My Latest New Favorite Poet: Nancy Willard

My latest new favorite poet is Nancy Willard. The below poem (from American Life in Poetry: Column 452) so beautifully describes a visiting dragonfly that I had to post it. Amazingly, it is quite a bit like a poem of mine I posted here some time back: dragonfly. Please enjoy both, for their similarities AND differences!

The Vanity of the Dragonfly

The dragonfly at rest on the doorbell—
too weak to ring and glad of it,
but well mannered and cautious,
thinking it best to observe us quietly
before flying in, and who knows if he will find
the way out? Cautious of traps, this one.
A winged cross, plain, the body straight
as a thermometer, the old glass kind
that could kill us with mercury if our teeth
did not respect its brittle body. Slim as an eel
but a solitary glider, a pilot without bombs
or weapons, and wings clear and small as a wish
to see over our heads, to see the whole picture.
And when our gaze grazes over it and moves on,
the dragonfly changes its clothes,
sheds its old skin, shriveled like laundry,
and steps forth, polished black, with two
circles buttoned like epaulettes taking the last space
at the edge of its eyes.

My favorite lines are the last ones and truly capture a dragonfly and its characteristics:

“and steps forth, polished black, with two
circles buttoned like epaulettes taking the last space
at the edge of its eyes.”

The full article can be found here.

Enjoy! ;oD

Jamy

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