FALL 2011




Solidus Online

Hannah Raddatz

A Natural History of My Right Eye

Somewhere close to the edge
of the sea, where the piping plovers sing
low and sweet, in the depths
of a lonely pool walled off from the world
by a copse of hemlock;
it was found.

Beneath the corpses of salamanders,
rings set with emeralds, periwinkle trinkets, and stained
glass hummingbirds hovering above daylilies.
Nestled in the earth, under
sinews of neglect, atop pillows of deep, acrid mud.
A blue eye.

There it lay, no grime could disgrace it.
Some say it was a fried marble,
cast in eerie, sea tossed isle green.
Others claim it was all that remained
of a noble gray heron, who flew too high,
too long, too far, never again
to return to the intolerant marsh
from whence it came.

As it lay in the hole, gazing endlessly
into the sky, though not without aim.
Its gaze blew the cobwebs out
from the forgotten corners of the heart,
shook dust from the tomes
that had yet to be read, and bore
holes into the diamond plated armor of the skull.

The light it captured wrought of fish
scales and topaz, shone most brightly
when the sun’s rays began to fade in the east.

It was with trembling hand and quivering breath that the eye was taken
up from its natural home and affixed to a crown,
which would forever be unloved
for the presence of the jewels it held.

There it remained.
There is took root,
lending some truths of the heart to its bearer, but
only on occasion.


Hannah Raddatz:

So what’s a Sophomore Environmental Science major, Biology minor doing taking a Creative writing class purely “for fun”? Well, if you are terribly interested, you had best go down to the woods to ask the Red-Backed Salamander I left under a decaying Yellow Birch log. Or maybe you’ll have better luck with the Barred Owl who likes to sleep in the Eastern Hemlock by what remains of the old rock wall. Either way, I am much more comfortable talking to them about my motivations in writing than actual people, because they are less likely to judge this odd human who makes frequent forays into the woods with a camera and a sketch pad, that is more often used as a “poetry journal” than a collection of drawings. I have discovered that when I am amongst nature, I tend to happen upon those “perfect snatches” of words that I later recycle into, what I suppose those belonging to acceptable society, would call a poem.

I am partial to poems that are made up of bits in pieces; precious little trinkets I find on my walks in the woods, fractions of light caught in the eyes of a stranger (or ones who should be strangers), or lyrics that wake me up in the middle of the night, desperate and noisy, until I cannot help but remember them in the morning when it is light enough outside to wrote them down. I don’t like to take my time with poems though, my impatience and haste has them written down quickly and left alone to ferment or collect dust bunnies under the couch or whatever it is that poems do when no one is around to pick them apart with revision after revision. However, I respect that poetry is a convenient place to store my emotions; sort of like a bank, but without the annoying fees or strangely colored lollypops that are kept next to the dog treats at the drive-thru window.

But seriously, go talk to that salamander. He’s a pretty neat guy. And if you see me while you are there, I’ll pretend I don’t know you, cause I am a scientist after all (and only a part-time poet), which leaves me very little time to talk with intruders in the woods.