Poems by Diana Woodcock

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Feast Day, Lady of Sorrows

by Diana Woodcock

From Canary Fall 2014

Diana lives on the Qatari Peninsula, which lies on the northeasterly coast of the much grander Arabian Peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Arabian (Persian) Gulf— poised perfectly between sea and desert.

For the cameraman, he waves a hand
over his parched land—all dust and wind,
not a tinge of green anywhere. He hasn’t seen

a harvest in two years, while across the border
poppies bloom—soon to seduce the West.
He’s sold his roof to buy food to feed his family

six weeks at best; he’s sent his smallest son
to rob the rat’s hole of its grain.
At this point I stop eating my bisque—

I can’t seem to swallow the shellfish.
I turn off the TV and sit in the dark on the
deck watching the waning Hunter’s Moon

rise above my gable roof, listening to
rasping crickets and the winds of war
as they spin out of control, wondering

what I’m willing to sell, who to rob
to endure the banishment from the garden.
All these repercussions: bloated stomachs;

glossed over eyes; roofless homes;
adolescent robbers of rats; parched
land; poor bone-dry Tajikistan.

Previously published in Swaying on the Elephant's Shoulders, Little Red Tree Publishing, 2010
Camel photo by Fay Gotting.

Pesticide Survivor

by Diana Woodcock

From Canary Fall 2014

An osprey watches me
from a high branch of the birch,
perched above the escarpment
beside the rushing river.

We keep still together,
neither disturbing the other.
Two red-headed woodpeckers
chatter incessantly while storing

nuts and acorns in dead tree
crevices. A bluebird passes by
like a sapphire flung from its setting.
When the shot rings out

on the opposite shore, we all four
flinch. My goal now: to leave
this earth without disturbing
a single blossom of clover.

Previously published in Creative Juices, August 2002 and Swaying on the Elephant's Shoulders, Little Red Tree Publishing, 2010

Streaked-Winged Red Skimmer

by Diana Woodcock

From Canary Summer 2014

One dragonfly lingers
on the brown tip of a summer
green reed like a flame
on a candle at mass.

Poison has spoiled its meal
of midges and broken its eggs.
The last of its kind
to inhabit this shoreline,

it hangs on,
burns in the mid-day sun,
purifying the day.
No longer skimming

its lake, it poses on its reedy
throne—a lone ember
glowing in the fumes
of Malathion.

Previously published in Least-loved Beasts of the Really Wild West, Native West Press (anthology, Spring 1997); Creekwalker, Summer 2007; Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders (Little Red Tree Publishing, 2010)

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