June 19, 2008

MARY OLIVERíS DUCKS

If I had Mary Oliverís ducks,
          it would be a different story.
We might be talking
          National Book Award or better.
Mary Oliverís ducks, or David Whyteís
          Ė not to mention Annie Dillardís Ė
          make life worth living
          no matter what your people are up to.
They quack and a quiet joi de vivre
          seeps into your soul.

But the ducks in my neighborhood
          are big and ugly,
          the size of geese and just as vicious.
Red, splotchy faces betraying some ancestral liaisons
          with turkey buzzards.
One has a wing that sticks straight out,
          Ė his badge of honor from a bar room brawl.
The ducks in my neighborhood
          chase the dogs.
          Even the menacing chow turns tail.

Large these ducks, but quick of webbed foot.
They hurry between your car and the porch,
          block your path, demanding bread,
                    then your watch.
You cannot write poems about such ducks.
Even Mark Strand could not
          Ė they have escaped from his disquiet dreams.

Oh but if I had Mary Oliverís ducks,
          it would be a different story.

—Dan Edwards

Posted by dwaber at June 19, 2008 01:25 PM