Ice Pond – Frances Dowling Vaughan
In early morning when the sun
lights up last night’s beads of dew,
all the way to the pond I walk
through a show of spiders’ lacey art
hanging from branches of the spruce.
Once we watched how the crew rebuilt the boardwalk
over the marsh grass and cattails beside the brook,
how they pieced together bright lengths of wood;
summer after summer silvering as our hair.
Each August a fleet of dragonflies
come out to sun
at the west edge of the walk;
I’ve dreamed of flying off
in a tiny brown airplane
banded with logo in bright royal blue.
A small boy tosses crumbs from a paper bag.
Eiders crisscross the pond
and a checkered pattern
glides slowly over the water.
Like the blackcrowned night heron
I have stood silent,
eyeing the slender poles of white birches
dipped in the water.
It is enough to stand here, even without a catch.
Here’s where the herring gulls
come up to bathe
and drink fresh water;
how smart they look
Cedar waxwings ornament the tree
and a holiday spirit courses through me.
The pond can swallow the full moon
and give back tiny stars.
A low fog covers the sleeping pond
and in the morning the sun lifts the cover,
all the little creatures begin to gurgle, bubble up.
I have looked into its depths;
it’s always your face reflected.
Swallows veer from the cold dark
of the abandoned ice house,
mindless of cracked ridgepole,
the slump of siding, its slow settling back to earth.
Frances Downing Vaughan