The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by George Moore
The Piping Plover
The Piping Plover haunts the sand,
endangered by a loss of privacy,
the terns swoop low and caw like crows,
beaks open so their red tongues show.
We approach their nests.
The terns who drop their marbled stones
in windblown sand and sea tufts of grass,
hoping to survive the invasions,
swoop to our heads, threaten,
the sea carrying them up and away
like fingers on keys that play the same tune
over mined centuries that rust to poison.
The dog walks cautiously along stones
at the edge of dunes that cannot be crossed.
He treats the swooping birds with disdain
and they in turn find him dangerously
modern, rooted in the decay of silence,
the influx of curious shell seekers. They light
and watch from atop the signs that read
Attention in French, this habitat for sale.
The sea retreats, the fish flee, and lighthouses
museumed masterpieces of another light
filtered now through wires and lens
of microfiber reprocessed plastic trash.
Across the bay the cell phone tower kicks
into the air, like radar when the old war planes
cruised this stretch of Bluenose coast
but now with a milder intent to communicate.
The sands retreat, the shells tinged with iron
and manganese, a gull lands on the carcass
of a seal, its ribs exposed to the waiting surf.
The dark corners still turned.
And without intent, the two walk helplessly
from north to south, seize upon the day,
recall the prehistoric fervor of their first cast,
wonder after their lingering sea spun identities
and make the pact anew. The waves refuse
to reach the shore, the sand curls back on rock,
the gulls and cormorants confuse their sisterhood
and single out the threat, humans lost in talk.
On the Alentejo, Portugal
Something in time has stuck
on Portugal's high plains, chapels
now full of ghosts, or sheep,
feeding on an era's absence.
Now beatified by mice and crows,
cows are unafraid of a darkness
of narthex, of eternal sleep. God
chewing on a pew, or perhaps some
yew after fiber? And here,
on the orchards of the Alto Alentejo,
animals seem akin to angels, with
defecation no sacrilege. No door
can hold the curious seekers out,
or the dead in. Light now comes
down from the missing windows.
Against an outside wall, a monkish
little cemetery, and a tiled plaque.
Our bones wait here for yours,
and the earth moves to sleep
against the fading human habitations,
moves to dreams of wild chapels
heavy as an ark, set back against
the hog fest on the cork oak fields
of mud, filling their bellies for men.
Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication