Scarecrow Sings the High Lonesome



Scarecrow Sings the High Lonesome

Nothing about me shines or sparkles. If asked,
I would place myself among the discarded —
remnant cloth and straw, worn, inedible,
useless, if not for packaging intended to
convey a certain message, which I of course
have subverted to “Welcome, corvids!” Even
my voice lies stranded in the refuse, silent
yet harmonious, clear yet strangled, whole
and unheard, dispersed, like tiny drops of
vapor listing above the ocean’s swell, enduring
gray skies and gulls and those solemn rocks
bearing their weight against the white crush.
Why do I persist? What tethers a shadow
to its body? How do we hear by implication
what isn’t there? Bill Monroe hammered
his mandolin, chopping chords, muting,
droning, banging out incomplete minors
to expectant ears, constructing more than
a ladder of notes climbing past the rafters
into the smoky sky. What I sing is not
heard but implied: the high lonesome, blue
and old-time, repealed. Crushed limestone
underfoot. Stolen names, borrowed sounds.
Dark words subsumed by light, yellowed,
whitened, faded to obscurity, to obscenity.


“Scarecrow Sings the High Lonesome” first appeared in Crannóg, in June 2017.


17 thoughts on “Scarecrow Sings the High Lonesome

  1. The scarecrow seems to stand somewhere on the border of Bonnefoy’s arriere-pais and Frost’s untaken road (though the corvids have taken it), a land of Voschev’s forgotten things (Platonov). This one really speaks of a quiet and subtle nobility in the world’s unexamined spaces.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Indeed excellent poetry. The run over pacing makes one breathless to read; and feel run off each time. Notice the sad lifeless loneliness hidden within, hard to call out, yet shouting out to be heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Robert, I really like the whole section that says ” Even/my voice lies stranded in the refuse, silent/yet harmonious, clear yet strangled, whole/and unheard, dispersed, like tiny drops of/vapor listing above the ocean’s swell,…”

    Liked by 1 person

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