Literature 4-6-2010

mnLIT presents: Neil Dyer

This week's What Light-winner, Neil Dyer, had two poems selected (by different jurors) for the 2009 cycle of mnLIT. This poem (a timely ode to springtime), "Here, At Last," was chosen by poet Leslie Adrienne Miller.


Here, At Last

Here, at last, we pause

to feel the warp and

pucker of the earth, to

watch its strident

pullulations; your gentle

agnostic intonations invoke

a troop of shaggy gods

like points along a line;

they rise and breed with

humankind, something

faintly syncretistic, a smell

of rot beneath the bloom.

On this coolish

April afternoon grassed and

treed in elemental browns

it would seem

better to consider well

the constant leaving of

our lives.  Is there something

tenderly Alcestine in the seasons?

The goat-limbed god within

the hedge is watching us with

golden eyes bladed in

primeval blackness;

grapes and grass spring from

his loins, siskins sing and

build their nests

within his hair, you tip your

head to sniff the seed

within the air.

This, then, is the list

of elegant indecencies we

left within our wake;

the things undone and done

which tempt the exhumation

of species long extinct.  What

will you do with all of that?

The cruelty of time lies in

its resolute recession.

You sip the tea and note

with wrinkled snout that

we let it steep too long, but

drink it bitter anyway

then pluck a lilac from

the hedge and make

some magic in the breeze.


About the poet: “My name is Neil Dyer and I am a resident of Moorhead, Minnesota. I was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, and have lived all of my life in the upper Midwest. I am married with three children and three grand children. I am by training a veterinarian, but have written poetry and prose since I was a teenager. My hobbies include reading, writing, bird watching, and bicycling.

About poetry, Dyer writes: “Poetry is an exercise in capturing images, and then using language in a way that appeals to the ear as well as the spirit. This “quest” for images is somewhat endless in that there is a perpetual challenge in trying to find new ways to present an emotion, experience or idea. I love words, the sound of words, and the manner in which they convey meaning. For me, poetry provides the richest medium in which to attempt such crafting.”

______________________________________________________ is a joint project of the Walker Art Center and the McKnight Foundation

Membership on is FREE. Find step-by-step instructions for how to join and how to use the free resources available on the site. If you need assistance, contact Jehra Patrick at Any Minnesota resident is eligible to participate in’s mnLIT competitions for poetry and fiction; there are no entry fees, and writers at all levels of skill and experience are welcome to enter work for consideration by a revolving panel of established authors and publishing professionals in mnLIT’s blind adjudication process.

The 2010 competition cycle of mnLIT is now open. Deadline for submissions by MN poets and writers for’s flash fiction and poetry competitions is midnight, May 16. Click here for the detailed call for writers, to find out more about this year’s fantastic line-up of jurors, and for full information on the series.