power lines held by birds
of prey the hostile expanse above
ditches teeming floral invasive
late summer the shoulder sang
holds breeze by
the course of the drive
ravelling winds furl sparse treetops
semi-trailers startle traffic to attention
righted to the middle steady
a point of calm
a sense of pedal to headrest
never lost hope of going somewhere
a waiting trench the front across the dash
deep open road through the window
on the glass
bokeh crystals of settlement
streaming past mirror side appears larger
after all the lakes hold ashes and fur
long route tapers to a blue-strip august
the walk along here I was a daughter then
along a highway
on the route she shines on
leaning into the path as nettle heavy with rain
Cecily Nicholson, "from Road Shoulders" from Wayside Sang. Copyright © 2017 by Cecily Nicholson.
Source: Wayside Sang (Talonbooks, 2016)
- What season does the poem take place in?
- How do you know that there is movement in the poem? What information does the poet give to indicate motion?
- What is the significance of the title? Using the phrases from the poem, is there another title you could give the poem? If so, why?
- How does the poem evoke a sense of home and belonging?
- The poem is structured using one lined stanzas, or monostiches, and couplets. How would you recite the poem to convey the poem’s structure to the listener?
The poem expresses movement across land and space. Write a monostich poem about a commute you had or a road trip. What did you see, hear, feel, remember?
- Cecily Nicholson Reading: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jen+sookfong+lee+reading+poetry
- Cecily Nicholson Interview with Room Magazine: https://roommagazine.com/call-and-response-in-conversation-with-cecily-nicholson/
- TIA House podcast Interview: https://roommagazine.com/call-and-response-in-conversation-with-cecily-nicholson/