit warren at the crossroads.

  6. Chris thanks for the insight into the overlap with my poem...I love your "I keep these questions in holes in the dust..."...that makes me ponder, and may end up in something of mine down the road, in concept...if it goes the way of a quote, may I use a chunk of it and cite you?...if not I undersatnd...If you get a chance, you can read down through my "Gray Papp" post where I talk about the antithesis of a crossroads, a road of no intersection...You take care and I look forward to more of what you are sharing here...good stuff...Thanx

  7. Your use of "warrens" got me thinking, Robin, so I went to Webster, looking for the etymology. I like this word.

    This word doesn't refer so much to what rabbits do in the wild but to what we help them create when we want them to increase. That accounts for the usage of the word sometimes to describe inner city slums as warrens. It takes our participation with nature to get a warren. Perhaps one could use the word legitimately in contexts of inadvertent assistance, like when we kill all the wolves and coyotes and eagles.

    It is a Middle English word from Old North French and probably sourced in Old High German and thus is NOT a shared word with the Romance languages.

  8. I spent some time, Ron on your whole blog and did read your Gray Papp. I especially like the way you care about the history of your locale. I have a little of the same here, though we are younger than you. I loved my vacation to New England years ago, to Vermont. I fell in love with Revolutionary War era graveyards. In other vacations I had the chance to walk some Civil War battlefields.

    Here in my backyard, the town of Oregon City is the true end of the Oregon Trail and was very nearly the State Capital. It was more industrial in the beginning than Portland, though Portland's placement on the confluence of the Columbia with the Willamette guaranteed its ascendancy. Then in the beginning of electricity in the west, the Willamette Falls here in Oregon City were harnessed and the longest overland transmission of electric power west of the Mississippi took place, sending the hydro power to Portland.

    My work as a designer in the Engineering trades has taken me to both sides of the Falls, the Oregon City side for work in a newsprint paper mill there (which is on the site of that historic hydro facility) and on the other side, the West Linn side, for work in the 13kv hydro facility in place today. There was a time when the local industries harnessed the falls for direct electrical generation, and an earlier time when they were using the hydro power directly to generate rotary power.

    Nowadays only a token of that power does not go into the grid. On the Oregon City side, the paper mill is licensed to keep a couple historic turbines in place (they use leather belting only available from the east coast) operating as an historic exhibit but not generally available to the public. These turbines I was given to understand in the eighties dump power into the grid and more or less directly power the maintenance shop lights of the paper mill.

    There are several turbines in place, at least the shells of them, on both sides of the falls belonging to the industrial sites but the falls now belongs to the local power company itself. One of the situations has been to re-establish the migrations of the salmon and other migrant fish and eels. Lamprey also come to the falls to spawn and figure in the local indian spirituality.

    So the Dept of Fish and Wildlife maintain a fish ladder there as well. There are locks in place to marry the upper and lower Willamette too. So on the West Linn side there are four users. The US Govt. has the locks, the State of Oregon has the fish ladder, there is a specialty paper mill that had its own wood mill, and there is the PGE 13kv facility. They are all scrambled together. The newsprint mill is the only user on the Oregon City side.

    So I appreciate your sense of the historic.

  9. Thanks Christopher you have a unique perspective from the trade and from your former/current hippie status...Kudos...I was lucky to have a week on the Columbia & Wil-LAM-ette. My nephew and niece lived in Eugene for a spell, ever the Earth conscious younger generation of hippie (30& 36)...they are now pack home here and have made 3 cross continental trips in their Veggie schoolie... Life + Photos is there blog...It is nice to know we have like minds that transcend the generations and are not just feasting on the gluttonous gore of unbridled capitalism...I've just listed your blog on my blog list on my site...good things are worth sharing...thanks...

  10. Chris, I saw that same special on the Jack Rabbit plague...that was a hoot!

  11. I guess when the countryside is wall to wall rabbits, that's too many...


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