Dead Squirrel: a poetic adventure


Photographs of the ‘dead squirrel.’

I’m trying something new. It’s linked to professional development funding from Arts Council England and my work as an artist.

I’m learning about writing poetry and exploring how to share this process and the eventual fruits of my studies in a professional context. My main interest is discovering how to combine visual imagery and poetry for exhibition or publishing. I’m interested in feedback from readers too. So far I’ve had my first professional crit on a poem, which is not quite ready yet. This one has been picked over by the most savage critics of all – my teenage kids.

See what you think and please comment (I don’t mind honesty but I would appreciate kindness).

For this poem (inspired by finding such a redolent object outside my house) I’m grateful to artist David Dipré for his comment on Instagram that my photograph of it looked like a dead squirrel. Something about this ignited my interest in writing about it.

Please share if you can I would love to get lots of feedback (gulp) signed the new risk-taking, boundary pushing  moi. xx

Dead Squirrel.
(On waking at 4 am).

A blared duet.
No radio broadcast.
Just the lives of…

I don’t know who.

Rage is an alarm call.
And then…
Fucking run!
punctuates the night.

The urban domestic
as sharp as shrapnel.

I crouch and pad down the stairs,
to slip a key in the lock.

But they do fucking run.
And now silence!

Sleep all done,
I limp to bed,
and switch on my screen.

Later on, a pavement find,
dished up for afters.

Their tryst trophy:
a dead squirrel.

Well…a Parka hood,
lying face down.

©Sonia Boué 2016


Published by soniaboue

I am an artist.

19 thoughts on “Dead Squirrel: a poetic adventure

  1. I love the whole story… I would ask are you intending to show poem and photo together? ….in which case you could edit out the parka hood line, and leave it as a dead squirrel, the image then works for the words and vice versa…
    I like the dead squirrel symbol, so think it would work without such obvious explanation… But that is personal taste I’m sure, as it stands perfectly well as it is.
    Or… Having entitled it Dead Squirrel, you could get away without mentioning it again?

    I am really looking forward to more Sonia Boué poetry!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel so lucky – thank you Elena! This is just the kind of feedback I need – especially your ideas about what to include or leave out if the visual evidence of the ‘dead squirrel’ is to be shown alongside the poem. When I wrote it I thought not – so was anxious to direct the reader to my analogy with my final line. You’re right I wouldn’t need both so I could chose which of the two options you give for omitting too much information 😉 Gracias E! xx


      1. Exactly what I was going to say! The only line that jarred for me (and even then only slightly, I’m being really picky) was the “Well… A parka hood”

        It felt like stepping outside of the experience to explain it.

        Love the poem.

        There’s actually a course this week near me which is about using art to inspire poetry. Perhaps I should grit my teeth and go along.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. TYSM Rhi! Defo go to the art an poetry course – they go hand in hand in my view! I am really pleased you picked up on this line as it was a last minute change and perhaps shows one should sit on things a little longer when composing more seriously 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Interesting that it came later.

        I’m working on the new concept of actually going back to my poems and reworking them. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it jars with initial oomph of words.

        I like playing with styles. Currently trying to work the Welsh Cynghanedd style into English poetry. Which is hard as the language is so very different! But that constriction is really helping me find new ways through problems.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes, that line interested me too Rhi… As it is the line where I actually hear Sonia…
        So, although I questioned the mention of the hood itself alongside the photo, I do quite like that insertion of a line that is quite conversational… Stylistically interesting…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It is very interesting. Elena, you’re so right, that it’s often the change of tone or “Jarring” that gives a poem new flavour.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes. Vivid. I must admit, I was a little lost about what was going on. I sort of had an idea, and figuring it out (I think) made it engaging for me. Maybe a little more description of what’s going on? Just tossing something out there. But regardless of my “take”, nicely done! I enjoyed it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thank you! That is really useful feedback. it’s always going to be the case that for some people more signposting is what they would like in a poem. I’m certainly learning about getting a balance between being too obvious and too obscure. TY for the support in my quest! S x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love it too. I like the pic of the hood, it is evocative in itself without the words. And I love the poem and the urban/rural ‘meeting’. Brilliant! Poetry is something I have also wanted to explore and have done mostly in secret.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hello, nice poem, I like all the noises in it. Agree re pic/word overlap – choose which. Strength gained in both areas if they show different things and augment rather than illustrate. I’d lose the first 3 lines and the last 2!
    Trying to make words & pictures cohabit is my lifes work! Well done X

    Liked by 1 person

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