"Two wrongs may not make a right but a thousand wrongs make a writer.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2023


Back when pheasants were plentiful
Opening Day m
eant friedcakes hot out of the deep fryer—
etty Crocker called them cake doughnuts
But mother called them friedcakes so friedcakes they were—
subtly spiced and dipped in glaze or sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar
and stacked in dripping pans to cool.

Opening day was hunters in camouflage jackets

and canvas vests lined with little pockets

to store bullets in. Traipsing in and out

the back door to sign in on dad’s clipboard

hung on a nail beside the dryer.


They would carry their birds back up the lane by the feet

stopping first to report in and get a friedcake.

A snapshot of one of the regulars

     Eddie in his bulging vest with his bird

     And a grinning preschooler full of indulgence in a fuzzy sweater.

What beautiful birds those ringnecks were.



Gunshots echoed across the fields

The kicking up of leaves in galoshes and wool socks.

The warm kitchen smelling of hot oil and cinnamon

Friedcakes dripping frosting cooling in the pan.

A jostling around the counter to duck and grab

Mother in her apron and dad in his coveralls

Talking up the hunt and the camaraderie of neighbors.




A Kindred Need

Chaff in the wind, grasshoppers on the fly,

the gathering up and the laying down.

Combines creep across the field

where sparrows hover and hide

in the dry rustle of the corn

storing up energy in their hollow bones

for fall portends winter,

when they’ll swoop over the land in concert of wing

for they need their kind come winter.

I heard a pheasant this past summer.
Never saw but heard the truncated chortle,

the two-note song. 

Was that a tail waving in the Queen Anne’s Lace?

I thought I heard a pheasant this past summer.

Can't resist linking this to Poets and Storytellers with their prompt in  favor of adjectives, reaffirming my belief that there are exceptions to every writing rule. And in answer to the prompt at What's Going On?  what do you love?, this post might only scratch the surface but Opening Day, then and now, are right near the top. 


Sherry Blue Sky said...

What a rich poem this is, full of memories so wonderfully told I can see the whole scene, and almost smell the cinammon. I especially love your closing stanza, with the repeated line about almost seeing a pheasant last summer. Such an evocative poem. I really enjoyed it.

Mary said...

I love all of the details you included. Opening Day does indeed seem like a day to love!

Kim M. Russell said...

I love the way you went back in time to 1957 and then back to the current year in this poem, Yvonne. I also love pheasants, which inhabit our garden most of the year, so I’m not enamoured of hunting. But I enjoyed all the details you included, such as the friedcakes ‘subtly spiced and dipped in glaze or sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar / and stacked in dripping pans to cool’; ‘a grinning preschooler full of indulgence in a fuzzy sweater’; and ‘the kicking up of leaves in wool socks and galoshes’. The final stanza really appealed to me too.

annell4 said...

Your poem so full of all things one might love, opening day. A special moment in memory. Thanks so much. Somethings I Think About - annell

Helen said...

Your post is fascinating, full of warm fuzzy memories. I vividly remember my grandfather, uncles and few a a few neighbors heading out to the pastures and fields for "the hunt." The Fall weather always seemed to cooperate. Sadly, we did not have yummy fried treats like those you described!

Rajani said...

I don't relish the idea of hunting but your poem is rich in detail and brings the scene to life. And the friedcakes sound like quite a treat!

Sumana Roy said...

There are so many things to love in your poem. Each line seems complete with a story of cherished moments. You've said everything so beautifully.

Anthony Duce said...

So enjoyed. Wonderful imagery brings back memories of fall and opening days as a kid in all those open fields and wooded areas around the outskirts of Flint.

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...

A lovely poem reviewing other times much enjoyed...the rituals and routines of old,perhaps no longer a tradition, as with many things.
Reminds me of childhood times visiting my grandparents at their farm..I love those memories too ...

Jim said...

I was anticipating the obliteration of the pheasants for 2023. Perhaps that will happen in this year and 2024 won't find any pheasants in the field. We lived on a Nebraska farm with lots of pheasants. My father would hunt them, but had to take them to my grandmother's, his mom, to cook. My mom and I never ate pheasant meat.
The Chinese Pandas, I heard on the morning news that China will soon be sending us some more, younger of course. They are fun to watch while playing. If you could go, only three others in Memphis, Tennessee, remain; they are scheduled to leave next year. [Click the link from to go to the article].

Jim said...

the link is in the comments below my writing.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I certainly couldn't argue against any of these essential adjectives, in this altogether delightful poem!

Dr. Pearl Ketover Prilik (PKP) said...

Wow! A walk through time and a culture that was unfamliar to me and now painted in vivid color. Absolutely beautiful.

Susan said...

Such a wistful memory! I love it! "Back when Pheasants were plentiful . . . " There is the merest suggestion that someday they will be seen no more. Meanwhile the land gives and takes, and your images are beautiful.

Truedessa said...

I can see the doughnuts/fried cakes cooking. I bet they were great warm.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Yes, they were. Thanks!

Thank you. Sadly, they are no longer plentiful.

Dr. Pearl,

Thank you for loving on Adjectives!

I'd heard about the panda revisitation (diplomacy) which is encouraging while the pheasant population is in decline. I can't imagine shooting one of those birds now. I just love to hear them and see the occasional iridescent feathers above the grass. Thanks for the link.

Seems few people have connection to a farm anymore. Used to be everyone did. Thanks for commenting here.

Now I'm imagining rolling fields of grass and wooded areas on the outskirts of Flint!!

Sherry, Thanks!!

Mary, And thank you!

I agree, it was the friedcakes, the fall days, the kitchen bursting with warmth and company that I remember fondly. Thanks.

Thank you so much.

Thanks. I remember that fuzzy sweater. Or maybe it's just the black and white photo that creates the memory.

Annell, thanks for commenting!

I'd love to have pheasants roaming around my garden! I can't imagine hunting them. I just relished the long lost sound in the meadow. They are a sight to behold. Thanks a bunch.