Poems by Paul Nelson

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Canada Geese

by Paul Nelson

From Canary Fall 2015

For most of his adult life, Paul lived just off a tidal marsh and half-time mudflat, half-time “broad” with 11 ft. tides below the marriage of two strong rivers of furthest “downeast” Maine. Canada geese began to winter on the marsh about 20 years ago, altering the annual migrations overhead that he grew up with. Paul lives by the Pacific now, with albatross, boobies and shearwaters, monk seals and turtles.

when they must land
scaling down for sheared corn
wheat and hayseed
or to pick at dried cow flops on hard
acres at the edge of seasons
or for tiny snails on the marsh
strung like beads on eel grass and reeds
they cease their yearning songs
that call men bristling
trigger fox and coyote

yet gabble harmonically
in wide fields safe as reservoirs
away from trees and stealthy shadow
saving their lives for cruising
thermals waves currents and tides
like notes on rhythmic staves

alto saxophones and clarinets wavering
antiphonal to our quavering prayers
our looking up for voices

to bring down and still them
because we cannot fly
singing across the moon’s face

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