Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Poem by Diana Woodcock


Golden green in setting sunlight, sedges
shimmer as soft rain falls. The black bird
once dull now glows with a purple iridescence.
A Tri-colored heron stands in dark blue-grey
contrast beside an all-white morph.
The symphony begins—stereo sound,
cinematography in the round: bleating
Narrowmouthed frogs on the left; marble-

clicking Cricket frogs on the right;
grunting Pig frogs hunting crayfish;
rumble of two alligators vying for their
favorite resting place. Binoculars and
umbrella forgotten, I walk awestruck,
grateful for my stroke of good luck:
having it all to myself. One skulking Green-
backed heron swoops down, checking me out—

so close I hear its wings flapping.
Baby alligators surface and stare, curious
as to why I’m way up there. At peace
in the midst of all this wildness, I ponder
prisoners plotting escapes, aging parents
housebound, myself pacing a classroom nine
months a year. Caged in—all of our wings
clipped by society, tradition, religion. Free now,

I bask in just enough remaining light to ignite
the Lubber grasshopper making its way from
Swamp lily leaves to its bed. Enough light
to detect the cardinal at the tree island’s edge,
two green Pond apples ready to fall, Soft-
shelled turtle just below the surface, ready to feast.
One must stay alert—focused on margins,
shallows, uppermost branches. Take chances,

leave behind everything familiar, and though partial
to the ocean, explore where one’s never gone before:
sawgrass marsh, wet prairie, slough.
Too soon one’s time on Earth is through.
Leave now, you can make it for tomorrow’s
performance—same time, same venue.
As for me, I’m flying off to Cape Sable if
weather permits and I’m physically able.   

Diana Woodcock’s first full-length collection, Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders—nominated for a Kate Tufts Discovery Award—won the 2010 Vernice Quebodeaux International Poetry Prize for Women and was published by Little Red Tree Publishing in 2011. Her chapbooks are In the Shade of the Sidra Tree (Finishing Line Press), Mandala (Foothills Publishing), and Travels of a Gwai Lo—the title poem of which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has been teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar since 2004. Prior to that, she lived and worked in Tibet , Macau and Thailand.

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