Each month Ancient Eagle Press offers a poem appropriate to the season or the mood of our editorial staff. Poems may be new or drawn from existing AEP editions.
August 2017 - Pelham
July 2017 -- Siena
June 2017 -- Loyal, Straight, and True
May 2017 -- A Thousand Flowers
April 2017 -- Oboe Rap
March 2017 - March Madness
February 2017 -- The Cost of Doing Business
January 2017 -- Reflection at a Winter Window
December 2016 -- The Creation
November 2016 -- Hemolymph Moon
October 2016 -- Vortex
September 2016 -- Do You?
Where Old Fliers Come to Roost
Poem of the Month
Ah, the dog days of summer! At our latitude Sirius, the dog star, actually did appear in August this year along with our mid-Atlantic heat and humidity. The traditional “dog days of summer” (as the Greeks noted Sirius rising just before dawn in late July) and the contemporary meaning of the phrase (days with dogs lollling in the heat) coincided. Somehow we survived the heat and enjoyed the two minutes twenty seconds of cool during the eclipse. Did the animals act strangely in those moments of unscheduled darkness? Did birds fall from the sky, snakes emerge from their burrows, or ruminants speak in tongues? Probably not, but perhaps to the more perceptive animals, this anomaly was indeed curious if not meaningful. How much do the animals understand? We humans, with our belief in homo sapien exceptionalism, have been dismissive of our co-inhabitants of this planet and have never seriously studied animal cognition. But we all know, don’t we, that certain animals speak, think and dream in their fashion as they work their way into our hearts. Our September Poem of the Month is a tribute to them.
At three she rules her tranquil world,
Content upon her cotton throne.
Her toys submissive at her feet,
Await her whim to chew or play.
While walking to the park she checks
The mail, and answers in her turn.
She sees a friend and sprints across
The field to knock him to the ground,
Then sinks her teeth into his ear
And pulls him roughly round and round.
She speaks a language of her own,
Known to her allies near and far,
Mysterious except in part,
The few base phrases that I know,
And yet she comprehends my speech,
And knows my feelings without words,
She knows the rhythms of the house
And keeps the time without a clock.
She knows the neighbors who belong,
And when a stranger’s on the block.
At rest, she is a breathing rug
Legs twitching as she chases squirrels,
Softly barking at their gall,
A blight upon her green domain.
Does she catch them while she dreams,
As she never does in life?
Perhaps it’s white-tails that she chases,
Creatures spotted through the glass.
Or does she chase a wilder foe,
Something from the distant past?
Sitting at the window now,
Hours staring at the yard,
Does she look for passing danger?
Rabbits for an evening meal?
Or is she seeking something deeper,
This sentient beast who understands
My words and feeling, and possesses
Language that is all her own,
Who imagines in her sleep,
While upside down upon her throne.
Does she seek an understanding
Of her place and of her life?
Does she love or simply need us,
Does she worry, does she fear?
Does she sense that time is passing,
Feel the changes as we age?
Could she ever understand
That I may feed her from her bowl,
Or feed her goodies from my hand,
But she…she simply feeds my soul?
L. Alloway // 2017
Ancient Eagle Press