News From the Natural World: A Paddling of Mallards

This morning I came across a Facebook post from Audubon Alaska about their Bird Poetry Corner. How had I missed this? They have had a new prompt each week in April. Now I have a prompt the last five days of National Poetry Month! Today’s poem is my response to Week Four:

Below you’ll find a list of words that relate to nature. These words are your poetry prompts this week. You can use these prompts in several different ways: You can choose a single word and build a poem around it as a topic. You can choose a handful of words (about five would be good) and use those words to kick off different lines or verses. Or you can challenge yourself to write a single poem with all of the words included in it.

tree, birds, feather, nest, droplet, moon, field, stream, forest, sunlight, energy, bloom, seed, chirp, buzz, spring, green, meadow, soar, free

There is a pond in the woods behind our house. It knows how to take care of itself, and we let it. We do try to keep a path cleared so we can walk down the hill and see what’s going on. Over the past few weeks, I’ve observed at least eight ducks living there. They inspired this poem.

A Paddling of Mallards

This spring, a paddling of mallards
has moved in on the far side of the pond.
They stay concealed, bobbing behind
a bloom of bright green pond grass.

I approach the pond on tiptoe,
careful not to step on a fallen branch
that will snap and startle them.

They sense my presence anyway.
Before I can blink,
they launch into the sky,
seeking refuge in the trees.

I sit on a rock, quiet and still,
hoping they will return.
Other birds, red-wings and sparrows,
tolerate me.
Soon, the air is filled with their song.
But the mallards stay away.

I sigh, rise, and trudge back up the hill.
I want them to come back
to their hidden nests.
I imagine feather-lined
depressions of twigs
and leaves, filled with eggs,
harbingers of hope.

Draft, © 2020, Catherine Flynn

The far side of our pond

Previous “News From the Natural World” poems:

April 25: World Penguin Day
April 24: Save the Birds
April 23: An Earth Day ABC
April 21: Nature’s Harmony
April 20: Crowns of Moss
April 19: Propagation
April 18: At the Pond
April 17: The Red Chair
April 16: Dear Venus
April 15: Listen
April 14: Ode to a Tide Pool
April 11: What Does A Bird’s Egg Know?
April 10: Clusters of Clover
April 9: Song of the Pink Moon
April 8: Jewel of the Jungle
April 5: Phantom of the Forest
April 4: To Build a Nest
April 3: Apple Cake
April 2: Specimen
April 1: Forest Snail


6 thoughts on “News From the Natural World: A Paddling of Mallards

  1. Yes, ducks! We have a pair in the neighborhood we have named Gilbert and Gertrude. My kids are adults living elsewhere, but when the ducks appear, I take pictures and send! Nice poem–my pair have no pond and so wait for water from rain in drainage ditches.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we need to sit for even an hour or more to see them closer. I try, too, at the lake where I visit. They fly even when it doesn’t seem like I’m close. What caught me most was your title, Catherine. I love the idea of “A Paddling of Mallards”.

    Liked by 1 person

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