The Invisibility of Bears
The hunter names the hunt for what he seeks.
He calls it a bear hunt because he sees no bear;
the absence haunts him because his sight fails
or his ear dulls or his perseverance lags,
so the trail grows cold and he returns to his
solitude, like a poet unable to find the word.
Tomorrow he hunts again because he must,
as an eagle, once in flight, is compelled
to ride whatever air there is, trailing some
elusive shadow beneath the water’s surface,
trusting it to become visible for that
one tick of eternity it takes to snatch up
in strong talons, tear with hooked beak,
and make its flesh his own. Lacking the eagle’s
eye and cunning, the hunter follows tracks
he thinks are there, as if a hunt is a prayer
and the chase is his religion, his way
of making the unknowable known.
Still, he longs for surer ways of capture,
like the old Inuit who whittles a wolf bone
to a point at both ends and hides it in
blubber along a bear path, then waits
patiently for the bear to eat, patiently
waits the days and miles it takes the imbedded
bone to twist and slash inside the unknowing
bear until at last, murdered by its own hunger,
the spent animal spills its vibrant blood
on the quiet snow and the Inuit is rewarded.
The hunter envies patience and wisdom, but he
became a seeker because he didn’t know
anything knowable, could be confident only
in making something of what he found, so
with his senses he pursues his invisible bear,
knowing, if his weary bones know anything,
that some shining moment in some inevitable
better place, that should he finally corner
that bear, it will consume him.
**FSPA #1 Florida State Poets Award,
FSPA Anthology Eighteen, 2002
Grampa built this old rocker with cherry from our orchard.
Forty years on the front porch before he left to be with God.
Fifty more have come and gone; still I rock with him at sunset.
So, the chair is ninety this year, still hewn cherry thru and thru
except one rocker Grampa broke and made again with maple.
Small, I guess, for modern rears, but it holds the whole family.
We had a yard sale yesterday, someone asked to buy it—
a dealer from Atlanta who knew good wood and craftsmanship.
Wood he knew all right, but not Grampa, nor me, nor memory.
**FSPA Anthology Fourteen, 1996
When I doze late, as I am wont to do,
some dastardly backyard dew-nibbling doe
does unduly undo my doze’s residue—
Dourly undozed by this doe’s ado in dew,
I rise to wish the doe a furious skidoo.
Should my threat undo her daily daring-do,
I then proceed to knead some biscuit dough.
With coffee brewing, I chant a French rondeau,
a limerick or ballad, or something blue
hoping thereby to musically subdue
my urge to do-in this cockadoodledoe, to
make doe fondue, deer roux or pot of stew
to go with sourdough and honeydew,
an overdue doughy dowry duly due
my dozey wife, who usually dutifully does
this daily whoop-de-dough I rue to do,
at least until she calls a favor due
or rants and raves like Shakespeare's shrew.
Can matters get worse? I'll give you a clue:
This morning a dozen does said howdy-do
to my dowdy lawn; this dawdling cockcrow
crew of does munched their morning brew
while standing knee-deep in misty dew
and quite ignoring my Rondeau's parlez-voo.
But when I punched down the biscuit dough
—which by then I dearly felt the need to do!—
they dashed away, these disappearing dears,
rudely dropping on the way despicable doe-do
in my pool and prancing my picket fence askew—
Now I do not know what to do—perhaps I’ll sue!
**FSPA Anthology Fifteen, 1997
LARRY is a retired teacher, editor and writing consultant with a PhD in Comparative Literature from Florida State University.
He was the founder and first president of the Big Bend Poets chapter of FSPA (in its first incarnation). Formerly,
he published three poetry periodicals, and his text How to Write and Publish Poetry has been well received by both
poets and teachers. Online he maintains four poetry forums (including FSPA) and an extensive home site, Poetry in theWORDshop.
His poetry has won numerous awards, including the #1 Florida State Poets Award in both 2000 and 2001. Larry lives in Tallahassee
Poetry in theWORDshop