Tuesday, April 07, 2015

F is for foraging . . .

Isn't that what writers do?
Forage for that hidden bit,
a seemingly easy turn of the wrist,
a sleight of hand
that brings a kind of certainty
about what comes next.
What do we know, after all,
about the stranger on the bus,
the bird on a wire?
Deadly dangers abound.
Even the weather is not reliable,
snow in April, fat flakes 
blot out daffodils and frail
pink cherry tree blossoms,
while south, snow packs melt
and drought eases into the land.

Arizona Spring by Jeffrey Stemshorn

Today's poem came from my sense that writers kind of pick over their reading, conversations and impressions as they write, with words floating up somewhat intuitively to build into the story that sense of 'truthiness' (a lovely word invented by Stephen Colbert). Certainly this week did bring snow, and yesterday I saw an amazing collection of before and after pictures of the California drought. 

One of the writers in my group constantly checks my use of metaphor, telling me no one talked that way in the 1840s, though many phrases have been in use since the middle ages. Now I routinely check. 

I thought 'bird on a wire' meant someone listening to a surveillance tape, maybe from that Goldie Hawn movie of the same name, but so far, I've only have found references to that opening phrase in Leonard Cohen's song ("Bird on the Wire"), or to an old practice of luring small birds by using lime on sticks or wires to snare them, a practice used again and again as metaphor by Shakespeare. Of course, the phrase could refer to those anonymous birds that line up on telephone wires at dusk.

Tomorrow we writers for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge will move on to "G".


  1. Very nice. A truly smart writer uses every moment of the day as research for upcoming writing works.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Arlee, and for being a co-host for this great blog hop!