Still Life

IMG_3508

Still Life

I’m drawn to fresh road kill
as life stilled –so, I tell myself.
All those beautiful bits–the shimmer normally hidden
by slither, the rich stranding
of too-fast fur, the swath of scarlet
that fly-by only flashes,
laid out flat,
unresistant to swish of air, much less
perusal, each detail more delineated than in a Dürer,
a tableau.

But on that tar or gravel,
there’s death stilled too – and I confess here that it draws
with even greater force–the de-sparked
luster–fellow-feeling flattening me who stands above,
as the double helix that we share openly snares us–
clumsy me/adaptive them–
yet none of us animals that can survive
the push of metal, the susurration
of age, the mighty bustle of decay–
all our wondrous bodies faced some time
with a road we cannot get cross.

*******************************************
Here’s sort of a draft poem for dVerse Poets Pub’s Poetics prompt on finding beauty
in odd places, hosted by Fred/Hobgoblin of Poetical Psyche.  I am also posting for With Real Toads (Open Link). 

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34 Comments on “Still Life”

  1. Miriam E. Says:

    “and I confess here that it draws
    with even greater force–the de-sparked
    luster–fellow-feeling flattening me who stands above”
    so good!
    that first line is a killer… awesome poem


  2. I should have looked away and yet I saw drawn to the photo because there was beauty in it. And then I read your poem and it complemented my thoughts so well. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  3. brian miller Says:

    ah we all get to that road we can not cross…it breaks my heart a bit to see the animals on the road…knowing they were just trying to get somewhere and never saw it coming….


  4. I’m grateful it’s only happened to me once and, my husband carried it and buried it. Beauty in these things are difficult for me, however tthere are details that are visible only when stillness settles. Blessings dear k

  5. grapeling Says:

    Oh, strong, strong ending, k – well done. ~ M


  6. Gosh such a powerful ending…but even the beginning the way you draw us in…a wonderful piece of writing and found myself drawn to the picture, first tears but then…there is a sense of pure beauty…perfect take on the prompt!

  7. claudia Says:

    all our wondrous bodies faced some time
    with a road we cannot get cross…wow…and true.. and shockingly realistic.. and i sometimes wonder if it’s better if death hits us so out of the blue like an animal in a roadkill or if it’s better to have more time to think about and prepare

  8. Jamie Dedes Says:

    Nice complexity, moving from simple to ultimate. Well done. Hard truth.

  9. Sabio Lantz Says:

    Love your “road we cannot get cross” analogy. Whereas may poets are romantic about life and falsely idealize it, you stand over the cold facts and still find a forbidden beauty in the ugliness.

    This reminds me of my post called “Roadkill Theology“.

  10. Sabio Lantz Says:

    Hey Karen, I read two articles this morning that brought the realism of your poem to mind:

    (1) “Hunger” – a poem posted on 3 Quarks daily
    (2) “The Mobile Poultry Slaughterhouse” from Modern Farmer – re-posted by The Browser.

    Thought you’d be interested.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      You know I am vegetarian! They are both interesting – but can’t imagine setting up poultry stand. k.

      • Sabio Lantz Says:

        Oh, sorry, if I’d had known your were vegetarian(!), I would have been more tender the accompanying delicate quasi-religious sentiments. 😉

        I use to be vegetarian too.

        You may understand my statement better if you read my short post entitled “Confessions of a Vegetarian“. Additionally, it has a dead animal pic redolent of yours here, and a poll showing 1/2 my readers are veggies.

        After being away from poetry blogs for a while, I remember (watching comments) how they are not really sites for such conversations, but , as you know, I can’t help myself.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        That’s okay. My sensibilities not so delicate. I’ve been pesco- vegetarian for about 40 years. Is that the word? I sometimes didn’t eat fish but got quite anemic. I don’t push anything on anyone but am pretty down on factory farming. My husband lives mainly on venison from deer he shoots. But I stick to beans.

  11. Marian Says:

    gosh, i want you to put down your camera and get that critter out of the road before it’s too late and she’s obliterated by the next car.

  12. Susan Says:

    Whew. The beauty of the words and progress of this poem also contrast its subject and photo. I have seen so much road kill–and had a highway department relative whose job it was to scrape up the smeared carcasses. The stunning recognition you describe most vividly occurs over and over. But I’m with Aristotle on saying it can give no aesthetic pleasure outside of art, being real and not an imitation. Your poem rights that balance.

  13. hedgewitch Says:

    The commonality of all flesh as evinced in the great landmarks–birth, mating, hunger, mortality–flares up constantly in this poem, even though it is by the onlooker; that the beauty and kinship we long so to see, that urge to possess that has us naming and photographing and studying every other life form in an oblivious Nature as intensely as we do our own, seems to have its explanation in your lines. I’ve often thought the great charm and attraction of animals, especially our domesticated ones, is that they don’t carry as we do, the knowledge of their own deaths, the burden of every grain of sand in the hourglass. Really a fine and complex bit of writing here, k.

  14. latonya Says:

    Poignant. I found myself slowing down being stuck in ugliness of the how and the beauty of your words. I known too much death up close yet l was seduced by your description of the inevitable. Well done.


  15. Oh, the sight of any dead animal pains me – I know what you mean by the rare chance to see them in frozen motion but the violent collision is too vivid in my imagination.

    I really like the angle you worked on in the second stanza – it takes the poem forward in its contemplation of the fragility of all life, even our own.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Agreed. It is very painful. I kind of hesitated to post the photo (which is from last year) for that reason, even though the raccoon is, I think, very beautiful. It’s quite heartbreaking, I find, to see these things. k.

  16. Sherry Marr Says:

    You drew a strong parallel between the fallen raccoon and our human lives – all of us eventually reach that road “we cannot get across”.

  17. janehewey Says:

    really wonderful work. from your title to your final lines, this is complete. You’ve hit the high mark with the prompt. The beauty here is not obvious luster and shine, it is instead a highlighting of the essence of life come and gone. Though it is a rather beautiful raccoon coat, as well.


  18. I love the photo with its picture of the raccoon seemingly in motion. And I love the oneness with this and all creatures you speak of so poignantly.

  19. Akila Says:

    Very vivid. It is sad we reaching cross roads never to cross but well true.Very bold on the theme

  20. Margaret Says:

    The ending two lines (for me) packed the powerful punch. Yes, the last thing we face (death) is a hurdle we will never be able to hurdle in a physical way!


  21. I love your use of the still life and life stilled. A poem to get me thinking and feeling.


  22. Really strong piece and I must I’m sometimes amazed by the beauty of fresh roadkilll like a fox or badger with beautiful fur.. and the end of the poem … we’ll all end up roadkill on a road we cannot cross… yes.. that’s probably true..

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      I’m not sure that I meant it as brutally as that! I think there are roads the body certainly cannot get across. Thanks, Bjorn, for your kind words. k.


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