Monday, July 21, 2014

We Find a Spotted Salamander . . .

Welcome to Red Eft Editions!  We've chosen this logo for our venture in mixed-media collaboration because the Red Eft (or Eastern Newt) has long intrigued us with its ability to pursue a uniquely “double-life” on land and beneath the water.  So in our own pursuit of artistic adaptation in the digital age, we’re here presenting our personal blend of naturalistic poetry and painting in the contemporary “habitat” of the internet.

Here, then, is our first video-collaboration inspired by the visual wonder and moving fate of another member of the salamander world, the Spotted — a local
species we've ritually walked to witness mating in our flashlight beam, on those first warm nights of February rain, in a neighbor’s temporary pond.   

We Find a Spotted Salamander, Drowned . . .

                               Before you praise Spring’s advent note
                               What capers the mad wind may cut:
                               To cast the flowers to the waves
                               And overturn the fishing boat.
                                                                      — Tu Fu

We find a spotted salamander
in violent storm the night before,
                                   tail stiffly poking
from its matted bier of risen silt
          and weed.
                              Odd surprise to spot
her rubbery coldness—there:   
                          in the vernal pool
we walk to on spring evenings
       to observe new life.
                                         Now rake
       its bloated corpse to pondside
with a fallen branch
               through sable sheets
       of floating scum  in the twilit
glimmer of the stirred-up pond 
                              to probe its fate
       more closely.  Amazed
by the luminous stream of eggs
                                 still oozing 
       from her birth canal
              and clustered round her limp
back legs and slate-blue tail,
                                     like perseids
      bejeweling the numbed heavens
after chaos.

*An earlier version appeared in Dimming Radiance: Poems and Prose Parables
[Wind Publications, 2008]  //  The present version is forthcoming in Back to the Source: 
Selected Poems & Parables (1980-2013)  [San Francisco Bay Press, 2015] 

No comments:

Post a Comment