Oh Virginia! & Ode to the Wary Bird

Two poems inspired by my days spent on the Shenandoah River and the photos I am lucky to capture. The first, Oh Virginia, is written in the poetic form of a prose poem which plants one foot in prose and the other in poetry. With luck I am able to make the poem appear as prose yet read as poetry. The second, Ode to the Wary Bird, is a traditional rhyming form of poetry that I so love because of the way it slips off the tongue and reminds me of a song. Enjoy!

Oh Virginia!
by Susan Warren Utley

Clothing soaked through and through, tread upon the slippery rock, stalking birds, angling for an image.  Camera at the ready, what do I spy? An Osprey dive. Into the river, talons open, disappears. Explodes through the surface returning with a fish. Pair of Bald Eagles perched on high, life-long partners, enjoying the view. Green-backed Heron flitters along a shallow stream, uses a feather to fool a meal. Conversing with paradise, capturing poetry in motion, and harnessing the power of the image, to inspire my prose. Oh Virginia, you spoil me so.

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Ode to the Wary Bird (Green-backed Heron)
by Susan Warren Utley

i spied you wary bird
upon my shallow stream
you flicked your tail and raised your crest
and offered me a scream

with outstretched neck and ruffled wings
you threatened to take flight
but I offered you no threat that day
kept in your line of sight

solitary and secretive
iridescent, greenish-blue
intolerant of others
you let me follow you

legs bright orange and stately
above the water flowing by
yellow spectacle markings
surround the watchful eye

small, stocky wading bird
standing motionless you search
baiting prey with feathers
dropped from your stalking perch

small fish approaches
patiently you wait
swims within striking range
goes for your crafty bait

long, dark, pointed bill
hover briefly catch your prey
feast then boast kuk kuk kuk
and quickly fly away


About Susan Warren Utley

Susan Warren Utley is a wife and mother living and writing in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Her stories are inspired by the unexpected twists and turns of real life and by her muse, a feisty Jack Russell Terrier who occasionally answers to the name of Lucy. View all posts by Susan Warren Utley

5 responses to “ Oh Virginia! & Ode to the Wary Bird

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