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Merry and Bright
Judith Heron

--for Michael

In the late winter afternoon, we stroll
across the trestle bridge, along the shore.
A sea otter calls out to her young who
have swum too far away. A crooning
bird-like call Iíve never heard but you
recognize, point out the little swimmers.

A young woman takes pictures of them,
tells us sheís been watching them grow, looks
kindly upon our awe. Everyone we pass says
Merry Christmas. A father kneels down
to show the otters to a child. This holiday.
we are far from being alone, and glad.

Around the dock where people plunge
on New Yearís day, otters are fishing.
We hear them breathe, underneath us,
as they scuttle for algae and fish. One
swims out, a silver slither in its mouth.
It chomps loudly, gulps its good fortune.

Sounds of the city are lost here. Splash
of inner tide on shore, snowberry
and hawthorn red, blackberry and fir.
Myriad winter colors I cannot imitate
with yarn or thread. I must be here
to find them, my arm in yours.

© by Judith Heron.
Used with the authorís permission.

Photo Credit: Mandy Greyling Holmwood

Judith Heron lives in Victoria on Vancouver Island. She has been published in a number of chapbooks edited by Patrick Lane, and in three anthologies: A Murder of Crones (Ptarmigan Press 2007), The Wild Weathers: a gathering of love poems (Leaf Press 2012), and Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press 2013). Though she has always lived on the west coast of Canada, Judith cherishes the homestead traditions of her prairie heritage. She relishes the rituals of becoming an elder, which include permission to visit and work in variuos gardens and to spend more time "with the birds."





Post New Comment:
Lovely rendition of a special memory!
Posted 12/24/2020 10:25 AM
Lori Levy:
Especially like the last verse.
Posted 12/24/2020 12:43 AM
"I must be here to find them, my arm in yours" Beautiful conclusion to a heartwarming poem.
Posted 12/23/2020 05:42 PM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love this picturesque sensuous poem. I can see the speaker and her son walking across the bridge, see and hear the otters swimming, breathing and chomping, see a man kneeling down, and see and smell the fragrance of the snowberry and hawthorn red, blackberry and fir.
Posted 12/23/2020 02:56 PM
Especially poignant on a day I am accompanying my daughter in her grief as a huge beloved oak in her neighbor?s yard comes down. Everything matters, Rilke wrote. What a beautiful celebration of that in this poem.
Posted 12/23/2020 11:55 AM
The details imprint this memory.
Posted 12/23/2020 10:25 AM
michael escoubas:
I appreciate the tenderness of the poem; consciousness of surroundings, colors and sounds. This is very good work, Judith.
Posted 12/23/2020 09:40 AM
I love it when a poem tells a story.
Posted 12/23/2020 09:07 AM
Larry Schug:
I like the meaning in detail that is found in this poem. Everything and everyone is important.
Posted 12/23/2020 08:09 AM

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