Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Rawdon Tomlinson’

The Winter Dragon by Rawdon Tomlinson

IMG_1559(Professor O. C. Marsh Dreaming

His First Pterodactyl, 1870-71)


I cut the cross again twilight

into Cretaceous yellow chalk

marking the spot I find

the bone I’ve never seen


and measure its 6 ½”

again, thin as a whistle,

hollow with air like a bird’s,

a human’s little finger—


rain, wind and snow weather

the bank along the Smoky Hill River

and the prairie night is dark,

wide as its ruins of lost sea—


I wrap the bone in cotton

wrapped in paper and lock

inside my cabinet

and calculate again;


hopefully cautious, breathless,

I crawl up the soft rock in spring

with hunting knife and brush

of buffalo grass, the dragon


magically completing itself

in my hands that fit its long

wings’ metacarpals one by one

into my estimated twenty-foot span!—


the first specimen from America—

I add the little fingers and claws

to wings, its body no bigger than a cat’s,

and stretch the frame with a membrane


like a bat’s, then set it walking

elbows and knees, wings folded,

still-hunting like a heron,

or soaring, its reptilian brain


tracking giant shadows of sharks

and Mosasaurs driving schools

to fear-dance the surface—

kite-light, blown into waves,


settled in the stone of my night’s sea,

where again I mark the spot

with an illiterate’s “X,”

signing for uncertain passage.

~Rawdon Tomlinson

Rawdon Tomlinson, a retired teacher of English and Creative Writing, earned a Ph.D. from the University of Denver.  In addition to three chapbooks, his award-wining full-length collections are Deep Red (U Press of Florida, 1995), Geronimo After Kas-Ki-Yeh (Louisiana State U Press, 2007), and Lines from the Surgeon’s Children, 1862-1865 (National Federation of State Poetry Societies Press, 2010). His poems regularly appear in such magazines as Sewanee Review, Massachusetts Review, New Letters, Ploughshares, and Shenandoah. Among other anthologies, his work is included in New Poets of the American West, Many Voices (2010). He lives with his wife Karen, a painter, in Portland, Oregon, close to their three daughters and granddaughter.

IMG_0782Stephen Meats, recently retired from teaching and administration at Pittsburg State University, is the author of a mixed genre collection of poems and stories, Dark Dove Descending and Other Parables (Mammoth Publications, 2013) and a collection of poems, Looking for the Pale Eagle (Woodley Press, 1993; expanded edition, Mammoth Publications, 2014). His poems, stories, and scholarly writings have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including more than two dozen articles on Whitman, Faulkner, and other writers in The Literary Encyclopedia. He has been poetry editor of The Midwest Quarterly since 1985. For his guest editorship, in addition to poems with Kansas associations, he asked contributors to submit work dealing with shore birds and water birds, if moved to do so, in recognition of his and his wife Ann’s recent move to Florida.


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