Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tom Daley

Here's another one from the current issue of 32 Poems by Boston's own Tom Daley:


In the stairwell of the airport parking garage
a dragonfly lies without rebuke,
inert and dessicated,
papery fossil of an extinguished grace.
Its blue-black head droops,
knobby and askew.

What a darting was here,
what whirled profusion--
mylar wings ribbed with veins
hammering a downdraft,
hinged between water tension
and the weight of the sky.

Tom Daley

In the previous post, I mentioned that memory, to a poet, can be just as tangible and present as anything going on in the "real" world at that moment. In this poem, the speaker describes not a memory of the dragonfly, but an imagining of the energy and life that once existed in the now "inert and dessicated" corpse. S/he creates this description out of previous experience with dragonflies--how they move, their speed, their lightness--and pure imagination.

As poets, we spend a great deal of time trying to describe something--a feeling, an object, a thought, a philosophy, etc. We want to properly convey the experience through words. We want to be accurate, but artisitic and original. I think that the imagination can never be overestimated in crafting a poem. If it's a feeling we want to describe, how might that feeling be reflected in nature? How might an object be described if it were an animal? How might the color red smell? Or, as the speaker imagines, how might an already dead dragonfly exist if it were still alive?


Dana said...

Very nice post. I am still rusty when it comes to poetry. It has been a long time since I wrote it in college, but the skills and the passion is coming back with each poem I write.

Amy said...


It's great that you've come back to writing poetry. There is nothing like it.

Anonymous said...

This piece reminds me of the following quote,

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outdoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creatively is self-doubts.”
Sylvia Plath

Keep writing Dana. :)

Amy said...

Thanks for that quote, Dead. Plath probably knew as much about self-doubt as anybody.

cj white said...

The first line really sets an intersting tone for the rest. Delete that line, start with the second, and the poem takes on a very different meaning. I would likely construct a natural surrounding, outdoors, in the sun.

The "stairwell of the airport parking gargage" is such a particular location. Transient, bland, gray, concrete, dirty, uncared for, forgotten. To even notice the carcass of a dragonfly in such a place is remarkable.

Great poem.

ML Squier said...

I wanted to share my poem about a dragonfly. Thanks.

Dragonfly In The Night


What does it mean when a
Dragonfly in the night
Comes to your door
In the summertime
And Snoopy your Siamese cat
And your white poodle Daisy
Try to eat, kill & play with this
Dragonfly in the night?
Don't say, 'It doesn't mean a thing.'
It does mean something
When I have to push the cat & dog away
After both had swatted the dear daylights out
Of the
Dragonfly in the night
Who wanted to fly upwards towards the stars
Or some galaxy in its eyes
But the dragonfly in the night banged its
Orbital & aquamarine head on the metal
Awning of its dreams
And there it stays 'til it dies or flys away.

Amy said...

Hi M.L.,

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your poem.

Tom Daley said...

Hello, Amy -- this is Tom Daley. I was pleasantly surprised to find my poem on your blog. Thanks!

Thanks also for posting Mark Wunderlich and Tom Sleigh's poems - I am an admirer of their poetry. What was Mark Wunderlich like as a teacher?

I gather (from your blog about boxes) you recently moved to the Boston area. It would be good to meet and talk about poetry sometime.

Do you have some poetry online? Could you point me to it?

Thanks again.


You can get in touch with me at

Anonymous said...

Hi Tom
I'm 14 too.
I think it's great that you got to go to the Olympics good luck.
Like you

One of my favorite subjects is Math too and I suck at PE!