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.
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