Poetry October 2011

Mare’s Nest

By accident, we discovered it
          high in the mountains,
not far off the trail
          high in the mountains.

It wasn’t what you’d expect,
          just brush and horsehair
woven clumsily together—
          just brush and horsehair.

It was empty, and yet
          somehow, we could tell
something had been curled there.
          Somehow, we could tell

whatever it was, it was
          not good news at all,
but bloody, a nest like that
          not good news at all,

for there was a stink, a stink
          of manure, a smell of hay
left by the trail—a stink
          of manure, a smell of hay,

of this we’re certain. We’re telling
          the truth as we saw it.
This is our truth, it’s the truth,
          the truth as we saw it

high in the mountains,
          not far off the trail,
a mare’s nest, God help us,
          not far off the trail.

Presented by

Dick Allen’s most recent collection is Present Vanishing (2008). He currently serves as the poet laureate of Connecticut.

'How Do You Function Without a Cellphone?'

A short documentary about a San Francisco designer who doesn't own a cellphone, and a teenager who can't imagine life without hers.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In