The Bone-Pickers

4 Nov




The Bone-Pickers


The Meting Out of the Estate

by L. Stewart Marsden


in lazy slow round circles;
their flight like narrowing funnels;
they light on soft-padded claws
Then bob and weave and haw
with eyes on carrion morsels:
the bits and pieces of once-vibrant things,
now nothing but bone and sinew and chunk-white fat
with red-brown meat, drying, lying like that in the sun.

The bone-pickers
ogle and waddle and gobble in order,
positioned by age and weight and strength,
Peck and tear at length till
what remains are bleached and white.

A gust billows, and hot pillows of grainy dust
Swirl and curl aloft – spin brief tornadic dances and die.
The bone-pickers stretch necks, preen feathers and cry to each other,
then wing their weary way back
in lazy slow circles;
shrinking in hot-sunned air
till barely there
until another sole soul
lies down with vacant stare.

Copyright © by L. Stewart Marsden, 4 November, 2011


7 Responses to “The Bone-Pickers”

  1. Teena Stewart January 26, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Well done. I like the tone and mood you set.

  2. cynthia May 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Reblogged this on Poetry Inspector aka Simple Pleasures.

  3. boomiebol May 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Honestly, I like it. I could feel what was being said, but I am glad you told me about the undertone message contained in this. It helped me to read is in a different way. For me, sometimes I read it the first time for surface comprehension and then if I am unsatisfied I go back and see if I can find anything underneath the surface. Deep this one!!! Thanks for sharing

    • skipmars May 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      There were a few things I was trying to accomplish with the poem: 1. catharsis over the dividing up of my mom’s stuff; 2. imagery — trying to capture a strong visual of buzzards descending on a carcass; 3. rhyme and rhythm — giving a feel for the hot updrafts, etc.

      Sometimes it’s difficult to discern what you like in a poem, but, I believe, it helps you in your own writing when you make that attempt.

      I can’t remember if I suggested “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost, but this poem takes a very simple situation and develops it into a complex statement: “And that has made all the difference.”

      BTW: I had fun with Frost’s poem with “Would Robert Use an iPad?”

  4. momshieb July 4, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    I really love the imagery of this, and the underlying sadness. Thank you for sharing it.

  5. whiteladyinthehood March 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this with me! I really enjoyed it. Death can bring out the worst in people. I think you are a very talented poet! Well done, sir!

    • skipmars March 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

      First time someone has called me poet. Thanks.

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