Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hudson's Geese: Reprise (Poem)

Some time ago I read a poem titled "Hudson's Geese" by Leslie Norris (I've pasted it below and included here links to two other of his poems, "Bridal Veil Falls, Early Winter" and "A Blade of Grass"), a renowned Welsh poet who came as visiting poet to BYU a number of years ago and never left. He died on April 6, 2006, but lived an astonishing life, as a Deseret News article of the same title claims. I was deeply touched by his poem and thought of it's reflection of human love when Sidney, Ali, and I were visiting the duck pond on Weber State's campus a couple of years ago. Watching two geese land in the water then take off again, I wrote the first lines of my poem, "Hudson's Geese: Reprise," which I dedicated to Leslie (even though I never met him) and which was published in Irreantum in 2006. Following is our dialogue, beginning with his lines and concluding with my response:


Hudson's Geese
by Leslie Norris

Hudson tells us of them,
the two migrating geese,
she hurt in the wing
indomitably walking
the length of a continent,
and he wheeling above
calling his distress.
They could not have lived.
Already I see her wing
scraped past the bone
as she drags it through rubble.
A fox, maybe, took her
in his snap jaws. And what
would he do, the point
of his circling gone?
The wilderness of his cry
falling through an air
turned instantly to winter
would warn the guns of him.
If a fowler dropped him,
let it have been quick,
pellets hitting brain
and heart so his weight
came down senseless,
and nothing but his body
to enter the dog's mouth.

****

Hudson’s Geese: Reprise
(For Leslie Norris)
by Tyler Chadwick

Day’s last reflections
catch on wind-swept ripples
as two geese throw shadows
across watered silence.
Embraced by echoes,
each circles the other.
Tracing this current,
I watch Hudson’s pair
venturing back
across the continent:
Her wings bear no scars
of hapless encounter
with fox or wolf or man;
his body carries
no hunter’s spray,
the lead that felled him
to the dogs. They bask
in this dusking plane,
watching the horizon
gather them, leaving
phantom indentations
in the eyes of those who
understood their love.

Published in Irreantum: A Review of Mormon Literature and Film 8:1 (2006), 98.