UPDATE: Evidently, I was violating the Poetry Month Scouts Oath by posting the text of the poem to the Tent Show. As much as I hate following any rules not of my own devising, I want those badges, and I have duly deleted the text of The Woman Comes True from this post. To read the poem, go HERE.
I’ve joined the Poetry Scouts–the Poetry Month Scouts, PoMoSco for short. I stumbled on to this project of the Found Poetry Review for National Poetry Month via a link on Twitter or Facebook, I can’t remember which. I was seduced by the idea of collecting scout badges for found poetry, and signed up.
I was a Cub Scout, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos, through 5th or 6th grade. I dropped out before before graduating to the Boy Scouts; Cub Scouts had Den Mothers, Boy Scouts had male Scoutmasters, and even then I preferred matriarchy to patriarchy. Also, scoutmasters, like youth ministers, are inherently creepy. The enforced camaraderie with other boys and what today would be called team building was beginning to make my inner introvert itch, though at age 10 or 11, I couldn’t have articulated any of that.
I’ve never previously participated in any Poetry Month scheme since I am a year round poet, but, as I say, the badges seduced me. When I was a Cub Scout, I was all about earning the badges. I liked working on the projects, because I could work on them by myself, and when my mom sewed a new badge on my blue Cub Scout uniform shirt, I wore it as proudly as if I had won a medal for valor. I’ve also had a long term interest in various forms of collage and found poetry, and so I deployed my prosthetic persona Dr. Omed and enrolled.
James Dickey is remembered, if he is remembered at all in these latter days, for writing the novel Deliverance, on which a memorable movie of the same name was based, but Dickey was primarily a poet. The poem The Woman Comes True, constructed by mining lines from his Poems 1957-1967, has been duly posted to my PoMoSco page, to earn the Pick & Mix badge.
My copy of the Dickey book is stamped NO LONGER THE PROPERTY OF DENVER PUBLIC LIBRARY which means I probably bought it at Capital Hill Books on the corner of Colfax and Grant St. in Denver sometime in the late eighties or early nineties. Somehow it’s survived all the moves I’ve made since then. Having quilted Dickey’s lines into my own piece, I feel rather like a small bird who has furnished his nest with feathers stolen, somehow, from a particularly large and a grumpy raven. My eyes are on the sky, scanning for a black silhouette.