In Search of the Purple Gallinule

"Oh, look there's a snowy egret," said I, 
compelled as ever to enlighten my neighbor,
"oh was it a snowy?" she replied,
and turning, I identified her plumage:
pith helmet and sturdy shoes,
and a pair of very good field glasses. 
Her mate beside, likewise attired.
"I'm so glad we met," I say
"perhaps you can explain 
a distinction..." and so a walk began.
They showed me Grebe, and Coot and Moorhen,
a Tri-colored Heron, and a Little Green.
Together we exclaimed
at Roseate Spoonbills against the sun.
"We saw a bird here yesterday I know you'll
enjoy: the lovely Purple Gallinule.
Such wonderful colors...
was that a Mockingbird?"
"I'm not sure, I think it's too small."
"Bob says it is, Bob always knows."
Just then, we overhear 
"Well, go on if you want to, 
come back for me in half an hour"
and she laughs a little saying
"Don't you wonder how some people
ever stay together?"

Coming round the end of the pond,
a ranger points to a shape in the air
"short-tailed hawk, very rare"
Two pairs of glasses track him, in harmony.
She lends hers to me; looking closely now I see
a thin antenna he wears on his wings, so we
can follow, we the earthbound.
I think he lives a poet's way:
unique, unmated,
helplessly transmitting
his peregrination
to an alien species 
which cannot fly.

The pair united in quiet delight
say "we'll go put this one in the book."
Some birds do mate for life.
They recommend
I come back to the pond again,
since after all, 
I never did see the Purple Gallinule.

Sheri L. Lohr
1/17/2000


Everglades poems

 Everglades ballad  In the Pines  Homo Pyrotechnicus  Watching the Shuttle  

The Purple Gallinule  Piney Woods  Sugar  Mosquitoes  Nothing Out There