My friend Doris in Vancouver and I have become poetry buddies.  When I stayed in British Columbia back in October, she and I went on a retreat, and there we filled out slips of papers with one word prompts. We selected individual prompts from one of my many hats, and with that prompt wrote a poem.

We continued the practice long distance.  Most recently she gave us the prompt Ramshackle. Great word. I looked it up to make sure my sense of it was something closed to what the dictionary had to say.

According to Merriam–Webster


1 : appearing ready to collapse : rickety
2 : carelessly or loosely constructed <a ramshackle plot>

I let the word soak in and images form.  I then wrote the following poem


sniff, sniff, paw, paw, nibble, Crunch, chew, chew, chew.
sniff, sniff, paw, paw, nibble, Crunch, chew, chew, chew.
sniff, sniff, paw, paw…stretch.
(choice bits in this thicket)
S t r e t c h
thick, Thick, thicket.
reach, push, press, STAMP!
nibble, Crunch, chew chew, chew.

Abraham thrusts his ancient sinewy arm into the thorny bush.
His saggy skin catches like cheesecloth on barbed wire.
From behind he clamps onto the Ram’s musky mane, greasy with testosterone.


Ribbons of welts encircle the child’s flesh.
Rope burns sear Isaac, brand him.
Father with son heave the seething carcass onto
the smoldering mound of brush and twigs,
A dishevelled altar to appease an insatiable god.

This post has 1 Comment

  1. Michelle on December 9, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Ooh. Chills. Especially on that last line.

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