Each tree is its own advertisement
against plastic bags. Bare branches
unwittingly hold dirty banners
that mutter there and sigh,
rubbing against the sky
like fingers on a balloon.

Somewhere other than this, the
Young Explorers Club is meeting,
ten boys in a church basement,
community center, or bingo hall,
someplace where it doesn’t
sound ridiculous, this pledge
to be a certain way and do
certain things.

Young Explorers promise, for example,
to remove plastic bags from trees,
when weather permits and when
they have built tall enough ladders
or long enough hooks, over the course
of many weeks. They also pledge

to take notice of things like
dead squirrels in alleys—
not to remove them, but
simply to take note, pause,
when they are out walking.

In this way, the Young Explorers think,
no life can ever be wasted. Crows know
the truth: that nothing ever is, not when
the world abounds with young explorers,

and all of them so hungry.


For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Also, it should be noted that the phrase Young Explorers Club is from Jesse S. Mitchell’s poem by that name. The title popped up in my inbox because I follow his blog, and my mind started working. Please be sure to check out his poem, too — it will give you a lot to think about.


14 thoughts on “Meetings

  1. Thanks, Jesse … I’m so glad you weren’t offended by my stealing an idea from your title. I wrote my poem just from the title of yours, and then read your poem afterwards — it’s interesting that we both mentioned creatures devouring other dead creatures.

  2. i think it is a beautiful thing to learn….to be a noticer…i find a bit sad they have to hide away a bit because of its ‘absurdity’ of being a certain way…

  3. Keep going back to the final lines and the words:
    “Crows know
    the truth: that nothing ever is, not when
    the world abounds with young explorers,

    and all of them so hungry.”

    Because hunger for truth, beauty, detail is what drives us as poets to notice, to encourage our kids and those around us to notice. It’s what the teens in my life most want — to be noticed, especially by their parents. Hmmm…different than what you intended, I suspect, but those lines have captured my heart and gotten me thinking. Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for that interpretation, Cindee! I love it. It wasn’t completely intended, but I think there was a bit of it there, in that I didn’t want to suggest that the scavenging animals are grotesque or wrong in any way. Young creatures are hungry, and they and their parents find what feeds them. I love what you said about poets and teenagers — hunger isn’t always just for food, that’s for sure.

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