If I Followed the Wandering Poet

If I Followed the Wandering Poet

Who cares
if I swim naked in my pool?
All other human occupants
have left this neighborhood behind,
leaving more room
for possums, skunks,
birds, scorpions, spiders
and me.

I keep a closer company with them
than I do with any human these days.
Weeks ago, it was the orb weaver spider
who filled my mind,
but this week, I talk to the large caterpillar
with one rear antenna on his tail
as he sits for a day on the Olmec head
that guards my swimming pool.
Back and forth, back and forth I pass,
adding a look at him to my lap routine.
For one long afternoon,
he sits still—like Alice’s caterpillar,
but hookah-less,
meditating in this gray place.
If he were on my Virginia Creeper,
I’d be repositioning him
to the empty lot next door, but here
he seems to be a guest; and so some etiquette
keeps me from altering his placement
as he sits on stone, moving his suction cups in sequence
now and then only to alter his direction, not his place.

I question if I’ve stayed too long
in this one place.
Is there something else
I may yet do?
So if you are a wandering poet
and you have a place you think I need to go,
please write of it
in the way you do best
and tell me why I have to go there.
And if you create a good argument and a better poem,
I will go to that place in much the same way
that I have come to this point
in my poem.
Open to what comes next.

This is neither a love poem nor a singles ad. It was prompted by a blog site called “The Wandering Poet” that I recently read. I think I commented, and then as I was ready to leave his/her blog, I caught sight of the “Follow” button. The phrase “follow the wandering poet” got stuck in my mind, leading to “If I followed the wandering poet” and this poem. The challenge is real. I will pick up and go to any place that any poet, male or female, makes irresistible by means of a poem. (Be kind. Choose nothing less for me than the best place on earth you know of. I, by the way, will do the same for you if you wish. Judy)

P.S.: Thanks, Wandering Poet. If I forgot to select “follow,” I’ll do it next time.

I will never cease being amazed at the incredible capacities of the human mind, because three days ago, I wrote the above poem for reasons explained above and the next morning I woke up repeating the lyrics “I will make you fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of men.  I will make you fishers of men, if you follow me.” (an old Sunday School song I haven’t thought of for 50 years). Now this morning I woke up with the song lyrics, ‘I will follow him, follow him wherever he may go” running through my mind, only to go on the WordPress site to discover that the prompt for today was: Opening Lines—What’s the first line of the last song you listened to (on the radio, on your music player, or anywhere else)? Use it as the first sentence of your post.

All three days, “Follow” has seemed to be the prompt running through my mind and so I guess it is time to publish this poem, conceived of even before I’d heard today’s prompt!!!!

7 thoughts on “If I Followed the Wandering Poet

  1. john flanagan

    Judy, it’s really the mind that works in mysterious ways. A sense of restlessness underscores these musings, a sense of belonging to ”other’ rather than to now and here (or there) and i love your observations of the immediate environment peopled by you and little creatures you don’t underestimate. Well done!


  2. grieflessons Post author

    Hi John. I can understand how writing that poem might have triggered two nights of dreams about following and thus awakening to those obscure song lyrics, but how I influenced the WordPress prompt I’ll never know. That poem has been waiting in my drafts folder for three days now, waiting for the correct occasion to warrant its publication. It hadn’t long to wait! I would love to hear others describe any similar experiences they may have had. I have had others, but not for a long time. Thanks, as usual, for reading and commenting. You were the first one today!!! Now I must go in search of the ending sequence of your story. Judy


  3. willow1945

    Judy, I greatly enjoyed your poem, especially the caterpillar, and the mention of Alice’s caterpillar and his hookah! It sounds like you’re ready to be a wandering poet yourself 🙂


  4. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Opening Lines | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice

  5. grieflessons Post author

    Don’t kill them. Just usually relocate them. Curious about where this one is now. He was so far from his usual home in the VA Creeper…perhaps he has taken to succulents or honeysuckle–plants nearest the Olmec head. He actually had to somehow get from one side of the pool to the other unless he was a loner all along. I still don’t know what this variety turns into. Need to look up their pics to post. I did a whole series on them some time ago…I’ll put it on my list!



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