poetry and prose about place

rural to urban

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In one of my recent posts, here, I wrote about a course I took using collage-making as a writing prompt. To help us visualize the method, the teacher (Lynn Davies) gave us examples of collages she had built and asked us to do some response writing. Here is a facsimile of Lynn’s collage and the poem I wrote in response.


collage 2.jpg


Relocating the Rhino


We move,

rural to urban.

Exchange night song

for traffic noise.

Swap canopied trees

for storied buildings,


night stars and Jupiter

for wall switches

and tic-tac-toe

of energy leak

from offices

in skyscrapers.


Beneath our feet,

rocks become fluid,

magma, electric blue.

Footing uncertain

on rocks

that wobble.


We armor ourselves,

chose tenement addresses.

Turn off lights

to save our silver,

wish for stars

in the night sky.


See only

tired workers,


the lights on

way past

quitting time.



Since I am a community planner and environmentalist, the interpretation of the collage comes as no surprise. The surprises (for me) are the rhino as metaphor for humans moving into the urban setting and the comparison of the twinkle of office buildings to the twinkle of rural stars.  Implied is the irony of rural workers, seeking a better life, working even longer hours when they migrate to an urban life.


All my best,

Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 26, 2018 at 12:00 am

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