Monday, March 26, 2012

Poetry Monday

Since I mentioned it this weekend here is my poem about Howard Hill, the great archer who worked on Flynn's Robin Hood.

Howard Hill  
by Peter Swanson    

He must have had hands
     that could deliver a martini
          with a meniscus across a shuddering room

of dancing inebriates
     all the way to his best girl,
           never a spilled drop. He must have had a heart

as big as a breadbox,
     vision exact as bomb sights,
          and when, in 1938, he was asked

by some studio man
     to do all the archery work
          on the new Robin Hood picture with Flynn—

to fire arrows
     toward the chests of stuntmen—
          he must have said yes without a flash of hesitation.

When he saw the square
     of balsa, felt-backed, steel-plated,
          fitted under the costumes, he must have seen a target

he could master
     like the prune he could pluck
          off the head of a man a half a football field away.

And when, on Curtiz’s cue,
     he launched the first arrow
          through the smoke-blue air of the set to land,

note-perfect, quivering,
    into the chest of some underpaid player,
          he must have looked more myth than mortal,

at least seven feet tall,
     lighting a smoke with no wasted moves,
          eyes already hunting into the distance, designing

arcs yet to happen, ready
     to take his mark and shoot
          another shaft safely toward the heart of a man.    

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