Sunday, July 30, 2006

Old Man Cactus Revealed


A blog reader in Berkeley recognized the cactus I was talking about and e-mailed me some photographs so I could post them. Thank you so much, Niki! And, just for laughs (not because it's a good poem), here's the poem I wrote in class after seeing the cactus. The poem's a pantoum, a form that uses a lot of repetition, which meant we could all produce one in about ten minutes.

The canyons and caverns of the cactus, its archipelagos,
alien as awe, bearing wounds and creatures, fecund,
thrusting up hilarious hands, hiding spiderwebs,
cracking into fragments.
I could spend a lifetime here, mapping your stubborn strangeness.

You are alien as awe, bearing wounds and creatures, fecund;
May I someday stop someone's breath as you have stopped mine.
I could spend a lifetime here, mapping your stubborn strangeness,
the gangly, ungainly growth that mirrors mine -- but God gave it.

May I someday stop someone's breath as you have stopped mine,
thrusting up hilarious hands, hiding spiderwebs,
cracking into fragments
of gangly, ungainly growth that mirrors mine -- but God gave it,
gave the canyons and caverns of the cactus, its archipelagos.


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