Criss-Crossings in Deep Time

Odilon Redon, L’arbre

Cross the forest threshold
covered in squirrel-scattered leaves.
Acorns, chestnuts, cones, and seeds
buried amidst ancient, tangled roots,

Three cats—curled, colored knots
white, tortoiseshell, and grey-striped.
Descendants of tigers, purrs with sharp claws,
gone–save the shadow
pressed against my warmth.


Driftwood, weathered and bleached white,
a venerable creature beached
waiting for the tide.
What stories could it tell of its journeys–
of time and beyond?


Red flowers rise to a rosy sky
Hello, they cry, and wave.
From wooded umbra,
white striped tail rises, too, leaving his scent—
not a perfumed calling card, but a warning.


The clouds grumble,
their secrets burst out and light the sky
Your arm across me in the night, I reach to catch
a glittering fragment before it vanishes—I laugh
and hear an echo from the in-between.

A cadralor for dVerse. I hope I’ve done this correctly. To me, the form seems like a dream, in which you understand it as it goes along, and when you wake you feel something’s been resolved, though you can’t explain how or why. You can read about the form here, but briefly from the journal Gleam:

“the cadralor consists of five short, unrelated, highly-visual stanzas. The fifth stanza acts as the crucible, illuminating the gleaming thread that runs through all the stanzas and bringing them together into a love poem. By “love poem,” we mean that the fifth stanzaic image answers the question: “For what do you yearn?” Please see sample poems and editor statements on the cadralor to get a feel for this new form.”

84 thoughts on “Criss-Crossings in Deep Time

      • It’s funny. I had started writing a poem for another challenge when the dVerse prompt came in and so I went to see Jane’s (to better understand because frankly, the link Björn offered didn’t help this poet neophyte whatseover), and then yours popped up, clarifying all the more and now? I think I’m going to change my poem and write a cadralor! The things you guys challenge me to do…

      • Gleam’s explanation was not easily understood to me! I read Lisa’s and it’s so far different from yours and Jane’s that I am ever more confused. However, I shall try it anyhow.

  1. I absolutely love, love this, Merril 😀 especially admire; “Red flowers rise to a rosy sky
    Hello, they cry, and wave. From wooded umbra, white striped tail rises, too, leaving his scent—not a perfumed calling card, but a warning.”💝💝

  2. Criss-Crossings in Deep Time. I am so struck by this title and how it informs the write. Daytime criss crosses into night….walking and the reality of a skunk and then the sleeping with one’s love “your arm across me in the night”….our day fades into our night…feelings criss cross across daylight into night and all is well under the protective loving arm of one’s mate. Love criss crosses from the forest to the bed….always within the heart.

  3. Beautiful how these threads are connected to the trees, which I truly see as threads that connect all life forms on land. Wordsmithing favorites:
    about the cats (I love this!)
    “gone–save the shadow
    pressed against my warmth.”
    can there be any place more wonderful to reside than:
    “wooded umbra”?
    and the whole last stanza.
    Fabulous poem, Merril.

  4. So dreamlike in both pacing and images. Yet they all fit together in the end. I love the peaceful feeling. And that painting! I’ve never seen that one before. (K)

  5. I admire how each stanza focuses on a creature, with colors & movements, specialy the second stanza. The last stanza crytallizes what we want to capture – a fragment of the moment in time.

  6. Yes, very dream-like. In fact, I’ve re-read your poem several times. And then out loud, which is beautiful. Another form I never met!
    P.S. Did I tell you I’m reading this amazing book about poetry? It’s fiction but much more like non-fiction about a poet. So many wise thoughts of poetry, and rhyming. I highly recommend it to you: The Anthologist, Nicholson Baker

  7. I love the way you’ve given a concrete image for each stanza- forest, cats, driftwood, red flowers-and then end with the comfort and joy of seeing these things together.

  8. Pingback: 104 – Time v2 – Beach Walk Reflections: Thoughts from thinking while walking

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