by Marilyn Darley Williams

(for Valene)

The Holy of Holies is found
between the reeds and bulrushes
of the fresh water marshes.
The yellow-headed blackbird avows
his adulation in song,
while she skitters from reed
to branch. Pelicans glide by in pairs.
Avocets and black-necked stilts,
with long spindle legs,
cut through water like cross-country
skiers. And there, beyond the parting
water, a single post looms.
A lone cormorant perches,
his ebony neck elongated,
his massive wings extended
like black vestments.
These are holy waters
over which he takes flight, his dark
shadow bestowing a benediction
in the language of the earth.


by Marilyn Darley Williams

Summer evenings, at dusk,
moose are found in the marshes
north of the cabin.
They stand neck-high in water,
their pendulous heads submerged,
all but those mule-like ears,
twitching above the surface
like radar scanners.
Up with the heads! Throwing
water and moss, racks draped
with sedges, mouths chewing
water lilies like cud.

We heard how a bear came upon
a cow with her calf
at the crossroads. The moose,
ears laid back, mane erect,
charged into battle,
her slashing hooves bringing

One night a bull moose,
antlers three arms wide,
blindly stumbled into the garden.
From the screened porch,
we watched in horror
as the giant bull crumpled
in a patch of purple flax.
Massive head jerking,
his wait cut through the stillness
like a scythe. Moose sickness.

A tiny worm, the size of a hair,
digested with marsh weeds
had worked its way to the brain.
A shot from Father’s gun
robbed the parasite
of victory.

Summer evenings at dusk,
moose are found in the marshes
north of the cabin.
They stand neck-high in water,
foraging lilies and eelgrass,
antlers draped with sedges
and innocence.

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by Marilyn Darley Williams

unbuttoned its overcoat,
unhooked winter’s inhibitions
and hung them over the back door.
Earth’s essence
oils the hinges,
loosens the squeaking
of the mind.
Frenzied arms of forsythia
orchestrate a meadowlark’s song
cartwheeling over the trees.
The deliciousness of spring
sprouts in every pore