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August Birthday on Lake Mansfield
Signe Eklund Schaefer


It is mid-day and quiet on the water,
frogs lie low in the dry August grasses,
birds rest in surrounding trees.
The only stir on this windless day
comes from dancing mini water bugs
and a few jumping fish
surprised by our gliding kayaks.
My husband, today one year older,
always up ahead and eager for discovery,
silently motions me to hurry,
to share with me
the watchful blue heron
hiding in the tall reeds.
We breathe, content with this birthday gift.
Then the bird rises, flapping giant wings,
reminding us of his dinosaur kin.
Soon my husband is off again,
heading toward the future's pull —
a swim, a snack, some unknown next.
I linger, paddling slowly
from side pond into the larger lake
and as reward the bird rises up once more
out of thick brush at the water's edge.
One last view of awkward grace
which makes me laugh,
anticipating my own need to exit soon
this floating plastic shell.
I pray for grace in what I know
will be an awkward rising.

© by Signe Eklund Schaefer.
Used with the author's permission.

Signe Eklund Schaefer's articles and poems have appeared in several anthologies and journals and she is the author of four books, most recently, I Give You My Word - Women’s Letters as Life Support, 1973-1987. Signe has lived and taught in many different countries, always pondering the mysteries of human life and development. Now retired, she has rediscovered the joy of inviting poems to express daily moments and memories. Signe lives in western Massachusetts with her husband of more than 50 years.






Post New Comment:
Such a vividly descriptive treat for the reader's senses--with some deep ponderings near the end~ ~Superb
Posted 08/18/2021 09:04 PM
Lori Levy:
Beautifully expressed.
Posted 08/17/2021 03:36 PM
What a lovely afternoon! Thank you for sharing it!
Posted 08/17/2021 03:06 PM
love this entire poem, particularly "the watchful blue heron/hiding in the tall reeds" and the last two lines - also like K.A.'s "penchant for the future's pull of an unknown next"
Posted 08/17/2021 02:20 PM
So beautiful and so deep.
Posted 08/17/2021 01:24 PM
Wilda Morris:
So beautiful. I especially love the phrase, "awkward grace."
Posted 08/17/2021 11:47 AM
Arlene Gay Levine:
A deeply moving, beautifully executed poem filled with life's best gifts: love and wisdom.
Posted 08/17/2021 11:20 AM
Cathy’s Sister:
I can relate to the last line as I too pray for grace in what I know will be an awkward riding! Thank
Posted 08/17/2021 10:53 AM
I am waiting for that "unknown next."
Posted 08/17/2021 08:53 AM
michael escoubas:
Astouding poem, Signe. Especially your powerful closure. So much to think about; so much joy enclosed. Thank you.
Posted 08/17/2021 08:27 AM
Posted 08/17/2021 08:26 AM
Larry Schug:
Skillfully executed metaphor, both in the use of the kayaks and the heron to probe deeper into existence.
Posted 08/17/2021 08:24 AM
I like the husbands penchant for the futures pull of an unknown next. We males are incorrigible.
Posted 08/17/2021 06:43 AM

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