Life and Death
In the early dew they were little and soft,
ten bright balls of yellow down,
blue eyes, huge and awkward feet,
supervised by a dozen geese,
attended by a gander guard
marching through my flowered yard.
We herded them out, Lindy and I,
barking and shoo-ing
as they hissed and cried,
down the hill and across the drive,
until they were back through the pasture gate,
safe and sound where they would not stay.
By high noon they were cold and still,
stiff and floating, matted down,
six of them already drowned.
Three were struggling at the edge,
one was sinking, close to death,
fighting the cold, reaching for breath.
Without the firmness of the earth
to offer them a gradual depth,
they ended trapped at the poolside lip,
too small to escape without a lift.
No well-oiled feathers to keep them dry,
just frantic parents who honked and cried.
Copyright May 20, 2004 by Penny Kelly