Cockerel, poem by Pat Smith Ranzoni

young man

you must not
think of me
in fer­tile terms
except as we both
love lan­guages for love
must not
think of me
as the riper chick
to favor for your
vol­canic quakes
I’m a plump old bid­dy
fool­ish for a cock
spout­ing his best
doo­dle-doo come
when you’d like
I’d applaud yours of course
but best roost right there
lest my chan­ti­cleer hear
then even if you fly
by the book with luck
you’ll only be chased
to the brook not
lose an eye cluck cluck
when he struts his talons high
brings his wings down
s t r e t c h e s
his gor­geous iri­des­cent neck
to my direc­tion
you must know
he’s got me
by his crow and crown

cluck cluck

 

Mixed-blood Yan­kee, Pat Smith Ran­zoni, writes from one of the sub­sis­tence farms of her youth.Second daugh­ter of a Cana­di­an-Amer­i­can WWII vet–papermill rigger–woodsman–trader, and farm girl,she was born upriv­er before the grid in 1940 in Mt. Katahdin coun­try, north­ern reach of the Appalachi­an­chain. Her tarpa­per and rur­al cre­den­tials earned her the first invi­ta­tion to a poet from this far to rea­dat the 2002 Ohio U. Zanesville "Women of Appalachia" con­fer­ence and in 2011 at the Amer­i­can Folk Fes­ti­val. Although she worked her way through degrees in ele­men­tary edu­ca­tion at U Maine (where her work is used in cours­es on Maine writ­ing and his­to­ry), and had a career in ear­ly child­hood ed., she is unschooled in poet­ry to which she turned at 43, teach­ing her­self to write and pub­lish when she could no longer dri­ve and work full-time after the onset of the neu­ro-mus­cu­lar con­di­tion, dys­to­nia. Devot­ed to doc­u­ment­ing her people's cul­tures, her work has been pub­lished across the coun­try and abroad. She has authored eight books and chap­books, three of which she hand sewed the way her moth­er stitched books for her to learn to read from. She has qual­i­fied for a list­ing in Poets & Writ­ers Direc­tory (www​.pw​.org/​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​/​p​a​t​r​i​c​i​a​_​r​a​n​z​o​n​i_1), was cho­sen by Pud­ding House Pub­li­ca­tions for their nation­al Great­est Hits invi­ta­tion­al archive, and her work is being acquired by the U of Maine Spe­cial Col­lec­tions. This poem is from BEDDING VOWS, Love Poems from Out­back Maine, forth­com­ing this win­ter from North Coun­try Press.

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