Canada geese – by Judith Lauter

Texas poet Judith Lauter visited a special place in the 60s while an undergrad at U of M that inspired her award-winning poem Canada geese. Through corresponding with Legacy’s Stewardship Coordinator Dana Wright they determined this place was in fact Waterloo Recreation Area.


Canada geese

                        Black and grey out of the evening

                        spread tips and ease down

                        onto another shadow darker than dark

                        ground, coast into the surface

                        against splashes, and ruffle, and settle.


Morning is cold and grey.

Their necks curl small masked

heads down into the vague water

clouded with cold, soon to ice over.

They feed. Then they float, small black

boats adrift, their eyes

in black masks closed.


                        In their minds, Chile is a vague haze

                        of light where long shores wink blue

                        beyond the cold mountains, and beaches

                        are miles and miles of bright white in the sun.

                        They drift on the water, black

                        feet underneath barely

                        moving, their necks curled.


The next morning comes with a light shower

of snow thickening the air. Up

beyond the bared scraping trees up

in the grey fast clouds wings whistle.


                        Today’s dark feathers rumple the cold pond.

                        Over what bright waters will tomorrow

                        float and feed, stretching

                        its wings out in the light?


The geese stand and beat their wings.

They run across the black water and leap

up into the swirling air, Chile

yellow and blue in their minds.


© Judith Lauter    

originally published (under Judith LaRue) in Michigan Quarterly Review, 1969,  8(4), p. 272

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