An Older Lady Walking Out In The Teens (Farenheit)




An Older Lady Walking Out In The Teens (Farenheit)

Sun masks the cold, sort of.
I think, as I walk out, of a thin blanket
thrown over an elephant in a living room–
you are sure something looms, but can’t quite make out
its toes.

Or maybe the toes are all you’d see–
maybe, in fact, the toes would be all that actually sticks out
from under
that blanket.

All I know is that I keep stepping through the tracks
of feet out here–
the sewing machine stitch of mice (the seams running straight
into our house’s foundation),
the tricorne sloop
of a hare,
the deeper divide of hooves,
and up the snow-blazed hill, the beaded cicatrice
of vole tunnel.

But I am tracking youth and vigor
and so trek slowly down a ravine where only snips
of the sun’s thin blanket (and me) slip
through the firs, and wonder, once I’ve slid down,
how to cross the small stream, how to ford
the ice-rivered gush, whether–even if I manage to edge farther
along the steep–I’ll find a possible pass,
when I notice the imprint of paws marking a path
over the snow-crowded stones
and follow with clumsy boots
the way chosen
by the animal.

Though these are big prints, the cluster of some being distinctly
carnivorous–so even as I follow,
a part of me longs
to turn back, and I hold tightly
to the large stick I use to stake my passage–
happy in its sharp point, its snub wooden muzzle–

The sun blinks both eyes
when I get to field again,
a there where almost any step will do–
and yet I find myself following the tracks still,
those paws whose imprint looks both like a heart
and a brain, a small hive, a huge

wanting not to see the creature
and yet also to spot him–
How is it that we so crave connection
with the wild–we with our cold-toed boots
and our elephants in
the living room–


A draftish poem for Poetry Pantry on Poets’ United.  Note that the pics above are of tracks, but not a close-up of the paw print.  Below are some pics of the tunnels of animals under the snow, and also a bigger stream than the one I crossed–but you get the idea re the freeze–and elephants!  (The fabric a beautiful gift from a family member who kindly brought it for me from a military tour in Afghanistan.)  (All photos are mine, all rights reserved.) 




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13 Comments on “An Older Lady Walking Out In The Teens (Farenheit)”

  1. Steve King Says:

    Winter gives so many clues about what is really around us. I love seeing the tracks, too, following the paths. Wondering what I’d do if I met the creatures who make them. This makes we wish to get out in the woods again for a while, always a pleasure–as was reading this account. Happy new year!

  2. Mary Says:

    Ah, I think we have to track youth and vigor as long as we can….and even longer!. And yes, we crave connection with the wild…..but so often find a way to ignore the ‘elephants in the living room.’

  3. Susan Says:

    This is exactly how it is! Foot to foot, I love adding another animal’s prints to those guiding me though I’ll never see youth again either. In your poem, I love how the sun blinks the walker’s eyes once back in a field without the shade of evergreens–ok, I added the evergreens. But as long as thee walk, there is no real covered elephant in the living room–and no potatoes on the couch! I love stanza two of the toes, love the emphasis on feet and prints throughout–could be letters on paper the way you read them and write them too.

  4. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    This looks and sounds like a wonderland to me – trap in the sweltering heat of summer.

    • Kerry O'Connor Says:


    • ManicDdaily Says:

      It is extremely pretty. More snow today, much greyer though. What’s nice about the country is that the snow stays white! I go to NYC tomorrow, where it very quickly changes to grey (or worse–yellow!) Though Central Park stays pretty nice.

      Thanks, Kerry. k.

      On Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 9:13 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  5. hedgewitch Says:

    Just a delightful bunch of language in this, k. where you draw us out into the fields with you, despite our own blanketed elephants left behind–and a nice refrain built from the actuality of what feet (literal or metaphoric) do–travel, move, leave a relic to be deciphered or show a way that may be otherwise hidden. Thanks for taking me out for a snowy walk–I need the exercise. Safe travels.

  6. What an amazing maze of tracks in the snow, I love that sentence on the sewing machine of mice.. says exactly how they looks.. and then adding your own to them.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thank you, Bjorn. You know it was cold, so I didn’t take as many photos as I might have as I just use an iPhone, but there are so many out here some time! Hope all is well. k.

  7. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    That’s a draft? I think it’s already a wonderful poem. I love its depths and richness.

  8. M Says:

    palpable longing and tension to see / but not see ~

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