Still Warm Beauty

A small grey breast fatigued, a beak
the shroud of song, a pulse
at fail to wanting wings whose
tail tips pinstripe her gratified tongue.

It is her offering. Here, she seems to say
with wide eyes and full maw, this
still warm beauty, this kill, this skill hunted,
this sublime vignette is for you.

I feel wild for a moment, hungry
watching a single downy feather
lift with the passing breeze.

Linked to DVersePoetsPub w/ Tony Maude.  After reading Tony’s prompt, I lopped the first stanza off of a poem I posted yesterday. The first lines contain technical information, and I wonder how it reads without them. I’d love to hear your feedback. Try not to read the first 7 comments as they give too much info. Cheers, poets! I am headed out to your blogs.

About janehewey View all posts by janehewey

25 responses to “Still Warm Beauty

  • ManicDdaily

    Hey Jane–I am pressing “like” but I cannot truly like except as poetry, since my sympathy here is so much for the bird. In this regard, did you read the NY Times article about the devastation committed by cats on birds!?

    But back to the poem – it is a song in itself and a pouncing onto this moment–so many beautiful descriptions and combinations that tailspin into unspoken but thought combinations–tailspin being one of them and even the pin stripes on the tongue make me think almost of a butterfly caught and pinned on a wall–something beautiful anyway, captured.

    The wild vigor of your receipt is also very human and like the swooping of a bird–and the breeze is a bit of the downdraft of that–Still Warm Beauty a great title, as it also is like a still(ed) life. Thanks. k.

    • janehewey

      Karin, I truly favor the bird, though you’d never know by this poem. As I began writing, I became less angered with the little feline and more fascinated by her nature. This is nothing new around here, we have had many cats come and go, and have loved them thoroughly. It was when the single feathers lifted off the porch that I felt some sort of crazy redemption for the bird… and for my own personal acceptance of the cat’s nature. Thank you for reading and for your really beautiful comments. The thought of a butterfly caught and pinned is a great comparison. There is beauty in the physical state, and certain beauty in nature fleetingly captured.

      • ManicDdaily

        Hey Jane–I think your sympathy for the bird is implied really–you are almost shocked at being caught up in the feline gift. If you wanted to make that sense of conflictedness stronger, you might rethink ‘clear’–I think that the word speaks here of the kind of animal instinct of it–the sharpness and transparency, but others might take it as being clear-headed. I am not suggesting a change at all as I think the whole thing works super well and is just like that pounce and feel and then kind of sense of randomness at the end of it all–instinct acting, then letting go– the breeze–but if people misinterprete your stance, it may come from that word. Just a thought. You’ll have to see how people take it and how you yourself feel about it over time. Thanks much for taking the time to re-read my poem. Hard to ever know what works best! k.

      • janehewey

        You’ve nailed the exact word I keep putting in and taking out. I often post too early in a poem’s life, and I think like a lot of us, end up editing off n on for another while. THank you for your careful read. I think you are wise, I’ll see what responses come. Maybe there is a way to make clear more clear… thank you, verymuch.

  • annotating60

    Jules a reeally interesting and good write. My cat–little thing–brought a rabbit home the other day. >KB

    • janehewey

      oh my, a rabbit! that speaks of the difference in our locations, I think. My little urban calico is only about the size of a large rabbit. Hopefully she is keeping the rodents at bay. Thank you for coming by today, KB.

  • brian miller

    wow…great closing image….the feathers floating of fthe deck and your sense of wildness as well…a bit of connection there between you and the cat…smiles…mine brings me treats…all wanting us to be proud of what they can do…maybe how they show love as well…

  • Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    Oh cats can bring all kind of gifts.. also those that bring tears to our eyes.. I recall when we had a cat… mice was ok… but the birds (especially it it was a robin).. loved the end of the second stanza.

  • hedgewitch

    I read this yesterday on FB, Jane, and of course, I don’t retain much of it in a literal fashion as my short term memory is challenged these days, to say the least, but I do feel the poem reads better today as poetry–it is more immediate, more intense. I remember the first stanza as measured, an introduction, sort of scene setting–this is very sharp and clear without it. I feel the last lines may be different also somehow–it seems a bit more abrupt, and I don’t get quite the sense of out-of-self, into cat-mind and beyond from it, though it still has a strong resolution. Anyway, I like it very much, and I like the way your mind makes these leaps accessible.

  • Victoria C. Slotto

    For me this brings home the fragility I’m feeling right now in the face of death…that is, the school shooting in our community. I’ve written a couple of poems about dead birds. It gives us pause to consider their beauty in detail and the reality of transience. The title is perfect.

  • Mary

    Love the progression and the message in this. Watching a single downy feather seems like bliss to me…

  • Tony Maude

    Now I’m wondering what the first stanza said … smiles. However, although the identity of the killer is not obvious here, the victim is certainly well described.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been advised/heard others advised/read that we should start our writing in the middle of the action, rather than take too long introducing the themes and characters and otherwise setting the scene.

  • Alex Dissing

    That last image really caught my attention. I’m always fascinated when I see anything floating around in the wind, whether that be a feather, a balloon, a leaf… makes me wonder where it will eventually end up.

  • grapeling

    finely caught, Jane. i’ve seen the gift on rug and pillow – confirmed when I went back to read karin’s comments afterwards.

  • Grace

    I thought about the wild moment of an animal hunting the prey ~ My favorite part is the second stanza – amazing perspective I wouldn’t have thought of ~ Lovely title as well ~

  • pandamoniumcat

    I found this quite beautiful…that wildness, acceptance of nature… my feline brought me a mouse the other day…her very first kill gift…she used to bring me paint brushes when she was a kitten…still I watch her outside and chase away the birds so she can’t get them. Beautifully written!

  • Anna Chamberlain

    Gorgeous, with finely wrought diction.

  • Luke Prater

    tremendous poetry. One of your best I’ve read, Jane. I don’t know what the first stanza was but it sure as hell works as it is. Like Karin, cat’s make me so angry killing birds and not even eating them because they are domesticated and fed by their owners. Humans messing with nature (again).

    But fine, fine poetry. Really. I don’t say that often. Here is where it really draws on the full power of art and craft together, the stanza-break very effective –

    this sublime vignette is for you.

    I feel wild for a moment, hungry

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