10 Feb

Midway V – Poem: On witnessing an albatross feeding

On witnessing an albatross feeding

To witness a young albatross open wide
its translucent, newborn throat,
open the soft, pink shell to its mother,
to the contents of the sea she carried
in her body for thousands of miles,
for over twenty million years – to watch,
today, the chick wholly embrace
the amber-colored squid oil
and cloaked shards of plastic,
to see it all slip down in an act
of ancient swallowing – is to witness
eons of trust absorbed into nature’s gut.
And for our own trusting throats
defended by lips, teeth and taste buds,
we evolved to sweeten what poisons us.

 

02 Apr

Midway Journey III – Poem: Courtship Medley à la Albatross

At this moment on Midway Atoll, the juvenile albatrosses are in the throes of their courtship dances. Their nonstop rave is the main source of all the buoyant motion and noise on the island as they seek a bond before flying out to sea to feed for the remainder of the summer. In this poem I’ve attempted to capture the sights and sounds of this ecstatic dancing season.

Courtship Medley à la Albatross

It begins with a prance dance,
a tiptoe head-bob waddle
and a wing fluff.  Then, fake a preen,
shake out a sideways
head-breaking shriek,
a chair-leg-floor-scrape scream,
and sidle into a crooked raga
with fast and furious tabla drums,
and applause, applause, wait –

it’s a drill-hammer fixing
a squeaky door behind the beak,
a flanking feather-grab tease
to a show of chocolate origami wings,
quick switcheroo to a bass kazoo,
throw the head up high, trumpet
to blow the clouds from the sky,
it’s a match, it’s a mate, a pact
to hatch an egg, raise a chick,

then bid adieu until next season,
dancing days forever over
in favor of a lifelong bond.

~Victoria Sloan Jordan

 

photo: kris krug