Friday, April 4, 2014

What a Pit-ty!: An Original Mask Poem

Several years ago, I embarked upon a new poetry project. I decided to write poems about fossils, dinosaurs, and other extinct animals. I spent a lot of time doing research on a number of animals—including the woolly mammoth, pterodactyl, dodo bird, Beelzebufo ampinga, megalodon, Euoplocephalus, megatherium—as well as a couple of places—the Petrified Forest and the La Brea Tar Pits. I’m kind of a science nerd—so doing the research was fun for me.

I’m offering one of my poems about the La Lrea Tar Pits from that unpublished collection titled Docile Fossil for this first Poetry Friday in National Poetry Month.

What a Pit-ty!

I’m a…
Boiling pool of gummy goo,
Bubbling pond of asphalt brew,
Black and icky pit of pitch
Not concocted by a witch.

One of my intriguing features:
The horde of hapless Ice Age creatures
That stepped into my greasy guck,
Got trapped and were forever stuck.

Horses, smilodons, and camels,
Woolly mammoths, other mammals,
Birds and mollusks…insects, too,
Stumbled into my sticky stew.

Once engulfed in my thick sludge
The helpless creatures couldn’t budge.
Now here they lie entombed in tar--
And here, preserved, their fossils are.

Find out more about the La Brea Tar Pits by clicking here.


Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Poem Farm.


Doraine said...

I love this, Elaine. I can remember as a child having a book with pictures of those mastadons stuck in pits of tar. I would lie awake at night wondering how something so horrible could happen to them.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Fascinating topic! I love the clever language and alliteration.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

What a fun read! I bet kids would really lap this up... but not literally, I hope. Can't imagine tar would taste very good. ;)

Janet Wong said...

So great to see you back! I've always loved the poems in this DOCILE FOSSIL collection!

Mrs. Merrill said...

Elaine, this is great! I can't wait to share it with my students! Fascinating topic!

Mary Lee said...

I love both the collection title and the poem title. You don't waste a single word!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments. It feels good to be blogging about poetry once again. I'm hoping to get my creative juices flowing now that spring is here. I've been revisiting some of the poems in my unpublished collections...and updating them.

Amy LV said...

"sticky stew"! You are so good at blending teaching and word play, Elaine. It is wonderful to see you again here on Poetry Friday! Fantastic title and such a fun poem. Happy SPRING! I, too, am so happy it is here.