I’m participating in a zoom poetry group. There are 5 of us who show up regularly and a couple of others who show up sometimes. Three of them are published poets – as in they’ve had things published in print and they’ve been recognized in our county as poets.
I can’t really explain how much this class has come to mean to me during COVID. We meet on the 1st and 3rd Mondays over Zoom. My work is all virtual right now so I’m usually on Zoom up to 5 hours out of every day already – but this invitation to be creative, and vulnerable, as well as seen and heard as a writer far outweighs any downsides of being on zoom for one more hour in an evening.
While it has not spawned a full writing spree, it has warmed up my poetry writing juices and I dutifully attend to our homework prompts so I have something to share at the following meeting.
The most recent prompt had a whole list of categories for birds as a launch: a bird in a song, from childhood, a sports mascot, a migratory bird, bird that’s a symbol. The idea was to just make a list and then see what flowed from that. Since I’ve been going out “bird-not-birding” with my sister almost every other weekend during COVID, I’ve seen a lot of birds. But my most recent experience in a slough in Skagit County was the source for the following poem which I shared at the last Zoom meeting:
Light filters through low clouds on this marshy slough of sepia toned grasses, cattails and bleached wood;
a broad landscape of rivulets, mud, and the bare trunks of long dead trees.
Clumps of reeds swirl slowly by with the turning tide.
Yellowleg sandpipers stand together on a floating limb.
Like soldiers at attention, they drift past the heron, who seems not to notice,
but continues to gaze intently in the direction they came from.
The heron’s reflection is a perfect mirror image in the placid water;
his steely dark eyes stare unblinking.
Then with familiar choreography,
he points his beak high, opens his indigo wings with a slight shimmy,
revealing the downy white plumage of his breast,
and brings his wings close once more.
Kildeers startle, cry and swirl in a tight circle,
and land beyond his statuesque form in the mud flats.
Unperturbed, the heron steps with deliberation
deeper into the water and stares once again into stillness.