I’ve been enjoying my daily poetry exchange with Liz Steinglass for National Poetry Month. Liz has been posting a poem inspired by the contents of her desk on her blog every day. Most of mine are not ready for prime time and are sitting in a file. But I’ve decided to share one poem a week in an effort to put some April poetry out in the world.
This poem was inspired by Tricia Stohr-Hunt’s challenge to write a somonka, which according to Tricia is “a Japanese form that consists of two tanka written in tandem. The first tanka is usually a declaration of love, with the second a response to that declaration. While this form usually requires two authors, it is possible for one poet to write from both perspectives.” My pair of tanka is far from a declaration of love and response. Rather it is a contrast between the squirrel-like critter I would like to be and the reality of my procrastination. I wrote it one morning after staying up until 2:00 am to meet a writing deadline.
Squirrel gathers nuts:
digging here, burying there,
mapping his treasure,
driven to hoard and stockpile,
hustling from daybreak to dusk.
I squander my days–
no frenzy of gathering,
no furor of work
until a deadline draws near,
rousing my inner squirrel.
–Buffy Silverman, all rights reserved
Don’t procrastinate in checking out all of the Poetry Friday treats around the internet. Laura Purdie Salas has today’s roundup on her blog.
37 thoughts on “I Am Not a Squirrel!”
This is so fun, Buffy. I am going to strive to be more squirrel-like…I fear I might go nuts 🙂
Ha! My inner squirrel is fat and sleepy this morning. 🙂 In fact, I think that’s the kind of squirrel I would like to be… one all full and happy, just about to enter hibernation. 🙂 Thank you for this poem! xo
Thank you for sharing this delightful poem. I enjoyed the contrast between the squirrel and you. Thank you for introducing me to the somonka. I may have to give it a try this month.
It’s a fun one to try, Cathy (although I’m not sure mine really qualifies as a somonka.)
Oh, Buffy – as usual, I can relate. Yesterday was a mad-dash to turn in a big (just slightly overdue, kinda) freelance writing project then scramble around to clean up the house, more or less, before the arrival of visiting in-laws. I need to summon my inner squirrel way more than I do! But maybe Michelle’s right, and some of us have late-night poetry-writing squirrels like Ulysses. ;0)
We do share that love of the whooshing sound of deadlines rushing by, don’t we Robyn?
Keeps the adrenaline in good supply. ;0)
Ha! I’m going to need to tap into my “inner squirrel” this weekend!!
Hope your squirrel was busy, Mary Lee!
I wonder – do we each have an inner squirrel to tap into? Quite the image!
I think it just takes some of us longer to find our squirrel, Donna!
Love your inner squirrel–that’s a pretty funny image! Glad you’re sharing some, Buffy, and leave it to Tricia to show you a form you haven’t heard of before. She does that all the time to me!
Thanks, Laura–I think your inner squirrel is active more than mine!
Ha! Love the inner squirrel, Buffy!
I bow to your inner squirrel — dashing off such a fine poem after staying up so late! Brava!
Thank you, Jama. I’m not sure when I became such a night owl–but it does seem to be when I’m most productive these days.
Love this, Buffy! If I had an inner squirrel, I would want it to be just like Ulysses in FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo. 🙂 Maybe yours IS like Ulysses and that’s why you’re up at 2 am typing away!
Perhaps. (or maybe mine is just guilt over procrastination 🙁 )
I am definitely conflicted about squirrels. They are industrious critters that keep raiding my bird feeders!
I agree–the only bad squirrel is a bird-feeder squirrel!
My inner squirrel is laughing and running around pushing words into caches for later use. 🙂 Especially “furor of work”.
Yes, a word cache is always a good thing Brenda!
I am enjoying our daily exchange too! I think you only changed one word, right? Stockpile. But it gives the last two lines a whole different shine.
I changed two words–and your wish for punctuation helped!
Tee hee! I love this – you have perfectly summed up my writing process. Definitely NOT a squirrel. Could you write a poem for the sloths of the world? 🙂
What a fun form – must try!
I think I will be writing about sloths today–thanks, Renee!
I watch the squirrels outside all the time & wonder where they find the energy in our arid climate with seemingly so few things to eat, but they scurry, finding–& eating! Your own frenzy, if like the squirrels, must reap its own reward, Buffy!
Thanks, Linda–I just need to add a little more scurry in my days.
Ha! I have to shush my inner squirrel all the time — it usually gets me into trouble! xo
Irene in trouble? I can’t imagine!
Love the poem –especially the idea of “rousing my inner squirrel.” Your word choice is also great–squander, hoard, frenzy. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Molly–and thanks for stopping by.
I love poems that uses nature to capture our own human experience. I too sometimes find myself a squirrel. Thanks for sharing this one.
I think we all have a little squirrel in us!
Great poem; great advice.
Thanks Ann–I appreciate it!