the necromancer

by Milner Place
PoetryCircle
Third Place, February 2011
Judged by Kwame Dawes


he promenades the hours
of night

hearing
all animals around
grunts scuttlings
curses outside a closing bar
woosh of wings
squeak of bat
spit and screech
of lusting cat

he weaves
the secrets of the dark

summons
a swift horse
mounts to ride
through fields that spring
invested in
and dew
has roosted
on the grass

conjures a sun

gallops beneath
the lime of new-born leaves
to a sea that argues
with a brittle shore

where ships
are busy and the whales
pipe
through their vents
outrageous songs

back
to his loom
he starts
afresh

again

again

and yet again


“Roosted” has to be the wrong verb for what dew does on grass, but this turns out to be one small hiccup in a fine balancing act of rhythm playfulness, rhyme and the necessary weightiness of fable. The leaps are appropriately surreal, and the poet somehow manages to keep us enthralled by the idea of some kind of nocturnal creature—easily an artist—who finds the subjects for his weaving in the happenings of the night. There is, though, very little at stake, no apparent risk for the necromancer, which deprives the poem of urgency, but what it loses there, it makes up for in craft—the managing of rhythm and the use of repetition. It is musical in as much as poetry does achieve music, and the management of the elements that create this music is nothing to sniff at. --Kwame Dawes

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