I Stop In The Woods*

March 21, 2021

2020 Walk Award
By Betty Scott

To watch a parade of mallards
Paddle and quack in circles
Splashing ripples across the surface
Of their home, a muddy pond,

As sunlit Evergreens…beyond…
Stand guard, reflecting themselves
Beneath the pond of brown,
Crowns of pines, topside down,

Reaching deep into the mud below.
I see this with my third eye as guide
To the rift and ride of souls: bonds…
Of love intertwined with joy.

*Copyright 2020 by Betty Scott. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

By Rachel Ballard
2008 Walk Award

Placard design by Egress Studio

“Feeling human is a useful form of political subversion.”—Robert Hass

By 3 p.m. I’m no longer struggling to feel
something specific about the ducks’ ease of movement
through their maze of pilings, their bodies’ split-second
Pinball Wizard decisions
to dash this way or that in the too-early evening light
as the creek’s current pushes them always out
toward the railroad bridge that divides us
from the bay.

Not far away a grebe submerges strangely,
its neck convulsing
like a snake in the water. I remember how my father
says the word “grebe,” with a smile
at the edges. How he says “grebe” more often
than necessary, how he must love
the word “grebe.” But I’m no longer certain
that’s the bird I mean. Still, I name it
like we do with most things, when we can.
Like today.

*Copyright 2008 by Rachel Ballard. This poem is included in POETRY WALK: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest – The First Five Years. Info: Book! Placard design by Egress Studio.

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