The scarecrow

“Prolonged exposure to nature gives one
a sort of grammatica pardo, a wisdom of the soil.”
Jim Harrison

the city dweller with little of knowledge of the soil
senses it is more than earthy epithets
but the scarecrow has a quite specific wisdom
weathered, windward, arms akimbo
pirouetting on a tip-toe pole
silently wishing he did not quite resemble
all the raggle-taggle homeless bums
befuddled into forgetting roots

hammered two feet down in earth
he sometimes catches sight of death
the smell, upwind, where tarry feathers in untidy bundles hang
corvids who did not scare so easily, not fooled
into thinking he was really flesh and blood
moles too, spread-eagled on the wire
grey dessicates too blind to see the burrowed jaws
and so between internment of seed and harvest
the scarecrow mounts guard on his battlefield
waging war on hungering souls, scattering fear like grapeshot
salvation in the grotesque

Joining Jilly with her pick of Jim Harrison poetry prompts on this Day 17 of 28 Days of Unreason

16 thoughts on “The scarecrow

  1. Terrific! I love the specific knowledge of the scarecrow, his feet hammered into the ground, the grapeshot, all of it!

  2. Excellent choices in words here! Your verbs (hammered, pirouetting) give us a sense of unbalance, like the scarecrow, like life and death and fear. Is he (are we) dancing? I have not heard the term grapeshot in years, but it instantly brought back images that are perfect here. Your poems asks tough questions that I am reluctant to answer, especially in that final line. Bravo!

    1. I enjoyed this prompt Jilly- so many possibilities

      and was surprised when the scarecrow appeared – see him dancing with the wind and trying to frighten away creatures to save their lives. Never thought of a saviour as a grotesque but I guess these were the purposes of church adornments – to frighten us away from sin!

      1. Big Bad Wolf, and all that! I love how the process of writing does that to us – we start out thinking we are in control and then the crazy child writer inside takes over 🙂

  3. You’ve captured that uneasy truce we have with nature, which is only a truce as long as we’re doing sneaky things to keep things the way we want them.

  4. You got it all in here! This scarecrow with its feet hammered down is a more effective symbol of authority than some with actual legs! I enjoyed the entire write.

    1. authority without being authoritarian maybe – the scarecrow is a kindly soul – thank you for your enjoyment Vivian

  5. An interesting correlation… the scarecrow and the savior. May I dare venture that Jesus, like the scarecrow, rather than scaring us from temptation is more warning against the grapeshot outcome, the hanging on the fence?

    Your poetry is richly layered and deeply written. So much going on it requires a second and a third read. I bow.

    1. When I wrote this I was barely aware of such parallels -love the interpretation Charley – maybe the aspect of OT Yahweh is the grapeshot and grotesque and Jesus cries for us poor moles and other fence hangers – dare I say the two prongs of the trinity stick?

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