This long poem began as Martin's field notes in the small notebook he carries in his back pocket, written in pencil, in stops and starts throughout the day while hiking the Greenhorn Trail from Rye, Colorado into the Greenhorn Wilderness.
"It seemed shapeless, fragmented notes, bits and pieces gleaned along the way, taking what seemed its only shape when I discovered the ground nest. Afterwards I labored over the notes, trying to get them to stick together, to become one cohesive poem about the day and the ground nest, both or either.
I spent far too long, as Bruce Owens would say, 'trimming away the dead wood' over-pruned it, then grafted the pieces back on, it grew in size, not so much in length as in breadth and depth, it began to open itself onto the page, its bits called for space and I allowed them to spread themselves out over the blank field of the page, and in doing so I began to see that the space, the emptiness, the pauses and the spaces were what stitched it together . . . it was stitched together by space, by emptiness."
Inspired by contemporary English nature poets such as Fay Musselwhite's book Contraflow, which harnesses the energies of the Rivelin river with its bottlenecks, bends and counter-currents, Mark Goodwin with his unique spacing and broken words, and Matthew Clegg’s spacious audio poetry work, Martin's presentation of this long-poem impresses has been more determined by the rhythm of his thought process, and the spaces of no-thought between thoughts while walking — allowing the measure of his steps and kennings shore up the measure of the lines, the breaks, the sections to impress upon the reader an impression of the the long poem as a space of consciousness, inclusion, and discovery, with its attention to the "moment."
"Please read it slowly," advises Martin, "as this is how it was received and, I believe, how it was meant to be shared."
The Ground Nest
by David Anthony Martin