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Roadside “lawn ornament” (Mount Airy, NC)

I recently ran across this image of Mount Airy, NC’s Big Apple Cow in flickr wonderland.  Hope Bill doesn’t mind the link.  It made me think of a poem I’d seen on Poetry Out Loud in April, which led me back to another poem from  Poetry mag (June 2014), which ended in this interesting but somewhat rambling post. There are apples and cows and interior/American landscapes. Well, just read the post.

[ Use the links for full text, author bio and collection info.]


by John Gallaher

“Are you happy?” That’s a good place to start, or maybe,
“Do you think you’re happy?” with its more negative
tone. Sometimes you’re walking, sometimes falling. That’s part
of the problem too, but not all of the problem. Flowers out the window
or on the windowsill, and so someone brought flowers.
We spend a long time interested in which way the car would
best go in the driveway. Is that the beginning of an answer?
Some way to say who we are?


Well, it brings us up to now, at any rate, as the limitations
of structure, which is the way we need for it to be. Invent some muses
and invoke them, or save them for the yard, some animus
to get us going. And what was it Michael said yesterday? That
the committee to do all these good things has an agenda to do all these
other things as well, that we decide are less good in our estimation,
so then we have this difficulty. It just gets to you sometimes. We have
a table of red apples and a table of green apples, and someone asks youinalandscape_bookstore_large
about apples, but that’s too general, you think, as you’ve made several distinctions to get to this place of two tables, two colors. How can that be an answer to anything?…



from In a Landscape(BOA,2014)



By Constance Urdang


Take your boulevards, your Locust Street,
Your Chestnut, Pine, your Olive,
Take your Forest Park and Shaw’s Garden,
Your avenues that lead past street-corner violence,
Past your West End, past your Limit,
To shabby suburban crime,
Vandalism in the parking-lot,
Abductions from the shopping mall—
Like making the same mistake over and over
On the piano or typewriter keys,
Always hitting the wrong note—
How “very alive, very American”
They are, how chockful of metaphysics,
Hellbent to obliterate the wilderness.


Learn to live with sycamores,
Their sad, peeling trunks, scabbed all over
With shabby patches, their enormous leaves
In dingy shades of ochre and dun1297937
Rattling like castanets, their roots
Thick as a man’s leg, crawling
Like enormous worms out of the broken pavements,
Continually thrusting themselves up
From pools of shade they make,
Sculpturing the street
With dappled dark and light
As glaucoma, a disease of the eye,
Makes the world more beautiful
With its mysterious rainbows…



from The Lone Woman and Others (Univ. of Pittsburgh, 1980)