Poets & Writers Picnic
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New Mexico Poets

(with special attention to Picnic participants)

Poetry of NM  / The Drunken Boat / Lunarosity / Santa Fe Poetry Broadside / ABQ Poetry Slam

"Local Poets, Local Presses," by Anne MacNaughton.
Originally Published in the Santa Fe Reporter, pg. 27, May 15-21, 1996.

This favorite by Picnic organizer, potter & poet Dale Harris is featured in Mountainair's Art Alley and has become the signature poem of the Sunflower Festival.  

Manzano Sunflowers
Sunflower Designn by Dale Harris

You missed Indian Market
And of course the sunflowers.
As usual they swept across August
At first a few, a yellow trickle along the fence line
Then more, making pools in the pasture
And splashing down into the arroyo
Then incredibly many more,
Dappling the distance,
As though a giant hand had buttered the land.

Yet with the entire prairie to expand into,
They prefer crowds of themselves
They mass along the roadside,
Lined up as though a parade were about to pass.
Here and there one stands alone,
But not for long.
Soon his kin will come
And there will be sunflower squalor
There will be sunflower squalor, a floral slum.

Once they are out,
They will not be ignored.
Stretching their skinny stalks,
They top our roofline,
Press against the window screens,
And peep in at the door.
Familiar foot paths to the out buildings are obscured,
And from the road we seem afloat,
Our cabin, an odd tin boat
In a sea of sunflower faces.

They are the most staccato of flowers.
I catch them humming snatches of polkas
And John Phillips Sousa Marches,
Bobbing in the wind to the Boogaloo,
The Boogie Woogie and the Lindy Hop.
I call their names,
Clem, Clarissa, Sarah Jane
To try and tame them.

My neighbor comes by.
She has a field full
They’re useless, she complains.
Her horses can’t eat them.
I should hope not! I exclaim,
After she’s gone.

I don’t remember if you even liked sunflowers
But you liked life
And they are all about that.
Today I wrote to your family, finally.
I expect they are occupying themselves,
With beautiful gestures
In order to get over the grief of you.
As for me, I have sunflowers.

by Dale Harris

More poetry at ars poetica

for more information about the Poets & Writers Picnic, contact Dale Harris, 505-242-4930

Poetry of NM  / The Drunken Boat / Lunarosity / Santa Fe Poetry Broadside / ABQ Poetry Slam

*not an offical MMAC page - part of the Mountainair Online
 pages by Vanessa Vaile
updated June 2006
Poets & Writers Picnic
Mountainair Online
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