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Life Arts    H3'ed 11/12/20

The little fool

Message Gary Lindorff
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I'm hunkered down under a metal garbage can lid

Waiting for my arrow to return to the ground with a thunk

The arrow I had just shot straight into the sky

With as much force as my little boy muscles could muster

And with all my imagination did I picture

It climbing climbing and gradually gracefully

Slowing and eventually stopping Yes stopping

For a millisecond midair I now see it

Dropping dropping backwards and very slowly turning

Turning to point straight downward as it falls

Gaining velocity heading back toward me

Me waiting under my metal shield

What a little fool I was

Foolish to think that I was protected but

How I craved to be targeted by a worthy foe

Who would not hold back or pretend

As I grew older I shot my arrows at targets

Mounted on bales of straw deep deep into the bales

I also taught myself how to throw a knife

And shoot a gun All useless skills Useless


On the Poetry Foundation website Michael Torres (in his reflection "What comes back") quotes John Berryman as saying, "You should always be trying to write a poem you lack the technique, the language, the courage to achieve. Otherwise you're merely imitating yourself, going nowhere, because that's always easiest." He also says that there are some images or memories that never completely go away, like a lost dog who (as in a recurrent dream) keeps finding its way back home, home being the reluctant writer's poetic imagination. That description fits this image of little-boy me crouching under the garbage can lid after having shot an arrow straight up into the sky (with my not-so-little-boy bow) and actually trying to get it to hit my "shield" because that was my way of simulating a real battle where an enemy is actually trying to kill me! What I am saying in the poem, or wishing, is that men (in general) could get this lust for battle and yearning to confront the archetypal foe, out of the way and lived-out at an early age, to clear the deck for learning how to conceive a world without war and without feeding into a culture of violence.

(Article changed on November 13, 2020 at 15:54)

(Article changed on November 13, 2020 at 15:56)

(Article changed on November 13, 2020 at 16:38)

(Article changed on November 13, 2020 at 18:43)

(Article changed on November 14, 2020 at 13:03)

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Gary Lindorff is a poet, writer, blogger and author of several nonfiction books, a collection of poetry, "Children to the Mountain" and a memoir, "Finding Myself in Time: Facing the Music" Over the last few years he has begun calling (more...)

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