Wednesday, September 19, 2012

man/tis humble

St. Louis, MO

a husk remains, no life,
just a crystalline facsimile
in intricate detail

eyes & arms, still bent in the humble
prayer postures---moments we shared,
this summer over coffee,

watching the world careen
through screened back porch windows,
little did we know---time
was frail

did we ever see the same?

your head cocked sideways.

does it matter?

& leaving, you left me
a brittle memory, something
tangible to remember, a finger
along the ribbed abdomen,
unmoving wings

a delicate mist rising from the surface,
above the lip of my coffee cup as i sit
in the same place

sun cutting in, illuminating
what once was you, a sparkle still---now

out there enjoying a morning with someone else---
perhaps needing your prayers
more than i---

or dead,
either way

be well, my friend.

written for Poetry Jam, about a mantis who lived on our porch this summer, who left his moulting for me in his leaving with the change of the season.

67 comments:

Anne said...

This is so nice Brian. To say farewell to another creature that occupied your world for a short time is sensitive and sweet.

Shadow said...

only you can describe a praying mantis so deeply... quite the astute observer you are.

R. Burnett Baker said...

How wonderful you giving us this perspective of coexistence and patience, rather than the reaction I would have of abject fear and horror! Beautifully written, and universal in thought.....

Mary said...

This is beautiful, Brian! If we look closely and with compassion at the little beings who share our environment, I think we will surprised at what we see...and learn.

the walking man said...

Amen, 'cept it wasn't a mantis.

Daniel said...

Kinda sweet and sentimental this morning. You have made "ode to a bug" quite moving.

Pat Hatt said...

Finding the little creature
Sure made for a fine feature
Even as each see the world in a different way
All live through the day
Sadly the cat would see it
And chew it up bit by bit

kaykuala said...

A mantis is absorbing. One gets mesmerized and engrossed waiting for movements. It's an 'aha! when there's a slight twitch. Your verse says it all, Brian!


Hank

Tabor said...

We are so on the same wavelength some days. But I am old and you are so wise for still being so young.

happygirl said...

I love watching the praying mantis. They are so otherworldly. I love the way they move. Thanks for the prose. lovely.

Lorraine said...

Change is constant, and I sometimes get so so very tired....

Grandmother said...

I like that you find a friend in nature and, share her with us and wish her well. I also like the sound of crystalline facsimile.

Friko said...

Brian, you're a poet, a real poet!

Bonnie said...

... your words lead down heart-filled paths, Brian. Thank you ...

Valerie said...

Who else but you could write so delicately with such beauty in your words.

Janice said...

A lovely homage to one of nature's marvelous creatures.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I was so relieved to discover this poem was to a mantis, Brian. Whew. Absolutely lovely, and such a sweet perspective. The mantis would love to know it had been truly Seen.

Claudia said...

love the little things that touch and show us how brittle life can be, how things constantly change and good to stop and think about it for a moment.. i remember steve e. mentioning her in a post as well..smiles

farmlady said...

And so it goes... man or insect, friend or foe. We are here for such a short time... and we all pray/prey.

Helen said...

I doubt anyone has looked so closely at the fascinating little mantis ... 'spot on' with your ode.
(Busch Stadium ~~ go Cards)

Daydreamertoo said...

LOVE this. I don't like spiders in the house but will never kill them. Trap them under a glass and take them outside. I often wonder what life is like form other creatures aspects. They obviously see the world so differently and yet, they also have one need to survive, which is what we all try to do. I love how spiders create their webs, so strong yet, so delicate too. You sound as if you really studied this one Brian. Wonderful :)

Laura said...

compassionate...always...you are a beautiful human being dear Brian, truly you are.

G-Man said...

Son...Don't take it personal!!

Goofball said...

aaaaah a mantis, now it makes sense

rosaria williams said...

A stand-in for every man, every being who was there for a moment to illuminate us in a pairing, seeing with different eyes, enough so to allow us to cogitate on this phenomenon of perspective.


turtlememoir said...

wow, brian! i love the way you've made the mantis a true fellow creature ('equal under god' came to mind)... the love, the care with which you bring him to our attention - truly a memorable poem... great title too

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

You come up with great things :)

Alice Audrey said...

Interesting juxtaposition of "dead" and "be well."

SaraV said...

Brian, from the title to the end, a completely wonderful poem. You hit my science loving sweet spot too, capturing those insect details. :-) An enjoyable read, as always!

Lady Nyo said...

this was so beautiful, Brian, but I thought it was of a person you were writing about...and I read it with great trepidation.

LOL! That it is about a mantis...doesn't reduce the poem at all, but diminishes the anxiety I felt reading your lovely poem.

You have quite the compassionate vision. Bless you, Brian, for making such a deep connection with another species.

Lady Nyo

Wander said...

You broke your love spell:-( oh, tiz a sad day indeed when from love we leave to explore un requited angst stemming from the departure of a bug...

I was glad to hear that the only human componant here was you:-)

Wander

Tara Miller said...

I agree with Daniel! You speak such lovely words about your time with your friend, the praying mantis. ;)

Tara Miller said...

I agree with Daniel! You speak such lovely words about your time with your friend, the praying mantis. ;)

Pat said...

This is the 3rd mention of a praying mantis in as many days. What a coincidence! You described it so well and I like to think that the two of you developed a relationship.

Little Ms Blogger said...

This poem was a great way to say goodbye to a friend and a season. But the fact that you found the skin that was shed is a hopeful sign for the start of a new phase.

Peggy said...

What a wonderful close look at at praying mantis. I really like this a lot. Thanks for responding to the prompt!

hedgewitch said...

I'd say you've internalized the concept of metaphor so well now, brian, that it is almost effortless in your poems. The shed skin...yes, we all do that I suppose...though it seems we only notice when we find someone else's.

Myrna R. said...

It's like a prayer for the prayerfull. I used to be so intolerant of the little creature - bugs, yuk. But now, I've come to respect them, even see them as little animals who share and complete my world. I'm not totally enlightened though. Still don't like them to live with me.

^.^ said...

Moving on is the key ... Being gypsy, my family has done so for centuries ... I'm a Mantis at heart ... looking for food all the time ... but will never stoop down pray to anyone ...

^.^ said...

Moving on is the key ... Being gypsy, my family has done so for centuries ... I'm a Mantis at heart ... looking for food all the time ... but will never stoop down pray to anyone ...

Heaven said...

I like how you described moulting, ribbed abdomen, unmoving wings...different perspective..then finally the leaving for another road and reason. Fine writing Brian ~

Maggie May said...

That was very deep but very beautiful.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Such a wonderful write Brian! Smiles to you!

Luke Prater said...

a capture of something special - a relationship we can all relate to - I like that you use words like

intricate
frail
brittle

and life is tangible, the sun cuts in, the world careens. So very palpable piece, so very rich in imagery, so very deftly worked to be immediately identifiable. Just love this one, Bri.

sage said...

wonderful, I like the idea of the mantis praying for you or others

Secret Agent Woman said...

Praying mantises look like little aliens to me. I really like having them around.

Vicki Lane said...

'A brittle memory' -- nice. A lovely tribute to a fellow creature.

Vicki Lane said...

'A brittle memory' -- nice. A lovely tribute to a fellow creature.

Lori McClure said...

That's pretty good when you're able to incite sentimentality about a praying mantis. I was feeling a lot of emotion as I read. I suppose need and loss are universal no matter what the need and loss may be. Lovely :)

ds said...

Ah, a mantis. And so much more. Thank you.

Dolly@Soulstops said...

what a loving tribute to your praying friend...you had me there, on your back porch, sipping coffee...blessings, Brian :)

Emily Wierenga said...

about a mantis? oh my goodness. you had me swooning over a mantis. (miss you at ip!)

Sheila said...

ugh, for some reason I was thinking of Steve E. as I read this and was afraid that you were about to deliver some really bad news. whew! btw,looks like you sped through st. louis (my neck of the woods)

my heart's love songs said...

this is so beautiful, Brian!

"did we ever see the same?"

i wonder... i 'made friends' with a daddy long legs spider on my balcony a few weeks ago and it seemed as though she would come out on her web to greet me. i couldn't help but think she must have enough intelligence to recognize me and learn that i was "safe" to be around.

i hope you're liking your new job.

Dave King said...

Terrific - though I was way off with the back story! (Which may beg the question: does it matter if the reader sees something else?) Either way: terrific write!

Mary Mansfield said...

Great attention to detail in this! Really a wonderful poem, Brian.

missing moments said...

Loved this! As always, love all the ways your words can be interpreted depending on the reader.

ayala said...

Only you can write this, awesome!

Loredana Donovan said...

At first I thought you were reminiscing lost love. Then you mentioned a mantis ... hmmm, to be it sounds like a metaphor for something else. I sense melancholy, perhaps regret? Lots of emotions, here, Brian. I like this one ... smiles

Margaret said...

I so admire a great metaphor and this one really delivered.

Anonymous said...

Your connection to an insect is very endearing and makes me think you are a little solitary.

Anonymous said...

Oops
the above is from Cressida

Magpie said...

I believe I saw a picture of your mantis earlier this summer. Such a wonderful way to remember your friend.

uneven steven said...

very nice poem. liked the phrasing
just a crystalline facsimile
in intricate detail
and the detail of the head cocked sideways - so characteristic of the mantis
"Thought the tone was good - not too light hearted or too serious - appropriate for and enjoyed the bitterweet sentiment

Sue said...

Nature has a friend in you.

=)

Jen said...

Always drawn in by your thoughtful use of words that paint a picture of your world. Bless you as you say goodbye to yet another Sojourner in this life. ~ jen

Syd said...

I would find the cocoons and molts of moths, cicadas and mantises each summer. Time to bust out and fly.