Tough

(Eulogy for a Gosling at Walden Ponds)goslings

You had a hard beginning
in your precarious nest
by the wooden bridge
where schoolchildren walked.

Your mother sat patiently
on those fragile eggs
that numbered only four
underneath the spinning sun.

She rotated them like clockwork
with her feet and bill.
Too many humans passed by
the nest and disturbed her

sleep, so she became confused
and wandered off for a bit
from time to time, eating
little, anxiously waiting,

as mothers do, I can attest
for the four of you
to be born, probably an ordeal.
How cute you were!

Four little balls of fluff
had to grow quickly
as goslings do, and keep up,
never you mind what anyone

else is up to. Life is tough.
My husband and I checked up on you,
almost feeling as though you were
ours, as much as you could be

with your fuzzy yellow down
and sweet black pea eyes.
After all, we saw you
in the egg by the water

in the gleaming sun before
being born.You were there
as two muskrats swam back
and forth to their underwater

cache, secure in the rippled wake
with an aqueous stash of leaves
quite safe underneath the bank.
They swam by quite often

in their confidence as you
remained innocent as an embryo
safely in shell while they mated.
We two voyeurs took in the spectacle.

We returned often, so captivated
by you in your habitat,
saw you following your brothers
and sisters, swimming and swimming

for your very lives. On land you
were so gangly we worried
for your safety. Maybe it’s better
not to worry, because as we were

watching the wonder of it all,
gawking at quacking ducks, pelicans
and herons, you were suddenly pulled

under quick as a flash. Your family
didn’t seem to notice, but we in our
awkwardness, took much too long

to find a proper stick and reach down
into the underwater weeds for you.
You didn’t come up despite our efforts

and hearts in our mouths, and that sun,
unfeeling non-creature that it is,
shining after you were gone. Your

mother lingered only for a bit.
I don’t know if geese grieve or not
but we did plenty for you, wondering

just how it happened, after the fact,
remembering we had seen the small
green head of a snapping turtle.

Please let the words I write be sufficient
to express my sincerity and become
the proper sound for my mourning.

~ by dianeklammer on February 22, 2013.

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