Migrating Geese

Keening in a bruised sky,
ragged chevrons
follow the coastline south –
imperfect V’s, left wanting
on one side or the other –
testament, perhaps, to those taken
by foxes, hunger, double barrels,
their skeins unraveling autumn.

– Sarah Russell

First published in The Houseboat
Republished in Poems in the Waiting Room
Photo:  Sunsetphotosgallery.com

Posted for dVerse Open Link

53 thoughts on “Migrating Geese

  1. I read it on Ryan Stone’s site. I was hooked by the strong image of “Keening in a bruised sky”
    and then it struck me like a lightning when I read “ragged chevrons”, so powerful. Thank you for such beauty, Sarah! Love it all!! And I shall read more when I can.


      1. You’re very welcome. I love and write poems myself, but not as good as you. Ryan is one of my favorites on my blog, always feel good to read his poems. Now, thank you for following me first, I was enjoying your words and images and going to follow you. But you’re quick! 🙂


    1. I love your idea of literate geese. I think they get a bad rap. They mate for life, always post guards at each side of a flock when they are feeding, and certainly know how to conserve their energies by the way they fly. And they make great looking letters in the sky!


    1. My husband has been looking and listening for them for a week now. We finally heard some last night. I love it when they are only specks in the sky, hundreds of them many times in a single line, and their call is almost inaudible, they’re so high.


  2. Oh Sarah…this is so beautiful and sad. Nature in all its beauty and its brutality. This is one of the best poems I have read about geese. Keening in a bruised sky, skeins unravelling autumn…so sad but yet, the geese continue on. There is much peace in this poem.


      1. yes you do. I never thought of geese as being the voice of fall but you nailed it! I used to keep a notebook by my bed when I would wake up with a poem in my head. I stopped that practice when I realized I couldn’t read 2/3 of it and I would deciper what I was saying the other 1/3!


      2. Same for me. One night I woke up with the perfect line that had eluded me all day. I picked up my iPad and tapped furiously. The next morning I could read the first 3 words. Then my fingers shifted right, left, up, down and the rest of the line was gibberish. That’s when I gave up.


  3. One spring we were hiking near Los Alamos, NM. We were in a canyon. We began to hear really unusual, sounds. The sounds would bounce off the canyon walls, become modulated. It was hard to tell where the sounds were coming from. We were confused. Later we were told it was the migration of the sandhill cranes…returning to the Bosque. They reach a certain point, and then, the energy(?) from the labs, confuse them. They turn back, circle, and eventually, I guess they figure it out? It was a memorable event for me. I have often wondered if we could return to that canyon, and hear again the sounds from the cranes? I don’t think so, you have to time it perfectly, and they don’t give reports of their progress.


    1. Wow! What an incredible experience. And sandhill cranes have such a unique call. I would love to hear them. I never have except in wildlife videos.

      You live in one of my favorite parts of the world. I try to get to the Santa Fe/Taos area every chance I get.


  4. Whoa, Sarah! This is the most beautiful poem I have read in a while. Wish I had written that one, but I couldn’t. Absolutely perfect. That first line got me fast and the missing chevons….and reasons why grabbed me further. A beautiful piece of work, Sarah.


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