PF detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Beach Scene, Guernsey (Children by the Sea in Guernsey) - 1883;


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Last updated:
May 2009


Graduate of the UNCG MFA program, co-editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, Chair of the Sam Ragan Poetry Prize for the Poetry Council of NC, and author of “Musings,” a weekly poetry column in Outlook, Scott Owens is the 2008 Visiting Writer at Catawba Valley Community College.  His first full-length collection of poetry, The Fractured World was published in August by Main Street Rag.  He is also author of three chapbooks The Persistence of Faith (1993) from Sandstone Press, Deceptively Like a Sound (Dead Mule, 2008), The Book of Days (Dead Mule, 2009) and over 300 poems published in various journals.   He has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net Prize this year.  His poem, “On the Days I Am Not My Father,” was featured on Garrison Keillor’s NPR show The Writer’s Almanac. Born in Greenwood, SC, he now lives in Hickory, NC, where he teaches and coordinates the Poetry Hickory reading series.

The Imperfect Garden | Father's House


The Imperfect Garden

There are things he never wanted this way,
things he never planned, the slip of hand
stretching the nose into elephant, neck
into giraffe, lost legs leaving the snake
on its belly, the nightmare springing into lion,
his own uncareful eye leading
to aardvark, manatee, pelican.

He thought that using his own body as model
he could do no wrong, but mistakes were made.
When he grew tired he lost his concentration.
Some were born deformed, others given bodies
too large or small, wings they couldn't use,
shells they couldn't escape from.
Many were simply left unfinished.

He knew he could fix them, if he wanted,
make them just the way he sketched them out,
each one perfect and beautiful, but always
there was something in the way they walked,
talked, moved about without a backward glance,
without a care for him that made him say
this is life now, you can do nothing to stop it.

Father's House

The garden was his father's place.
Though he said he'd left it for him,
he'd never leave it completely,
dropping in whenever he wanted,
unannounced, demanding things
be kept as they were, exclaiming about
the trees, tssking his way to shame.

When things didn't go how he wanted,
he used the tricks of the old gods,
inducing sleep, performing
minor surgery, dictating labor.

Departure was inevitable,
the father never taking responsibility
for the mess he made, the pet
snake, ambitious girl, unwillingness
to share power or control.
A man and his father can never
live in the same house for long.

Sandro Botticelli detail from “Allegory of Spring”