The Fight in the Meadow

By Russell Edson 1935–2014 Russell Edson
The curtains part: it is a summer’s day. There a cow on a grassy slope watches as a bull charges an old aeroplane in a meadow. The bull is punching holes with its horns in the aeroplane’s fabric...
         Suddenly the aeroplane’s engine ignites; the meadow is dark blue smoke...
         The aeroplane shifts round and faces the charging bull.
         As the bull comes in the propeller takes off the end of its muzzle. The bloody nostrils, a ring through them, are flung to the grass with a shattered blossom of teeth.
         The bull, blood oozing from the stump of its face, backs off, and charges again. This time the propeller catches the bull behind its lower jaw and flings the head into a tree.
         The headless bull backs off once more, and then charges down again. The propeller beating at the headless bull, cutting the body away in a great halo of blood, until only the back legs are standing. These run widely away through the meadow in figure eights and zigzags, until at last they find the aeroplane again. And as they come running down the propeller whacks them apart.
         The legs, one with the tail still attached to it, the other somehow retaining both rectum and testicles, scamper off in opposite directions.
         The aeroplane turns away; the engine stops.
         The shadows are suddenly seen in lengthened form.
         The watching cow begins to low ...

Russell Edson, “The Fight in the Meadow,” in The Reason Why the Closet-Man is Never Sad © 1977 by Russell Edson and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: The Reason Why the Closet-Man is Never Sad (Wesleyan University Press, 1977)

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Poet Russell Edson 1935–2014

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Nature, Relationships, Pets, Living, Death, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Russell  Edson


Called the “godfather of the prose poem in America,” Russell Edson’s idiosyncratic body of work is populated with strange and intriguing figures: a woman fights a tree, a mother serves ape; in the poem “Let Us Consider,” there’s a “farmer who makes his straw hat his sweetheart” and an “old woman who makes a floor lamp her son.” The poems are surreal and fablelike, sometimes resembling brief plays. Donald Hall said of Edson’s . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Relationships, Pets, Living, Death, Landscapes & Pastorals

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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