Pick-a-Poem: Five Moose Night

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Welcome, blog readers, to another weekly installment of “Pick-a-Poem.” Each week, we feature a new poem here for you to read and discover. These poems are found at Poetry Daily, which is a really helpful site if you’re looking to read new poetry every day or want to expose yourself to some new artists. For this festive holiday week, we’re featuring Five Moose Night by Robert Wrigley. It’s not exactly reindeer, but I thought this poem’s moonlit, nighttime setting was reminiscent of Christmas. Or maybe I just chose it because of the line, “The wonderful moose and the wonderful moose shadow.”

According to his bio page, Robert Wrigley has published ten books of poetry. His most recently released title in America is Anatomy of Melancholy & Other Poems (Penguin, 2013). His most recent collection released in the United Kingdom is The Church of Omnivorous Light: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2013). In addition, his work has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Poetry. He teaches at the University of Idaho.

Five Moose Night by Robert Wrigley

Wonderful, really, the way the full moon
casts an enormous shadow of a seemingly tiny
but in truth enormous moose across the meadow grasses
stroked by wind. Happy, too, the way the wind
in my face does not blow my scent to the moose.
The wonderful moose and the wonderful moose shadow,
the very possibilities of which I have never imagined
but the reasons nevertheless I walk in the woods at night.

His shadow dewlap’s a yard long, his antlers vast
spatulate hands holding up the moonlight
and the brightest few barely visible stars.
Wonderful, the abundant chartreuse wolf lichens silvered,
the meadow grasses dimly flashing, the moss-filled
not uncomfortable depression of stone I have seated myself in.
Intermittently dark, the shadows under the trees,
into which the tiny moose, at last, herds the enormous shadow one.

Lonesome, the thirty more minutes I wait, the wind
wandering also away, and half-blind, my walking
into the woods myself, watchful, slow, straining for silence.
Wonderful, the silence and the shadows of the trees,
and wonderful, the light from the kitchen window,
a golden parallelogram illuminating both the bird bath
and the great bull moose lapping with its shadows,
one cast to the left by window light, one to the right by the moon.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s poem! For more posts like this, click this link.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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