September 2014


September 2014

On this fall porch noon,
as dark shutters are shuffled in and out
for repainting, and the farther world
reshuffles wars I try not
to read about,
the little bat remembers
a host of slats where he’s packed
his storm-cloud self,

till his wooden shield swoops dayward, shutter
carted away, and he, swung, sweeps the air
like a winged wind,
spanned panic banging against brightness
but not quite the screen door,
till he sites himself, unsighted, on a small spare strip leaning
wall to floor, the wood
that grey-as-a-battleship he knows
so well.

Slipping his quiver behind its two-inch breadth,
side-sliding his cling
into its stripe of shadow, he tries again
to roost.

I confess to not much liking
to, when they are near,
swooping fearfully, sometimes able
to pack my whole self under a low table or behind
a locked door,
but now I stop my sweeping
of the porch, filled with such fellow feeling
for his upside-down tremor,
that I call for help for him
and not for me,
and wait there with him
till relief comes with a soft net,
taking only a few steps back
into the unblinkered blue.

For Grace’s prompt about September remembering on With Real Toads.   A bat did hide behind that little piece of wood after his shutter was moved away.  (I know I call almost all poems drafts, but I truly do feel very uncertain about the ending–and beginning–ha!–of this one.)

Also, sorry for the repeated plug, but my new book, Nice, is at last available in paper and on kindle–only 99 cents.  It is an interesting book, especially for someone wanting to go back to, or know more about, 1968.

PP Native Cover_4696546_Front Cover


Since I’m in plug mode (!), please also check out my other books, Nose Dive (humorous novel), Going on Somewhere (Poetry), and 1 Mississippi (Elephants!)


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22 Comments on “September 2014”

  1. Bats can look a little scary.. I love how they soar around our house at this time of the year though (I think we might have them in our attic).. but being really close I would probably not get too close.. My wife though would probably step up and help immediately.. But once helpless I would sure try to help.

  2. ZQ Says:

    Cool and interesting piece. Glad I stopped by 🙂

  3. I’m not crazy about bats but I do love to watch them in the evenings as they swoop for insects above the house. I’m glad you helped the little fellow out – that was nice.

  4. Grace Says:

    I have only seen bats from trees and from an underground river but they scare me too ~ I specially like the word play – storm cloud self, winged wind, stripe of a shadow, upside terror, unblinkered blue ~ You show a great empathy for the poor thing though ~

    Thanks for linking up K ~ Happy week~

  5. C.C. Says:

    This line–“spanned panic banging against brightness”–is so vivid it makes the whole scene come alive for the reader.

  6. margaret Says:

    Ive become a bit accustomed to them – they swoop in our heavily tree populated neighborhood come evening. They haven’t touched me yet… I like this poem, and laughed at the hiding under the table. 🙂

  7. Bats are amazing creatures…I am fascinated by them, but then I am curious about most living things. I spent most of my childhood roaming the woods around my home. I love “on this fall porch noon.”

  8. Polly Says:

    I like all of it—no probs with beginning or end! 🙂

  9. Marian Says:

    yeah, i like this too, Karin. i was thinking to myself “what is it about autumn and porches” and then you introduced the bat. love your description of him/her and your empathy for something that scares you.
    as an aside, i was watching this youtube video with my kids of some roofers discovering a huge amount of bats while picking tiles off a roof. it’s actually fairly awe-inspiring, all of them under the tiles like that.

  10. Sumana Roy Says:

    bats are a bit scary but then when you help them out and they find their way out it’s nice too…a delightful read….

  11. hedgewitch Says:

    There are some really arresting passages in this, k. I think the change from prosaic declamatory (the sweeping, the shuffling of shutters) to the very personal image of the bat remembering is haunting–a commonality and simplicity to his fear and desire to find a new safety when the old is removed that mimics the speaker’s trepidation about impending war–I usually don’t agree with you about the draftiness of your posts, but in this case, it is hard to equal those beginning few stanzas, and parts of the rest of the poem indeed could be a bit tighter–nonetheless, it’s still very effective and evocative in its feel for the change and uncertainty of Fall, and of the world, and of all the things that are more than we can know, anticipate, or control. In particular, I like the sense of compassion and identification for the impulse to hide. Also, I especially like ‘spanned panic banging,’ ‘slipping his quiver, and ‘fellow feeling for his upside-down tremor.’ All of those phrases are both musical, and pack so much more weight than their seemingly delicate frames might suggest. Congrats again on the book leaving its home behind the shutter and flying to a new haven, as well.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. Yes, I don’t think it’s really there or clear. I was thinking “topsy tremor,” but maybe too cutesy, and unless someone clearly has a bat in their mind, they won’t understand that in fact he is upside down. I’m not sure why he’s a he. (Ha.) I’d tried moving the second half to second person, and then it was just too confusing, but something like that may make it more direct.

      Thanks as always for thoughtful comment. Back in good old NYC this morning. Most bats here kept in people’s cars for traffic incidents. Agh. k.

      On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 10:19 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


    • ManicDdaily Says:

      You know, it’s interesting. Originally, the poem was just about the bat, and then I wanted to push it farther, somehow; maybe to understand why the moment fascinated me–but of course, the pushing got a bit more discursive. I don’t think I’ll revisit for a while, but maybe sometime. Thanks again. k.

      On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 10:19 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  12. Mama Zen Says:

    I just find this to be so tender. It’s lovely work, K.

  13. I like this poem so much. Mostly I like how the speaker becomes the bat, the thing she doesn’t like very much but here, in this moment of the poem (poems are such moments, I think), she empathizes, sees herself in the bat–subjectivity and objectivity become one. This is beauty itself. And the details with which you’ve done it are woven so nicely! The sweeping, the hiding, the bits of color and grey, tending to one’s home, hiding from the world and finding it there too and finding a kind of benevolence. Really fine poem. You’ve got a great eye, in the visual as well as literary sense.

  14. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    Karin, I love this descriptive narrative: your sense of place is so well-rendered and the lovely words that introduce your bat are worth savouring. Just last night I was standing at my back door at dusk and watching the bats swoop over my garden. I never tire of the sight.

  15. grapeling Says:

    I think this one is coheres. funny how we’re always most uncertain of our own work, despite how others commend us? 🙂 ~

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