Thursday, August 20, 2009

Koi and Children ... Poetry in Motion

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The koi pond at the arboretum was one of the most popular stops for the kids - and one of the last. It was such a delight to see their hot, wilted little bodies become suddenly animated and refreshed ... The koi put on a pretty show for them - leaping over one another for the dragonflies who dared to come too close, slapping tails against the water and chasing minnows that we could see just beneath the surface....

They took in every iota - and I heard questions and comments about their colors, the designs on their backs, their funny eyes and mouths, how they moved. I watched a 9yo neighbor boy we'd brought along lie on his tummy on the rocks, chin in hand and heard him whisper "You're so pretty ... I wish you could be free ..."

excerpt from "Koi"
~ by John Burnside~

All afternoon we've wandered from the pool
to alpine beds and roses
and the freshly
palm house
all afternoon
we've come back to this shoal
of living fish.
Crimson and black
or touched with gold
the koi hang in a world of their invention
with nothing that feels like home - a
concrete pool
and unfamiliar plants spotted with light
birdsong and traffic
pollen and motes of
and every time the veil above their heads shivers into noise
they dart
and scatter
though it seems more ritual now
than lifelike fear
as if they understood
in principle
but could not wholly grasp
the vividness of loss

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