An old solitudarian

woodpeckered snag

Naked old solitudarian
standing in tatters of scrub oak and hawthorn
bare cover for such unholy inhibition

Neither shot by shell nor shrapnel fragment
far and further still from the western front
all’s quiet in the unruffled moment

but linger on as keeper of the watch
witness the sudden tchik-tchik shot of scarlet top-notch
vivid green livery or pied polka dot

parade-ground sound of drill and drum
ten to forty strikes per second thrum
targeted pandemonium

woodpeckers mine in sheer shafts of bark
dot-to-dot joinery – until owls remark
a barbican grotto for perusing the dark

Another of my snag inspired versifying for Sunday’s  Poetry Pantry. And the Midweek Motif  on Wednesday will be “Watershed Moments.”

34 Comments on “An old solitudarian

  1. I love the rhythm of parading boots or…lucid and yet at the enduring and quiet foundation


  2. I like how you tied the woodpeckers sound to be an echo from the past. The war drums that the tree has watched. The memories of nothing new on western fronts.. Somehow I feel that they have seen what we might wish to forget.


    • far from the western fronts of Verdun & Arras though it looked as if it had been taken from there – a quiet spot in Derbyshire broken by the military sounds of woodpeckers in their artillery practice ground


  3. wow I loved your poem here. you took something from nature and turned it into a fun piece of entertainment.


  4. What a fabulous old snag that you have immortalized here Laura…I really enjoyed the feeling and sound of the woodpecker hammering with your wonderful imagery throughout the poem!


  5. “Naked old solitudarian
    standing in tatters of scrub oak and hawthorn” – lovely: an indelible line of poetry. I really enjoyed this post!


  6. these kind of guards are often forgotten or taken forgotten – but they ask stories to tell. if only the owls and woodpeckers can share them to us


  7. This reminded me of a camping site from many years ago. Awakening to the drumming hum of the woodpecker who inhabited the place. For three days, I tried to get a photo of him, but he seemed to know what I was up to. Each time I’d lift the camera, he’d hop to the other side of the tree and then peek around to see if I was still there. I never got the photo, but I still laugh at his shenanigans.



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