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Speaking In Tongues (Excerpt)
By Charles Ghigna
March, 2007, 11:50

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Hunting The Cotaco Creek
(Blank Verse; unrhymed iambic pentameter)

His hand in hold so trigger tight its blood
believes in ghosts.  It clings with finger set
on steel and waits inside a dream of ducks.
The twilight burns into a rising arc
of eastern sky as sun reveals herself
too proud and instantly receives full-face
a splash of mallard flock.  A shotgun blasts
the yellow into streaming pinks and gives
the creek its new-day taste of echoed blood.
Two green head ghosts fly through the pulse of dawn
upon a trigger’s touch.  The creek empties
of sound.  In silence human fingers find
wet feet of web and carry in each hand
a bird whose only cry comes in color.

The Bass Fisherman
(Free Verse Sestets)
He was the silent type, the mute scholar
reading the sky instead of his books,
wasting no words above the still waters,
searching instead for shades of detail,
for the sharp, deep shadows of silver,
for the subtle moves that only seers see.
He was the careful type, the peaceful brave
wrapping his weapon with string, down
and prayer, warming his sight with colors
of sunset, waiting for sunrise to show him
the way, watching the depth of each cloud
that floated on the lake of his eyes.
He was the simple type, the timeless boy
flipping and testing his first flying rod,
urging it on past limits of hand and arm
to the other side of vision and dreams,
using all of that first moment to cast
the perfect balance of boy and boat.
He was the cautious type, the prize bass
with the broken hook still in his mouth,
staring up at the lake’s final surface of man,
following the drag of the feather’s taunt,
waiting, waiting, learning at last
the only reward of patience, is patience.

The Alabama Wiregrassers
(Cubistic Free Verse)
Dry-rooted in penny coated clay,
the wiregrassers come
suntan tamed in drawl
through the mire faster.
Machetes high-aimed for home,
they carry the clues of day
across their open, flying clothes.
Blade for blade,
steel for grass,
they flog the wire
with a hungry denim run.
Black shin hair stares
boar-bristled red out
from rips of hinged-tight jeans.
Tobacco spittin’ voices
seep coarse through gapped teeth
like hot wax from upside-down brown candles.
An evening shadow sinks itself
in the open field,
closing it for night.
The copper cold dust
from spun home trucks
relaxes into dew
and paints itself across the wiregrass
that sleeps in rust
beneath a hush of moon.

(Free Verse Quatrains)

We were different when we returned to earth.
Too alone in our fall to forget,
we lost all trust in the touch of gentle hands.
The dropped baby in us grew.
We listened too long to a thinner wind,
climbed too close to a hollow sun,
stood one by one in the cockpit’s open door,
left our mothered souls in the fading steel
of a Cessna’s shaking belly,
stepped into a handless world,
stretched the corners of our eyes until they spit,
watched an anvil earth fly up at us,
took our own umbilical cord in hand and ripped,
and fell like frightened spiders
who spin our frantic silk that clings to only air.
Our jarred bodies lay on a sudden fist of clay,
unwound themselves with web and line
and carried the dead fish in our feet
away to dreams of distant seas.

Read Charles Ghigna's INside article on poetry writing.

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Charles Ghigna (Father Goose) is the author of more than thirty books of poetry for children and adults. His poems also appear in a variety of magazines from the New Yorker and Harper's to Cricket and Highlights for Children. For more information, please visit

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