Raw Poetic Material: Sources and Destinations

To illustrate some of the results from the tendency I discussed in the post Call of the Wild Poetry a few days ago, here are some excerpts of my latest poetic ramblings, written during the witching hours well after midnight. Some of the sources of inspiration are listed at bottom.

My next assignment, decreed by a fellow writer and writing group moderator, is to make something coherent and cohesive from this raw material. Specifically, I am to write a poem about sea otters, a favorite animal of mine. I’ll let you know how that goes. (Thank the Maker for pushy friends.)

Pelt of sea otter,
smelt of sea water,
alters no sea urchin
with offending stone.

Shellfish lose shield,
must yield to 
tool-aided force
and survival's will. 

Predators take many
forms. I much prefer
the hungry that feast on
flesh to the prey who
scrounge vegetation.

Indications are that 
eating takes effort, 
either way.

The work yields
bounty, if not beauty,
blood-soaked canines, 
blood-stained fur lines
licked clean by sandy
tongues designed to 
wrest every last drop
and taut tendon from
the bones of the prize.

Evident before we 
see it, beast kills
beast, eats it. 

Pagan nature worship,
you may call this.
Devilish, dripping with
sanguine sanctities,
the reach for fresh
death's witness

Am I a witch?
I only watch
and wonder.
Make I no potions,
in effect, with 
strange, thundering

My hell hound cometh
in the darkest hour,
seeking orders,
release from pain,
a resolute cause. 
Sleeps again.

My man stirreth,
in turn, from this
Stealth insufficient
gives me up,
trades me for 
its fame.

I am discovered 

Would one think
the house abandoned--
no burning, glowing 
hearth, no lights
electric, no running
pipes, no cobwebs
swabbed nor sucked

Such haunts, still
inhabited, mummify
passively for the 
unlifted fingers,
old with ache

A living death,
tableau vivant,
portrait in aluminum
and plaster and
vinyl—a faint whiff
toxic, worn tight
as a swimsuit, as useful
for lacking depths to suit it.
Still life.

The monster is the 
hideous self of a soul,
grotesque before 
lighted mirror, before 
conscience denied—

the odious decadence,
in decay, spoiled
beauty, sacrificed grace
—before the altar of 

The beast is a still,
small-voiced mount
of a dingy, chalk-paint
wall—placed high, 
once alive, now stiff 
with memory.


  • Outlander themes—e.g., nature of sin, good, evil; archaic superstitions, perceptions; progeny, kin
  • Penny Dreadful TV series / Frankenstein / The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • The House of Mirth
  • love of nature, fondness for predators, natural selection
  • taking in the moment, the senses; observation
  • supernatural, paranormal, mysterious menaces; foreboding darkness
  • threats posed by creativity, independence

4 thoughts on “Raw Poetic Material: Sources and Destinations

  1. Pingback: Wildlife Poem: Sea Otter in Progress | Philosofishal

  2. Pingback: Otter Poem: Today’s the Day | Philosofishal

  3. Pingback: Sea Otter Poem: Revised Draft | Philosofishal

  4. Pingback: Sea Otter Poem, 4th Draft: Reaching Revision Goals | Philosofishal

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