the pelican,
serene in flight,
on the water
all arms and legs—
the ducks slip into the Bay
with barely a ripple

a lone cormorant rides the waves
a black coquette on the green water—
its disappearing act unequaled among creatures

amidst the clamor of shore birds at low tide
across the mudflats, an excited congregation is singing out of tune

it’s a hectic scene and a joyous one
as the birds exult in their brackish banquet

still, I search for clues to our own lives
in the rapid movement of a cormorant,
among the coots, sandpipers and terns

in vain

the marbled godwit knows nothing of John Calvin
or Presbyterianism

the brown pelican borne aloft
in motion so right and natural
—could it not fall out of the sky more gracefully?—
knows nothing of the rebel factions fighting in Syria
nor does the oyster catcher
with its fine crimson beak
suspect there is a resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan

on a rock
the snowy egret poised
on yellow feet—
a marvel of indifference!


Stuart Dodds

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