Thursday, March 21, 2013



By Charles Patrick Norman

The day the tractors came to cut the hay
we stayed outside the pasture, barred
until sunset, when they went away,
and we walked, inhaling the fresh-cut smell
of tall brown grass now laid down in swirls.

Then loud machines came and gathered
the dry grass inside themselves, chugging,
ejecting neatly-bound bales of hay
behind them in lines, wire-wrapped
rectangles that we stacked into tunnels
and hay bale forts for fun.

A young brown rabbit, a wild cottontail,
had become entangled by the machine,
the bailing wire held it fast, cutting
into its thigh, its vain struggles, attempts
to free itself only worsening, Grandpa
freed it with his pliers, too weak to flee,
Grandma doctored it, but next day it was dead.

It’s nature’s way, son, she said,
helping me wrap its cold form and
prepare a grave. Wild things
must live free, you can’t keep them
in a cage for long, you must turn
them loose or they will die.

She did not say if the same
applied to people, too, or just me.

          THE CREEK

By Charles Patrick Norman

The bullfrog blinked
    its bulbous eyes
    seemed to stare
    at me in surprise,

Then blinked again,
    and swallowed,
    its white throat
    swelling balloonlike,

In the full moonlight,
    its fingerlike toes
    adjusting itself
    on the creekbank,

Before launching itself
    outward, lanky green
    form extended, reaching
    for the surface glinting,

Disappearing beneath the
     black water, plop!
     a splash, concentric
     rings reflecting,

Water smoothing, settling,
     as if it had never
     felt the passing
     of either of us.

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