This Poem was Submitted By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2003-11-21 16:25:30 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Full Beaver Moon  floats low in cobalt sky,  face pressed close lighting a path into the woods. A raccoon of massive size emerges, lifts her head to scrutinize,  cheeks puffed  with food.  Ever vigilant, she dances toward me,  a sturdy shape  on nimble feet. Her head inclines as if to gloat, “I‘m wise to you!”  Soon she'll sleep wrapped in thick winter coat, safe in her den.  She'll watch from dreams then.

Copyright © November 2003 Joanne M Uppendahl

Additional Notes:
Tsa-ga-gla-tal = Yakima Indian word for raccoons; translation--”she who watches.” Full Beaver Moon = November Full Moon

This Poem was Critiqued By: C Arrownut On Date: 2003-12-05 19:50:07
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.50000
Hi Joanne, noticed your raccoon poem is second. Excellent in its simplicity and clarity. I wasn't familiar with Beaver moom or Tsa-ga-gla-tal, so thanks for the note. In particular, I liked the ending images: thick warm coat, dreams, safe. The type of poem to read in front of a fireplace on a snowy night. Also, the image of her cheeks puffed with food suggests Thanksgiving. I remember the falls when I lived back east, so beautiful, though you don't mention the turning leaves I saw them still. Thank you for sharing. It deserves recognition. C. Arrownut

This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2003-12-05 14:54:06
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.94444
Hi Joanne: I've read this already and marked it for voting, but it hasn't been anywhere near the top of my list until now. The anthropomorphized raccoon is portrayed in such a delightful way, with her incongruous dancing steps and bulky body. I see her in the way I may well see myself - clumsy of shape but, I hope, nimble of mind and still joyful. The whole poem speaks, I think, of "the fullness of time", the beaverish roundness of the moon and the raccoon's cheeks and even, by implication, the cycle that is nearing completion/renewal. Full Beaver Moon floats low in cobalt sky, face pressed close lighting a path into the woods. Wonderful assonance of floats/low/cobalt/close! I like the way "woods" picks up "moon" in a slant rhyme based on the vowel. The last four words emphasize your trademark sibilance, which is an aspect of many of your poems about natural situations. The imagery of the floating moon face suggests a watchfulness that belongs to the sky as well as to the earth's creatures. That lighted woodland path might be more than just a finite track among earthly trees. By setting apart that line, you draw attention to the leading-onward of the speaker. A raccoon of massive size emerges, lifts her head to scrutinize, cheeks puffed with food. More sibilance here, and also the subtle rhyme of size/scrutinize. "Massive size" and "puffed" both reproduce the moon's own girth. The animal's scrutiny establishes a bond between her and the human, and the reference to "food" reassures us that all is most definitely right with her world. Ever vigilant, she dances toward me, a sturdy shape on nimble feet. I do love the contradictory idea here! It's also unusual that such a "vigilant" creature can be so light-footed. Kind of like a cross between the National Guard and the Bolshoi! Slant rhyme of me/feet tingles the ear again. Her head inclines as if to gloat, “I‘m wise to you!” Soon she'll sleep wrapped in thick winter coat, safe in her den. "Wise" may suggest the speaker's own attitude imposed upon this other being, as does the act of gloating; yet in the raccoon's stance and manner are the qualities we recognize because we, too, possess them. The inclined head accepts this two-legged visitor. I sense no fear at all. The rhyme of gloat/coat makes her seem comfortably smug, since she's not hungry, she's warm and she figures she's better off than the speaker. "Safe in her den" evokes a mild twinge of envy. She has no worries, no concerns, while we must face all sorts of stresses. Aaah, to be warm and secure in one's small corner! She'll watch from dreams then. You close with a simple and effective rhyme that lets us know the little watcher will not abandon her quiet surveillance of her home. There's a certain spirituality about the animal's dream travel ... rather like a human vision quest. If dreams are also a form of alternate reality, then perhaps animals share this dual essence. This is a poem rich in empathy for living beings, keen observation of the transition point between one season and the next, and deep pleasure in partaking of this magic. It's a special piece and well deserves to be rewarded by its readers with gentle and appreciative applause. The title, in itself, is a poem! I'm so glad I've managed to respond to it before the cycle's end. My best always, Brenda
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne Duval Morgan On Date: 2003-12-02 16:21:21
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Joanne, Limited ability with typing, but I wanted to comment at lease. I love t he Indian flavor of the speech encased in your words. My mind draw a sembelance to how the November Moon does keep watch as most of the animals that hibrinate do exactly as stated in the poem. I see trees bared of leaves, and a stillness that seems to rumbled just under the surface, facing this moon, brilliant in it's light, does keep watch. It5's a drastic change from the liveliness of all animal and fauna activity, taking a break, to sleep and wait it out. Somewhat like I'm doing myself right now. But I had to comment, this a close proximity to a poem you posted earlier with the same Indian flavor which I enjoyed as well. Have to run, the arm is hurting badly, sorry this is so short....Love Jo
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2003-12-02 16:10:21
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.48485
Hi Joanne, I don't usually critique after the first of the month but when I found this one I just have to respond. You know how much I love to write about nature and all the wonderous things that one finds there so I just naturally love the story about your raccoon. You have taken a clumsy looking creature and painted her as lithe and limber..."she dances toward me, a sturdy shape on nimble feet" I am especially enamored with the first stanza..."Full beaver moon (lovely) floats low in cobalt sky, face pressed close" (this is inspirational...depicting a moon as a face pressing close) We all know the moon has a face but only a poet such as yourself would think up such a phrase!..."cheeks puffed with food"...we don't have raccoons where I live but I have seen them with puffed cheeks and also is like they don't want to swallow until they are sure they can fill up again...."thick winter coat, safe in her den" "she' from dreams then" What a perfect way to end this poem which is so much fun to read. Your wonderful imagery allowed me to see this creature created by our Heavenly Father to fit in the scheme of all things great and small. Thanks for posting this...loved it! Blessings....Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Rachel F. Spinoza On Date: 2003-12-01 09:58:55
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.16667
Really lovely, Joanne another fine tribute to the Yakima people. Tsa-ga-gla-tal I love the title as it forces us to move our mouth into these glottal stops [sorry - I can't resist a pun] in the wonderful fresh tones of the language Full Beaver Moon floats low in cobalt[one of those adjective overused in poetry -find a fresher word here] sky, face pressed close neat image - lighting a path into the woods. ahhhh A raccoon of massive size emerges, [A massive Raccoon ]would be more economical unless there is something you are doing with "size" tht I am not getting . Size/emerges is too subtle in soundy for me to justify it for the sake of assonance and the orphan rhyme of size/scrutinize is too ogden-nashy for a poem of this seriousnes I think lifts her head to scrutinize, cheeks puffed with food. [I thik we know it is with food - but if you want to fill her mouth how about the specific kind of food? Ever vigilant, she dances toward me, a sturdy shape on nimble feet. lovely! The dance of the Raccoon Her head inclines as if to gloat, “I‘m wise to you!” [love it] Soon she'll sleep wrapped in thick winter coat, safe in her den. She'll watch from dreams then. This works wonderfully well and an end rhyme spectacular ending - I am so sorry to make all these nit picky suggestions to what is already a fine piece but I think this one can be make tighter and a little more visual for the most effect Best Rachel
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2003-11-30 07:59:34
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.73333
Hi Auntie Joanne, Your revision of Tsa-ga-gla-tal makes the piece even more fascinating. I couldn't totally recall the words you put in the previous version but I can see a lot of words and phrases perfectly revised so that I see this as freshly-baked and "hotly" served! Am I correct with "hotly-served"? SMILE! I remember previously you have the name "Full Harvest Moon". Now, you have "Full Beaver Moon"! It has a nicer touch, I would say! It is timely for as it is submitted this November. Wise choice! A very enticing imagery with your description "floats low in cobalt sky, face pressed close". I like the harmonious sound of 't' and 's'. I also like the thrill here "lighting a path into the woods"...I can think a stage play where the light is directed to a performer. This is like a show in the woods! Great! And her comes the scene...the raccoon...very thrilling...I should get a ticket ahead of others if this is a real show! SMILE! The action you pictured of the raccoon is enlivining. The inclusion of the phrase "I‘m wise to you!" is making the piece even more authentic. It seems to me that the raccoon is very pompous! SMILE! Alright, the ending seems to give me a wishful thinking. Thank you for revising this. This is a contender for this month. But let me critique first the other submission you have "On Sipping Tea" before making a choice. Kudos to your work, as always, Auntie Joanne. By the way, you critique less nowadays, why? Are you on a vacation? Take care, Jordan
This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas Edward Wright On Date: 2003-11-24 12:33:51
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.63636
Jo-An-Up-N-Doll me like 'em. Of Tsa-ga-gla-tal As Beaver Moon floats low on cobalt skies, Her face pressed close lights a path through wood, A sole raccoon stops to scrutinize; I sense her cheeks puffed out full with food. Ever vigilant, she dances toward me, A sturdy dark shape on four nimble feet Who nods as if to gloat, “I‘m wise to you!” Soon she'll sleep with ten pups in her warm den. Without fear, from dreams she'll watch us then. M-So-Ta-Po-Et-Of-Half-Son-Net This is my version. I don't like the abruptly short lines, but it does mimic the sonics of the Native Language, so perhaps it is appropriate. I just have to play with your wonderful images. Hope you take it in the positive way it is intended! Tom-Tom
This Poem was Critiqued By: Annette L Cowling On Date: 2003-11-24 05:11:08
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.68421
Joanne - I love unusual titles for poems and this one fits that criteria. The moon is inspirational nearly anytime of the year. Thanks for sharing your poetic perspective. I enjoyed it! Annette
This Poem was Critiqued By: Gerard A Geiger On Date: 2003-11-23 16:39:59
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.50000
Dear Joanne; Lovely poem about a Racoon emerging from the woods...seen through the light of the "Full Beaver moon" an apt indian descriptor. I also like the following verse: Ever vigilant, she dances toward me, a sturdy shape on nimble feet We sometimes forget just how nimble these creatures are...especially puffed out in their winter coats. Thank you for a wonderful poem about one of my all time favorite creatures. Take care, Gerard
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2003-11-22 12:55:27
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.63158
Dear Joanne, "Tsa-ga-gla-tal" Wow, thats a mouthful! I wouldn't even attempt to pronouce that tounge twister! "She who watches"- now that is a delightful description of a racoon. I appreciate your additional notes, as they are helpful to this reader. "Full Beaver Moon floats low in cobalt sky, face pressed close lighting a path into the woods." That is a wonderful image of the full november moon rising and the sky still holding some color from twilight. You personify the moon with it's "face pressed close". That is an image I am reluctant to let leave my mind, wanting to savor every word, yet, I know from reading your nature poems that I want and need to read on. You lead us on an enjoyable journey with each one and I don't want to miss one little detail of the trip. "A raccoon of massive size emerges, lifts her head to scrutinize, cheeks puffed with food." She sounds ready for winter with her "massive size" and "puffed cheeks". It's funny, but I can identify with her right now, as I have some excess weight I'm toting that will keep me warm all winter, no doubt. :) "Ever vigilant, she dances toward me, a sturdy shape on nimble feet. Her head inclines as if to gloat, “I‘m wise to you!” " And here we are reminded of her name of Tsa-ga-gla-tal or "She who watches" as she 'vigilantly dances toward' you. Again the imagry is nice as I can picture something I have never seen---A racoon dancing! Ha! That brings a smile to me. "Soon she'll sleep wrapped in thick winter coat, safe in her den." How I long to be her in thick winter coat safely sleeping the winter away! You taught me something I didn't know being a "city gal" from way back. I didn't know raccons hibernate. Are they related to the bear family? This is facinating! "She'll watch from dreams then." This brings us back to the title again and to the Indian folk lore than is at times sureal to me. I find it all so interesting and this little taste will no doubt lead me to search for more info about the Yakima Indians. This is another of your enjoyable nature poems so nicely done. Thank you for the ride. Blessings, Jennifer
This Poem was Critiqued By: Turner Lee Williams On Date: 2003-11-22 00:10:36
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.50000
Joanne--The title of this poem is a mouth full (but well worth the trouble-smile). The line breaks makes this such a beautiful read: mostly because you've kept words together that belong together; the alignment of the lines allows certain emphasis to be placed on different bits and pieces, i.e., " a path into the woods.";"Her head inclines as if to gloat, "I'm wise to you!"; "She'll watch from dreams then." The piece contain great combinations of internal, slant, & end rhymes/assonance/alliterations: The assonance produced by the OO & O sound in Moon/woods (slant rhyme)/floats/low/cobalt/close/ in stanza #1 starts the rhythmic tone; followed up with more melody from slant rhyme (raccoon/food) and alliterations (her head/sturdy shape/soon she'll sleep) in the 2nd, 3rd, & 5th stanza. This piece also has excellent descriptors (in cobalt sky/cheeks puffed with food/she dances toward me/on nimble feet/wrapped in thick winter coat) presenting super strong visual images. Perhaps a parental kinship shown (" in her den/...from dreams then") with end rhymes, den & then. I enjoyed reading, visualizing, vocalizing and listening to this poem. Pretty scrumptious piece-THANKS! TLW
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-11-21 23:20:00
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.52941
One can almost hear the beat of the drums as you gaze upon the title to this piece.......and indeed a wonderful adventure it has been to sit and watch the full Bever Moon as it shines on the path allowing one to view this oversized raccoon with its puffy cheeks preparing her way to safety within her winter's den......wonder if she sleeps alone during the long winter stretch.......your love of nature is reflected within the lines over and over again and thus brings forth to my mind the images you project. one can almost hear the raccoon as she says how she is wise to you and at the same time appears to be dancing on her nimble little those eyes too.....had a raccoon come into our yard one afternoon and that is a nono....for you know there is something wrong with the little critter when they venture out in daylight.....indeed this one was rabbit and chased Billy onto the front porch and was right behind him as he entered the kitchen door.....Jerry went to get his shotgun and the fury creature turned on him as well....took over a half hour to kill the little man and then we had to dispose of it ourself....took bags of lime to cover the yard where his remains fell and would you know it was near the well water area......a frightening experience for all but a lesson well learnt....when you see a raccoon come out of the woods in mid afternoon run for the hills for he certainly does mean you harm......thanks for posting and sharing this information with us.....I so love those Indian ways you have about you as well as your love for all safe my friend, enjoy the fall and God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: Wanda S. Thibodeaux On Date: 2003-11-21 22:20:23
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Dear Joanne, sure glad I don't have to pronounce this word. I much prefer "she who watches." Your descriptive powers are at work here, love the "Full Beaver Moon" and almost wish that it was she, who watches. Wouldn't that be cool? Picture a wo-man in the moon. What I enjoy so much about your work is your love of nature, your pleasure in the simplicity of just being. This poem is alive with life and yet there is a subtle lonliness, a lovely dark side to it. At 5am this morning, the moon was a sliver, a thin quarter moon, made me think of a mime's phantom grin. Always a joy to read your poetry. Wonderful piece! Best always, Wanda
This Poem was Critiqued By: Sandra J Kelley On Date: 2003-11-21 22:17:55
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.89474
Joanne, How wonderfull. I love your discriptions and your subtle personification of both moon and racoon. Your title is perfect (but I think the translation might be more effective in parenthesis under the title). I will look for this on the winners list and can see nothing that needs to change. I love it. Sandra
This Poem was Critiqued By: Irene E Fraley On Date: 2003-11-21 20:15:51
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.50000
Hi Joanne, You've done it again! If there is any doubt that less is more, this should put a cork to it! The simplicity of this poem, the beauty of description all work together not just to pain a scene, but also to set a mood and maybe say something about the necessity of the full cycle of life in this world of ours. In the first stanza the moon almost becomes personalized as she watches the world. This provides a tie in with the end of the poem and the title, as the racoon mirrors the moon, thus tying the poem together. The flow of the poem is smooth, and I was facinated at the description of the racoon. The contrast of the massive body on nimble feet, dancing again (for me) echoed the moon, which is massive nd yet silky in her movements. I particularly liked the way in which you ended the poem, which lets the reader know there is more to come. The raccoon is asleep only and there will be another spring. I see so much in this poem that speaks of the wonderful way in which you work to put your personal life into the world about as you deal with nature in all her aspects. The echo (again to me) of your loss and reluctant acceptance comes through to me. I love the simplicity of your writing, which holds so much more than is apparent. Loving thoughts go out to you, Rene
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