the tidal flow
glides over wavelets
for the final flight to come
daylight soothing into evening
moonrise lighting decision's pathway
windsweeping wings tucked and folded in rest
The world is filled with extraordinarily fine collaborations - peanut butter and jelly, Campari and soda, Vision and Verb. One of my favorite personal collaborations is with photographer Judy Lovell. In the days following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, she graciously allowed me to use her portrait of Plato the Pelican to help send a message to British Petroleum.
Today, a lovely white heron has flown in from her site, Janthina Images, to complement my words. While I have several great blue herons in my files, none of them suited this poem and I wasn't certain I could scare up another heron to model for me on such short notice. Thanks to Judy, you can enjoy this beauty with great legs and elegant feathers along with the words.
The poem itself takes a form that may be unfamiliar to you. The etheree, a syllabic poem containing ten lines and a total of fifty-five syllables, is named in honor of Etheree Taylor Armstrong, an Arkansas poet who died in 1994. As you can see, the structure is simplicity itself. The first line contains one syllable, the second line, two, and so on.
All syllabic poetry counts syllables rather than focusing on their stress. Perhaps the most familiar form of syllabic poety is the haiku. Other forms include the cinquain, the lanterne, the tanka and the renga - by its very nature, a collaborative poem.
Each of the forms has its virtues. One of the delights of the etheree is the way the words present themselves on the page. In this instance, they seem to flow out like ripples moving across a bayou, disturbing the silence as little as a heron's step.