Friday, October 2, 2020

Selected Works, Mary Newell

Bank Tangle

Trainstop anomaly: twig nest                                 
tucked into branch tangle:
river-scan, plummet, breed -

Across the Hudson, homes
tucked in to bank slope:  
survey, embark, dwell -

settled in for the duration.
Nineteen miles downstream, 
smoke rises at Indian Point.               

As the river ambles north,
histories wheeze in eddies,
palimpsest laden with fuse.


Charles Darwin used the phrase “tangled bank” to refer to the intermixture of life forms “dependent upon each other in so complex a manner” (On the Origin of Species).

In the pith of diapause                                           

tone held through the gap  
between crawl-chew                                          
and flutter-sip 

weather churn

on the brink: wings rolled                                         
ready, colors soft                                                                            
through chrysalis wrap                                                 

slow unfurl

finding the updraft                                     

Note: Diapause is a temporary developmental arrest that allows insects to circumvent adverse environmental conditions, usually weather. 

In the pith of attenuation 

excruciate at the crossroads

chiasmic tangle         climacteric muddle        

Janus-pull     cross-wires       warp-wrap   

heed elusive   
scale-nuance      interval trill       attune  



In the pith of hover

When we stand still,
our heads’ weight tilts us forward.                 
Momentum prompts movement              
to resist falling.           
Wing flaps let some birds hover: 

a strenuous mid-air suspension   

kestrel matches wind speed head-on
poised in transparency to foresee                     

osprey hangs still to focus on foraging                          

hummingbird parades his ball-and-socket shoulder joint                    
his wing lift on up-beats as well as down
skates figure eights before
the trumpet flower’s throat
sips deep      flashes luminescence    wheels away       

We are left staring at vacancy  
sensing wake turbulence,   
vortex from activated wings.                                

Sometimes we wait alert,                                   
thirsty for an intimation,                                                  
an evanescent summons 

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