Over the past couple of weeks I’ve gone a bit batty over trying to write a poem with bats as the primary focus. I’ve been wrestling with which angle I should approach this piece. At first, I wanted to focus on how bats are from God and mosquitos are from hell. (It’s a joke, of course, I don’t really believe that, but my inner-loathing for mosquitos does.) Anyhow, the following is my attempt to get at the point, but it never got there. But, it does somewhat explain to you how this whole bat obsession started:
Bats are creatures that are truly from God.
I would not have said that years ago, when
quietly I studied in solitude
and one frightened me there in the convent
"This bat cannot stay." I thought to myself
as I mustered strength and devised a plan.
First, I shooed it out of the apartment.
Then, closed doors, and ducking, through halls, I ran
to open the window, then clapped my hands
and steered the creature, by sound, out to the dark
sky, above where my teenage children stand
early mornings. There, bats flitter and jerk,
drive kids crazy. At first, I empathized,
but later, my mistake, I realized.
I like the above poem for its many slant rhymes. I also enjoy the clever turn of the line, where I jump from the scene in my early twenties when I lived in the convent, to my contemporary life with my children waiting for the school bus early in the mornings. I also like it for how it brings up memories and images in my own mind, and how it, again, kind of explains how I got here to this focus. But, I don’t like it so much for the theme that it doesn’t quite get at. So, I will be writing more bat poems in the next couple of months. I am thinking maybe two or three more, in order to get at the beauty of bats, and also their complexity, and the complexity of human relationships with them.
In the meantime, please enjoy the below behind-the-scenes video from the past couple weeks.