Two Poems by Nicola Waldron
Easter at Olema Marsh

A path leads along the creek through fields.
There is a marsh and cattails, a small black snake.
Crows fight off the marauding hawk;
the air is so laden with blackbirds,
you are almost made afraid.

When I look up to the clouds, God has left
his seal: a spiraling trout, a great celestial bird.
And I confess to the song-sparrow,
I speak to all life that can hear:
'He is risen! Today
is he risen indeed.
The humming bird is at prayer!'

The ostrich on the road to Limantour
brandishes his neck, his starlit eyes.

Striding the bridge in big vigilant boots,
the fast dilating spaces in my blood tell me
I do not fear the serpent like I fear
the silent man coming at me on the trail,
like I fear not making home.

The Graduation

Behold the butterflies
of the school garden,
how they perch, new and brazen
on the roses of the departed.
Behold their colors,
wing and dream.
The country they come from is called Glory,
is called 'place of good heart.'
Behold, my butterfly days are gone.
I stand human in the garden,
shuffling in rose clippings,
among the ashes of roses.
If I hold my breath
and am most terribly quiet,
the butterflies gather
on the clasped wings
of my hands.
Behold their fluttering. Their longing
cracks open the chrysalis of my fingers,
the womb of my knowing and unknowing.
We have still the mercy of the few hours
till sundown, until the graduation,
the up-and-going of the butterflies.
They touch the flowers of my hands
with their hands
and-if butterflies have eyes-
their eyes are filled with the light of their mothers' looking on.
The sundial is filling with shadow;
the sky is dark with light.
In the rosegarden behind the schoolyard,
beneath hills that rattle with the expectancy
of young snakes, all the papers they have written,
the poems and equations so delicately balanced-
unfurled and at last finished-fall
as petals to earth.
And they swirl and rise,
these butterflies.
Look at them rise to meet the days that follow.
They are beautiful,
Beautiful!
They are swirling-

Up, up
Up.

Nicola Waldron