Urban scarecrows, or: White plankton

‘Neither Snow’

by Billy Collins

When all of a sudden the city air filled with snow,
the distinguishable flakes
blowing sideways,
looked like krill
fleeing the maw of an advancing whale.

At least they looked that way to me
from the taxi window,
and since I happened to be sitting
that fading Sunday afternoon
in the very center of the universe,
who was in a better position
to say what looked like what,
which thing resembled some other?

Yes, it was a run of white plankton
borne down the Avenue of the Americas
in the stream of the wind,
phosphorescent against the weighty buildings.

Which made the taxi itself,
yellow and slow-moving,
a kind of undersea creature,
I thought as I wiped the fog from the glass,

and me one of its protruding eyes,
an eye on a stem
swiveling this way and that
monitoring one side of its world,
observing tons of water
tons of people
colored signs and lights
and now a wildly blowing race of snow.

A ‘golden shovel’ by ben Alexander

The first snow of the year begins just when
school is letting out; and all
the children of
the neighborhood are in a
fever at the sudden
weather change, cheering as the
soft flakes float gently down across the city.

Traffic cones stand in the winter air,
bearing witness to the joy-filled
occasion with
the seriousness of urban scarecrows, as snow
billows up in wind gusts from the
street, making lane markings distinguishable.

A pensive man notes the flakes
and the heavy winds blowing,
as he turns his head sideways
toward his taxi window. Never have kids looked
quite so much like
swarming krill,

he thinks, watching them fleeing
home from the
mindless, gaping maw
of the government's sorry notion of
an education system, an
essential factor in advancing...
no- damning society to the fate of a beached, dying whale.

โ€˜What do you seeโ€™ Prompt #128

For Sadjeโ€™s weekly #WDYS prompt, she offered the photo below (taken by Oleksii S) as inspiration for writers to produce art.

Image credit; Oleksii S @ Unsplash

Muri’s poetry scavenger hunt

My friend Muri (Val) is running a poetry scavenger hunt for Na/GloPoWriMo, which I shall attempt to participate in fully this year.

From what I understand, she’s offering three poetry prompts every week for the duration of the month of April ’22 (on MWF).

Last year, I was pretty busy with my personal micropoetry project so I only responded to several of her poetry challenges, but this year I hope to rectify that!


Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

35 thoughts on “Urban scarecrows, or: White plankton”

  1. Oh my goodness – what wonderful writing! The underwater imagery and your response are so compelling.

  2. Loves your inspiration and the golden shovelful of snow you lifted from it! Way to unbury even more beauty, and yes, preserve us from the bloated corpse of that beached whale!

  3. I went to boot camp for the Navy just outside of Chicago at the end of December 1995. We got to march down the middle of the street and experience gusts of blowing snow firsthand. This was a novel experience for me because I have never lived somewhere snow stuck around if it ever snowed at all. I always pictured the swirling gusts of snow as singular and transparent creatures like ghosts that would race down the street attending to whatever business ghosts happen to have. Anyway, your poem is great, and it reminded me of that experience. ๐Ÿ˜€

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