Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Vernal Pools

One of my recent school assignments was to write a poem modeled, in part, after Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, by Wallace Stevens. Enjoy!

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Vernal Pools
by Jourdan Cameron

Your time has come little pool,
Spring rains bring hydration,
Very soon you shall come to life, pool,
You'll be home to larvae and frogspawn in their undulation.

"Somebody ought drain that squalid puddle, it breed disease!"
"You need to understand, it's vital to our ecosystem, listen please!"
"This world's creatures are none of my concern, nature's making me wheeze."
"There are things you don't know, do not tamper with them, hear me out, please."
"Tell me what the point is of keeping this infernal mud-hole!"
"It's a vernal pool that supports amphibians and dragon-flies, it plays a vital role!"
"Well, what a pity, those things make no difference to me."
"You can't see- how very blind can you possibly be?"
"Why don't you go hug some poor diseased tree?"
"Dragonflies control the mosquito population, surely that means something?"
"So does bug spray, do me a favor and get out of my way, you're annoying."
"If you destroy the pool, you'll miss so much! You'll never hear the frogs sing."
"You imbecile, frogs don't sing, are you living in some mad fantasy?"
"Shut up."
"You're not talking."
"No. The forest is. If you open your heart, you might hear it."

In the heart of the forest in the place untouched by man,
Lies a body of water between a puddle and a pond- a vernal pool.
Year and again it fills with precipitation dyed by leaves a shade of tan,
It's home to many larva growing quick in the water cool.

The pool has purpose plenty,
It serves some shelter and others snacks,
Low levels of liquid water it has, depth it lacks,
It is meant to be gone before great heat attacks.

Summer day,
All too close and far away,
The gentle buzz floats along the wind,
And quickly as it had appeared,
The sun itself leaves taking with it the day,
As the night falls so begins the old song revered,
An orchestral cacophony of chirps from every which way.
Those once-young creatures of the pool have all grown,
Spring peepers are calling, tiny tree frogs seeking one another,
Ready for the next generation's seeds to be sown.
Their love song's a lullaby, sleep bringing, from one eye to the other,
The night draws on and the sunrise makes the arrival of a new day known.

A big wide hole,
A quiet dried bowl,
It played quite the role,
It gave a season it's soul.
A quiet dried bowl,
Leaf-littered hole,
Beyond grassy knoll,
It will does summer soul,
For now, a big dead hole.

Two men stand near pool's shore,
Both understanding what it's for.
With great care one disturbs the surface stillness,
His net's filled with life for a camera to witness.
Soon as they came, they leave and all is quiet once more,
Those photographs are going far, with them they take the shore.

Winter comes in howling silence,
The world lies sleeping in great penance,
For now the home is frozen mud.
Bitter battering blustering squalls
Cry cacophonously, cutting calls,
For now the home is frozen mud.
Such sirenous screaming stills,
Chiming, chirping, chafing chills,
The home remains as frozen mud.
Oligarchic orchestra of otherworldly 'orrors,
Clouds cruel coldly cover, cumulonimbus encroaches!
The home is silent still.

No season lasts forever, winter being no exception,
The cruel clouds that once encroached now fall to earth,
In harmony with the sun, they warm the mud, granting liberation.
Soon the pool is filled again, sitting in the earth,
With great haste come the men; they marvel at it's berth.
One snaps a shot of a water strider as across the amber edge it does surf,
They both recognize this place to be of immeasurable worth.

Summer days swift return and time seems to stand still,
Tiny tadpoles grew fat legs and lost their tails and gills.
With great gusto they now snap the insects from the sky,
These ectothermic acrobats from tree to tree now fly.
Far above the dried out hole they sing songs in the night,
When the dawn comes they bath amid the dew and once more take to flight.

Did you hear that?
I saw nothing.
There was a flash vibrant green,
Then, nothing.
The thing I thought I had seen,
'Twasn't nothing.
It was a dragonfly, fast and mean,
Chasing something.
Those flying jaws the end of many a mosquito,
Catching something.
They, too, come from the vernal pool, snapping up smaller insects that move so slow.
They're definitely something.

On and on the pool fills and goes dry,
In the forest it's unchanged as the days go by.
The cyclic chain of life and death shall eternal roll,
So many creatures grow up in that hole!
Some of the arrogant may not ignore it's value,
Yet many of shut mouths and open minds will see more than most do.
What good is a pond that's almost a mud-hole?
It grants the forest life and the summer song soul!

Maybe one day a child will visit,
His ears will catch a spring peeper's "rivet".
Maybe that child will never come back,
But for a certainty he'll keep a straight track.
He will not forget the vernal pool,
It's a memory that he'll often visit.
His mind will always take him back,
Echoing that little frog's "rivet".
Maybe one day a child will visit.