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.



South Shore

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.

George Moore is the author of two new collections, The Hermits of Dingle (FutureCycle Press, 2013) and Children's Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry, 2014).  He spends his time between Colorado, where he teaches at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and Nova Scotia, where he and his wife, the Canadian poet, Tammy Armstrong, are fixing up a cottage on the southern coast. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, North American Review, and internationally for a number of years.  



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