06 April 2017

Poetry Thursday - Field Guide by Tony Hoagland

... cue the dragonfly ...

Field Guide

Once, in the cool blue middle of a lake,
up to my neck in that most precious 
element of all,

I found a pale-gray, curled-upwards 
pigeon feather
floating on the tension of the water,

at the very instant when a dragonfly,
like a blue-green iridescent bobby pin,

hovered over it, then lit, and rested,
That’s all.

I mention this in the same way
that I fold the corner of a page

in certain library books,
so that the next reader will know

where to look for the good parts.

Tony Hoagland was born in 1953 in North Carolina and grew up on various military bases (his father was an Army doctor). "Hoagland’s poetry is known for its acerbic, witty take on contemporary life and 'straight talk' ", says this site. On his twitter account he describes himself as "poet, teacher, sarcasm enthusiast".

I found the poem in Nick Laird's article in an old copy of the Guardian review. It appears in Laird and Don Paterson's anthology, The Zoo of the New, in which a ragbag of poems [ragbags are wonderful things, as sewing friends will know] is arranged alphabetically by title of poem. 

The image is adapted from one on Beautiful Now, a site with lovely colourful photos and many closeups of Nature.

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