Archive for February 19th, 2019

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Cormorants by Alan Feldman

The colder the wind, the more they seem to perch
in clusters, like a small minion
of hasids, or like Puritans at a burial.
And when they rise in fright,
they head off different ways,
a survival tactic programmed into their genes
from back when they were dinosaurs.

They eat and eat,
without the gaucherie of chewing,
fish as large as they can swallow.
And in China, where they may fish for decades,
wearing a ring constricting their necks,
they are honored in old age with a pension,
living with imprinted loyalty with their human families,
and eating any sized fish they want.

Look at their long necks as they fly:
like living crosses. And notice how,
when they ride amidst the waves,
they dive all the way under, at home
in an element that isn’t theirs.
Watch them dry their wings in the breeze
like laundry––black laundry––
lest, having no oil in their feathers,
they grow logy and drown.

Can you say they are really of the devil?
Part of the bargain we make
to live on this hostile and abundant sea?
When we see them perched
amidst the stench of whatever boat they meet on,
fouling their resting place with vital abandon,
their wings stretched wide in the sun,
we have to remember they are birds,
hoisting the same black flag
of survival that we hoist,
hungry beings that we are.

From: https://acrossthemargin.com/three-poems-by-alan-feldman/

Date: 2015

By: Alan Feldman (19??- )

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