Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Enter Dark Stranger

William Trowbridge (b. 1941)

In "Shane" when Jack Palance first appears,
a stray cur takes one look and slinks away
on tiptoes, able, we understand, to recognize
something truly dark. So it seems when we
appear, crunching through the woods. A robin
cocks her head, then hops off,
ready to fly like hell and leave us the worm.
A chipmunk, peering out from his hole beneath
a maple root, crash dives when he hears
our step. The alarm sounds everywhere. Squirrels,
finches, butterflies flee for their lives. Imagine
a snail picking up the hems of his shell
and hauling ass for cover. He's studied carnivores,
seen the menu, noticed the escargots.

But forget Palance, who would have murdered Alabama
just for fun. Think of Karloff's monster,
full of lonely love but too hideous
to bear; or Kong, bereft of Fay Wray
shrieking in his hand: the flies buzz our heads
like angry biplanes, and the ants hoist pitchforks
to march on our ankles as we watch the burgher's daughter
bob downstream in a ring of daisies.


dan1968 said...

Boris Karloff is the actor who played Frankenstein (1931).

a cur:

1. A dog considered to be inferior or undesirable; a mongrel.
2. A base or cowardly person.

Unknown said...

This is not the poem as it appears in Trowbridge's book, Enter Dark Stranger.