There is a severed skull
And vertebrae close by
They showed up in the fall
(Where winter bleached them dry).

Yet now that spring has come
The flesh returns. New shoots
Grow through and insects thrum
Where the heart once watered roots.

The skull lays on its side,
Crowned with rue and nettle
As though beatified
With ichor, thorn and petal.

All this as if to say
No more is given Earth
To know than just today
This death and this rebirth.


by Me, Patrick Gillespie, May 15th 2021

9 responses

  1. Well done! Very effective! However, the imagery kept pulling me in to the point I felt the need for an “escape version.” Forgivable?


    Winter bleached and dry a severed doe skull
    (with vertebrae) perplex the banks
    of a Spring pond.

    A philosophy major,
    I strive to see its living form again
    but see only new weeds between the
    voids of eye and tongue. Green flies thrum
    where once a scent drove ruts.

    At rest the skull lies on its side,
    crowned with rue and nettle,
    with ichor, thorn and petal
    by the years. I strive to see
    its erstwhile form again.

    But see only a half a century back:
    two girls with whom I skinny dipped
    this pond, this day, this hour—their dare–
    and only simple questions like:

    All which is to say
    The more I go decay
    The more I feel my porn addiction


  2. Would you mind if I posted it on my website crediting you as follows:

    “based on a poem by Patrick Gillespie” ?

    Also, does the app that allows you to read your poems come with WordPress or is that an app you have to add on and pay for?


  3. Btw, which of these constructions do you think sounds better?

    voids of eye and tongue. Green flies
    thrum where once a scent drove ruts.


    voids of eye and tongue, green flies
    thrumming where once a scent drove ruts.


  4. I really liked this when I saw it the 16th, but was rushed and didn’t comment. But then moments later I received notice that the sauna/potlucks that started around Helen and Scott Nearing on Cape Rosier decades ago and in which I’ve been a participant more than thirty years, were to resume Wednesday for those of us fully vaccinated. (My own continuing gathering of the same sort picked up again the week before and is scheduled for tomorrow again, but with reduced numbers since about a third of whom used to be part of an “us” have inexplicably — and disturbingly — refused to get vaccinated. Go figure!) The Rosier notice said it was to re-launch at the Coleman/Damrosch Four Seasons Farm (and sauna that seats 20+!); in your poem I knew I had an appropriate reading.

    With its exquisite imagery and the attendees’ close proximity to their land, it couldn’t have been a better fit. Over all, we went on a full hour longer than normal given the palpable joy of our reunion and the ending of our protective isolation from one another. I introduced it by saying the author had two connections to Rosier, yours and mine and the years-ago meeting of you and Eliot, and that its expression seemed especially appropriate at our Wednesday gathering. And then read it. I can relay something you’ll no doubt recognize from your own experience at such readings — the moment of silence followed by a low chorus all around the huge harvest table of quiet murmurs of appreciation, grunts of recognition, assent, and approval. Good on you, Patrick! And thanks for being with us. ;-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for that. I wouldn’t have minded purrings of recognition rather than grunts, but I’ll take grunts. :) I’m moved that you thought enough of the poem to read it at the banquet table. As to who vaccinates and who doesn’t, this year has been a real revelation. People I had some respect for, no longer I’m afraid. It’s as if we’ve set sail with lifelong friends only to find out that half of them think the Earth is flat that we’ll all fall off the edge if we keep sailing toward France, and self-rightously steer the boat in all the wrong directions the minute they take the helm.


  5. You’re welcome! I stand corrected with ‘purrings of recognition,’ but at least I got the recognition right. ;-) The assembled knew the territory of which you wrote and live in the same world of the natural, the cyclical. I read it Sunday night at my own sauna/potluck and got the same audible appreciation for you, so you got a two-fer in the same week!


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