Canadian Poetry Online top banner link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page

Bird Watcher at Dorchester Cape, (glosa)

Sandy Shreve
From:   Belonging. Sono Nis Press, 1997.


But occasionally, when he least expects it,
in the glass of a wave a painted fish
like a work of art across his sight
reminds him of something he doesn't know
              "Poor Bird" — P.K. Page

How could she miss them, pale tan on the mud flats
A myriad of peeps here somewhere, come from away to feed
she stands at the edge of a gravel road straining to see
The tide nibbling in and the bright bluebells
twitching with Queen Anne's lace in the wind, at first
fill up her eyes     Then the land begins to lift
Again and again, all those birds, blurred air, composed profusion
the perfect music of a fugue, this synchronicity
in a winged field      Something inside her shifts
But occasionally, when she least expects it

a lone sandpiper stays behind, too intrigued
with its small patch of tidal land to fly
off in the hope of finding what it already has
Dashing this way and that, it drills in familiar ground
each spot offering something
undiscovered, something the whole flock missed
The solitaire scatters prints along the shore
until suddenly, in the wash of the oncoming tide
it halts     Stares at the water as if
in the glass of a wave a painted fish

appears, brilliant fins stiff in its liquid home
An exotic body rising from the depth of somewhere else
and with each breath of the bay, drifting closer
to the sandpiper's feet, a colourful puzzle
She observes the stillness of the bird
imagines it will soon take flight
half hoping it will find
its designated place in the flock, returning now
a curvature of movement, brown and white
like a work of art across her sight

a restless sketch, sunlit into diamonds and topaz
the radiance luring her gaze away
from the odd sandpiper enchanted, she thinks, by the tide
She blinks in disbelief at jewelled air
the like of which she's never seen before
The glitter flutters briefly, then the show
dissolves to camouflage     Her heart beats wild as wings
when the solitaire breaks its trance to race
straight into the multitude, whose safe shadow
reminds her of something she doesn't know



Sandy Shreve's works copyright © to the author.


Canadian Poetry Online bottom banner link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Digital Collections home page link to University of Toronto Library catalogue link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page