Drawing the Circle

singing-frog-in-watercolor-by-frits-ahlefeldt Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig via Compfight

Summer is winding down. I can see it in the trees’ leaves, the way they turn ever so slightly towards yellow, as if they are tired from the effort of their summer’s work. But everywhere, too, compulsion and desire.

Drawing the Circle

They came
like a division of tanks
shiny and clattering
these dragonflies
clearing swaths
through the insects
that left the safety
of the prairie grass,
propelled toward the light
above
a cotillion of swallows dance
through the dragonflies
and higher yet,
on the far side of the valley,
tired from the long summer days
shadows lean heavily
on the east side of trees
leaves
faded toward yellow,
spent from their obligation
to make something
from next to
nothing
now stands in the way
of the growing darkness,
the trill of the
toads’ desire
to draw the circle
close.

–Steve Peterson

Published by

Steve Peterson

I teach fifth grade in Iowa.

2 thoughts on “Drawing the Circle”

  1. A snapshot of late summer. I particularly like the way those single words act as a double stitch (double meanings), making my reading spiral through your poem ending with one of the single words, then looping back to start the next part with that single word (new meaning). Each time, you make me take a breath and slow down. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for the content/form comments, Mary Lee! I learn so much from them.

      As I wrote, I began to feel this poem had a spiral in it. A single stitched word happened by “accident” (‘though maybe nothing really happens by accident, or everything does…?) and then that accident became something that I sought out which transformed the poem from a set of images into (I hope) something a bit larger?

      I have a lot to learn, but it sure is fun to try.

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