The number in the title of Robin Chapman's poem first attracted me to it and the mention of Wyalusing in the first line drew me further in -- for Wyalusing is the name of a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania (a region in which I lived and taught -- at Bloomsburg University -- for many years). But, of course, Google was able to tell me of another Wyalusing, a park in Wisconsin, home state of the poet, and a place advertised as having plentiful bird-watching. Enjoy:
One Hundred White Pelicans by Robin Chapman
Over Wyalusing, riding thermals, they shine
and disappear, vanish like thought,
re-emerge stacked, stretched,
a drifting fireworks' burst.
We can't stop looking up from paddling,
imagining how high they must be
to look so tiny, flecks of light.
Battling against the headwind, we thrill
to see--we think we see--
their third dimension of effortless life,
scattershot, high in the blue sky,
turning in sun--white, silver, ash, gone,
how we could ride, carried,
on rising currents of air, wide view,
steadily accompanied. As they are.
And on the river's back, we too.
This poem is found on my shelf in Chapman's collection One Hundred White Pelicans (Tebot Bach, 2013) and is included here with the poet's permission.