Guest poem submitted by Joanne Nakaya:
(Poem #1732) A Narrow Fellow in the Grass
A narrow Fellow in the Grass Occasionally rides - You may have met him? Did you not His notice instant is - The Grass divides as with a comb - A spotted Shaft is seen, And then it closes at your Feet And opens further on - He likes a Boggy Acre - A Floor too cool for Corn - Yet when a Boy and barefoot I more than once at Noon, Have passed I thought a Whip Lash Unbraiding in the Sun When stooping to secure it It wrinkled And was gone - Several of Nature's People I know and they know me I feel for them a transport Of Cordiality; But never met this Fellow Attended or alone Without a tighter Breathing And Zero at the Bone.
This version of the poem is from "The Poems of Emily Dickinson", edited by R. W. Franklin and published by The Belknap Press of Harvard University. My favorite poetess of all time is Emily Dickinson. She is so concise. The brevity of her poetry lends an intensity that I have found in the renderings of very few poets. I also find her poetry eternal. I have chosen this poem because every time I read it I remember meeting a snake in the grass while tromping through our back fields when I was a child in Vermont. A "tighter Breathing / And Zero at the Bone" is exactly how it felt. She never identifies the 'Fellow' as a snake; she doesn't need to. Her use of language is superb and there is no doubt of whom she speaks. Despite the language that might appear odd to our generation, her message here, and thoughout her poetry, transcends time. Joanne Nakaya.