Hudson's Geese


Here is a poem for Valentine's Day: one of my favorite love poems, by Leslie Norris. My favorite lines are these, so magnificently understated: "And what / would he do, the point / of his circling gone?" I love the geometry in there, too: the point, the circle. The careful, analytic precision of it is so incongruous and yet so wrenching. And I also love the surprise in "falling through an air / turned instantly to winter." As if the winter---approaching all the time, surely---had only coalesced into reality in that one moment. 

Leslie Norris used to say he liked to work on a poem until it was so compact that each word was like a brick set tight in a wall; each so sparingly and carefully chosen that the whole poem would collapse without it. I think this poem achieves that perfectly. It speaks with such economy, yet such truth. 

Hudson's Geese
“… I have, from time to time, related some incident of my boyhood, and these are contained in various chapters in The Naturalist in La Plata, Birds and Man, Adventures among Birds …."
W.H. Hudson, in Far Away And Long Ago 
Hudson tells us of them,
the two migrating geese,
she hurt in the wing
indomitably walking
the length of a continent,
and he wheeling above
calling his distress.
They could not have lived.
Already I see her wing
scraped past the bone
as she drags it through rubble.
A fox, maybe, took her
in his snap jaws. And what
would he do, the point
of his circling gone?
The wilderness of his cry
falling through an air
turned instantly to winter
would warn the guns of him.
If a fowler dropped him,
let it have been quick,
pellets hitting brain
and heart so his weight
came down senseless,
and nothing but his body
to enter the dog's mouth. 
— Leslie Norris
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Everyone in this house keeps me laughing.

from Abraham:
"It's a good thing there's no 'self-destruct' button on this car, because I'm sure I'd eventually end up pushing it."

Question in Abe's grammar workbook: "My friends and (I, Me) went to the playground to play."
How he answered it: "My friends went to the playground to play, and I? I took the road less traveled by. And stayed home."


Malachi referred to the balsamic vinegar as "volcanic vinegar."

Ky also talked about getting shots to protect oneself from "Pisces" (meaning rabies).

(Upon entering the bathroom in a hotel lobby): "Oooh! This is a sort of grand bathroom!"


Seb likes to push the shopping cart for me at the store, and he told Malachi and Daisy as they rolled, "You guys are traveling just by inertia . . . and by the laying on of hands."

On the kitchen aisle at Target, he stopped in his tracks and let out an audible gasp. "Oooh, Mommy, look! Zesters!"

He asked, watching a basketball game, "Which teams are versing each other in this game?"

We were talking about the Second Coming of Christ and Sebby said, "Maybe when Jesus comes again, He and Heavenly Father will be standing on top of each other, juggling balls!"
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