The Last Norther


He was waiting for it —
a blue norther rolling across his golden plains —
standing out there by the barbed wire,
eyeing posts that led to a blue-black sky,
when the windblades hit

forty-miles-an-hour or more. A few minutes before, he’d felt the heat and fire
that burned his skin and eyes;next a cold chill replaced those pains
with deeper aches that scored

his body to the bone.
A freeze forced his unexpected cry,
a cry that filled the wind-beat flat terrain;
a sound he thought he’d learned to control, higher
than his wife in childbirth had groaned.

His knees caved, his chest fell;
the snow-drifted sheets covered his drained
soul. Released from a mire
of nothingness – neither wet nor dry –
an end of weather worries; he rode out on the last swell.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 1/17/2013 * All Rights Reserved
My attempt at the Karousel form invented by poet David James.

44 thoughts on “The Last Norther

  1. I really enjoyed reading this Gay – more than once. I think one of the beauties of this contemporary form is that it is not blindingly obvious that you have written to a form at all, which helps to keep the focus on the subject and the words that you have chosen to share your thoughts with us.

  2. dang…the emotions hit hard like the changing weather…heat…frost…wind..the pain, helplessness…great use of the form which doesn’t feel like a form at all…thanks for tending bar tonight gay…can’t wait to have you back in the pub after your cruise.. i bet you have a lot to tell…smiles

  3. Wow, this poem expresses well how quickly weather can change out on the plains; and as it is so flat you can see the changes as they head in long before they actually arrive. First the heat and then the chll and then the snow. I have driven through the plains during a tornado warning. Kept driving, as the truckers kept driving, and where would one safely stop anyway when we could see weather heading in and the direction it was going and thought we could outrun it anyway. I enjoyed both of the forms, Gay! Both of these were interesting to me, and I think I will give them a try again.

  4. Reminds me a bit of Robert Frost and “Death of the hired Man.” Tho it has no dialogue, I can feel the relentless and inevitable march to the end of this primal storm.

  5. Of course, great use of the form by a professional! I feel the sadness and futility here..yet there is hope…especially the ruggedness and determination built into these men…

  6. Wow Claudia. The sense of movement and moods swing as greatly as the weather described within. It’s both exhilarating and crushing. Even knowing this was a form, I did not feel it, I was wrapped in your words.

  7. You really transported and engaged me with this piece, Gay. Loved how this form blends into the language, or vice versa; perhaps because there is no syllable count to bind it up. As stated by others, you aced the form, producing powerful poetry without apparent restriction on the message.

  8. Thank you everyone for your comments. I am always so pleased to have you read and comment on my work. I feel from them this was successful. I think it works on a couple of levels. I imagined someone who had seen many weather changes in his life, whose life had depended on the land and its weather, re-living all that in his last hours when so frequently our bodies go through such immediate changes in chemistry and temperature. I appreciate all of you and feel honored to be in the company of such fine poets. Really thought everyone did an outstanding job with David’s forms this week. I know I will be using them in upcoming poems.

    • I appreciate your Award. How did you come across my blog and my poetry? Just curious. I’ve been to your blog. It’s very refreshing and innovative. You seem to have a wide range of interests. How old are you?

  9. Didn’t catch the form until you mentioned it. I love poets who can write in forms that don’t sound like LA di DA di DA DA di DUM. who are stealthy and clever like you, Gay. Also, I could feel every moment of this – living in Wisconsin, and my mom telling me of storms when she grew up in Iowa, how to read the sky and all. Finally, to realize the sheet fluttering down meant it was a bad dream, I was quite relieved! Brill poem! Amy

      • Hi – I guess you pinged back from my post on your blog. This was written a while ago for an article I hosted featuring the inventor of this form. You can find all our old articles archived on d’versepoetspub – but here’s the link to make it easier: These are really great forms to “feel” like free verse but give a kind of internal flow and rhyme to the poem.
        And if you’d like to check out my poem for the day it’s here – not as serious as this one, but fun -
        (That’s my “other” blog – smiles)

  10. I did not notice the from ether till I went back and re-read a couple of times – I felt I was there, watching this norther blow in across the fields. The sensory detail is excellent and vivid – thank you.

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