Dave Bonta “Ode to Scythes”

I met Dave Bonta at the AWP Conference in March.  He was working the Motion Poems booth, which was next to my table.  We swapped books and talked a little poetry.  We became FB friends, and I got to learn more about him through his posts, most of which are about Via Negativa, a site I encourage you to investigate.  Dave describes it as a “personal web log with delusions of grandeur,” and also as a “mélange” in which he posts poems, photos, essays and videos, the occasional satire and audio podcasts.   Via Negativa, he writes, “ is part of a mini network of sites, including The Morning Porch, a site devoted to poetry films and videopoetry called Moving Poems (and its associated discussion blog), and Woodrat Photoblog, which is a also a haiku blog, updated a couple of times a month.

Dave’s chapbook, “Odes to Tools” is a collection of 25 poems. It is available from Phoenicia Publishing.  I thought “Ode to Scythes” was appropriate for the season. This past July 24th on Via Negativa, Dave revisited scythes, so to speak, and wrote about Martin Hardy, who once lived in the house Dave occupies now, and also a video of “Ode to Scythes” made by a British blogger and Buddhist priest Kaspalita.


Ode to Scythes


The scythes are emissaries

from a country

that no longer exists.

They have only each other

to converse with now

that their translator

the whetstone went off

& joined the knives.

They huddle together

in corners, nested esses

long in the tooth

but still as fluid

as the staff of Moses

at the exact moment

it shifted into an asp.

Do you remember,

they murmur, how

the crowds

would lose their heads

& stand like soldiers,

stiff, when the wind

moved through?



© Dave Bonta,  2008




Dave Bonta is a poet, editor and web publisher from Plummer’s Hollow, which is on the eastern edge of western Pennsylvania.  He is the managing editor of qarrtsiluni, an online literary magazine. In addition to “Odes to Tools,” Dave also has produced a collection of cartoons, Words on the Street, from Bauble Tree Books. Breakdown: Banjo Poems is forthcoming by Seven Kitchens Press. Read more about Dave Bonta at his website.  THANKS Dave!



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  1. Beth Adams says:

    Thanks for appreciating Dave, who deserves a lot more recognition both for his writing and his many online efforts to support other writers and poetry itself, than he gets!

  2. Ellen Beals says:

    Yes, Beth, I agree! Hope this blog gets Dave more readers. Thanks for commenting.

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