Author’s Note: This is the fifth installment of Monday Poetry. To read the first four and the introduction to this series, click here.

Today both poems are about the natural world, and the surprises that are often there to be found if we try to see more than the obvious.

The Moose and the Pelican

Sometimes on the perpetual trail
Through our window-view meadow,
Fearless presence—calm in size,
But awkward,
Rangy and disproportioned in repose,
Then all grace and power in motion.

Ungainly until he runs,
Strong and striding, up a mountain
Mangy, until he turns
The land version of the

Waddling and cumbering on land,
Seemingly misassembled,
Bulbous body, bulging beak,
Stumbling along, top-heavy.

Looks better floating, spear fishing
With a quick jab of head and needle beak,
Then a sagging, swinging orange fish-bag,

But still nothing compared to flight
Soaring, black-tipped wing
Dipping in his master-glide,
Inches off the water,
Subtle and precise—the wind at his command.

A reminder never to judge
Misshapen and award—ugly
To some eyes in their stillness,
Yet in float or in flight the Pelican
Epitomizes grace, power, artistry;
And in motion, climbing or running, the Moose
Exudes a smooth, otherworldly strength and ease.


I never knew moss before
I’d been introduced but never got acquainted.
Here, now, it goes with me everywhere.
It’s not so much the grass that makes
wet England green all year,
it’s the moss—always there . . .
always here. . . .
The curbs and concrete are moss green
and the tree trunks
and the roofs,
every conceivable shade
olive green, yellow green, lime green,
Kelly green, blue green, leaf green,
deep green, light green,
grey green, pea green,
depending, I guess,
on surface and sun and moss gender.
Moss warms and softens and mellows
the world . . .
makes it smaller and closer and more
in harmony with itself.
England is green because of
the should-be-greens,
Trees and grass
but more because of the moss that
makes green
all the shouldn’t-be-greens,
even mailboxes.